I have written at length detailing our physical move into our cottage in England, but what I have yet to share is just how different getting settled has been. EVERY, SINGLE, item on our move-in to-do list has been a learning process. Some of the tasks were met with frustration, and some were met with humor as we had no other alternative. I was reminded that not only is this our first home miles away from any military base, but this is out first home in a foreign country. So there has been a lot of confusion, waiting and cocktails. Oh, and and we have a new phrase,
"Ill see you in 3 weeks."
It's the simple things that really threw us. You know how in the States, you move in and contact the local Gas, Electric and Cable Companies? Easy, Right? In my recollection, you call them up, give them your contact information, and set up your automatic drafts. Imagine my great surprise when there were numerous companies that contacted ME to share their 'tariffs' and competitive prices against each other. Honestly, my first thought, what the hell is a tariff? Are they referencing prices? Because the use of the word "Tariff" seems super intensive. This is also where I will mention that most of the companies had customer service agents that spoke rather quickly with a strong Scottish accent. So, about every five words I would have to say, "Im so sorry, can you say that again?" So much for us speaking the same language. I started to keep a flow chart of the gas and electric prices as companies called. I would later discover they make it "easy" for you and send you your own graph of all the companies and their current prices. It deserves a graph. I wish I had paid much more attention in math classes these days. Especially when I got to what I thought was the final round of securing electricity: automatic draft set-up. Spoiler alert: It was far from the finale. To complicate an already complicated situation, they ask how often you want to pay your bill. I'll take never please! You can either pay every month, or every quarter. That seems a little scary when you are living off the economy and you have three kids that love to leave the lights on. But what is even more scary, is they ask how much you want to pay. Then, they either bill you for the rest every few months, or you get a credit. There is no, what they like to call, "smart meters." So like a true southerner, I wing it. I just make a blanket guess the first time I set up my automatic payment. I say, "Sir, does 100 pounds a month sound right? Or am I going to get a 10,000 pound bill at Christmas." I'm having visions of Asher as Tiny Tim in my mind, poor and begging for money with a thick American accent. The nice Scottish gentleman says, "Well, we can get it sorted when the bill comes, give us 3 to 4 weeks and we can tell you if we need to top up your account" This is not reassuring, in fact, I'm pretty sure we are screwed. I have been taking out little bits of cash here and there in case it all goes south. If I post a "Electric Go Fund Me", you will know exactly why.
Zac being the Technical Engineer of our household, was tagged with cable companies and tv tax. Yes, they have a tv tax in the UK. Don't think Zac didn't reference a certain "Tea Party" and the parallels between unfair taxation. I told him TVs sink and at this moment in time, with a pandemic, no one is going to back his revolt against weird tax law. Regardless, we needed cable and internet. He had an important job. I kept getting calls and emails from companies challenging the customer service of their competitors. This was starting to feel like a Miss America pageant and I was the judge, but I didn't really want to be. I just wanted internet. I am truly embarrassed how often I called out Alexa's name to add something to my grocery list only to hear my kids laugh at my first world problem blunder. I was growing desperate and forgetting things at the grocery store thus forcing Zac to take immediate action. He began comparing our internet options, but was perplexed by the installation time frame. Every company, seemingly determined to give us good prices, could not set up our internet for at least 2 to 3 weeks, at the earliest. I heard him on the phone bating the companies. On one end, I could hear a thick accent rattle off the tariff and set up dates, then Zac's rebuttal, telling them he would sign a longer contract if they could just install it all before 3 weeks. No dice. Every single company gave a 3 week installation and so Zac acquiesced. We picked a company and scheduled our set-up. As the time grew near, I wondered what the process would entail since nothing has been the same as before. A few days before our set-up date we received all of the hardware. Hmmmm, thats weird, but also kind of nice that they don't just wait for the service man to bring it all when he comes. Then I speak to a new friend here, and she clues me in to the situation. There is no service man. I will be stood up. On they day of our "install" they will flick some magic switch in the sky and we will have internet. That is, after we set it all up. And so... we set it all up, and then like magic on the predestined date, INTERNET! (Literally, on the dot, they flicked the magic switch in the sky.) It was amazing, so amazing I almost popped a bottle of champagne from shear excitement but it was 8:00 am and so I thought better. I had a mimosa. Then the cable let down came... apparently, our house is already set up for a specific cable company and we have a dish already installed. Of course we do. Why wouldn't we? So we had to then switch companies. It took 3 weeks for the second provider to come out to our house. Yes, this time, we were impressed with the live-and-in-the-flesh technician they sent. Zac was beaming with pride at picking a company with such stellar customer service. We were feeling like the wait was justified when our technician, JUSTIN, showed up. (Don't think I didn't giggle.) After Justin piddles around, he tells us, "Sorry Lads, the dish on your roof is far outdated and too hard for me to get to safely. I will need to call technicians that are climbing experts to switch it out." WTF. I am done playing "Miss Nice Southern Girl." I say, "Let me guess, 3 weeks?" He looks at Zac like he hit the crazy wife lottery and pretends to busy himself with a call. Then he comes back to confirm. It will be sometime in the next 3 weeks.
To recap, sometime in November, we think it will be sorted. Quite honestly, they have worn me down. I am impressed with how serious they take vacation around here and so there has to be some give and take. Maybe reminding myself that it's ok to slow the pace of life, isn't such a bad thing for me. Zac always says I have two settings: full speed or sleeping. He isn't wrong. So I need to be more patient. After all, when you ask God for patience, he doesn't just throw it down in your lap, he gives you the opportunity to practice. I should be near perfect by the time we leave here.
Speaking of vacation, who is up to hear how we had a vacation to Scotland planned, only to alter it to Wales, only to find out today that they are canceling due to further lock down restrictions. Looks like we may need that cable before November.
Thank you to all the Subscribers! I love bringing 200 of my closest kin folk along for this crazy ride.