Sunday, May 29, 2011
Our House, Is a Very Very Very Small House
So apparently, I have not been blogging enough. Which is true enough. I just haven't hit my hankering for it. More often than not, while I'm laying in bed waiting for sleep, that's when I get my ideas to blog, but of course, it's gone come morning.
So today we're going to talk about how we are living right now and what our house will be like when we move in.
Currently we are living in an executive apartment in the heart of Milton Keynes (MK) downtown area. Central MK is the shopping, restaurant, working, and entertainment area. It has the mall, a farmer's market, a big entertainment venue that has snowskiing/snowboarding, etc. Plus, it has a ton of restaurants.
Our flat is on the 6th floor and outside the 4th floor there is a huge courtyard with a little pond that the kids like to go to and play on. We are pretty much the only people that I have seen that actually go out onto the courtyard, but oh well. I also haven't seen many kids here as most of the residents seem to be young professionals. In fact, our entire building is only executive temporary rentals.
Our flat is a two bedroom, two bathroom with living room/dining room/kitchen open space. It fits us ok, but I am wishing for another dresser and perhaps a bookcase just to put things away in. The flat is only about a year old, so it's nice and new and clean and modern. We like it, but are definitely looking forward to having a house that has a backyard so that the kids can go out to play a bit without us having to go with them every time.
MK is a growing family community. So a lot of young families are moving here and the rental homes and spaces within the schools are hard to find. First, you find a school you like, then you try to find a rental within that catchment area. Good luck, as the search is kind of a pain in the ass, for sure. We were lucky to have a relocation specialist that helped set up meetings with the schools in the areas we liked and then some houses to go with them. We were able to be the first to take a look at a house that came onto the market and as soon as we saw it we applied for it. That was a Thursday and on Tuesday of the next week we found out we were approved. Here, they assume their house payments will be at least 28% of your income. We were shooting for much less as we wanted to use our 'extra' money to do some traveling, so we opted for a smaller house.
Now here when they list houses they list as 2 double bedrooms, 1 single bedroom, etc. Literally that translates to this room will fit a double bed, no more. Same with the single, a single bed only. Our house, that we can move into on 27th of June is 2 doubles and a single. Literally, the single is the width of a door plus a single bed width. It is tiny, and so we are going to start the kids off with sharing a room with bunkbeds so that they can have a bit of space. The single room we will use for God knows what. The living room has a little space under the stairs that the current occupents put a little desk in, and we liked that idea, so we will copy them and do the same. Jon's and my room will have a double bed and actually has a built in closet. We are currently getting used to going from a King bed to a double...with a lot of grinning and bearing it going on. We are going to have to get something for the kids to hang their clothes in, but we're not sure what yet. Mostly, it's just shirts and a few dresses of Joci's so I'd hate to shell out a lot of money for a wardrobe when they aren't really using most of it. So, I may have to get a bit creative on their 'closet' storage.
The kitchen has a washing machine, and an under the counter refrigerator. No dryer and no freezer, and this is where being an American and having those 'supersize' expectations come into play. We are thinking of getting a freezer to keep in the garage, we'll see. I will still have to figure out how to dry clothes most efficiently, without having a ton of wrinkles to iron (I hate ironing...ugh), and do all of that in the winter time as well. Any suggestions about doing laundry 'old style' would be greatly appreciated. This is where I truly miss my ultra-capacity washer and dryer. Even if we were to buy a tumble dryer, they are so small (to match the washers) that it wouldn't be worth it.
The absolute best thing about our house, though, is undoubtedly the location. Two small blocks away will be Joe's school that he will transfer to for the fall term. Then two blocks from his school is Joci's school, that Joe will also attend the end of this term, and then a market right next to that. So, each day I can walk the kids to and from the school and stop and get things at the market as I need them. That's the plan anyway.
We are really looking forward to getting into our house and then going from there, settling in more.