January 26, 2020

it just doesn't end

im working hard at sealing our home from spiders. the only thing i feel bad about is that i’ve been so slow at it. and ignored a couple of small spots. but i am ON IT. so far i’ve not seen a single animal inside the flat, no moths, no silverfish, no ants, no rats (lol).  but it’s the spiders i can’ tolerate.

there are so many things to do though. the list does not get shorter. 

hmm im looking at soap workshops (just for the experience) and the other day had avocado toast for brunch, after which we went to the park for a walk with doctor - its all very middle class hipster something...? oh well. things are just pretty good i guess.

last sunday i noticed the church opposite to us is ringing bells at  9:50. does that happen every sunday and i just didnt notice? was it a special sunday?

i had my eyes on this highboard cabinet but now its discontinued and not available anymore.very unhappy. have to start looking all over again.

we managed to hang the living room light fixtures finally. the cables need a bit of adjustment cos they look 'wrinkly', and we need to cover the projector  cables...so its like, you do one thing and then theres another thing... and thats why the list of stuff does not get shorter i guess. 

4 kitchen shelves. i took time in finding 4 different but sort of matching shelves and then we put them at different heights. the thing is that shelves in that narrow kitchen are not ideal so if we must have them, lets try make something of it.

we decided to do a mini getaway, leaving home before noon yesterday and returning today at noon (doctor had tickets to a shakespeare play or something at 1). so we had brunch out, then went to Kew Gardens to admire the greenhouses and eveything, an then headed to Hammersmith for a turkish dinner and then stayed a hotel near there for the night. just to get out of the house and get some distance to all the home design stuff.

we definitely need to return to Kew Gardens sometime, we only covered like 20% of it, there are so many different areas its a full day thing...  the entrance fee is a turn off but doctor gets in free cos they offer that to emergency service personnel. if only i pay (13.50) , i think its okay to go a few times, otherwise i'd be turned off to be honest. not saying it isnt worth it, but. there was a posh cafe where we had traditional english afternoon tea. im not a tea person but that was some good tea. velvety.

January 11, 2020

putting a home together

i love it when advertising has humour, even if i'm not target audience or i just don't care.

this meme was funny. not what im thinking this right now but certainly every now and then. right on.

the volunteering work on christmas week was refreshing. i did 2 shifts at Crisis at Christmas in Croydon. they had 3 floors of a school for the week with 150 beds and it was a really good location and well organised with experienced kitchen team making quality christmas meals, showers, IT room, salon, massage, a large activity room with bingo, table tennis etc... it was very uplifting to do something for others, even just handing out cutlery, helping with computer use, sweeping the floor.one of the best things in 2019.

things i am happy with:
-the kitchen under cabinet lights (motion sensored) are nice
-the light dimmers (with remote) in bathroom and bedroom
-the 14dB bathroom fan
-the new teal livingroom rug
-the view of clapham common i have from our windows
-the quiet of the bedroom as its on the backside of the building
-the high temperatures which are easy to maintain. even a finnish friend (marianne) commented on how warm it is - success!

things i am not happy with:
-new floor has some squeaky bits (can be worked on but i am worried it will never be perfect)
-still need to do new windows...
-currently, we seem to have limited bookshelf space (old fashioned to have paper books tho, isnt it? maybe its ok cos we are old people, born in 79 and 80...)?
-gap under the front door - although i am working on it
-43 steps to our 2nd floor flat

new rug (https://www.made.com/jago-extra-large-rug-200-x-300-cm-teal) i was wondering if its too boring but its luckily got that dark/light thing... 

 we've set up the projector on the ceiling and have the sound system half there too...   on NYE we had some friends over watching films actually. we watched (voted democtratically...) Fargo, The Dead Don't Die, The Anchorman,

a breakfast/brunch made of random things.. now that doctor is eating much more vegetarian too its easier to put together something. it seems to be 50/50 now, him and me cooking or preparing something.  flowers are from Eve & Mikko.

Eve & Mikko came over to play some boardgames and i found something i really like, The Mind. i had to order one for us because i totally loved it. a co-operation game with a relatively short play time and requiringing interaction...its a lot of fun.

some recent favourites:
Netflix: Don't F*** With Cats
Maureen Younger (comedian i saw in Top Secret last week)

i dont know what Avenue 5 is about... starting Jan 20... but the trailer sure seems interesting. Hugh Laurie! from the makers of Veep.

that feeling when a new drink you've bought and just tasted is so good you look back at it and check the label like "damn..."
and that feeling when in a tube a stranger just smiles at you, not necessarily in a flirty way but just like "hey mate, wassap". 

Last.fm shared my yearly stats. fun. 

i admit i had not realised that i'd listened to some of these artists as much.. i guess they were on some compilation lists and whatever... eg. Wangel and Fatboy? im well aware i was really into Nancy Sinatra last year and James Blunt is a staple on my playlist, but some of the others surprised me... and i admit i dont know who is Ben Howard, so.
random london photo.

also, a friend/acquintance who has been dealing with stage 4 cancer seems to be on the mend. im really happy about that. she was the first cancer case in my 'circle', i dont even have any relatives who had cancer...  so her, being around my age... i was shocked for her but also just for myself i think, when i heard. i dont know what the odds statistically were, but im thinking not amazing... therefor extra happy that she is pushing through. seeing that gives me general hope, too, somehow.

December 21, 2019

kelvins and stuff

things have finally slowed down and i've realised christmas is almost here. kind of hard to miss in a very christmas centric country...  i took a few days off work between christmas and new years but then signed up for volunteer work for same amount of days, lol. but i will nevertheless have ample time to chill and work on our home. doctor has several days off as well so i guess we will be furniture shopping and whatnot. there is so much to do... a lot of it planning though. what kind of lamp there, where to put this bookshelf and what to put in that corner...   decisions decisions. i try not to hurry with it cos i'd rather avoid poor decisions, but in order to make life more comfortable we do need some things like a table, maybe....

we've had the painter - a brazilian guy through an acquiantance - come in and go ahead with painting kitchen and bathroom which originally we were gonna do later. there was nothing wrong with the walls just wrong colour (the "british beige"), those rooms are easy to paint at any point as no need to move furniture and also different type of paint. but so they were done this week.

im overall happy how this is turning out. but of course the more we do, the more i want to hurry with whatever is left. now that walls and floors and door frames are good, i am extra bothered by the old fashioned doors. might need to get them changed pretty soon.

im looking for lamps and small stuff now. doctor and me both liked this for living room lamp #1 so i ordered it. but its hard to say how it will work out so im just hoping for the best.

im happy with this part of the kitchen. the antharacite Beko washer dryer (WDB7425R2), AEG oven (BEB351010B) and Gorenje hob (IT643SYW). the hob is marketed as white, and once i read in reviews that its actually white-grey i disqualified it... but then when doctor wanted a grey sink... i thought ok, maybe we can have 2 grey things on the white worktop?

i went to this disco like mini golf place with Samantha.it was fun and we ate ramen nearby in Battersea afterwards. very nice getaway from my daily stuff.  

shit photo but the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland was huge and well lit.  me & doctor went first skating with Can & Burcu - a proper challenger for the guys - and then eat and some horror train and mulled wine and hot chocolate...   nice but too bloody cold.

i painted out front door today. the painter (who was doing the bathroom) was looking at my work in horror. but i decided long ago that i need to do something myself as imperfect as it is... its ok if there are ugly bits. and there are, lol, i was even worse than i thought i would be. it was a great reminder why paying a professional is generally good! BUT also this was a reminder that light temperature is a big deal, suddenly grey is light purple...??

today i ordered, besides some Amazon stuff like white grout pen, HANDLES from morehandles.co.uk. for our cupboards. they currently have shiny chrome knobs...  meh. i actually did not ask doctors opinion on the handles, he is working night shift this week so it is challenging, but also i am pretty sure he would approve. we decide all the big stuff together.

the other night i also met with 'deviantart Jim' as he was visiting UK/London. i still always  find it odd as i am living in his country basically while he is living elsewhere... and we met years ago when i had no plans of coming here. he also came to see our flat. we had a good chat. i always appreciate such intelligent company. actually also tonight after being out with Can & Burcu i was thinking how good it is to notice you may not be the smartest person in the room or at the very least you are amongst equals who think of some things faster than you. very satisfying.

so the issues left in the bathroom are:
-the blue deco tile thing....
-The old beige door (the frame is white now, despite what it looks)

we also need to attach the toilet paper holder and find a bin that fits next to the toilet seat... but overall the bathroom is ready. i am pretty satisfied with it.

December 12, 2019

our place

its been a crazy few weeks. people have expressed empathy re: the moving, but bloody hell, moving is not so bad, refurbs are! lol. moving can be controlled somewhat...  but a full refurb in 1 month is a logistical nightmare. unless maybe u gave the keys to the contractor but of coooouurse i want to pick every little thing. well we picked the appliances and most things together actually. but the stuff doctor didnt care as much for i still had an opinion on. i bet the tradesmen found me a nightmare in some ways though, always putting my nose in everything. i tried to make it up by bringing them snacks and juice. and beer when the project finished.

our livingroom last wednesday the 4th.
last week especially was crazy. i was just running around putting out fires. first the dishwasher wouldnt fit and then on tuesday i learned the washer dryer wouldnt fit either, had to get a new one. i spent a couple hours on it but got the bloody thing for the next day. (yes, i am proud of myself). on monday they had to come to finish some details, silicone here, piece of board there... also the painter was here on saturday when we moved in finishing up the living room. it drove me up the wall when the painter and contractor kept asking me if we need to move on Saturday the 7th. like, it's not "when do you want to go shopping?", the rental flat has to be emptied, moving van has been booked, exit cleaning has been vooked, the bloody parking suspension has been applied for.... so YES we are moving Saturday 7th!! also, i'd made the date clear from the start and asked if it's doable or not. pfff.

there is still work to do, some door frames need fixing and we need to replace the old doors...  but some things have to wait and can wait. so.

im enjoying the view though. 

kitchen cupboards need a bit of dusting? but im happy with the floor and general style of things. the light grey hob is yet to be tested.  walls also need painting white.

so this is the beginning. the curtains are annoyingly too short but we honestly did not have time to find the perfect curtains so these will do for now. the grey ones are light blocking, important for when we watch something with the projector. 

tonight is the first day in a couple of weeks i am able to chill and watch tv. i guess theoretically i couldve done it sooner after the move but there is just a lot to do, plus i have my job. i did take monday off work, and had i been smart enough i wouldve taken a day or 2 off last week as well.. really couldve used it. anyway, here we are. but now i just want things done, we need a sofa, we need this and that...  maybe a bed too, at some point, heh. cos we sold the old one (Malm, IKEA) a few days before the move.  fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarm, fire blanket and extinguisher have all been bought though - safety first!

owning a place is responsible stuff. for me whos already a bit stressed and worried about stuff its a bit extra though. now i am concerned about so many more things!

November 22, 2019

something good is brewing in the center of Clapham

im so far happy with the contractor we chose for the refurb. people in general have a lot of horror stories about builders and these type of work, schedules not holding up at all and whatnot. so ive worried a lot. we basically did not pick the cheapest but one but one who works in the area and has like over 200 stellar reviews at Checkatrade. it felt like the safest choice in lack of a friend recommending someone. ive met everyone working at the flat (which is several people). and they seem nice and it seems to me like they are on schedule. James the plumber was suspicious that our chosen shower mixer wouldnt fit and overall critical of some of the bathroom furnishings....  i respect his opinion but not sure why a 200£ toilet wouldn't be "quality enough"... we'll see. maybe he is right and i'm wrong. im learning a lot though about everything, easy as i started with not knowing anything. and i have been stressed out over deliveries and everything else as expected. have to choose the skirting boards, tiles, towel heater,  kitchen tap...  we ordered samples. went to ikea, i've been running around in some stores...  but its a lot. im not sleeping well as my brain is on overdrive.  

the place looks a bit rough now as expected. the kitchen disappeared pretty quickly between yesterday afternoon and today midday when i visited. they are making a new floor and then tiling it, and the new kitchen is arriving tomorrow morning. putting it together will take at least a week i think. maybe 2, including the new floor. i asked when do they need the appliances and the aswer was mid week next week, so we need to make some decisions.. i was hoping we couldve benefitted from Black Friday which is not happening exactly now but luckily many of the stores are doing an early start and have put things on sale already. we chose the fridge a couple weeks back and it was suddenly about 200£ cheaper so that was nice. i think we are going with an IKEA hob, which will be normal price AND expensive, but such is life. ive never bought an oven and anything more than a basic dsishwasher or washing machine so i'm struggling with those. we keep exchanging links with doctor but it's exhausting. so many features to consider...

bathroom is rough too. James had to take some of the tiles out to fit the shower mixer which he didn't like. i bought replacement tiles which are of course not exactly the same (apparently every bacth is slightly different) but close enough. we dont want to to re-tile the whole bathroom now; white is nice enough, we are short on time and not millionaires.

 the floor is starting to look ok too. Patrick is the carpenter, really nice fellow.
dealing with the tradesmen is interesting though. i’ve never been in this position at least in this magnitude. they treat me as the ‘boss’ which technically i may be but i can tell there is some cultural confusion over my un-bosslike friendliness (bringing juice & cookies) and when i get physically involved, carrying stuff like toilet and tiles to the flat etc. this is definitely not expected. also they were surprised that i have a job, but maybe that’s just cos i show up often at times when normally people would be at work? 

meanwhile in brixton we started collecting boxes and packing. i will be away in Helsinki next week so better start now...

needless to add, i haven’t had time for anything else. 

November 09, 2019

clapham is waiting for us

we finally got our home, the keys and all. after getting through the painful process that is purchasing a property we didn't really have time to chill. looking through contractors, getting quotes, talking with kitchen companies...   totally out of my comfort zone in the sense that i don't know anything about any of this. i am of course relieved we finally have our place, so im not complaining, although i have to complain a bit...  but for sure i am grateful and priviledged and lucky to be able to have a home in London. a home we chose and all. and we are certainly extra lucky to be able to work on it, make it look nicer etc. but ironically having all these possiblities can bring on stress too. especially for a control freak like me, im like shooting myself in the leg...  im sharing responsibilities and tasks with doctor though. its been tough to learn but something we've consciously worked at especially the past year - its just necessary that we work as a team. decide things together, share the weight...

but this refurb stuff... so many questions...if the wash basin is 3cm deeper than the vanity unit...does it work ok? what to do about squeky bits of wooden floor? what could be underneath? when they say they will "level out" the floor what does that mean? how much does it cost to replace floorboards? if i get a new (quiet!) bathroom extractor fan, can it have a separate switch and now just be connected to the light switch - or is it a huge expensive thing to set up? what type of kitchen worktop is really the most practical? does skirting board thickness matter at all? it doesn't end...

heading to our home the day after getting keys, champagne and toilet paper. not the sexiest combo. the champagne had been waiting a long time for this occasion. and we figured if we will be going there on and off, toilet paper would be necessary.

after paying shitloads and looking at this place being torn down i did have a few seconds of "what are we doing..."

the builders started on tuesday and this was the bedroom a few hours later. the carpet is going fast...

the fireplace was one of the first things to go. well just the front of it, they are covering it up neatly, leaving the gaping hole in the wall.  the sofa was something i allowed the previous owner to leave figuring it would be nice in the beginning, not to have to sit on the floor. now one of the builders will be taking it so thats nice, i dont need to worry about it.

late on tuesday our first piece of own furniture came to the flat. my (great) grandmother's rocking chair from finland. i felt like it like it's come home.

i've met neighbours up- and downstairs. upstars is a 30 something single guy and downstairs is a friendly gay couple, i'm guessing just a bit older than us. so far so good, its important to get along with neighbours!

we got loads of flooring samples...

and tile samples...  (bathroom and kitchen need a tile floor)

and of course the Abloy lock. the hardware store guys looked at me like im stupid. and some of them treated me like im stupid as well. seriously. "why do you want to change your locks?" "why do you want THIS kind of a lock?" and making claims that werent even accurate (i read enough about this to know something). frustrating to be treated so poorly.

im trying to finally chill a bit this weekend, have some 'me time' which is sorely needed.

October 25, 2019

papers signed (not marriage this time but very similar)

we got tickets to Omar Souleyman's concert in fabruary with Eve & Mikko. im not big on concerts but i'm looking forward to it, he's such a different type of artist.

my new work laptop arrived last week. 

on sunday we decided to attend a mental health and wellbeing talk + workshop impromptu, just woke up and saw it's at the local movie theatre's event space. it was a really good and refreshing afternoon. something different.  

tough week, ive been wantingt to kill people at times, the stress of getting a solicitor to do their jobs can be pretty astounding.
we finally exchanged on our flat yesterday. in english it means that contracts have been signed  and it's official*. but in England...this is not the end of it! the solicitors have now moved our case to the "completion team" - lol - who will do the paperwork to complete (means=close the books) by friday which is when we are due the keys. usually the time between exchange and completion is 2 weeks but since our mortgage is from finland it's like 'cash' in this situation and the process can be faster and i pretty obsessively pushed for this friday cos i wanted to utilise the weekend. im hoping to get started with design and contractors on saturday. need to schedule some to come see the flat and give a quote on what we need to get done. which is a difficult question. the kitchen especially is a mystery. we've looked at it and fitting the diswasher... oh boy.

right now what matters - besides having this property stress finished - is that brexit is not here yet. ive kept my eyes peeled on what Johnson and Tusk and everyone else is up to and not only because i followed the currency exchange rates. so we live another day...

*exchange: exchanging of contracts. both us and the seller have printed and signed the the contracts days ago and had to send them to the solicitors in paper. on the day, which is the day the solicitor is finally happy with everything...  they send a formal message to all participants in the lines of 

"We are now ready to exchange contracts in connection with...   at a purchase price of ...   The completion date agreed is....

Please see the below following terms and confirm by response to this message that these terms as also as per your understanding:
  1. No allowances have been agreed
  2. No retentions have been agreed
  3. No indemnity policies after being taken out at a cost to yourself nor being supplied to you by the seller upon completion.
  4. No additional payment is being made for Fittings and/or Contents.
If you are happy to proceed on the above terms then please can you reply to this message providing your authority for contracts to be exchanged on the above basis as soon as possible. When you have sent your message, please can you telephone to verbally authorise that we can proceed to exchange."

after this you have to call the solicitor's and they will go through a compulsory speech after which you again agree. then, maybe, finally, hopefully the solicitors will have a phone call and confirm everything and..."exchange contracts". i would say it's 16th century but phoes didn't exist then so not sure what to say. not surprised UK is stuck in the brexit situation...

October 19, 2019

the struggle continues

parliament is voting on the brexit deal today. it's a bit agonising when your future is (somewhat) at stake.

meanwhile, although it seems to keep escaping us, POSSIBLY the end is near with our home buying process. occasionally losing hope as the simplest things just wont get solved, every little thing takes days and weeks to sort. a lot of incompetence in the air too. so frustrating i cant put it into words.

its just dozens of messages like this from our solicitor, dozens of calls from the agent who is trying to mediate between the parties, and even more messages from me to everyone trying to push things forward.  
always something missing. we will chase this and that. we will review responses this week. and so forth.

we finally got the contract documents for signing on tuesday. it doesnt mean much as long as there are open issues but i guess any little step forward is something to be thankful for.

the above docs were just a few dozen pages; 

a couple of them required a witness to our signatures but we saw Eve & Mikko last night for board games and it was sorted.

last week we got the Report on Title which is basically a bunch of documents... hundreds of pages: 
 like this:
 here is an exerpt from Water and Drainage Search page 14:

 this is from another document filled by the managing agents;

going through all these docs, all these pages...  its been a lot of reading the past few months. a lot of learning. a lot of face palming.

just yesterday the agent called me in the morning, sort of a tradition now to catch up on whats going on on the vendor side and what has and HASN'T happened...  he tells me our solicitor has sent a list of the remaining open enquiries to the vendor's solicitor but the vendor's solcitor said that it's unclear which issues are open and which not and in general hard to understand so they've just replied back with a "please specify". jesus... we are so close to closing this deal and they go like "meh i dont get it please clarify"?! after the call i receive the files and i look at the document which was sent and its the same bloody thing that's being going back and forth for the past couple months, minus the points that have been sorted. so what sense does it make to NOW say "or we don't understand this". the vendor is also in a hurry to sell so maybe her solicitor should try a bit harder. 

here is a portion of it the open enquiries doc:
i wrote to the agent fuming saying it seems 'dubious' to me that the solicitor would claim they cant understand that if I CAN understand it, and then proceeded to write a translation, ie. simplified version listing the open issues
bloody agent forwarded my email in full to the solicitor who got upset over what i'd said about being dubious etc...and then complained about our solicitor and how it's all her fault... am i dealing with kids here? interestingly enough half of the issues were dealt with within an hour and nearly all of them by the end of the day. so despite upsetting them it served as a spark i guess. hence i'm now hopeful about getting to the end. we did give notice to our landlord last week so that adds a bit of pressure. 

the next step (once all the open enquiries are closed, missing documents approved, signed, sent etc) would be Exchange. that's when both solicitors call their clients to confirm it's ok to proceed then arrange a phone call with each other where they "exchange contracts". im thinking there should be an easier way but what do i know... after exhange our solicitor needs maybe a week to do paperwork (surpise...) after which we can Complete. that means getting the keys, more less.

October 16, 2019

hard letting go of people and things and stress

nearly everything has been difficult, tiring and overwhelming the past weeks. not all bad, miss R is came for a visit and i enjoyed Science Museum 'lates' with a new acquintance Barbara. beyond that i have not had energy to socialize really. just too many things and bad luck to further pull me down. the other week i had booked a time for nails and a haircut, both places bailed on me with pathetic excuses and no notification. my laptop was acting up which drove me up the wall as it hindered my work, not to mention things that are not "under control" are in general not my jam. and random stuff, like i needed to try get rid of/sell a painting in finland that was sort of dropped on my lap. and then the person who pushed me to take it went on to tell another person that i TOOK it?! but they are 80+ so i think i have to forgive. nevertheless, i was hurt. HMRC sent me a menacing letter about reporting foreign income, and i am required to respond to it. i think i've done everything by the book and the letter is not suggesting otherwise, but it made me paranoid, like if i've made a mistake somewhere and it will come back to haunt me. tax evading immigrant?! and i've realises many of my friendships have a dynamic where i am typically the one to initiate the contact, like send a msg. i guess im normally fine with it more less and dont think about it too much but now that im feeling down its making me upset and sad. and lonely.

so i went to finland to my gran's funeral and then stayed to pack stuff in her flat. that was so eerie, being there without her presence. it was a tough trip. i enjoyed spending time with my aunt and seeing some relatives too, even my father who also attended the funeral as he was visiting finland. but overall tough. add to that dealing with the property purchase - we were sent the 'report on title' during my trip - and further issues with my laptop as i had to work on the last days of my stay...   so i was mentally and physically exhausted upon returning from finland.

one of the rings i took from my gran. bronze i suppose. my style although not my colour. 
 i went to finland without luggage so when it turned out i "have to" take stuff from my gran's place and bring over, i then also took her old suitcase. when i say 'have to' i mean i 'had the priviledge to'. the suitcase name tag had my grandfather's, my grandmother's and my aunt's details. my aunt had traveled to UK with this in her early 20s. no wheels or anything, this was one painful thing to carry. i think it's going to retire now, i was just glad it didn't fall apart on this last trip. 
 another random thing; small rug my gran had made. i decided it's the perfect seat cover so i dont ruin the seat by sweating on it all summer etc.

last week my lovely boyfriend husband doctor guy turned 40. while very positive, the surprises i had planned for him weighed on me too. luckily everything went well. on his actual birthday i took him out for a dinner in Clapham, just behind the corner from where we are buying the flat. and then for the weekend i took him to a spa hotel in Waterloo (Park Plaza). i pre-ordered a breakfast for saturday moring (if 11 is morning?) and in the evening there was a surprise party at a neaby pub. i've never organised one before so i was very stressed, but everything was perfect and he had no idea so the surprise factor was 100%. we had a lovely evening with friends and i think he felt appreciated which was the best thing ever. 

Park Plaza upgraded our room i think cos i had pre-ordered the surprise brekkie and told them its a birthday. when we checked in and they said "you have the Executive Room..." i was like errr.... ok. didn't want to say anything cos then i'd have to discuss the reasons for this upgrade with doctor. in the room there was a bottle of prosecco waiting for us too (in photo). and with the breakfast there was a little cake looking thing as an extra. well done Radisson... 

my new work laptop is supposed to arrive today. i left the problematic one in finland as it 'conveniently' presented new bugs while i was there. the swedish/finnish keyboard requirement meant that it takes a week instead of a day to get it. hopefully starting from a clean slate with a new laptop will make things smoother.

home buying process is supposed to be nearing the end with Exchange looming somewhere in the horizon. exchange will make the sale legally binding as we put in a deposit (10%), so although it's not done at that point i would say it's a milestone at which you can relax a bit. i'll be the first to admit though this sh*t is so stressful it's unbelievable... combining money & lack of control, and unknown territory as a plus, it's right there at the top of my UNfavorite things ever. just 'gotta get Theroux this', lol. i actually got the book for doctor as one of his smaller gifts.