The Big Move is getting closer, and I'm starting to stress about it. While I know I should be thinking about the Bigger Picture - our new life in an exciting new world, Obama's America - I keep waking up at 3am in a cold sweat thinking of some new horror. So I thought maybe writing my fears down would help me address them......
First of all, I think they can be divided into three levels of severity. In fact, in the spirit of 'traffic light' warning labels so popular these days, let's call them red, amber and green....
Red Alert worries. (Basic 'to do' stuff)
1. Make final decisions on whether to put stuff into storage, take it with us or leave it in the house. Despite having made a house inventory, we still can't agree and I foresee a last minute panicked stuffing of everything into the cellar and hoping that our hypothetical 'tenants' don't object....
2. Making sure house is ready for rental. Co-ordinate Ivo the electrician, Tom the builder, Mark the boiler man and Gregor the decorator not only to do their stuff but actually agree with each other about whether things are legal. If only it were possible to get them here at the same time. Maybe I should invite them to a party....?
3. Actually renting out the house to hypothetical 'tenants'... plus, will 'tenants' will be able to cope with our idiosyncratic house? Will they mind that there is no door on the shower room? Will they understand the quirks of the central heating dial (I certainly don't). And what happens when they see the mice, who will inevitably return?
4. Finding packers and organising shipping of stuff to the US (but what stuff? That is the 64,000 dollar question...)
Amber alert (not so urgent, but longer-term domestic worries)
1. Can I cope with being full-time, 7 day a week Mum to the Littleboys for the forseeable future?. I looked after each of them as babies for almost a year, but since then they've been at nursery three days a week. On the days I do spend with the two of them, unless we have a regimented activity plan they tend to go nuts and wreck the house. Will I be tearing my hair out within weeks of our arrival?
2. Also on this note, will the Littleboys live off spaghetti bolognese, hummus and baked potatoes forever? Litltleboy 1 is incredibly fussy, so I tend to give the same little repertoire of meals that I know they will eat, in rotation, relying on the nursery to feed them a more varied diet involving green vegetables and suchlike. Now I am going to be in sole charge of giving them a balanced diet. Help!
3. How soon will I be able to find a cleaner? I hate housework (sadly, the result of a privileged, expat childhood with maids - you can blame my parents) and am no domestic goddess. At the moment I have a cleaner for three hours a week. Although with the boys I have no choice but to clean the kitchen constantly, I never lift a finger in the rest of the house unless a total disaster strikes (ie. wee on the carpet, drinks poured on the sofa - actually, thinking about it, all those are pretty well daily occurrences with the boys). And I haven't done any ironing since 2005, as I delegated this, too, to the cleaner when Littleboy 1 was born.
Green Alert (silly stuff that nevertheless hovers at the edge of my radar....)
1. Will we be forced to own two cars, one of which is bound to be a gas guzzling station-wagon, because it will be impossible for The Doctor to walk to work?
2. How soon will the Littleboys start calling me 'Mom', insisting on wearing baseball caps and talking with American accents?
3. How will we cope without Cbeebies? Here, I convince myself that Cbeebies is educational, public service broadcasting so it doesn't matter if the Littleboys watch it for hours on end. But I can't say the same for crappy cartoons. Does this mean I will have to (horrors) stop them watching telly altogether?
4. Can we get Shreddies and Weetabix in the US? I already know I can't get Earl Grey tea and Marmite - but what other brands am I forgetting?
5. If I want to buy wine in America, do I have to go to a special shop that only sells it in a brown paper bag? Or is that just in Florida?
Please, please, someone tell me to get a grip and reassure me that it's going to be fun.....