Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blog Fail

I should NEVER have so blithely declared that I'd post every day this month.  Sigh.

I have been so busy since we got back from Maryland (and consequently so tired) that I've been collapsing into bed at 9.00 most nights.

The news so far:

  1. The sellers agreed to give us an escrow check for the ENTIRE amount of the re-roofing quote.  They originally countered with half, but our realtor, the awesome Phyllis, pointed out to them that there was an identical house in the next street over selling for £50,000 less and that if they wanted us to buy their house, rather than the cheaper one, they'd better offer some incentive, because the roof was a deal-buster.  The reason, by the way, that we were going for this house, rather than the cheaper one is that the cheaper one was a short-sale, and it can take 6-9 months to get an offer accepted on short-sales.  Also, the house we chose is move-in ready.  All we are waiting for now is the valuation for the mortgage lender, and a background check to make sure there are no liens on the property.
  2. We've had contractors round our house here to give us quotes on some of the work that needs to be done to get it up to scratch for renting out.  There are a few things I can't do, like removing the old gas fire or replacing the toilet cistern (it's one of the old fashioned two piece toilets), and a lot of things I could do but which would take me much longer and much more effort, like fixing guttering and resealing the bathroom and kitchen.  So the contractors are going to do most of the repairs on the house, and I'm going to do all the painting and decorating.  We are getting a certain amount from the Conference towards the costs and I got a small tax rebate, so that will cover the contractors work, and the materials I'll need, with a little bit left over for emergencies and getting professional cleaners in at the end if necessary.
  3. Evie has settled in really well at University, is getting on pretty well with her course, but has really found her true love in RUCAS (Reading University Circus Arts Society) and contact juggling.  If you've ever seen David Bowie in "Labyrinth" you'll know what contact juggling is.  If you haven't, this is the sort of thing...and she's getting really good at it.

The plan is still for David to go mid-March and for me to finish up with the house here and follow at the end of March.  If everything goes smoothly we'll be able to move into the new house shortly after I arrive (although we'll have to get a few pieces of furniture to tide us over until our shipment arrives).

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Our House (fingers crossed)

We've put in an offer and it has been accepted.  The home inspection was this afternoon and it flagged up some issues with damp, the electrics and the roof, so our realtor is going to negotiate to see what she can get for us.

So, if everything goes according to plan, this will be ours on 22 March.


Isn't it preeeeeety?

If you're the praying sort, we'd really appreciate a mention or two.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

On our way to owning a house in the USA

Very tired.  But pleased - we put the offer in on the house we want, should hear back tomorrow morning.  The house inspection is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Had one "sort of" job interview - more a chat really - at the radio station.  They don't have anything right now but might by the time we get moved over, so I'll call them back when we are settled in.  Have another tomorrow morning at 8.30 - I am not my best at 8.30am, but I'll try and be coherent.  I'll need a lot of coffee  first.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Short & Sweet because I'm jetlagged

We've found a house to make an offer on.  I have two job interviews before we go home.  More anon.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right"


We walked around some of the monuments in DC this afternoon and stayed for some time at the Lincoln Memorial.  On one inside wall of the memorial is the text of the Gettysburg address, and on the other the Second Inaugural Address.  Lincoln had such a spare, elegant, humble, nobility to the way he wrote. The Gettysburg address is very well known, but the Second Inaugural is actually even more powerful.


"At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies [sic] of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it--all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war--seeking to dissol[v]e the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war, while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the seat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Universe is Laughing at Me

After having blithely declared I would post every day this month, our internet connection promptly quit on us.

However, we are now ensconced in a Comfort Inn in Maryland (with free wireless) to spend a week in meetings and looking at houses so I'll be blogging about snow and house-hunting for a few days.

Now, I'm off to church, for the first time in over a year. Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Knitting to Date

As I said yesterday, I haven't done as much knitting in the past few months but I thought I'd share what I have done.

I liked Evie's slouchy hat so much I made one for myself.


I also made a pair of socks for a Harry Potter sock swap, I made Gryffindor socks for her and she made Hufflepuff socks for me, although sadly mine haven't turned up yet.


At the request of the husband, I also made a winter scarf, in his favourite colour.  I tried to keep it interesting by trying out a new stitch pattern, but he complains that the holes let the wind in.  You can't make everybody happy.


All of the above were fairly quick knits, but I've had one project on the needles since August.  My parents sent me money for my birthday last summer because I wanted to buy the yarn to make myself a cardigan.  I chose a fairly straightforward pattern that is all garter stitch (knitting every row, no purling) because at the time I was still a beginner and it is knitted from side to side, instead of top to bottom or bottom up.  I think it's taken so long partly because I keep getting sidetracked by the smaller projects and partly because it's just a LOT of knitting.  I have had the sleeves on the needles for more than a month now, only knitting a few rows at a time.  I'm hoping blogging about it will give me the push to get it done!

 This is the back, the first piece I knitted, and the colour is actually somewhere between this one and the following one.  Neither is quite right.  Once it's done I'll have to take a photo outside and see if I can capture the colour better.

This is the back, one front, and the beginning of the second front.  I've since finished the second front and I'm working on the sleeves.

I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time so the stripes and increases are in the same place on both sleeves.  I just need to make a big effort and get these done (I'm about 1/4 of the way through these) and then I can seam it all up and do a crochet border around the neck and front opening, sew on buttons and I can finally wear it!

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