The Big Blue Box of Booty

It’s here, it’s here, it finally arrived!

Seeing that shipping container show up at the right address, on time – how it looked just like it had in January, driving away from the apartment – how the braces held up through shipping, so that boxes failed to spill out onto the road when the doors were opened – how it was full of our crap, and not someone else’s crap or 8,000 toaster ovens –

It was like betting $5,000 on a hand of cards at the casino and coming out even. Uneventful, anticlimactic, the best I could ever have hoped for.

Of course we considered donating or selling it all and starting from scratch. However, it was quickly apparent that no one wanted my smelly derby skates nearly as much as I do. In fact, we had 500 cubic feet of stuff that we figured we wanted more than anyone else, and would rather not have to buy again.

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It took three months of online research, screening companies, comparing quotes and reading online forums to finally decide how to get our stuff to the UK. We were warned about customs fees, train yard fees, tarif fees, fees for having fees, fees for having a container in a yard, out of the yard, running into bad weather. Apparently, if your container is lost at sea, you don’t have much recourse. International waters, anything goes.

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We still did donate or sell lots of things. The purge actually began 8 months before we moved – first clearing out a four bedroom house, then paring the apartment into what was worthy of being packed. I would not be surprised to find that my fiance had my name on the short list for hoarders.

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All our most precious things have been on a long journey, not unlike our own, across the pond. And today, after having been packed and stacked in Chicago, they are here in Southport 7 weeks later, where they are to be immediately stacked and packed them into a relative’s garage, where they are likely to remain for another 7 weeks. But not before I triple my wardrobe by fishing out three more pair of yoga pants.

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My 4am to noon weekday schedule

I’ll start this out by apologizing if anyone read into the initial post that I’m hiding in an attic a la Anne Frank. I’m not hiding. Actually, I think of it more like lurking in the attic… like an old creepy doll.

If that makes you feel more at ease, we might be friends.

If creepy lurking makes you feel more at ease, we might be friends.

Rest assured, I’m safe, I frequently get natural light and converse with people who are not imaginary. (Or so I think – can one ever really be sure?)

I talk to myself

I’m in the attic because that is where my remote office is set up. In fact, in addition to a spot with electricity and an internet connection, free from distractions, it also has two skylights. In effect, by working from home, I’ve been upgraded from a cubicle to an executive-sized office with a door and two windows. So thank you to my wonderful new parents in-law and my niece, who set up the desk and cleared some space for me.

And, I have all the amenities, because all the relevant electronics and office supplies were shipped to the house before I even got here. So, I’m all wired up.

I’m working my dream shift, especially since I only have to commute up the stairs. 10am to 6pm in the UK is 4am-noon Central time. Here’s a Map that totally overcomplicates that point by using too many colors. I live in UTC(0) and the US office is located in UTC-6.

It took some convincing to get the bosses in the US office comfortable with me logging off at noon, but the early start already turned out to be an advantage twice in the first week of work, so there you go.

Another benefit from working from home is that I get to take wardrobe tips from people of Wal-mart. If I hesitate to answer your video call, trust me that it’s for your own protection.

This turns out to be a necessity since I filled my luggage with souvenirs instead of clothes. In another week, when our shipping container arrives, I’ll finally be able to improve my attire to Ron Burgundy level, which I understand is perfectly appropriate for video chats which only include your head and shoulders.

So, yes, I’m working for the same company, with similar responsibilities, a couple hours ahead of them. From the attic.

it is not always this sunny

So…Where are you?

I’m in my in-laws’ attic.  I know, it doesn’t sound glamourous*, but actually, they’ve done a very nice job of making me feel comfortable and at home.

I’m in England. No, not in London.

One of these places which exist outside of London is Southport, where I am.

it is not always this sunny

marshes and sandy beaches – Welcome to sunny Southport!

Allow me to explain where that is by referencing Chicagoland, my home:

Pretend that the Beatles are from Chicago instead of Liverpool.

Imagine

Imagine…

If that were the case, I’d be in Waukegan, and the London suburbs would start somewhere around Peoria. Picture that road trip on a map – Waukegan, down the lake to Chicago, then southwest out to Peoria.

Now, try to visualize that mental map, turn it into a mirror image, and slap it on the map of the UK, along the West coast of the country, instead of the East coast of Lake Michigan. There you go! There I am, in Waukegan, err, Southport.

Why Southport? Refer to the opening line – living at the in-laws. While temporary, yes, this is part of the plan.

*I added an extra ‘U’. I think that’s the custom around here; I’m trying to get used to it.