22 July 2011

Busy days! We're working on getting the last of the painting done inside, and getting more done on winterizing the house. In between coats of paint we run errands, and invariably on the way home walk past a house that has been on the market for over a year.

It's an average house, nothing special except that it's detached (meaning it's not attached to any other house along the lane; our house is a semi-detached, what we would call a duplex back in the States). Detached houses are somewhat rare in this town, so it is a curiosity to us and we have been watching it since last August to see who would buy it. So far no-one, which is why last week we succumbed to temptation and had a wander around the back garden.

We found out why it hasn't sold, we think. It has a very badly done conservatory extended from the back, the kitchen (what we could see through the window) is TINY, and the greenhouse is oriented the wrong way for the way the lot lies. Also, there is a concrete roof, and my husband is adverse to anything less than slate; and the retaining walls look as though they will require work while we are still young enough to enjoy the life savings on something other than going halfies with the neighbours on a rebuild. Even at halfs, there are three VERY tall and fairly long retaining walls to be maintained. OUCH if the things go at the same time, which my husband thinks might well happen. As he is a retired building conservation officer I am confident this is not a house we would be interested in.

It is nice, though, to look at available houses. The looking inspires us to recall why we like the house we are in-great neighbours, great location, great gardening, only one longish retaining wall, and best of all no mortgage. Good neighbours are hard to find, and we have great ones. That alone (combined with the paid off mortgage) is enough to keep us where we are.

I still haven't heard back from the people who took Mozart and Gonzo. I am a bit pathetic, I email them about every other day, and when I look at LOL if I see cats that look like them I tend to scrutinize the pictures-is that Mozart, is that Gonzo?

My son seems to be doing well. Although like all mothers, I wish he would contact me more often! I sent him stamps and pre-addressed envelopes and everything! ROFLOL, my husband says I should let the worry go, maybe I will be able to after a few years of having contact with my son again. Maybe.

The garden is moving along slowly. We have cleared several beds and actually have a bed across the back wall planted with tomatoes and salad. We missed the planting times for most things, and that is probably just as well as we have not got the complete set of beds sorted. We have a lot more gardening space than my husband realised, when we got the long bed along the side of the house cleared and saw how much space was there he was astonished. The entire bed is sun-drenched (when there is sun, lol, this is Scotland, after all) for the entire day. Finding that out has changed the garden plan considerably.

Wednesday I had a dentist appointment, something I had really been dreading as I knew beforehand what the dentist would say and was frankly very worried about sticker shock. Because I was so preoccupied with the money worries, I found myself having more trouble than usual understanding the accents of the people around me as Paul and I travelled by bus to the dentist office in the next town over-had I been alone I would have ended up in Glasgow instead of the town I was aiming for. The strain must have shown on my face and Paul kept calling me Mrs. Grumpy, but I was sure the cost was going to be incredible and I was really worried!

The cost is so small I am still in shock. I already knew what the dentist was going to say regarding needed treatment, and had I been in the US, the cost would have been close to $20K. I knew this because I had been to the US dentist before coming over to Scotland last year, and had reeled from that office in horror. The $20K was after the insurance contributed, btw.

Things are different in the UK. By September my teeth will be sorted, my gums will be healthy, and I will only be out of pocket £300.

Still, as soon as I think I've got the knack of being an American-in-Scotland, I run into something new, and feel lost again. I do still love it here, but sometimes I realise how different things are, and I have a little trouble feeling balanced. I wobble, and want to hide in the house.

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