Destination England

Our journey from debt to England…and everything in between!

What am I Reading? 5/27/10 Edition

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Back in the saddle! I haven’t really been reading many blogs lately, just due to time constraints. Here’s a few of the latest things I’ve been reading.

Packing Tips and Tricks From Flight Attendents – Some really awesome tips! Be sure the check out the link for the side show as well.  @unclutterer

How to Open an International Bank Account – Very good information, especially the wiring money part.  We’ve dealt with that a few times, and fees can be extreme! I look forward to the article on establishing credit in the UK!  @moneyunder30

Five Simple Substitutions, One Big Change – I’m amazed at how much money is thrown away by simple wastes.  I’m just as guilty!  @thesimpledollar

Can You Spell M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D? – We’ve not been fortunate to have the gift of being mortified in public yet, though I’m sure those days are soon approaching. I feel her pain! @stickyfingers

Minimizing the Stress When Traveling with Children – Great tips for any parent!  We do our first real vacation with a baby next week, and I am a bit nervous! @organizingyourway

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Written by Jas

May 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

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This time next week…

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I will be flying somewhere in the sky en route to London!  We’re finally in our last week before our vacation/trip back home!  In some ways it seems like it would never get here, yet in other ways I can’t believe it is almost here.

This is usually the time my nerves start getting the best of me, and I get that flipping and flopping in my stomach.  I’m anxious and excited all the same time.  No matter how much I try to just look at the days leading up to the 31st as normal days, I can’t. It’s hard not to be excited.  I haven’t been “home” for over a year and a half.  My wife hasn’t been back in over a year.  Connor has never been!  This is going to be a great experience and some much needed R&R for all of us.

As I fight the urge to start packing tonight, I’m doing my best to make a rational packing list of items I need, and want to take.  We don’t want to pack too much as we plan to return home with more than we’re taking (Sarah wants to get some clothes from England, plus there will be gifts for Connor and other odds and ends we’ve picked up).  What do I really need to take?

Now if only I can stop humming “Leavin’ on a jet plane, I don’t know when I’ll be back again…”

Written by Jas

May 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in England, London, Travel, Vacation

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Karma: Friend or Foe?

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Sorry for the lack of posting.  We’ve been in the middle of unpacking and had a few hiccups this week.  Plus I’ve been watching My Name Is Earl on Netflix, and am enjoying it immensely! Karma is something I’ve always believe in, maybe not on a grand design scale, but more in day to day living.  I still think bad things happen to good people, but I also believe that we get as good as we get. So what’s up with Karma?

Karma Round One

Recently at work, I was written up.  I’ll spare the details, but let’s just say it was my own stupidity and laziness.  It was a smack in the face, and I’m doing my best to correct it.  To be honest, I am still a bit nervous, and worry about my performance and improvements not being enough.  Though a friend of mine made a good point: The system is designed to make you nervous and feel horrible! I felt like a dog with its tail between its legs.  Which I think is a good thing, because it makes me realize that there is area for improvement, and I need to be focused on that.  I think most of this has been brought on by being burnt out.

Let me just say that I don’t hate my job.  It’s a great job. I had just let myself slide, despite warnings by my boss. Being a procrastinator by nature, I kept pushing it back and “coasting” through.  Now, Karma seems to have caught up with me and said “You can’t coast anymore!”  Message received loud and clear.

Karma strikes again!

Karma, it seems has chosen other ways to kick me in the butt and make sure I’m paying attention.  I have been a big advocate of emergency funds.  I don’t really know how people live without them.  Our emergency fund was dwindled due to the fact we moved and hired movers to do the work.  We had to pay a prorated amount for rent, and also had to pay the movers.  This wiped our emergency fund down to virtually empty.  This should have been ok as we have $150 automatically set aside each paycheck to fund that emergency fund.  I figured after a few months we’d be back on our feet with it.

Thursday morning we were driving from our new place to our old place to finish some cleaning and grabbing that last few items we had left.  On the middle of the interstate was a very large rock standing straight up.  The problem was, it didn’t look like a rock, until we were virtually on top of it.  The damage done was luckily minimal (all things considered), and no one was injured.  It took out the oil pan and a few things related, but that was all.  It turns out this rock, was a piece of concrete from the bridge overpass that the state department of transportation was supposed to have repaired.  What does this have to do with karma?  No emergency fund meant we have had to dip into our money set aside for our trip to England to cover the costs.  Mind you, it isn’t bad, but it’s still a bit of a let down.  Now, the emergency fund we’re working to build is going to be strictly that!  Only used for emergencies!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been really looking at how karma (or whatever you choose to call it) has played a role.  I can definitely see various cause and effect situations that have come through.  While I haven’t made a list of things to correct, I have been striving to keep a watchful eye out.  I don’t think we can avoid karma, but I’m sure we can keep the negative responses to a minimum!

Written by Jas

May 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

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Moved In!

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First off, sorry for the absence.  It’s been a crazy week, and very little time for getting online.  Thursday was move in day, and we did very well.  We are going back to the old place tonight and tomorrow to clean our portion of the apartment (bedroom, master bath, living room, dining, and kitchen) then drop the keys off in the overnight box and we’re done with that place!

This new place is coming along nicely.  Yesterday saw the kitchen completed (still needs a little cosmetic tweaking, but its functional and operational), the living room set up, and an assortment of boxes at least moved to their respective floor/room.  There are still a lot of boxes to go through and sort, but it is coming together.  The apartment is great, and with a few minor cosmetic issues, and a stopped up first floor toilet, it is in good shape.  We’re going through the move in check list to turn into the office so they know what was damaged before us, and hopefully can fix them.  Connor seems to be enjoying the new place, though we’re running into the challenge of getting him used to sleeping in his own room.

The area we’re in is a hundred times nicer than our previous place, and you can barely hear the road we’re next to.  All our shops are very close by and work is only about 15 minutes away now.  There’s even a fantastic Chinese buffet around the corner!  Overall, I think we’ll fit in nicely, and we’ll see how this year goes.  If all works nicely, we might just stay here while we plan to move to England in a few years.

The down side isn’t with the apartment but with the internet service.  We went with Uverse, and I’m having issues when downloading it kills our bandwidth speed.  I will get 4-5 Mbps normally, and then when I download something, it will drop to less than 1 Mbps.  I’m going to try a few tweaks, but if it continues I think I might drop Uverse and go back to Time Warner.  We’ll have to see!

Written by Jas

May 15, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Family, Moving

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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To all the Moms and Mums out there:  Happy Mother’s Day!   While it has already passed over in England, it is Mother’s Day here in the States.  I hope your day is a wonderful and special day!

Written by Jas

May 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

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Packing, Packing, Packing

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This weekend was our final weekend in our current apartment.  We didn’t get quite as much packed as I would have liked, but we made a dent.  In some ways our living abode looks like an English town after the blitz!  In other ways, it’s beginning to look sparse.  So far we’ve made a bit of a dent:

  • Packed up all the living room items, save for the TV, DVD player, and Cable box.
  • Packed up nonessentials in the kitchen.
  • Dining area is packed up, and laundry area is done.
  • Bathroom is packed save for our day to day items
  • Bedroom desk is half clear, and one closet is completely emptied.
  • All boxes not currently being packed have been moved to the garage.

The living room still looks “livable” which I suppose it will until we move.  Our sectional sofa takes up so much space that I doubt the room will look empty until it is gone. The with the bedroom; our bed, the baby’s crib, desk, and glider all take up prime real estate.  Outside of that, everything else is pretty well packed.  Some things we have left to do:

  • Pack up baby’s closet
  • Tear down crib
  • Finish boxing everything in the bedroom that is non essential.
  • On moving day, pack up all “non essential” items
  • Clean

Once we settle in at the new apartment, I know there will likely be another great purge.  Our biggest concern has been packing, and getting everything ready to go.  The great thing is that we can put stuff away, and once we get to where we think it should be whatever is left we can evaluate and get rid of.  Overall, packing is a chore!

Written by Jas

May 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Moving, Random

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What am I reading? 5/4/2010 Edition

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7 Life Changing Lessons Learned From Walt Disney – Disney is an icon, and everyone knows something about him. These tips are great tips to apply whether in your life or in your business.  @dumblittleman

Don’t Wait for a Discount – Ask for One – I’ve run into this twice this past 12 months. Once when my cable provider’s “promotion” expired, and my bill went up by $50, and again when we were researching AT&T’s internet service.  The worst they can say is no, so why not ask?  @getrichslowly

A Bad Credit Score Could Cost You Your Job – My personal take on credit scores is that they’re rubbish.  The fact that employers could potentially use that against you hiring sounds dodgy to me, though in some situations I could see a reason for it(banking industry for example).   @thewriterscoin

Color Survey – Pretty amusing read, and it seems women don’t see in quite the broad spectrum as we theorized they must!  @xkcd

Written by Jas

May 6, 2010 at 8:00 am

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