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Friday, June 1, 2018

Sorry for the lack of posts

I must apologize for anyone hoping to see my usually travel posts. I’m not working at all on this trip, so traveling without a laptop, and I haven’t been able to get photos to load in blogger on my iPad. I’ll catch up when home, but in the meantime you can follow me on Facebook.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A New England

Ian is not a big fan of London, and determined that I see the “real” England. For me this a ‘new’ England, though I know it well from a lifetime of BBC movies and tv programs.

My trip started a bit differently, with packing. I normally start my process about a month ahead. I’ll put my suitcase out and as I think of things I want/need to take, I throw them in. I do lists, too, but don’t rely on them as much as I used to.
With house projects and a few sewing projects taking my attention, packing didn’t quite happen this way. The suitcase came out about a week before and the actual packing happened the morning I left. No panic, since I’d still been collecting/making things to bring. This is only day 2, but so far I don’t know of anything important I left behind.
Ian and I booked our tickets a few months ago, getting round trip tickets in basic economy (World Traveler) for $640 on British Airways. Thanks to a recently added direct flight between Austin and London Gatwick, the prices have come down quite a bit. Ian’s plans changed about 2 months ago when his work decided to sent him to Ireland for 2-1/2 weeks before our planned trip.
About a week ago I decided to cough up $230 to upgrade to World Traveler Plus. I was looking forward to some decent sleep with a bit more space.
Tuesday night I checked in and printed my boarding pass, and put it in my purse.
When I went to check my bag, the gate agent asked about my plans and then pointed to the placard sitting on the counter. The flight was oversold and the airline was offering up to $1850 in travel vouchers to people willing to give up their seat. I was VERY tempted to delay (though I’m not sure I’d get on the flight the next day), so I said no. The gate agent handed me a new boarding pass and told me where the club was. I didn’t look very closely at the boarding pass, and didn’t really wonder why they were telling me to go to the club. I got a Gin & Tonic and ate the sandwich I’d made myself. It wasn’t until we were in line wating to board that I looked at my boarding pass. It said Club World, not World Traveler Plus and when I compared it to the boarding pass I had printed, the new one had me 5 rows back. I started to think I’d been downgraded and was dreading a long flight in a tiny seat and incensed that I’d probably have to spend time on the phone to get my money back.
WELL, what I didn’t realize was my original seat, though further up in the plane, was exactly one row in front of the BUSINESS CLASS. That lovely woman at the BA counter had very casually upgraded me to business class without saying a word. And business class on BA means you sit in a little pod with a seat that folds flat, a foot rest that makes it into a narrow bed, a proper pillow and a duvet. HOLY COW.
Needless to say, I was very happy about this. It even made up for the 2-1/2 hour delay due to a malfunctioning iPad. That’s right, the iPad they use to transmit the counts for hold baggage didn’t send so the plane had to return the gate while the crew waited for confirmation from Heathrow.
We finally made it here yesterday (Thursday) about 2 hours late. Once I got through passport control and had my bag, my lovely bloke collected me in the rental car and we headed to Windsor.
I’ll upload some photos tomorrow as well as some from our day at Bletchley Park today.
We ended the day by meeting our hosts Steve, Lisa, Verity and Josh at a traditional pub, followed by a curry dinner.

Tomorrow we head to Chippenham. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's that time of year again...

Yep, I'm leaving on another trip. This is late for me as I usually head across the Atlantic around April/May. This trip is different for a few reasons. Firstly, I'll be joining the Bloke this time (our first time traveling together). After a few days in the Cotswolds we're headed to the Isle of Man for the TT(Tourist Trophy), a series of crazy motorcycle races, hence the timing.
We'll be staying with friends of his in England, and in a friend's flat on the isle.
Ian will be driving us around.
So I apologize for the lack of postings about apartments, public transport and getting lost in a new place.

Here are a few of the things we plan to do while in the Cotswolds:
Windsor Castle
Bletchley Park--just about the nerdiest destination possible.
Bath Fashion Museum--Ian plans on getting to know the local Pub while I'm here
Lacock Village--turns out I have a branch of ancestors who lived in this village from 1600s to 1800s

Friday, January 26, 2018

My hands hurt and I can't find my underwear...

I got a jump on the workroom before the official move date.
The move happened. I dutifully filled out the questionnaire on the moving company's site, but there was no checkbox for "slightly obsessive multi-craft practitioner.  What would typically take about 4 hours (what a normal person would have in a two bedroom apartment) took 7-1/2.
Most of my belongings have been transferred to the house from the apartment, but I am by no means moved in.
I've been pretty organized on past moves, but I think the surreal feeling that I really do own a house all my own got me discombobulated (oh wow! I spelled that right on the first try. :))
Gabby provided "feedback" while I assembled an IKEA desk and chair.

So last night, I wandered around, wondering where my toothbrush was, only slightly curious about my alarm clock (I've got today off), and very pleased that I knew exactly where the coffee and coffee maker were for the morning.

Then it dawned on me--I haven't seen the basket with my socks and underwear... I'm sure I packed it, and remember seeing it at some point during the move, but I may have foolishly put in it the closet with my files and a few fragile things I'd thought best to move myself (which I, of course, forgot). Not a huge deal, since I will go back this afternoon after (I really, really hope), my internet is up and running.

Now to get some stuff put away...

The insanity of my new house right now.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

This may actually happen...

All through the process, this felt like just another project. I've done plenty of projects: sewing, knitting, technology, even building a house. I like process and projects(most of the time): planning, choosing the materials, watching the progress of something being created.

Now that I'm only less than a week away from taking possession and moving in, it seems like a dream.
The place is looking beautiful and considering everything that could go wrong, it has been smooth sailing. A lot of credit goes to K.C. Crane, my build manager. He's been on top of things and quick to jump on the few things I found.

I took a few videos last week while I checked on progress, but they don't seem to play here (I'll figure something out). I've had the final walk through and sign off, and the closing is tomorrow!!! The movers are coming on Thursday, so be this time next week I expect to be settled in pretty well, especially with so many friends planning to come help me unpack.

For those who know me well it will come as no surprise that I already have a list of projects planned: painting, new interior doors, hardware, new faucets, trim.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

That was fast!

It's been just under 2 months since my last post, and boy have things changed.

The house looks like... a house. They're installing the electrical systems today--HVAC and plumbing are already in as are the fireplace, windows and garage door.

So far, I've only found one thing that wasn't done right the first time--the doorway from the great room to the hall was installed backwards. My project manager got it fixed quickly and everything is looking good.

the corrected doorway
Guest bath/shower

I am SO excited about this exterior vent in the kitchen.

My new, big soaking tub
I ended up selecting the smallest available floor plan, mainly because I had major issues with the other plans. Here's a list of the things that struck me on many house plans I've looked at:
  • Walk-in closet off the master bath(or any bath)
One word: Moisture. A bathroom has a large amount of moisture, even with a good exhaust fan. WHY would you want your clothes right next to a main and continuous source of this? It's just asking for trouble. Even if your clothes don't get musty, moist environments are great for silverfish which love to eat cellulose (ie, cotton, rayon and linen)
  • Coat closet 10+ feet from the front door
Seriously, if the coat closet isn't right inside the front door, it's just a closet.
  • Laundry off kitchen or any main living area and/or laundry closet.
I'd much rather schlep my laundry to the other side of the house than have a pile of laundry in the kitchen. Also, even the best machines make noise. I want mine behind a solid door that I can shut. Finally, I do fabric dyeing. The utility sink will be in the garage--right outside the laundry room. Less distance between these two mean less mess.
  • Long, narrow approach to front door
I don't want myself or my guests to feel like they're approaching a back alley dive. Maybe I'm a little claustrophobic, too.
  • Access to common rooms through kitchen
My new kitchen is open to the 'great room', but I've seen some plans where you walk through the kitchen. I consider my kitchen private in some strange way. I don't mind you see it, but I'd rather no one have to walk through it to get to my main living area. Kinda seems like having to walk through the back garden to get into the house...

Laundry room

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thank Goodness I Like the Guy

I had my first appointment this morning with Casey, the project manager for my new house.
He seemed like a regular sort of guy, which is just what I was hoping for. Too slick means he doesn't actually do any of the work (and probably never has). Too rough--maybe he'll trash the place if you piss him off?
This guy struck me as someone who works hard and takes pride in doing a good job.  I told him my experience with rennovations and home-building and made it clear that I understand what it takes to build a house, and that I am very clear on what I am getting in a "production build".

He explained the post-tension slab foundation (which I was curious about), how they will handle things like cracked/weak studs (reinforce with additional boards) and the general timing of things. He seemed confident that I'll be moving in January. (!!!)

I stopped to get a photo, though things may change. When I left Casey was waiting to hear back if the forms needed to be moved. Apparently the plans used to set them were an inch off. He estimates the slab will be poured by the end of the month in any case.