Saturday, June 7, 2014

Falling Into Place

It's all coming together.  And admittedly, it's going a lot smoother than when we came to Barcelona.We were newbies then.  We had no idea what to do to "make things happen".  But now, now we're pros. This is just par for the course.  New bank account.  Check.  Social security appointment.  Check. House hunting lined up.  Check.  And the list goes on and on.  We've got lots going on but Josh and I, after 20 years, have become a well oiled machine.  We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and we play the game accordingly.  The pieces are all falling into place, some neater than others, but progress is most definitely being seen.

We had our pre-walkthru with our landlord the other day.  A pre walk thru you say?  Why yes. Because here in the land of Spain, things are not done the way we do things in the US.  And after being burned once and screwed out of lots of money, we've learned our lesson and are being pre-emptive this time around.

We are working on returning the car.  It's been a process and a half.  And while having a car was worth the headache, it's definitely been a pain in the ass trying to return it.  They definitely don't make it easy (or cheap) to cancel a lease.

We are winding up details here in Barcelona.  Things like canceling gym memberships, final playdates, lunches and dinners with friends, arranging for repairs to be made on the apartment (because there is no such thing as general wear and tear - it must be returned in exactly the same condition if not better) and so much more.

We have our house hunting trip to Amsterdam set up for next week.  Things are looking good as we've narrowed down the area we will live in, are working with a realtor and have about a half dozen places to look at to start.  The hope is that we will find a home we fall in love with and that we'll stay in for the indefinite future.

In the meantime we are also working abroad to get things together for the US portion of our move. And while things can never go as simply or smoothly as we would hope, it's all coming together on that end too.  Albeit, it's all costly though.  There are days when I wonder why we keep our house in the States since it's become a significant money pit and we aren't seeing any return on our investment, though Josh says it's not about our immediate return but our future one.  I get it but at the same time we are throwing a lot of money at a house we may never live in again.  But we just keep moving on and add it to the list of things to take care of or pay for in order to take care of and move on to the next item.

But there are still repairs that need to be coordinated for the immediate future (before I get home), during my time at home and then after our current tenants move out in September and our new, not yet found tenants, move in.  Things like painting the interior of the house - much needed updating there. Replacing carpets.  Repairing our falling down fence and power washing and staining our deck. In the longer term we need to replace old appliances though that also seems to be coming more into the immediate future.  Oh and let's not forget that our furnace died in April and had to be replaced.  And now, let's add termites to the list.  Ah and we don't yet have new tenants for the fall, so need to start looking into that in the next month or two as well.

Our POD (storage unit) was delivered to my parents yesterday.  When I get home next month, my parents and I will unload it, go thru it and determine what gets sold, donated or will get moved overseas to Amsterdam.  We'll also have to go thru my house in Attleboro and do the same (though on that end, I think it will take much less time since 80% of our stuff is in the storage unit) because the movers will be coming at the end of July.  Yes, that's one other thing we've been working on behind the scenes is bidding for and arranging for movers for the US portion of the move.

So now we have the majority of the details (ie, have movers selected) for the Barcelona and US parts of the move.  We know that we will return the car around the 20th of the month (also the last day of school), the movers will come on the 26/27th, cleaners on the 28th, final inspection and bank appointment (there is a special bank account set up with our 4 months of deposit that the landlord has to sign papers to release) on the 30th and we fly out on the 1st to our cruise of the Baltics.

Oh yeah, the cruise.  We've also been putting together the final details for that.  Though I'll be honest, I don't have the strength in me to put much effort in there.  We'll do an excursion in Russia because it's the only way for us to get a visa to enter the country.  But beyond that, I think we are just going to wing it on our own.  We've been doing that for 4 1/2 years on all our travel, why should the cruise be any different.  But there are still lots of details that go with a cruise that I'm not familiar with (having only done one before in my life) - special luggage tags, arranging transportation (apparently this cruise is like the only one that the boat is a good 2 hours from the airport) to the ship, picking dinner times, doing the online checkin and lots of other useless, miscellaneous stuff.  I think this is why we don't cruise.  But it's going to be fun and it will be our last hurrah for leaving Barcelona and a hello to our new beginnings in Northern Europe.  It will give us a taste of the travel we will hopefully do from Amsterdam now that we will be that much closer to those locations.

From the cruise, the kids and I head straight back to the US.  Literally, that same day.  Josh will head back to Amsterdam, though honestly I don't know if he has a flight booked yet.  Let's add that one more detail to the very long list of things to confirm.  We're working on our calendar for our trip home. Because of the issues with the school year starting sooner, we had to cut our trip short by a few days but we're still doing our best to see everyone.  I'm not going crazy this year like in previous years, quite honestly, it takes the pleasure out of coming home when I'm totally out straight and I've got enough on my plate right now.  So if people want to see me, they'll have to ask.  Sounds kind of snobby and selfish, but I just don't have the physical or mental capacity right now to go crazy with my schedule right now.  Hopefully I'll see everyone on my list but those I miss, I apologize now and please, come visit us in Amsterdam :)

While we are home, the kids will spend 3 weeks in summer camp in Maine.  That's the 3 weeks when aside from working (because let's not forget that I still work full time too so doing this balancing act of kids, husband living in another country 5 days a week, moving, etc while still working), I'll be sorting thru the storage unit, selling off old stuff, visiting with friends and family and just trying to keep my shit together.  During the 2 weeks the kids aren't in camp, we'll make not one but 2 trips to NYC, visit with family in different parts of the state and visit with their friends from home.  Plus get their stuff ready for camp (as much of it was shipped ahead from the camp supplier, but still need to go shopping for some of the supplies they will need, iron on labels on to all their clothes they are taking and pack it all up to be shipped out to camp within 5 days of arriving in the US).

In the meantime, once Josh hits the ground in Amsterdam in mid July, the movers from Spain should be there. Actually our stuff will go into storage for a few weeks in between the cruise and the move.  So he will arrange for the movers to get to Amsterdam and unload the Spain portion of our goods.  He'll get settled and find his way around the area of our new home so that when the kids and I land on August 17, he'll be able to show us pretty much everything we need to know and to take care of our immediate needs as the kids start school the following day.  No, no rest for the weary.

There are a ridiculous amount of pieces to this puzzle that need to fit together just right to make all these things happen, but we are close.  And they are falling into place.  This is where I excel, where I shine. All these months of waiting and anticipation of what's to come next now can be implemented.  It's not easy, nor is it necessarily fun, but we need to remember that often times we need to rise to the occasion in order to make things come to fruition.  If we don't do it, who will?

We still have a long road ahead of us and not a lot of time to make it all happen.  But like I said, after months of waiting, things are moving at warp speed.  The next few months are going to be crazy, chaotic but also another amazing part of this adventure into a life less ordinary.  We're getting excited about this next adventure and are looking forward to closing out this amazing chapter and starting the next one!


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