Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Progress Towards Down Under

In 12 short weeks, our family of five will board a plane bound for northern California to spend some time with my husband's family out in the redwoods.  We've taken this trip many times, but the only difference between this trip and others we have been on is that from there, we're flying halfway around the world to live for a year.

Now, I'm all about to-do lists, but there's so much stuff to do to prepare that even the to-do list seems daunting to manage.  We're not just leaving our home, but the Australian family we're exchanging with will be living in it as well.

We've been tackling some house projects, because our 106-year old home has some, shall we say, quirks.  I love character, and our house has plenty of it, but does a leaky faucet add character?  How about a rotting windowsill in the upstairs bathroom shower?  Ummmm...looking around the house and glancing down at my WWTAFT (What Would The Australian Family Think?) bracelet, I knew we had our work cut out for us.

I'm happy to report that we performed some amateur surgery and gave the house a mini-facelift.  The trim had always been primer-white, so we toned it down with a cream color with plum and green accents.  I think the plum on the floor of the porch looks great, and the porch ceiling is a lighter purple.  I thought this would be a quick project, but I conveniently forgot that sanding peeling paint, taping, and priming the billions of posts in the railing had to happen before the actual application of the new color.  It was endless.  Before and after pictures don't look too drastically different, but the in-person experience is waaaaaay enhanced.  Phase 2, which includes the trim around the windows and soffits, will happen AA (After Australia).

porch showing the column detail and ceiling
We also took care of the leaky faucet, continued work on the tree fort outside, and have been making strides to get rid of clutter.  Our youngest child will be nearing 5 years old when we return, so we're purging little kid toys, books, and equipment.  The rotting windowsill has been rebuilt and repainted, a relatively quick fix that should last at least until our return.  I painted the bathroom trim to match the window, so while I had the painting vibe I just went ahead and painted the rest of upstairs bathroom last night because I'm a crazy person I had nothing better to do.  

The house is whipping itself into shape.  But a spiffy house doesn't get a family of five to Australia for a year.  Sam is incapable of handling any sort of paperwork, so I dutifully filled out our visa application, made sure we had additional passport photos and attached the requisite proof that these children are actually ours, that Sam and I are actually bound for life by marriage, etc.

Cross your fingers that the visas will be approved on time, because they supposedly take about 12 weeks and I sent mine out just 2 weeks ago.  That's not much wiggle room for dealing with the snail's pace of the US federal government...

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