Quite a lot has happened since our last update and it’s time to let you know where we’re at.
The biggest job of all has been to take down the tent that has been attached to the caravan since we became caravan dwellers. We ordered a winter tent, which is much smaller and the roof is much steeper, so that it’s easier to clean and wipe the snow off.
Now we had to wait for a dry day (not as easy as we thought) so that we could clean the big tent, let it dry and pack it in. Putting up a tent when it’s raining is not fun, but not too difficult either. Taking down a tent when it’s raining is a lot harder and no fun whatsoever.
So when that dry day finally came we got at it and worked from about 7am to 8pm to get the tent cleaned and dry, take out the flooring (12mm thick pieces of chipboard) that Vince had put in so that we’d have a level floor as we’re on a bit of a slope and put up the new winter tent. Even though we’re leaving in a few weeks, you always need to try out a new tent at home first so you can fix any problems or order any parts you might be missing. And for us that was better to do now than in freezing weather conditions on a campsite!
Ah, the never ending story of the cars. Yes, we have 2 cars. That’s 1 too many and it needs to be sold.
One of the cars is finally in the garage getting fixed. It had a burst hydraulic pipe which Vince tried to fix himself first, but it got too complicated. It took forever to find the replacement part, but now that it is here we’re quite relieved, as it was a major blocking point in our plans. This car pulls our caravan!
The other car will go into the garage afterwards to fix a broken suspension spring in order to get it road worthy and we’ll take it directly to a couple of dealers to see if any want to take it off our hands.
Another huge step we took last night was to send all documents to the notary.
Yes, the date of the sale of the apartment is final: October 15th!!!
4. Child benefit
This is a saga that we haven’t shared with you yet.
Apparently we are the first couple in the history of Luxembourg to go travelling and rent out our apartment at the same time. To add to this highly confusing situation we also don’t work (what??) and we pay voluntary social security (come again??).
Since Amber’s birth, we have been battling it out with the Luxembourg government to receive child benefits. Threatening letters were sent to us explaining that by law we had to have a legal domicile in Luxembourg and be registered with the CCSS (local social security). We were compliant with both of these conditions, but the government claimed we were not.
Just to summarize this in clear English: The government didn’t know that we were registered with the government…
After several phone calls, letters and sending the government its own documentation, last week we finally got the money that we were due. One of the reasons why this took so long, apart from the apparent incompetence of communication between different sectors of the Luxembourg system, is that the ‘committee’ (not the same one that came to our apartment by the way) that gets to decide whether people are eligible for child benefits only meet up around once a month. Yes, these wine-sipping, golf-playing, Ferrari-driving, cigar-smoking bureaucrats take time out of there extremely busy schedule once a month to decide the faith of parents and their children’s future.
But we’re not bitter or anything…
5. (Too) Little baby Amber
Amber’s regular check up at the paediatrician last week went fine… except for one small detail; she’s hardly gained any weight in a month! Her length was just at the minimum and her head was fine (phew! She’s got her mother’s brains), but something was wrong with her diet. No poos were also a good sign of that.
The doctor’s diagnosis was that she wasn’t strong enough to breast feed properly. So our production plant (Caroline) has been given some medication (allopathic and homeopathic) to produce more milk and she has to use the breast pump so that Amber can drink it easier from the bottle until she’s gained the strength required to do it all by herself again.
We felt quite guilty as parents for a day or 2, but things are working better now and Amber is still a happy girl!
The cat still seems very happy here, although he knows there’s something going on (dude, where’s my tent?).
We’re a little worried about the journey with him, as he’s not the best traveller, but once the car is out of the garage we’re going to take him on some practice runs with lots of treats, so he can get a positive vibe from driving about.
Then, the other day, Caroline noticed one of his fangs missing! He doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, but we have no idea what happened.
He has his regular scrap with a neighbouring cat; they meet up around 3am on a weekly basis and a kerfuffle takes place, usually over a mouse that has been caught by either one of them. Vince is normally the one that has to go out to break up the fight and calm things down.
Or maybe he just lost it chewing through the skull of an apparently delicious mouse head.
Either way, we’ll take him to the vet one last time before we’re off.
Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long before this latest update, but as you can see we’ve been busy bees. The list is getting shorter however and we’ll have more time and less paperwork (yay!) each day.
Love to you all,
Caroline, Vince, little Amber and Fraggle
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