Importing pets into the US

February 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm (Cats, Moving to the US)

OK, so it’s pretty straightforward to get pets from the UK to the US. Though rabies shots aren’t required for cats, we got them vaccinated anyway. All of their other vacs are up to date, so we only need a Fit to Fly certificate. Virgin Airlines Cargo will fill out the export forms. No quarantine needed, for everyone that keeps asking! 😉

Now the only problem is our schedule is going to look a bit like this!! All times PM.

  • 5:25 flight arrives (if on schedule)
  • 6:15? visa processed and five giant bags collected
  • 7:00? pick up car rental
  • 7:30? collect cat paperwork from Virgin’s cargo facility
  • 8:00? present paperwork at US Customs building (and it closes at 8!)
  • 8:15? return to Cargo to pick up the cats
  • 9:15? arrive in Newburyport

Somewhere in there we need to source cat food, cat litter and some people food 🙂 Must look into an online delivery service. I’m sure the hotel people would let us have some stuff delivered to our unit. Anyone have any ideas?


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Less than a month to go

January 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm (Cats, Me, Moving to the US)

We are now counting down the days before we say goodbye to our lives in Britain. Tomorrow J will be having his visa interview at the US Embassy in London. To say that tomorrow could be a turning point in our lives is an understatement! I ran out of patience on New Year’s day and booked my  flights, so I will be leaving mid-February. Depending at how tomorrow goes, so will J and the cats.

In the meantime, we’ve been busy making arrangements, canceling services, deciding what should be sold and what we should take with us (hint: not very much) and we’ve had the decorator/handyman in to finish off a lot of jobs that we’d managed to avoid in the last two years.

Yesterday, the cats went to the vet for their annual checkup and immunizations. They also got the rabies injection in preparation for their own immigration to the United States. Interesting that the rabies jab is not a requirement for pet entry to United States, but is always recommended, because it is sometimes required depending on the state. J remarked to me that it’s going to be very strange thinking of laws being at a national level and the state level, and then I reminded him that there are also county laws, and possibly city laws. Truly, the United States will seem foreign to both of us.

There is still a huge task list to get through before we can leave for the US. We’re even managing the move to the US in Basecamp!

And then, this evening I broke a handmade mug that J’s mom gave it to us, that we were planning to bring with us. Well, that makes packing a little easier (and we have two more just like it)…

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Ten years in the UK

January 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm (Me)

I’ve just had a huge milestone. I celebrated 10 years of living in the UK. Just a few drinks with colleagues the day before, and a nice evening with J on the anniversary itself.

I must admit, a few months ago I didn’t want to reach 10 years in the UK, but it at least it’s an honest response when someone asks, ‘How long were you living in the UK?’ and then I get to watch their eyes boggle…… 😉

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A new year update

January 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm (Decluttering, Moving to the US)

Happy New year 2009!  Exciting news — husband has his visa interview date scheduled for late January. This means we can be in the US by mid-to-late February!

This also means I have any lot of decluttering to do! I’ve uploaded a few photos to demonstrate.

The first photo is my desk area. Note the piles of paper, haphazardly arranged office supplies and the clutter all over the place? I am publicly shaming myself into sorting this out! And this is only the mess I comfortable sharing!! 🙂

The middle photo is the bookcase in the dining room. It contains all the books we would like to read before we leave aka The Reading Queue, plus a few (and I really do mean a few) of the books we like to keep. I know that it’s better to get rid of any books that aren’t once we frequently reference and can easily be replaced in the States…. it’s not easy though.

In the final photograph, we have the bookcase in the living room. This contains books and DVDs that we are giving away. It will probably fluctuate in volume … but I’ll be inviting friends over soon to come pillage these books plus everything else that isn’t worth selling like kitchen items, office supplies, towels, etc. etc.

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More house progress

January 1, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Cats, DIY, House renovation)

I’ve lived with crappy unfinished floorboards in my our downstairs hall since May, so New Year’s Day was spent doing work on the house.

As much as I love being an eco-minded person and the OSMO Polyx floor oil, it wasn’t in the budget this time. Instead, we’ve used a low-VOC  floor varnish in a rosewood color, which costs a third less. But the best part is this varnish touch-dry in around an hour, rather than 12 hours. You see, with two cats, it isn’t practical to use slow-drying stuff because we feel mean about locking them in a bedroom for that long…

The picture below shows the hall floor with the first coat of varnish alongside some boards in the pre-varnished state.hall-floors

To achieve this look, we removed as many old paint splatters as possible, used the hand sander to lightly sand the surface, prepped the board with white spirit, and varnished. No heavy-duty sanders involved at all. Obviously, this look isn’t for everyone. It’s quite rustic (you might say sloppy….) but it allows the character of the Victorian-era pine to show through. Interestingly, the camera flash reveals uneven color on the varnished boards, but in real life the color is fairly uniform. We’ll be doing the second coat tomorrow.

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Cookout, hotel style…

December 2, 2008 at 10:11 pm (Food)

Haha, I love it! I don’t think hotel owners would appreciate this much. And you’d have to bring some dish detergent to get that ramen stink out. I don’t think it would improve on the hotel coffee!

How to Cook Food in a Hotel Room

Anyone tried these ‘recipes’?

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Reading marathon

November 15, 2008 at 6:33 pm (Decluttering, Me, Moving to the US) (, )

The husband and I have spent the majority of today decluttering the office/spare room. I have family coming to stay soon and I’d like them to have a properly relaxing room!

As we sorted through office supplies, files, scraps of paper, cables and all sorts of other detritus, we discovered even more books we had stashed away. We can’t take all of our books with us to the States (cost is prohibitive) so my queue of Books To Read is getting ever bigger.

So, I’ve decided that I won’t be watching any more TV just for the sake of it. I’ll be reading instead. At least for the rest of this week…….

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Nomnomnom. VeryGoodTaste foodie meme.

November 15, 2008 at 12:21 pm (Food)

Wow, I’m surprised at how many of these things I’ve eaten/tried…. many fall into the ‘once is enough’ category! 🙂


From the folks at VeryGoodTaste comes this foodie meme…

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jello
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
(never again!)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

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Still yearning for the US…

October 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm (Decluttering, DIY, House renovation, Moving to the US)

I still hope we can move to the US in early 2009. The yearning is still there! We just need to, oh, let’s see…

  1. Sand and paint all the new window frames
  2. Sand and oil the floorboards in the downstairs hall
  3. Sand and oil the floorboards in the office/2nd bedroom
  4. Decorate the office/2nd bedroom (during which time the other half will be working out of the dining room!)
  5. Continue decluttering and selling off/freecycling everything we won’t take with us
  6. Pay off our bills / maximise earnings

That’s all 🙂

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To repat or not?

October 5, 2008 at 5:01 pm (Me, Moving to the US)

Oh, it was all going so well. I was sure I was ready to move back to the US. But my feelings have changed. All became clear in the last 24 hours. I’ve just come back from a *brilliant* weekend away with colleagues on the Dorset coast, and realised how enjoyable life can be here in the UK. Good people, good times, fab cute rambling cottages with wonky floors,  good weather 1 out of 3 days… what’s not to love? 😉

Maybe we’ll just postpone the move. Never say never, right? There’s a lot of factors that will make or break our move to the US.

  • Mortgage payment on our house will be changing (increasing, almost certainly) in November, and we don’t know yet what that will be. How much of a difference between mortgage and rent are we comfortable covering on a monthly basis
  • Work – neither of us have jobs in the US and both of us are freelancers. Hubbie’s contract is ending in January. That’s a pretty big leap of faith to walk away from our life here without any guaranteed income. Plus, see above
  • Health insurance…. one online quote suggested we’d be paying between $400-500 a month. That’s a lot. See above!
  • The economy and housing market is in the toilet, for the time being. Maybe it makes sense to hang tight here until we’re more sure of our financial situation.

I can see this news not being very popular with the folks back home….

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