Time to relax – house found AND rented :-)

Sorry for not keeping ontop of updates this week – it has been very busy and very boring (in some respects) – certainly for Grandma, Granddad, Elliot and Oliver – who have been mostly confined to the car 🙁

We soon focussed in on Los Gatos as being the place that we wish to live, given the wonderful town centre and the parks and general rural feel of the place.  This of course makes it more expensive than the other options but we feel it is worth the additional premium.

The initial house that we liked was in Los Gatos but it was really for sale and there is (as of mid week) a pending offer to buy the house meaning that it is not going to be available to rent in the short term.

We have been AMAZED at the price of housing over here – a small (less than 1500 sq feet) wood home that looks like a caravan that has had it’s wheels taken off and some plants dumped around it is still selling for $600k – incredible.  So this of course means that such a place commands more than $3000 per month in rent 🙁

The place we have found (and subsequently contracted to rent from the 1st April 2010) is a 2 year old detached home in a community on the outskirts of Los Gatos – it actually has a San Jose address but is only 8 minutes drive from the town centre of Los Gatos.  It is in a relatively small community and has a very small front area for BBQ and tables and chairs etc, with a double garage underneath at the back.  There is plenty of space for kids to play out on bikes and will be relatively quiet since the only traffic will be people returning to their homes etc.  there is also a park just 300 yards down the end of the street with children’s play equipment etc in it.

We got a shock when we went car shopping – we did the english thing and went to Cadillac – a 6.2 litre V8 Escalade was the option (nice 🙂 ) and when it came to checking out what it would cost, the guy soon closed up on the fact that we were not US and did not yet have credit in the place – in retrospect, makes a lot of sense – but we were still shocked at how he decided that he was uninterested in us at all.

We are seeing a car dealer that has been recommended to us today before we head to the beach at Santa Cruz.  He has been recommended to us and Simon has spoken to him a couple of times – he seems to think that it will not be a huge issue to locate a couple of cars to suit out needs.  An Audi Q7 / BMW X5 and a Toyota Prius remain at the top of the list.  The Prius we hope to pick up cheap given all the publicity recently 🙂

Monday, we fly down to LA to relax in a more holiday environment – been a heavy week this week, so we REALLY looking forward to it 🙂

End of house hunting day 1…

So we are here in the bay area having now completed our first day searching.  We have a wonderful tour guide who Simon has been corresponding with over the last couple of months by email.

Her time has been invaluable since she knows the area very well, and seems to have picked up on our requirements exceptionally well even via email.

We have seen inside 3 houses, and two more from the outside.  It is nice to know that Simons gut feel on Los Gatos was well founded – this is the preferred location presently – Vicky agrees with Simon’s thoughts on how nice the area appears to be.

The second house that we saw today was brand new and was on two levels (much like homes in the UK) and was perfect in many ways – a quiet cul de sac of probably 25 homes.  Its’ downside – it is right next to the motorway (sorry, freeway).  We think that as a rental home, this is not far from perfect – it is as ideal as it could be for Simon for work, yet retains many of the qualities that we like in houses.  The back garden is small but already setup perfectly – and has a grass section etc for the boys to play in.

Hopefully, the rest of the week will set us up to see many more locations such that we can decide on the style of home we want and the location in which we would like it to be.

We have also seen a very nice pre school that both Elliot and Oliver could attend.  We are not that sure that we would like Oliver to go there yet, but Elly could certainly do 5 mornings a week and it is priced similar to Little stars Nursery.

Bottom line, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Mountain View are all very much in play at present.

Considering that pretty much all we have done today is travel in the car, Elliot and Oliver have been really amazing – only a small outburst from Elly as we walked around Walmart, and Olly has been good as gold all day.

Vicky had a small outburst his afternoon, as her mum closed the door of Gail’s (tour Guide) Range Rover on Vicky’s hand, squashing three of her fingers 🙁

There appears to be no lasting damage – just a little whinging – good job it wasn’t Simon’s fingers – he would have whined on all day, and I’m pretty sure that there “would” have been broken bones etc.

It is no 8pm, the boys have been bathed, and are now in bed and the second glass of free red wine (manager’s happy hour every night here @ the Milpitas Embassy Suites enables free drinks from 5:30pm to 7:30pm – ace) is looking less likely to be required – we are all pooped and ready to hit the sack.

Hopefully we will get a full night’s sleep in tonight – Elliot woke Olly last night from coughing and this was at 3am – took 40 mins to get Olly back to sleep and Elly woke and took more like 2 hours to get back to sleep.  Daddy got the good deal in choosing to sleep with Olly 🙂

More as it happens…..

Closing in on the house hunting holiday

Vicky and Simon spend 15+ hours in the car between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, taking Pepsi and Max up to Aviemore where they will be residing with Uncle Tim.  It was a LOOOOOONNNNNNNNG trip up to the snowboarding / skiing centre of the UK (OK, OK, so there is MUCH more to do there besides those things but they are the most well known things).  There is obviously still snow on the mountains and the skiers are still good to go for what looks like a good month or two yet.  There is a photo of the car next to a snowdrift on the road up to the mountain – will put it in below for reference.

We stayed for a whole day (yes that’s right a whole day) and indulged in a few drinks with Tim on Saturday night before heading home @ 9am on Sunday am.  Elliot stayed with his Grandma in Halifax and Oliver with his Grandma in Ossett.  They both seemed to enjoy their respective times, but poor Olly saw Vicky, had a double take (we think as he realised that he had missed her) and then burst into tears – aawww.  He then grabbed onto Vicky and was definitely NOT for letting go 🙂

The dogs seem to have settled in @ Tim’s OK – Max has figured that he can sneak upstairs and sleep in Tim’s bedroom and Pepsi has already begun practising his thieving skills – steal and food items he can find downstairs while Tim and Max sleep upstairs.  Apparently Pepsi has not demonstrated an ability to open crisp packets at this time….

It does seem REALLY quiet in the house without the dogs and will take some real getting used to – so while Tim is finding he needs to buy more food (to count for overnight loss, we are finding that we have too much food since we clearly have been buying 5 to 10 % too much in accordance with the loss overnight 🙂

Oh, and one last thing, Tim was considering buying a new car while we were in the area – this is what he is thinking of apparently….

Clearly whatever is in the air is really kicking his ass 🙁

Couple of viewers been to see the house already…

So, the house has been on the rental market since Friday afternoon, and we have already had 2 sets of people round to see it.  Both sets appear on the face of it very interested in the house – has kind of had us feeling like we *may* have had the price a little low – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

2 nights left before the boys with 4 legs head to Bonnie Scotland – they have their bags packed (they aren’t aware of this fact yet 🙂 ) and they have their MoT certificates (obtained at the VET at the weekend), and are almost ready to go.

Less than 10 days to the big trip as well 🙂

Another weekend disposed of…

Well ,the car is gone and while Simon is not over the moon, he knows it had to be 🙁

Simon has been busy scanning in some old photos over the weekend, and some of these can now be found in the gallery.

There are many more photos ranging from 1974 through to around 1987 – might post more later, depending on the interest – if you would like to see more, please let us know.

We went swimming this morning, and Elliot is definitely getting better (slightly more air escaped the arm bands this morning, and he coped without any issues at all 🙂 ) and is probably closing in on requiring professional lessons to get to a point where the assistance is not required – plus he needs to actually learn the strokes.

The countdown is on – next weekend we are taking Pepsi and Max up to bonnie Scotland to their holiday destination with Uncle Tim.  So, the boys were in to the VET yesterday and thankfully have successfully passed their MoT’s 🙂

7 Series = SOLD :-) or :-( – not sure yet

Yes, it is gone, and really gone – it is no longer in our possession.

A chap contacted Simon via email last night at just after 9pm, and by just after 10pm the deal struck, and the guy collected the car from the house by 11am today. Cash.

We were scheduled to be at the Bank (HSBC) in Pontefract at 11am to sort the US bank accounts, and on top of that Vicky’s car has been visiting the paint shop to have a scuff on the front bumper sorted, so we were then without a car !!! oops – didn’t think of that did you Rusty?

Anyway – big day today in many respects – we are now a one car family, have a new Bank Account with HSBC and within 10 days or so, will have a new US Bank Account also.