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02/12/2006

We found our new home

medium_newhome.jpgWe had been looking at seven different houses over the past three weeks. Friday night we saw the one that felt good instantly. Spacious four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a family room, a 3-season room, on a finished basement. A total of 2,183 square feet of above ground  and 850 square feet below ground area. It has hot water heat too, which was one of the things I really wanted to have.

All new carpet and laminated hard floor, and even parquet in two rooms. With an extra wide two car garage and a nice size yard with a small shed. It's an older house, built in 1969, in an older addition - so no crazy rules about what you can or can't do on the outside of your property.

We made an offer on it, and that offer was accepted!

So now all we need to do is get a mortgage loan for part of the prize. Keep your fingers crossed for us. The realtor is working with his own bank, and we've already been told that we should be OK for the amount we need.  

02/11/2006

Tom had an accident... got really lucky though

I had bought our second car (small, old, cheap) on eBay. So we drove to Ohio to pick it up. A 1991 Geo Tracker with lots of miles on it - and dangerously worn tires. On the way back home Tom drove the Geo, I drove the rental car. We were already close to home when it started snowing. Thick, heavy, wet snow. It was dark and windy. And then, on I-469, near the exit to 37, Tom lost control over the car on a long, slanting, ice-covered curve.

We were going at about 40 mph at the time. I was following him when the backend of his car suddenly started turning clockwise, twisting around twice before he went over the dark edge, down a steep, muddy, 50 feet deep drop, into a creek. I thought for sure the car had rolled over several times, and so did the people behind us. They called the police, saying that they just saw a car turn over and go into the ditch. I figured Tom would be badly injured and the car would be totaled before we even had the time to get it registered.

But when I walked to the edge of the road and looked down, I saw the car standing upright. Tom had already gotten out of it and seamed OK. Nothing bad had happened. He had turned around far enough to be facing almost straight backwards downhill. So the car didn't roll, it just slid backwards into that muddy creek. No damage done. We just got our feet wet and frozen from wading thru the creek, and then waiting for the tow truck out there in the cold.

The section of the road was so icey that three more cars went off around the same curve. While we were sitting in the police car, waiting to be towed out of the creek and onto 37, we heard several more similar accident reports coming in over the radio. 

It took us almost an hour to drive the last ten miles home, going 20 mph, with the flashers on at all times. When we finally arrived, Tom was pretty stressed out - and ready for a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate his survival. 

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02/02/2006

Our container arrives

We've had a lot of luck so far, with things going smoother than expected. Our 40-foot container with all our stuff from Germany arrived today. It didn't get inspected in customs, nobody even bothered to desinfect it or x-ray it.

medium_container.jpgGood thing we have a big garage, and a spacious driveway where the long truck could easily fit in.

Three guys took about two hours to unload everything - and it looks like most of the stuff is in good shape.

We will leave it all boxed, as it is, since we will have to move it again when we find our house. 

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01/30/2006

We received our Green Cards

OK - I thought we'd have to wait at least a month, but it happened today:

 

medium_greencard.jpg our green cards arrived in the mail!

01/24/2006

Get stuff organized

The first two weeks were a mad rush, stressed out, trying to get everything done - at least the things that needed done immediately.

We stayed at a hotel for the first five nights and had a rental car for a week. We had figured, that this would be enough time to get things sorted out, but then nothing really goes exactly as you plan it.

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We wanted to rent furniture for our apartment - but once we saw the prices, we decided otherwise. Buying stuff out of the  *Peddler's Post* is fun, and you get really good deals, but you need a big car to haul home whatever you buy. So our first purchase was a 2000 Ford Windstar Van, cost us around 4800 €, big enough for beds, desks, dressers and all kinds of odds and ends. We had a bed for everybody, plus a table and four chairs, and dishes, silverware, towels, bedsheets, by the day we had to sleep in our rented home.

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The next big problem we ran into was our internet connection. Tom had signed up for DSL a month ago, we were supposed to have that working by January 23rd. But then Verizon said they ran out of lines, and actually we had found out at Tom's sister's house that Verizon DSL doesn't work for his VPN client connection. So we had to sign up for Comcast cable. The kids like that better anyways, because now we have more channels on TV.

 

And there are some other things we got organized along the way:

  • apply for social security numbers for my daughter and me
  • sign the entire family up for the Spiece fitness center
  • get renter's insurance for personal property and liability
  • sign up for a family cellphone plan for the four of us
  • register my daughter in highschool - she's a junior
  • start looking at houses to find one we'll buy