Sunday, May 31, 2009

Checking Out

I received a letter in the post on Friday indicating that the checkout for my flat has been scheduled. Along with it was a list of notes of what will be done and the condition the flat needs to be in. In speaking with others I was aware that much more needs to be done when checking out of a flat here to ensure the security deposit is returned. Here is a list of some of the items:

Furntiure must be returned to their original places to avoid any charges for misplaced property or time spent finding and repositioning.

The flat needs to be cleaned to a professional standard. I have cleaners coming on Monday to give me quote as I knew this needed to be done. They property managers provided a list of items that are often missed.
  • Lime scale build up on taps and shower heads
  • Ceramic tiles in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Burned grease to ovens, grill pans, wire racks and hob burners
  • Kitchen units, cupboards and drawers - inside and out
  • Soap dispensers and filters of washing machines
  • All paint work
  • Fans and air vents
  • Ceiling/wall fittings, shades and bulbs (OK I have to ask who cleans light bulbs?)
  • Curtains and blinds
  • Carpets and flooring (another sections indicates that carpets should be professionally cleaned)
  • Upholstery
  • Linen (should be left cleaned and pressed)

They do make allowances for normal wear and tear of items but I will be very surprised if I get my entire deposit back as they seem rather picky.

  • Windows

Friday, May 29, 2009

And Then There Were 2

My final rent payment was made today and the checkout of the flat has been scheduled for June 12th right before I fly out. I'm very glad that is all sorted. Most of my bills and services at the flat have been cancelled. I did have a bit of an interesting conversation with Virgin Media. I called to cancel the services in mid-May as they required 30 days and was told that I would be notified when they would come to collect the set-top box. I hadn't heard anything yet so I gave them a call the guy I got on the phone was absolutely no help. Here's a sample of how our conversation went

Me: I need to schedule a time for somebody to pick up the set top box
Virgin Agent: Please hold a minute (30 second pause) Your services end on the 16th we'll send somebody out after that.
Me: That's a problem as I'm leaving the country on the 12th. Can the pick up be arranged for a date prior to that.
Virgin Agent: Please hold (30 second pause). Yes somebody will contact you to schedule a time.
Me: That's what I was told when I first called to cancel the services I really need to get this schedule.
Virgin Agent: Please hold
Me: Wait is there somebody I can talk to directly instead of you continually putting me on hold as you can't answer my questions directly.
Virgin Agent: Sure hang up and I'll call you back in 5 minutes.

At this point the conversation ended and I did get a call back 5 minutes later and the agent had transferred me to somebody in the moving home department. What a relief to actually talk to somebody who could answer my questions. While Virgin says they need 30 days notice they can actually cancel services with less than 30 days so they are terminating the services at the flat on June 9th and refunding the money. They are actually sending me a post bag so I can mail the set top box back instead of waiting for somebody to come to the flat and pick it up, much more convenient.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where Has The Time Gone

The weekend flew by and it's hard to believe it's Wednesday. I guess that's what happens when ever minute of the 3 day weekend was pretty packed with cleaning and preparing for the move. The flat doesn't look like my place anymore. Most of the pictures have come down from the walls, all the furniture has been rearranged as it all had to be returned to the rooms it was in when I moved-in, and lots of stuff has been removed. I've given loads of stuff to charity and just thrown some things out. It's a great feeling to clean out.

In between all the cleaning out I managed to finally secure temporary accommodation in Seattle. I will be staying at Prospect Suites which is in the area I am looking for a permanent home. Hopefully I can find a permanent place relatively quickly.

In the midst of all this I did manage to have a bit of fun on Monday. I went with some friends to Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire for the annual cheese-rolling competition. People do the craziest things, of course there were people in costumes and one guy wearing nothing but a thong. The hill is incredibly sleep and I'm sure that there are numerous injuries every year. At first we headed to the top but it was so packed and difficult to stand on the edge of a steep hill that we decided to head to the bottom instead. It was definitely an experience.

Friday, May 22, 2009

T Minus 3

Wow it's been a busy week. I must be crazy to continue to work and try to move house all at the same time. The days are filled with meetings, the evenings are filled with cleaning. Luckily I think by the end of the day today I'll be mostly done clearing what I need to get rid of. All the furniture that I haven't managed to sell is being collected on June 1st. It's surprising how difficult it was to find a charity shop to take it. I stopped into 2 shops in Richmond neither could take furniture, 1 did give me a number though. 3 phone calls later I actually was in touch with a shop that would pick up from my house. Another item crossed off the list.

In other positive news. I stopped into the property management company yesterday to find out if I could be checked out when I leave instead of in July as I hadn't heard back. The hold up has actually been the landlord not responding and indicating what she wants done with the property when I leave. Thankfully the branch manager agreed that I can be checked out on June 12th so I am all sorted there.

This weekend will be filled with trips and delivery of a bookshelf. Fun, fun times.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eerie Coincidence or Not

Last week I got an email from United Airlines offering me 4 upgrades for flights within the US. If I wasn't in the process of moving back to the US this wouldn't be any help to me, but since I'm moving I might actually be able to use these. Now my question is how did UAL know that I was moving back? I haven't updated my address yet and my one-way flight to the US is booked on British Airways. Hmm maybe there are spies out there watching me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cleaning Out

Even though I was suffering from jet lag over the weekend I managed to get quite a bit accomplished for the move. I am mostly working on organizing what I am taking, what is going to charity, what is rubbish and what I can sell. A rule was implemented that if I haven't used or worn something since the move I am not moving it back with me. I have however made a few exceptions to this rule - hey it's my rule I'm allowed to make changes to it. I haven't used my pizza stone but that's because I couldn't find proper pizza dough and I am looking forward to making pizza again.

I spent a great deal of Sunday putting the office back to a second bedroom. I had taken the bed out to create more room and set up an office, now the desk is unassembled and the bed frame is reassembled, I still need to move the mattress but that will be done next weekend when I have some assistance.

I accumulated a list of things to sell, mostly the electronics and furniture I've purchased. Sunday evening I sent out an email to work and was instantly bombarded with requests. I guess I priced some of the electronics very reasonably. Within a matter of minutes I had requests for the TV, home theatre system and stereo. Still working on the furniture bit but that may be taken care of as well.

Still so much to do, luckily a three day weekend is here and I can power through it all.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I've realized over the past couple of weeks that the way we communicate has changed drastically over the years. When I accepted the product manager position in Seattle I immediately wanted to share the news with all my friends and family on my blog and my Facebook profile, what better way to quickly share the news. Unfortunately I had to wait. The problem is certain notifications had to be made internally first so I had to wait. Waiting is not an easy thing for me but I did manage to wait a week until I posted anything on the Internet. I have been really touched by the emails and messages I have received since making the announcement last week. My ego has only gotten slightly bigger.

Now that I am back in London I have a ton of stuff to do. Yesterday I called Virgin Media to cancel my services in June. I was a little surprised when I picked up my phone and realized they had terminated the phone immediately - cable and Internet still work though. Luckily I have my mobile so I am able to stay in communication for the next couple of weeks.

Friday, May 15, 2009

4 Weeks and Counting

It's been a busy week. On top of all day meetings I had to find time to sneak in things I need for the relocation.
  • I met with a realtor and started looking at condos, I've gotten a good idea of where I do and don't want to be which is good and I'll resume the search when I arrive.
  • I've put a deposit down on temporary accommodation when I arrive while I look for a permanent place.
  • I have a bank account open with Chase, much easier opening the account here than opening the account in the UK, everything was done in 20 minutes.
  • All the paperwork to become a US employee again has been completed.
  • I've scheduled the movers to come and pack my belongings.
  • And most importantly I booked my flight. I decided to use all the BA miles I've accumulated in the 2.5 years living and fly first class. I had to buy a few miles to get the 75K that were required for the one way ticket but it was cheaper than buying a one-way economy ticket. My date of departure is June 12th.

The next 4 weeks are going to be a whirlwind.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Start Spreading the News, I'm Leaving Today

Okay so I'm not actually leaving today but my time as an expat will be drawing to a close. I have accepted a position at our headquarters in Seattle and will be moving in June. I am a whole mix of emotions at the moment regarding this move. In some ways this seems harder than when I moved to England. I've had an amazing time and met some great people but it's time for me to move back across the pond. I will definitely continue to chronicle my experiences as I repatriate. Even though I'll no longer be an expat the name of the blog will not be changing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Photo Friday - Water Edition

I haven't done a photo Friday in a while so I thought I would reintroduce it with a special edition. Can you identify the body of water or at least where it was taken? In no particular order.


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