I want to do a detail trip report, but first I guess I need a follow up on my last post.
We have been on the base housing waiting list since last November (30 days before we got here), but everything indicated that it would be 3 years before a house would be available. As we were only planning to stay for 3 years, getting on the list was seen as a mere formality.
The desire to really move on base began to grow as the season changed, and Bob found himself driving to and from work in the dark. Then it got cold and we realized the bathroom radiator, always iffy, wasn't heating at all. We could call the estate agent, but if they decide we did something to it we'd have to pay the plumber. A cold bathroom may seem like a little thing, but it really wears on us.
Then Bob had some new guys at work who were getting houses right away - 4 bedroom houses - on Lakenheath. So we got to looking, and it turns out that when we arrived and had to pick the areas where we'd like a house (as "base housing" ranges from actually on base to as far away as Thetford and Ely), not knowing anything about the areas, we'd picked Mildenhall and Feltwell but not Lakenheath. I really think the people told Bob there weren't 4 bedrooms on Lakenheath so he may as well not put it down. Anyway, he updated the selections to include Lakenheath, and we waited.
One day (the day after I had to order more heating oil for this house) Bob called with the news - we've been offered a house. It's in the area known as Lord's Walk, and used to be within the confines of RAF Lakenheath, but they've recently re-drawn the boundaries so that it now lies just outside the fence. So it will be easier to get in and out - don't have to stop and show ID - but still close enough to consider things like riding a bike to work.
There was a catch with the offer, though. The house is occupied, and the owner was not available until mid-December. But we had to decide if we wanted that house (or wait for another offer) within 24 hours. They gave us the address and a floor plan - why would we need to see inside? At the very least, Bob wanted me to see the location, so I drove up to meet him after work and we went to walk around the house. Whaddayaknow? The current occupant was in the back yard. So we talked to him for a little while, and he eventually decided to let us in. It's doable.
The house is smaller, as we will lose our second living area, but there are two full bathrooms, and all but the master bedroom are bigger. The kitchen is bigger by square footage, but there are fewer cabinets and bigger appliances. But there is a hot pantry - I'll have to think about what I put in there (it's right next to the furnace and we were warned that chocolate will melt in there). The yard is bigger, and flat, so more opportunity for play equipment (I've been wanting to get something, but here it would have to go on the stone patio, which is bad for falls, because that's the only flat space). Also there is a sidewalk behind the houses where (I suppose) the children could ride bikes.
The whole thing will be an adjustment, but that's how life is. I'll miss my convection oven with broiler, but I'll be able to use my toaster oven. I'll miss the front-load washer, but it will be nice to have dryer right next to the washer instead of in the other room. I'll miss my larger sink, but will enjoy free water. And so it goes.
The movers will start packing us on the 8th of January, as Bob is on base getting the key to the new house. On the 9th they will finish up here and deliver to the new house. As that is Thursday and Friday, we will have the weekend to clean up the old house before turning it in on the 12th. Our housing allowance stops on the 8th, but we get a "partial dislocation allowance" to help with the out-of-pocket expenses and stress, etc. It's a rip-off, but we'll manage.
And that's that, I think.