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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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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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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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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What I miss about the USA

June 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm (Me, Moving to the US) (, , , )

  • The weather, specifically, having four proper seasons. It’s June and I’m wrapped up like it’s March. In winter down in southern England, it snows once a year and is melted by 10am.
  • The sun. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s green, but I’d just like the clouds to go away if they aren’t going to be productive.
  • The wildlife. Chipmunks and raccoons are very cute! With some quiet patience, they can be observed going about their business. I’ll never forget the time we happened upon some raccoons raiding our garbage bins when I lived in the Bay Area, CA. One was literally dangling from a tree by his front legs, about to make his move. A friend of mine there is even a raccoon foster carer!
  • The holidays. Halloween and Christmas just aren’t the same here, and of course there isn’t Thanksgiving or Fourth of July. We do make our own celebrations, of course, but it takes a lot of planning, insider knowledge and luck to assemble ingredients such as canned pumpkin and whole frozen cranberries.
  • Having family in the same time zone / country. I highly doubt I’ll ever live in the same state as family, but being 4 hours away by plane rather than 10 has got to be better! Three time zones instead of 7 is definitely better.

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Stuff Doesn’t Equal Happiness

May 19, 2008 at 7:37 pm (Decluttering, Moving to the US) (, )

Over the years, through countless moves around the US and the UK (and the big trans-Atlantic one nine years ago), I have come to realise that stuff does not equal happiness. During the first six weeks of my life in the UK, I survived with no furniture – just minimal clothing. We bought the kitchenware we needed, from a great little store called Kitchen Reject Shop. Oh, and we slept on an air mattress (ok, that sucked).

Living that way wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t horrible either. Fast forward seven years to when we first moved into this house, most of our furniture was in storage. We had a bed, a TV, our computers and a few other basics. No enormous stack of CDs and DVDs, no games console, and no books. Everything was in boxes. I look back and realize that this was a productive time in my life.

Since getting everything out of storage, it’s been all about finding a place for our stuff, and constantly seeing dust covering our stuff due to the building work that’s been happening on and off.

After unpacking all the books, we realised we were lacking bookshelves. For various ethical and ecological reasons, and because we are broke, we chose to get used bookcases off eBay. One is huge, a monster. Now that we are moving away, we have the added element of ridding ourselves of these bookcases. Do we leave them here for future tenants? Do we resell them on eBay?

I read somewhere that everything you own becomes a burden. You have to store it, clean it, maintain it, move it to a new home, insure it, and sometimes, dispose of it. Disposing …. a landfill is the easy option, but it is usually wrong for many reasons. There’s Freecycle, but let’s face it, that can be a pain in the butt filtering through 20+ responses and coordinating collection. Slightly easier is a charity shop, but they don’t take everything. If it’s worth anything, you can try to sell it, but that’s a huge time suck.

It’s just easier not to acquire it in the first place! 🙂

So, as we prepare to move to the US, I am really, really looking forward to clearing out the stuff we don’t need. Since the cost of shipping stuff to the US will be calculated by volume not weight, we have to be very selective about what we bring over. We’ll be sorting our possessions into five categories:

  1. take with us to the US
  2. sell
  3. give away
  4. read/watch then sell/give away
  5. store in the loft

I hope we don’t store very much. It’ll be mostly things like tools… actually I can’t think of anything else I can justify storing in our loft. I love my hand blender but it’s better to sell it then put in a box, leave in the loft and then sort through it again next time we’re clearing out the loft.

Actually all have to swot up on whether it’s worth bringing anything electrical to the US. I really love that hand blender!

I agree with this guy’s thoughts on clutter too.

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Moving Day(s)

November 25, 2006 at 2:57 pm (Moving to the US)

The 100-mile move went pretty well. We hired a local moving firm to do the loading and unloading on their vans, while we did the packing. The moving firm were excellent, unlike the large national moving firm we had last time*….

As the house will be a bit of a work in progress aka disaster area, we decided that most of the large furniture, all decorative bits, some clothes etc should be put into self storage. Therefore, we’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor and living out of a suitcase, that is, a suitcase and cardboard hanging wardrobe provided by the movers. Our one luxury is our loveseat, to go with the TV and DVD player.

Day One

9am – Movers arrived and loaded a giant lorry with our goods going into the self-storage in our new town. Funny thing is, our things occupied only a fifth of the capacity!

11am – Movers departed. They were quick!!

We spend the rest of the day doing some packing and some friends met us for dinner at a local restaurant.

Day Two i.e. The Big Day

8:30am – Movers arrived but eat their breakfast in the transit van.

8:50am – Movers begin moving stuff out while we frantically did last minute packing (i.e. this computer).

10:00am – Movers departed for destination

10:15am – We went to a local cafe for a full English breakfast

12:15pm – Departed for destination after doing a cursory tidy up and safety check on the car

1:45pm – Collected keys from the estate agent

2:20pm – Movers arrived

2:25pm – Locked ourselves out of the house (yes, we’re idiots; we were both out front and the wind blew the door shut.)

2:30pm – Nice next-door neighbour let me use her phonebook and telephone. The two locksmiths I reached weren’t available for at least two hours.

2:45pm – J creatively opened the front door without a key (using his plastic pass from a recent technology conference — a victory to geeks everywhere. Whew! Note to worrying mothers: locks are being changed on Tuesday and door security will be upgraded!

3:15pm – Van unloaded, movers tipped on their way out.

And then we unpacked.

*They sent out subcontractors without telling us. These subcontractors were idiots, complete with inappropriate comments towards us! The men did quite a bit of damage (broken table legs, scratches, crushed lampshades, that sort of thing) and when we made a claim on the
insurance they sold us, they paid us back an amount just under what we paid for the insurance! Grr! I should have fought them on it.

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