Inertia, part 4: the London dream lives on

November 26, 2011

Brockleyflat_blog

I’m not sure I’d exactly call it progress on the moving-to-London dream, but I did do something useful last night. I looked at rents over there for the first time. I can’t believe I never did that before.

I was pleased to learn that it’s not as outrageously expensive as I had been psyching myself up for all this time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not exactly cheap, and I don’t imagine home ownership will really be an option. But in the area where I stayed during my last visit in summer 2010, I could find a 1-bedroom place comparable to the apartment I lived in for eleven years before I bought my condo for maybe twenty percent more than I’d pay here. And anyway, London’s a big town. There will be something somewhere that’s within my budget.

So that part of the plan is going well.

Action taken: checked out rent prices.

Then I looked around my place. The stuff. Then I checked in on another unit in my building that has been for sale for well over a year, probably closer to two. The mortgage. The diminished selling price.

Depression. 

Action taken: I engaged in one of my known coping mechanisms for restlessness and “depression.” I just cut off all of my hair.

The other unit is currently listed for eighty percent of what I paid for mine. And she’s got it looking a whole lot better than mine not least because she has about ten percent of the possessions that I have. My decision to purchase was rash. If I had shown interest but not acted, I probably could have waited out a reduction in price, because I think the guy had been trying to sell for a while before I showed up. But me being me, I forged right ahead. This was right at the end of the housing boom. Double whammy to me.

It was right at the end of the housing boom. Within six months the bottom had fallen out of housing prices. The market, like me, is still depressed. So part of my procrastination about London has necessarily been a waiting game for selling prices to climb a little. They haven’t. I had currently been figuring that if I put it on the market today, I’d be able to get around what my neighbor has dropped her price to. I’m not thinking that any more. Like I said, hers is nicer. The only disadvantage it has over mine is that the main water shut-off for the entire building is in that unit. Maybe that’s a deal-breaker.

Action taken: I just emailed a different neighbor who also put his place up for sale. Difference is, his sold in weeks. I want to consult with his agent.

Regardless of any issues about price, I know that I need to do a lot of spiffing up in here. The first thing to do would be to replace the carpet that I have hated since Day One. Sure, it was brand new but it wasn’t very good quality, I don’t think, and in the intervening years, the animals have kind of had their way with it, not that most of that couldn’t be cleaned, but I hate the carpet. I’ve always thought that installing that fake hardwood stuff would be the way to go. But I wonder how that would work with my ground floor floor that is always sinking and cracking because things are always shifting and settling. I’ll probably end up just putting in new carpet again.

Getridof_blog

Actually the first thing to do will be to get rid of most of my worldly possessions, because I never even glance at most of them. I mean, look at all these books. When was the last time I touched one of them? It’s been a lo-o-o-ong time. I suppose I’d keep the ones I’ve written and some of the ones I’ve designed. But all the others? I’ll get a Kindle, motherfuckers.

Actions required: 1) Figure out where to eco-dispose of books. There probably aren’t that many that would interest the used book store. 2) Re-rip all of my music CDs at a higher bitrate, then jettison their asses, too. 3) Be realistic. Even if I could fit into all those clothes again some day in the distant future, I’m not going to want to wear them. And if it’s the distant future, I’ll be in London and it will have been cheaper to buy new stuff than move old stuff overseas. Donate, donate, donate.

Bigthingstotake_blog

There are a few large items I would take with me—my cuckoo clock, Grandma Doudna’s embroidered map of my grandparents’ travels, Grandma Hetzel’s platform rocking chair, and my rabbit lamp. All other bets are off.

Robbin_blog

In addition to things, there are two cats and a rabbit. The cats are young, they’ll be fine getting their pet passports stamped. But my rabbit is almost nine, which is up there for a bun. The unofficial influence on my London timeline has been waiting out my rabbit’s life. At first blush that sounds cold, I know, but I’m only thinking of him. Rabbits are not as sturdy as cats or dogs and though I would take him along in a heartbeat if he were young, he is not and at this point I’d never subject him to the stress of air travel. He’s still going strong, bless him (though his diminished litterbox habits are part of the new carpet equation). 

Eventually we must address the legal aspect to all of this. The general information that I have learned is that I must have a job lined up in advance so that my employer can get my work visa, or something like that. But artistic types such as musicians and authors seem to have plenty of wiggle room. Authors, you say? Why, I do have many author credits in the U.S. Library of Congress! It would just be too much to hope for that my kind of authoring would be the sort that would allow my to circumvent the usual employment requirements. I haven’t investigated in a number of years.

Action required: look at immigration rules again. See if I can take my US work self in a direction that allows me to take advantage of any UK immigration “other” options.

Then there’s the whole money part. I’m certain I would have enough cash to finance the move once I sold my place, even with a crummy selling price because a couple of years ago there was a significant pay-down on my principal. But before that, I’d have to pay for the improvements. To that end, I’m thinking that I ought not to spend my next tax refund on another visit to London like I would like to do. Rather, I ought to mostly put it toward the improvements. In addition to the carpet, I’m quite sure I’d be advised to get new appliances. And that’s something that would benefit me anyway. So even if I didn’t end up selling for a while, I’d be happy about that.

In addition, I was already thinking about not returning to bowling next year. That is, until I recently got a lesson and am more interested in it again. But if I didn’t bowl, I could instead put at least some of that $2700 for a year’s worth into the London Fund.

The same could be said for the money I’d save if I cancelled my cable television subscription. The added benefit would be that I wouldn’t be watching TV all the time and could concentrate on more useful activities, such as throwing out stuff or doing extra work to steer myself in the right immigration direction.

 

I think that about sums it up. The one thing I have the power to start doing now is getting rid of stuff. And that would be a good idea regardless.

 

———————–

To read my previous bemoaning on this topic, please refer to Inertia, part 1 (history of the dream in which I compare myself to a large, brick building), Inertia, part 2 (I am lazy like a potato sitting on the couch), and Inertia, part 3 (nothing’s changed for me but the large, brick building is making progress).

The large, brick building is now open for business as the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts. It got off its ass and did something.

One Response to “Inertia, part 4: the London dream lives on”

  1. Tori Says:

    Don’t forget to come visit before you move to another country.


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