Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Keepsakes and Mementoes - What's the Point?

As part of preparing to move four thousand miles across the ocean after amassing stuff for 27 years here, I'm going through said stuff. I have all my cards from my 18th and 21st birthdays! Can you believe it? Actually, I'm blaming my mother for this one as I'd actually left them at her house, and when she moved she brought them all over to the US for me. (She also answered "Yes" to the security question "Are you carrying something for someone else?" and has been regularly stopped and searched every since.)

Having moved four times since I've been in the States, lugging all the cards around with me (without looking at them, I might add), I threw 99% of them out the other day. This wasn't quite the wrench I though it would be though. Half of the wedding cards were from people who are now divorced, so that made things a little easier. Some of my 18th cards were from people I cannot recall for the life of me, so ditto. And one child's comment from several years ago also helped. "I hope you're not keeping all that stuff for us." Oh, and having to pay for our own shipping makes me want to ship as little as possible anyway. 

It made me think though - why do we keep stuff? I understand if you think something will increase in value or be of historical interest in the future, but why do we hold onto scraps of paper, tickets for things and other "proof" of what we did with our lives? I mean, I found an empty Twix wrapper with a piece of paper inside, on which I'd recorded the scintillating fact that I was in my bedroom on such and such a date back in the 70's and doing my homework!!! WHY on earth did I think even I would be interested in that forty years later? 

I have years worth of diaries, starting from about the age of seven, which have been quite interesting to re-read, but again, I'm not sure what to do with them. At this age, it's safe to assume that I'm not going to be an international name, and the world won't be clamoring to know what I was doing at 17, 29, or 36, but might my children want to read them? (I'd better read them through again in that case.) 

I also reduced three large tubs of kids' stuff down to one relatively small container. That was slightly more difficult what with mother's guilt popping its head up as soon as the lids were off the tubs. Again though, how many of their own five year old scribbles do our kids actually want? Well, it's too late now as they've already gone to that great classroom in the sky. 

If only I'd taken photos of them! Oh well. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

The First 100 days - What Trump Should Have Said

So we're coming up to the "First 100 days" of the Trump regime. It's a traditional benchmark where new Prezzies and their Administrations stand back, take stock and let the people know what they have achieved. It's a pretty big deal, especially if, like Trump, you've shot your mouth off about all the things you were going to do on DAY ONE, never mind in the first one hundred days. 

According to the CNN web site, the idea of the first one hundred day retrospective came from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who saw this period as essential to the re-building of momentum and optimism following the Great Depression. In his first one hundred days he helped pass 15 major pieces of legislation through Congress. 

Trump used to love the "first 100 day" concept, and way back in October 2016 (god, it seems like eons ago), he said "On November 8th (Election day), Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country, secure our communities and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you. And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government of, by and for the people. And importantly, we will make America great again. Believe me." He had a whole action plan on his web site too. 

Sadly, according to Salon magazine, "Trump's 100-day achievements have consisted of his signing of some orders, having his picture taken with people around a big table, instituting "law and order" through his Henchman (Attorney General) Jess Sessions - and failing to get even one major piece of legislation passed into law....According to the latest Gallop poll, he has the worst average approval rating (41%) during this period of any president in that poll's history, and by a margin of 14 points."

Trump however, is telling everyone "I don't think that there is a presidential period of time in the first 100 days where anyone has done nearly what we've been able to do." Sadly, even his mouthpiece, Fox News, can't quite back this up in its recount of his days in office. He may be signing a lot of Executive Orders, but they're usually directives to look into this and that. In true toddler-tantrum fashion though, he knows he's talking absolute gob-shite because this is his Tweet on the matter - 

So the action plan he had on his web site, and all the pronouncements about what he was going to achieve in a nano-second? Fuggeddaboutit. That 100 day benchmark? "Ridiculous". Possibly even SAD! 

He should have taken a leaf out of Obama's book and given himself some wiggle room with the words - "The first hundred days is (sic) going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference." 

Although that's a bit of a long sentence for Trump. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Repat Prep - Packing your Stuff Up

Second only to figuring out how to ship the mutt to the UK without having to take out a mortgage, is how and when to ship my stuff and actually, what stuff to ship. If at all.

The Ball & Chain is of the opinion that we should take nothing and buy everything once we get to the UK. This is not rocking my boat for a number of well thought-out reasons.

1. It means we'll have to go shopping as soon as we arrive and be "camping" in our rental house for a while. A friend has just ordered a sofa and it's apparently going to take 16 weeks to come!
2. It also means that, as well as trying to sell our house, I'll have to sell, donate or throw out most of our possessions.
3. The cost of shipping, while expensive, is not quite what it would cost to furnish and equip a four bedroom house.

So I think we'll be shipping some stuff, despite what His Nibbs says. The problem arises because we have only just put our house on the market and we have quite a few "showings" scheduled. In general, estate agents would prefer not to show an empty house, so the furniture stays for now. Besides, we need something to sit on and sleep in until we leave.

I could ship a few bits and pieces about 8 weeks before we are due in the UK so that we're not completely stranded when we get there. I know I won't thank myself on the day we arrive if there are dozens of boxes to unpack to find the corkscrew though. Wink.

Last time we moved, it took a day to load and unload between one house and the other. Everything came with us and the things we knew we would need on the first night, I took in the car. Given that it will take 6-10 weeks to ship things from the US to the UK, and an overnight flight for us, the logistics are slightly different. Even if we sell the house next week, the arrangement will be that we won't hand over possession till mid-July when we move. Typically in the US you "close" on the sale, the buyer takes possession of the house that day and you have to be out immediately. Most people who do this have another house to go to that same day, and all their stuff is already there. Not the case for us. I have a feeling we're going to have to find a dog-friendly hotel for the last few days which will be a bit weird.

My head is about to explode. 

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