Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Time to start packing

Well Readers, our time is winding down so I am not sure how much sightseeing we will be doing until Iceland so the next couple of posts may be slightly different than my previous posts.  We have started selling our items as we transition to our temporary housing and need to clear out our house.  In addition to the household items I also sold my car to webuyanycar.com which was the typical car buying/selling experience.  I won't go over everything in detail but basically you fill in the car details, submit it on the website, and they reply back with a trade in valuation.  If you accept the valuation the next step is to schedule a car inspection appointment for them to check out the car then they deposit the money into your bank account.  Or so the advertisements claim.  The valuation was fair which made me curious as I expected them to offer a lower price but I set up the appointment nonetheless.  I knew something was up when I went there and the guy did the inspection then said he had to put the data into his program.  Yup, here we go.  The program valuation was ~400 pounds less than the initial valuation so we started the car dealing discussions.  He explained that the website has a tab that allows the user to select dents, dings, scratches, etc. that need to be fixed that will lower the value but neither Lori or I saw it so apparently we entered the data for a perfect condition car.  Interestingly enough, when we were going over the valuation he was taking phone calls (annoying and poor customer service I thought) and one was from a lady saying that she had a car with some small dents on it but didn't see on the website where you identify those.  The guy took her number and said he would call her back but that validated to me that this tab is either nonexistent or hidden, either way I now know why the valuation was higher than I expected.  So we dicker and he comes up a bit but not enough so I said I was going to shop the car some more as the offer wasn't high enough.  He then gives me the normal junk about the age of the car, no one will give you any more than this, I've been in the business 25 years, my job is to buy the car so what can I do, etc. etc.  We negotiate a bit more and finally end up roughly splitting the difference between the two valuations and I sell the car.  (FYI for the ex-pats who bought their own cars - you can take the tax disc with you and apply for the prorated refund yourself instead of turning in the disc with the car.)  We also cancelled the car insurance so we'll get a prorated refund from that as well.  We're swimming in money now folks.  Okay not so much but the extra money is nice as we transition back home.  And my car is sold so that is one more item off the checklist which more of a psychological relief than money relief.

My one and probably only Vauxhall car. 

A Carol Seppanen Book Update - I took a thick book with me to Greece and finally finished it.  Exile by Richard North Patterson, 708 pages, is a book centering on the Jewish and Palestinian conflict that I found entertaining throughout and occasionally captivating.  I picked it up because we have travelled to some of the book locations such as San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Masada, and Jerusalem.  I have been more curious of the Israel - Palestine conflict since our educational Israel trip and this book did a good job of explaining both sides of the conflict.  I am sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much if we hadn't been to the area and seen some of the issues first hand.  Overall a well told story with a few predictable twists that was easy to read.

On Saturday we sold some more items in the morning and went to the Henkles for a Greek themed dinner.  Our Greek contribution was Mythos beer.  Food was very good and we had a fun time talking about the assignment, vacations and a metric tonne of other subjects.  We really enjoyed the night and the kids got along really well in spite of (or maybe because of?) the age differences.  A great start to the weekend.  Thanks Jeff and Sarah!

The cute girls in the family room probably about to get into trouble.  You know how girls are.
The boys in the backyard kicking around the football (European not American) and just generally causing mischief.

On Sunday our buddy Steve organized a going away dinner for us at our favorite local pizza place, The Bull's Head.  This is also the gathering place for our quarterly Rolls Royce get togethers as they have a garden room large enough to sit big parties. 
My chair at the head of the table.  Hard to see since I am sitting in it but it is a heavy gnarled wooden chair you'd expect to find in a Canadian moose hunting lodge. 

Sarah Anderson Pic - Thanks to the Greggs, Henkles, McMasters, Freys, Kisers, Brandon, and Marlys for coming out and wishing us goodbye.  One thing we will definitely miss as we return home is these events where a bunch of us get together and catch up on life in general.  The experience can be a little isolating and home sick at times so talking with a bunch of Americans for a few hours in a relaxed atmosphere is always refreshing.  

Dana Johnson Pic - Wood fired oven pizza covered in ham, red peppers, pepperoni, mushroom, and cheese.  I'm not sure if the pizza was really good or if the night was that all around fun but this was one of my favorite Bull's Head pizzas.
Kevin Coleman Pic - My last Freedom 4% Alcohol beer in England.  Pretty tasty.  They also have a Freedom 5% but it tastes a little sharp for me so I prefer the 4%. 
Thanks Steve, we had a great time with everyone and really appreciated you organizing this for us.
This week is more packing, sorting, selling, donating, trashing, and cleaning.  We are in temporary housing for a couple of weeks and need to clean out our house in order to turn it over to the owner this weekend.  The air shipment in packed and on its way and our packed luggage is at our apartment so all that's left is to sell/donate our remaining furniture, throw out the trash or what didn't fit in the air shipment, and clean the place.  We were able to sell most of our furniture and donated a lot of clothes which helped make the final couple of months more smooth.  We also started sorting, donating and trashing about five months ago which was a great idea.  Still more work to do but I think we are comfortably ahead of the deadlines now.
More fun with the Henkles.  Yoda is guiding my X-Wing Fighter on the SatNav.  Sure makes my SatNav monster truck lame.  I borrowed their micro van (minivan by English standards, micro van by American standards) to move some items and Yoda companioned me the whole way.  In case you are wondering how big the van was, when I took the two single mattresses over to Brittany's house I had to put down all the other seats and leave the kids home.  The mattresses were actually pushing on me as I drove so I was leaning towards the window the whole time.  Just another one of those English memories from our adventure.

Thanks for listening,


  1. Sorry to miss your farewell gathering! Entertaining too many guests at the moment. I'll have a Kevin Coleman pic moment and raise my glass in your honor.

    1. Sounds great Jeff, to bad we didn't connect one more time. I guess we will have to reconnect for a Kevin Coleman moment in Indy.

  2. I look forward to seeing your beer glass collection once you get back to the 'burg.