The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of summer fun and major life decisions. Last Friday night we had the Ropers over for games after the kids went to bed, which was a lot of fun. Saturday morning we were invited to Jared and Ruth Sine’s house for breakfast, which was a genius idea. They made German pancakes, we brought fruit, and the kids, rested and happy, played nicely. Jared works for Expedia but they live in Redmond so it was only the second time our families had been together. Afterwards we stopped by at a local park and ran around before heading home for naps. In the afternoon Christopher biked Duthie Hill with Jansen, then we swam at the Beatty’s until dinner. The lake was freezing but it’s warming up quickly! Our kids (even Logan) were ecstatic to be swimming, despite their shivering blue lips.
The first part of the week was cool and cloudy, and we battled diarrhea (Logan), pinkeye (Logan and Ben and possibly Megan), and general crabbiness. We had lots of play dates and park dates and Megan and I even had a mom/daughter date (canning class at the library and hot chocolate from Starbucks) but mostly I was incredibly anxious about the London decision. We had finally decided it would be possible to move to London, but we would live in the suburbs (specifically Watford or St. Albans), where housing was more reasonably-priced and good schools had more availability. I had been actively searching for homes, contacting school admissions secretaries, and setting up an IKEA wishlist to furnish our inevitably-cramped townhouse. We planned to move as soon as the visas were ready (mid-August), with nothing but suitcases full of clothes, and immediately play the get-your-kids-into-a-decent-school-in-London game, which is insane, but the kind of game I’m great at.
While we were negotiating with London (relocation and such), the office here finally decided Christopher was serious about leaving and offered him a promotion and raise to stay. The raise wasn’t close to the London job, so he countered, and gave them a deadline of midnight Thursday night. We had this number in our head, and we decided if they beat it, we would stay, and if they didn’t, we’d head to London. By 11 p.m. there was no response, so we went to bed completely anxious. Logan woke up at four a.m. and Christopher checked his email (darn smartphones) and he had received an email at 11:30 that night with an offer from his current boss. It beat our magic number by a thousand bucks. So we knew we were staying. Christopher was happy. Megan was ecstatic. Gavin was contented. And I was so disappointed. Way more disappointed than I thought I’d be.
London would have been amazing. We would have seen (or tried to see) a bunch of European cities. Ben would’ve seen Big Ben. I would have taken Megan to Alnwick Castle and Paris. They would’ve worn adorable school uniforms and had British accents and been fabulous swimmers (apparently London is lousy with indoor or heated swimming pools). But now I can just enjoy my summer. No packing, no moving, no stressing over schools or housing or paying taxes to Her Royal Majesty or socialized medicine. No navigating tubes or trains or driving on the left side of the road.
I’m feeling better about staying now, and the promotion and raise is a huge blessing. We can use the extra money to pay down our underwater mortgages and finally sell those houses, and start saving up to buy another. Megan can go to middle school with all her friends and be on swim team and play violin. Gavin can roam the neighborhood with all his buddies. Ben can attend the special preschool in the morning and get socialized and enjoy the normal preschool in the afternoon with Teacher Robyn who already loves him and knows how to deal with him. And Logan and I can join a gym or something.
As soon as the London decision was made, a massive heat wave rocked the West coast, for good or bad. The good is swimming and sprinklers and shorts and sandals. The bad is we have no air conditioning. Thankfully it doesn’t get sweltering here (the first day was 80, second 85, and today about 90), and our house stays tolerable. Bedtime is the worst, because the upstairs is hot and the sun is still shining bright. However, as you’ll see from the picture below, when Ben doesn’t nap, no amount of sunlight and heat prevents him from crashing. And Megan and Gavin love the late sunsets in the backyard. Summer is definitely here!