30 May, 2011

Take Me Out to the .... MOVIES!

I am briefly setting aside the terror that is finding temporary housing in Australia (my original plans fell through) to write about one of my great joys - going to the cinema.

I was hoping that the movies would be different from everything else in Australia, which seems to tend towards being 10-25% more expensive than in the US.  At my local cinema, the ticket prices for adults ate $8.50 each (cheaper on Tuesdays).  So I was expecting something like $15.00 per in Perth.


$8.00 per ticket - and that is any show (though 3D movies are $3.00 more expensive).

This is with a membership ($10.00 per year) to the Ace Cinemas.  This is WONDERFUL news for me.

Phew - okay, now back to finding temporary housing.

29 May, 2011

Emptying Out the House

This is a long weekend in the United States.  Monday is "Memorial Day".  Down under, this might be similar to ANZAC day.

We have taken this weekend as an opportunity to pack up a lot of the things remaining in the house.  We have completely cleared out the playroom above the garage and the basement.  It is strange to see these rooms nearly the same as when we moved in.  It is odd to hear the rooms echo when you speak.

I have spent a great deal of time backing up media and hard drives - to make sure that we have copies of everything that is important to us before we set out.  One 2TB HD will go with me and two 1TB drives will be going with Erika.  Redundant systems make for happy nerds.

We should have the prototype shipping container (a chalk outline in the garage) set up tomorrow.  Then it is only a matter of doing little things like scrubbing the bike tires and cleaning out the toolbox.

We did find out that we should plan for about $3,000 is import duties and customs fees upon arrival in Australia.  THIS is why the company we are using is so much cheaper.  Yuck.  This was the money that we had ear marked for a refrigerator and mattresses.  I'll write more about our shipping issues in another post - suffice to say that it was a surprise.

So - packing, packing and more packing.  More detail to come.

26 May, 2011

Legal Forms

Erika and I stayed up a little late last night crafting some legal documents. Before leaving the country with your kids, you might needs these too. We wrote out:

Power of Attorney Forms

We created one granting Erika power of attorney for our affairs when I am gone ahead of her. The power of attorney is written into our state law and there is even a sample form in the legislation. We just used that.

We created two additional assignments of power of attorney granting my parents the power for both my and Erika's affairs for after when we are both gone. Erika's mom has the right of review for all of Erika's stuff. We don't anticipate any trouble, but that.keeps everyone in the loop.

We still have not settled everything with the house and we see the need to have someone sign on our behalf.

Child Travel Consent

In todays world, international child abductions are not unheard of. This is especially true with custodial disputes. One parent will take the children to the country of their birth in a parental kidnapping.

To prevent this, it is difficult for one parent traveling alone to travel with kids without the other parent. We drafted two sets of documents giving permission for my father and Erika to each travel with the children without the presence of both parents. We kind of mashed up several forms that we found on-line.

We need to get both sets of forms notarized today.

Location:Andover, Minnesota, USA

I Quit

Erika and I finally pulled the trigger on the move and did the hardest part of this venture: I quit my job. Or, to be more accurate, I put in m notice.

I must confess that my new favorite hobby is to tell people where we are going - there must be some sin in this, vanity perhaps. Many of my coworkers did not believe me at first and I enjoyed watching the reaction change from humor to surprise. This has been the case telling others as well.

We had refrained from telling my work because it was't real until the visa came through.

And in actuality, I had another GREAT job prospect within Siemens that it pains me walk away from. Telling m friend and colleague, Michael Golm, that I would not be moving out to Princeton, NJ to work for Corporate Technology's little research park there was HARD. They had the coolest projects and the smartest people in one of the nicest offices that I have ever visited. And New Jersey isn't bad at all once you getaway from Newark.

Ultimately we made the decision that's we think is best for the kids and our family and NOT the decision that would have paid the most, been the funnest for me, or would have been the least work.

I pray that it was the right one.

Location:Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA

24 May, 2011

Your papers please.

Michael's Visa has FINALLY been approved!!! Woohoo! Join us in celebrating for a few minutes before the panic sets in.

10 May, 2011

How do you spell visa? P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E

Here we are, day something-or-other, I've lost count in waiting for Michael's visa to be approved. I believe last Thursday (5 pm our time) we got word from Aussie Immigration. They have requested an additional medical exam for Michael. He is Type II diabetic and I guess that raised a red flag somewhere. We have been told to have a doctor complete "Form 26" straight away. It sure would have been nice to have known before that this might come up. We could have had this exam done before instead of the minimal required, the chest x-ray. (Which they have to do over now by the way.) We made some calls and arranged an appointment for this Friday am the 13th in Apple Valley. (The Minneapolis doc was booked.) We couldn't get in any earlier because Michael is off to sunny New Jersey this week for work. That's right, he still thankfully hasn't given his notice.

Form 26 costs $545 to have completed. It includes a lot of lab work and a physical exam. The cost does include them forwarding the papers to the embassy but unfortunately we need it sent to Sydney which will cost us an additional $125 and I'm not sure if that is FedEx'd or not. I didn't have the stomach to ask after that bit of a shock. It's almost as if Immigration decided that we hadn't spent enough money yet, though I know that's not the case.

In other news, preparations continue. We are planning on staging the shipping container in the garage this weekend. We have most items packed. We are going to measure out the space and really see what we have room for and what we still need to find new homes for. I have a feeling this is not going to be easy and will end up being a big job. We have begun a thorough manifest/spreadsheet of each bundle or box. The information includes name of item, weight of item, handling, and of course which room it belongs in. This way we can track what is coming with us and hopefully the customs agents will look at our tidy list, open a box or two, and wave us through. Oh, and the dog!! We have had a family volunteer to puppy sit for us, but the dog really deserves her own post. And finally, we will be having a garage sale again next week (Thurs.-Sat.) I have all the items all ready in the garage and will be pricing and merchandising them next week. At least the weather will be better. It will be right??? Last time, two of the days were only about 30 something.

05 May, 2011


I bit of a delay with Michael's visa has come up. We were told, I believe last Friday, that there would be a delay of 2-3 weeks. So some of the pressure is off. We canceled Michael's flight and will re-book it when the visa comes through. We have decided to keep the other reservations in June. So good things / bad things. Our family will be separated a shorter time. Good thing. Michael's time to get things in order (buy a van, find a house, hunt and gather) will be quite a bit less. Bad thing. Because of this change we are planning on hiring a real estate person to assist in the house hunt.

We have continued to pack up our belongings in the house. We are still busy finding new homes for other things.