Friday, April 30, 2010

Moving Day: A Proper Farewell

The moving truck came on Wednesday to pack and load everything that we are shipping to Switzerland. It didn't feel like we had much stuff left to ship, but when everything was loaded on to the crate it weighed just over 1,600 pounds and was approx. 260 cubic square feet! I have a feeling we will need to do another purge once we get to Switzerland since I don't imagine all this will fit in a tiny apartment.

We said farewell to our house Wednesday night, and the new tenants move in on Saturday. If we ever come back, we probably won't come back to this house. As nice as it was, it was just too big for us.

So long house!

To the Master Bedroom- You were an awesome room. I loved how big you were and how you fit our King bed, Jack's twin bed and a rocking chair with plenty of room left over to run around. I will miss your spaciousness.
To the Master Bathroom- I loved your big bathtub. In fact, I think I only used the shower less than 5 times in 2 years, your baths were just too nice. I will miss your 5-piece bathroom ensemble as well as your massive walk-in closet that was big enough to fit every one's clothes.
To Jack's Room- I will never forget running around the last days of my pregnancy trying to get you in perfect order, only to find we never used you. Lot's of love and care went into making you look very nice and I hope the new tenants appreciate you.
To the "other" room - Sorry we never used you much. We had plans to turn you into Luke's "work-at-home" office before we found out we were moving to Switzerland. We worked tirelessly to scrub the cottage cheese off your ceilings and give you some color to your walls. You would have made a wonderful office if we were to stay:
To the stairs- I hate you. I never grew up with stairs and I hope I never have a house with stairs again. I don't know if it was your carpet or what, but both Luke, myself, and my mom (and I'm sure others who won't admit it) have fallen down you. You are too slippery and I am so thankful that no one was seriously hurt on you.
To the dining room - You were a wonderful place to have meals as a family. I loved the view of the city from your window.
To the room with no name- Even though we never knew what to call you, you were loved. Many a days were spent reading to Jack on your floor and running circles around your couch.
To the living room-you were probably the most used room. Jack learned to crawl and to walk right here on your carpet. I'll never forget the first few steps he took.
To the nook-you were a good place to eat breakfast. It was a little unnecessary to have 2 eating areas so you didn't get used as much as the dining room, but you did have an awesome view.
To the kitchen-I loved your spaciousness. The endless cabinet space was great. I will miss you when we have to live with a tiny kitchen in Europe.
To the office-you were a nice and cozy room and kept Luke warm during his long nights of studying.
To the basement-we had high hopes for you, but you ended up just being storage for all our junk.
To the backyard-You were too big. We thought we would love having 1/3rd an acre, but we hated having to pay $300+ for your water every month. We will LOVE not having any lawn maintenance in Switzerland.

Goodbye house. Hope the new renters take good care of you!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Settling in at our hotel

We are finally out of our house! It was an exhausting few days and I am so thankful it is all over. It is going to take another few days to recuperate now...

I am planning on doing another post with pictures from moving day, so I won't go into the details here...but I had to share this video. When we were all packed up and ready to go to the hotel Jack was playing in the car and I asked him where we were going:

Our hotel is small, but nice. Here is our kitchen

Luke's study area
Family room

We don't have a dining table, so we had to improvise. Here is the coffee table turned dining table. It works, and it's the perfect size for Jack.
When we first got to the hotel Jack kept saying "Switzerland" over and over again. I guess he thought we finally arrived in Switzerland. I've been trying to explain to him that this is just a hotel and it will be a few more weeks before we get to go to Switzerland, but he is still confused.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last night in our home

Tonight is the last night we have with our home. I thought I'd be able to post some pictures of how clean and beautiful it looks right now, or write some fond memories of our first house... but I am much too tired to do anything nostalgic.

Sorry house, you deserve more of a send off, but after spending the last 4 days working around the clock to clean you I just don't have it in me. I'm a little sad to leave you behind, but a hotel (with maids and room service) seem like heaven right about now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The things we left behind

Last weekend my parents came down to haul the boxes of stuff that we want to keep, but can't ship... i.e. picture albums, sentimental stuff, boxes of old home movies and our chest. It took us days of going through all our stuff to narrow everything down to just a couple of boxes. Luke had a very hard time going through all his school stuff and throwing away bags and bags of old home works, tests, etc.

Here are Luke and Jack going through all the old school binders:
Finally, we narrowed everything down to approx. 5 boxes and a chest.
Pretty darn good considering this is how much stuff we had when we first moved here from California...and over the last two years, we have probably added 50% more stuff.
We invested a good amount of money into a hiking backpack and stroller. Considering we most likely won't have a car, these items are going to be very necessary for us.

Here is Jack trying out the hiking backpack
Getting comfy in the new stroller:
Then, everything hit the fan on Friday when we found out that we have renters moving in May 1st. Ever since the Visa got delayed we had planned on living in our house for as long as possible. On Friday we got the email that people had put in an application for our house and that they wanted it May 1st! Getting renters was our top priority so we decided to get into gear and get our house ready. This means cleaning....lots of cleaning!
The rental management company that we are using it VERY picky. They have very high standards when it comes to cleaning, they even say we have to clean grout with a toothbrush. It's crazy! But, its also good knowing that they will keep good care of our house.
Of course, Jack can't let the house get too clean:
Mother Hubbard wouldn't be jealous of our cupboard:
I spent all day Saturday cleaning out our master bedroom. I think this is the cleanest it has ever been:

We moved all our beds downstairs into Luke's old office for the next 4 days.
We have to be out of our house by Wednesday which is nuts because the whole downstairs still needs to be cleaned, the walls patched and painted, the refrigerator & stove cleaned and the list goes on and on. Then the movers come to pack all our stuff that we are shipping to Switzerland and all we will be left with are these 3 bags which we have to live out of for at least the next two months. Talk about downsizing...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Visa's have been applied for

We finally sent all our paperwork (50+ pages), 12 passport photos and numerous copies of birth & marriage certificates off to the Swiss Consulate in Los Angeles. From there they will forward it to Switzerland for approval, and then once approved it will take another week to process and ship us our visa's. They advertise that this process takes 8-10 weeks... ugh. We tried our best to push them to process ours faster, we even called the office in Switzerland to see if we could send our paperwork directly to them...but nope, we have to apply the same way as everyone else. So now we just have to wait and hope they get ours done fast. What a pain!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reached my picture limit

Apparently I have reached my limit of photos I can take of Jack. We were at Garden of the Gods the other day and I took out my camera and he tells me "put in pocket" then he proceeds to crumble into a little ball on the ground until I put my camera away.

Now, every time I take my camera out he gets upset and tells me to put it back in my pocket. I guess I'll need to find a way to camouflage my camera...

Here are some funny videos. This first one was taken the other day when I noticed that Jack was being really quiet (never a good sign) so I found him in Luke's office "checking his email"

One day last week we were walking outside and Jack dropped a piece of his muffin. He wanted to pick it up and eat it again, but I stopped him and said "it's okay, the birdies will eat it." Fast forward a few days, we are eating dinner at home and Jack proceeds to dump his plate of food on the floor and says "birdies eat." I couldn't help but laugh. BIG MISTAKE. Now he thinks it is funny to throw food (or pour water) on the floor and tell me that the birdies will eat it:

Jack is very excited about our move to Switzerland:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Work Permit Approved... well round one has been approved

The canton of Neuchatel approved Luke's work permit, now it is off to the Swiss government for approval. Should be another week or so and then everything will be ready for us to move...

Or so we thought...

I realized this week that no one has applied for our Visa. This whole time I had been thinking that we were waiting for approval on our Visa (not our work permit). Then one day it clicked and I realized that the work permit and the visa are NOT the same thing. I asked Luke if anyone had applied for our Visa and after a few urgent emails we realized no one had applied for the Visa. Ugh!

Apparently a Visa can take 8-10 weeks. So after a few hours of scouring every website on how to rush a visa application we found that if you have a work permit, the visa process only takes 1 week. But some sites said you have to apply in person which means we would have to travel to Los Angeles. I decided to call the LA Consulate office to find out what we need to do. After calling the office 10+ times and leaving messages, I came to the conclusion that Swiss people do not work. NO ONE was in the office, and not only that but the hours are only 8am - 4pm and they take a 2hour lunch! After I didn't get a call back from Ruth (the lady responsible for Visa questions) I decided to leave a message on the main line. Here is the recording I heard:
"If you have questions regarding your Visa, do not leave a message. We will not call you back."

Wow, friendly bunch of people.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Tonight, as I was putting Jack to sleep I was telling him a story about how we were going on a grand adventure and that we would be getting on a plane and moving to Switzerland and exploring new places, etc. He got so excited that he jumped out of bed and ran to the door and said "go Switzerland, airplane." When I told him that we weren't going to Switzerland today he started crying and kept asking to go to Switzerland on an airplane. Then, when he was settled in bed again he kept saying "Switzerland" to himself as he was falling asleep. I wonder what he thinks Switzerland will be like ...

Here is a video I meant to post a while ago. One of Jack's favorite phrases is "nice day out." He says it several times a day regardless of if it is snowing, raining or sunny. And he uses it to his advantage as well, he'll wake up bright and early and say "mommy up. Nice day out!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Permit Woes

It looks like everyone jumped the gun to try and get us out to Switzerland as soon as possible. Everyone was so excited for Luke to transfer to the Swiss design center that they drew up a contract and set his start date as May 1st. We started selling all of our stuff right away and making arrangements to move overseas. Luke's work is paying for the move so we contacted them about getting reimbursed for a few expenses and they said they won't pay for anything until the work permit is approved by the Swiss government. They won't pay for ANYTHING! As in, we can't move until this permit is approved. This wouldn't be so bad except for one thing, HR didn't submit the paperwork until last week. This means it could be 4-6 weeks still. Luke's boss is pretty certain that the approval will go through quickly, but he can't guarantee it.

To make matters worse, we already signed a contract with our management company to be out of our house by May 1 so that they can find renters for us. So we may be living in a hotel for a few weeks. It is all really frustrating considering we worked so hard to be able to get everything ready for an April move...only to be told we have to wait another month. It is possible that we will still leave in April and take a "vacation" in Switzerland until the work permit is approved. We should know more in the next week.

Meanwhile, here are our visa/passport photos that we had taken almost a month ago...darn HR waited 3 weeks to submit these with the proper paperwork.

A Shell of A Home

We finally had our last garage sale this weekend. All that is left in our house now is what we are shipping to Switzerland, and a few boxes that my parents are storing for us. Basically, that means we have a mattress on the floor and our computers. Jack doesn't seem to mind the empty house, he thinks it is one big playroom:

We sold both our dining tables so we have been eating on the floor. That didn't go over very well with Jack since he couldn't sit in one spot and eat so I had to buy him a little chair/table. He seems to really like it though.

My parents came down for Easter last weekend. Here is Jack kickin' back with Nana

Hunting for eggs
Nana and Poppie brought a basket filled with lots of goodies

Here are a few more photos for this past week:

Reading with Luke:
The itch you just can't quite reach
Jack is not happy about wearing Luke's shirt
Wii Fit
Ready to be shipped off to Switzerland
In other news, it looks like we may be in the US 1-2 weeks longer than originally thought, but that is a whole 'nother post...

Monday, April 5, 2010

But it seemed like a good idea at the time...

One of the most frustrating things about having to go through all our stuff is realizing how much money we spent on useless junk. Case in point: Today, I was going through our chest and beneath the years of dust and grime I found these:

What are they? Good question... I had to look at them for a while to figure it out myself. They are Nada Chairs...aka...a serious waste of money. I remember buying them with Luke many years ago. We were at some convention and someone was showing how amazing they were and how this chair would solve all our problems. So we bought TWO. Not sure if we even used them. I'm guessing we went home, stuck them in our chest and completely forgot about them. Until now.

So they go on Craigslist, along with hundreds of other items that seemed like a good idea when we bought them, but when it really comes down to it, we don't need it. If this whole process has taught me anything it is that NEVER again will I be such a consumer. I am done buying little nicknacks and if I can avoid it, I will never buy new again. You can find some amazing deals when you purchase second hand.

On a side note, taking pictures for all our Craigslist items is nearly impossible with a toddler. Jack wants to get right in the middle of the photo...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

One month from now...

As I was driving home from the grocery store today it dawned on me that in one month from now I'll be living in Switzerland. Kind of freaked me out a little considering our garage is packed full of stuff we need to sell and I still haven't even learned basic French words. I'm already starting to miss all our friends and family that we won't see as much, my Dr. Pepper's that won't be so big and so cheap, the English language as a whole and everything else that I've known my whole life. It almost feels like I'm preparing to move to another world....