Is A Long Story, Let Me Sum Up…

The research continues, and the nasty surprises pile up. At this point, I’m feeling rather like Arthur Dent bashing on a locked filing cabinet within a disused lavatory in a dark, stairless basement that has a sign saying “Beware of the leopard!” on the door. Some of this stuff, I didn’t dig up until I’d visited the relevant UK gov websites several times. No wonder immigration lawyers never lack for work.

In a nutshell:

Financial cost of going the spousal visa route: $2250 / £1700 (at least*)
Emotional cost of ditto: Huge.

Financial cost of going the Tier 2 route: $2400 / £1880 (visa fee, plus healthcare surcharge, plus mandatory savings account requirement unless one’s job sponsor is a “guaranteed” sponsor.)
Emotional cost of ditto: not quite so huge.

And that’s just the bureaucratic fees. I’ve been making guesstimates about moving a forklift palette’s worth of stuff and two cats and oof. No wonder folks migrate with just the clothes on the backs and whatever they can fit into their checked baggage.

I’ve started correspondence with some recruiters in the UK that place with companies that would use The Husband’s skills. They’re being refreshingly upfront about what a PITA it is for employers to sponsor visas but, dammit, if it’s really a shortage occupation, someone’s got to be willing to do it at some point.

* A UK chum who imported his USAian wife tells me he’d spent about £5,000 on it when all was said and done.


Research is free and escapism is a favorite hobby of mine. I’ve been looking into the various ways my husband and I could move to the UK.

I’m a UK citizen, so I won’t have any difficulty. The challenges are all on the husband, poor sod.

Best case, D gets a job offer from a place that’ll sponsor him for a Tier 2 visa. Nice thing about that is the employer wants to get their money’s worth, so he’d probably be sure of employment for most of the term. The digital art industry, she is a little fraught. Tier 2 visa is good for at least three years. So, at least two rounds of that frightfulness (assuming

Tiny little bonus, husband works in a field that’s been officially deemed in short supply, so that knocks about 20% off the income threshold. What a handy way to keep local wages down, too. Hm.

It’s not clear if he could work for an employer other than his sponsor (in the same industry) on that visa. He’s allowed to take on additional work in the same industry up to 20 hours a week. Must add that to my growing list of questions.

But the odds of successfully chasing down a job offer from six thousand miles away? Not great. It’s not impossible, but it’s not great. My father landed his gig in the USA via a recruiting agency that was headhunting for any and all IT talent looking for greener pastures. Digital artists? Not so much with the head-hunting. We certainly aren’t expecting any help with relocating (and the costs of that are a headache for another day).

The other route, of course, is that I head over there and then “send” for him on a spousal visa. Downside: we’d be apart for at least six months (the minimum amount of time it would take me to meet requirements – that’s assuming I can find work right away) and the fee is nearly double that of a Tier 2 visa. It also leaves him stuck on his own in the USA for that time, which would be nigh-impossible for him to manage.

The upside of the spousal visa is that it doesn’t matter if my husband has a job offer or not. As long as I’m making at least £18K/year, he can remain with me.

Hidden cost #14: there’s a healthcare surcharge attached to all UK visas. It makes sense, but man, it’s another cost to worry about. £200 for each year of the visa’s duration, due at the time of application, thankyerverymuch.

Even if that dreadful orange man isn’t elected into high office, the husband and I are thinking more seriously about leaving the USA. There just seems to be more work for him in the UK. But “seems” and “actual” are two very different things. Every successful migration has a push and a pull. The “push” is currently rambling on Twitter about protecting American citizens from immigrants (I’m both, which list does that put me on?). The “pull”, however, is proving elusive.

Bookspotting: Inside The Victorian House

Having cheerfully chewed my way through The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London, I wondered what else the author – Judith Flanders – had done in the same vein. And so I promptly borrowed The Victorian House: Domestic Life From Childbirth to Deathbed.

The Victorian House focuses on the life of the middle class, which makes a refreshing change from the usual focus of either the extremely rich or dirt poor (I’m looking at you, Mr. Mayhew) and besides, one is far more likely to identify with the middle class than any other.

Ms. Flanders packs a lot of information into her writing, without getting too dry or running a topic into the ground. She frequently cites literature of the period to help provide context on certain subjects – such as the social minefield that was decorating the drawing room – but not so much that you’re left at sea if you haven’t read extensively of the period (as I haven’t).

I’ve not quite finished the book but I’m already profoundly grateful to be living when and where I am. There’s nothing like reading about the risks to health and safety that was gas lighting to make one quit grumbling about having to change a light bulb. And, whoa, life was filthy. I mean, I figured all that coal dust and the London “fogs” made everything a bit grimy by default but, no, even indoors dust and grime was horribly omnipresent – which is why some households didn’t consider an improvement in lighting all that much of a blessing!

Anyways, both books are definitely must-reads for anyone interested in middle and late 19th century in Britain, especially if you’re contemplating any living history activity.


Fabric For Cosplayers

I couldn’t make it as  web series, so I turned it into a website: Fabric For Cosplayers, for folks just learning how to sew who are totally intimidated when they go into the fabric store. AKA the guide I wish I had twenty years ago. 

At the moment, there are 112 entries, mostly definitions of various fabric types, but also overviews about materials, and posts on related topics such as why foundation garments matter. 

I’m planning to add to it over time, but the final rate depends entirely on if anyone actually visits the damn thing. Still working on that. 😉

Bookspotting: The Man With The Golden Typewriter

The Man With the Golden Typewriter is a collection of Ian Fleming’s correspondence relating to the Bond novels. It’s a hefty tome, but well-organized and an interesting peek into the state of the fiction publishing industry in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as Fleming’s personality.

Fleming was a likeable old sod, despite his flaws, and with a charming habit of thanking various helpers by naming related characters after them. His correspondence with the real-life version of Major Boothroyd (Bond’s armourer, introduced in Dr. No and only later called “Q”)  was particularly memorable. The flesh-and-blood version was a gun enthusiast in Scotland who wrote an articulate and impassioned letter to Fleming deploring Bond’s choice of sidearm in the early books, complete with facts and figures about muzzle velocity and whatnot. Fleming, v. appreciative of the advice, entered into a long-time correspondence with Boothroyd on that subject and, eventually, Boothroyd was hired on by Cubby Broccoli as a consultant to the Bond films on the same subject.

It’s not a book to read in a couple of binge sessions, but best kept by the bed (or in your commute bag) and enjoyed over an extended period of time, lest everything blur together and lose coherence.

If you’re a fan of the Bond novels and want to learn more about the man who wrote them, this one’s a must-read.

Phew. Made It.

I’ve come to the end of my self-imposed post at least 100 words a day for a month challenge and I think I can conclude that I don’t have it in me to keep this up on a regular basis. I’ll cheerfully blather about everything that crosses my mind to friends on Facebook, but in that venue I can post with minimal context. These past 30 days and on this blog, I’ve very much tried to keep the notion of writing for complete strangers on my mind as I’ve bashed these bits out. It turns out that’s not nearly so easy – big surprise.

Not that anyone’s reading, mind you. I have a couple of friends who stop from time to time, but that’s it. This is more about me practicing my writing than it is about getting readers. As frequent practice is better, I’ll keep on with this as best I can, but make no promises as to frequency, moving forward.

Politics. Again.

Herr Trump’s campaign is starting to make the kind of mistakes that, one hopes, presage a large scale disaster. The GOP has realized that uniting in taking him down is a better use of their time than disingenuously wondering how this happened in the first place*. I’m hoping for an entertaining bloodbath at the convention in July, but unless Kasich sells his soul to the ghost of Dwight Eisenhower, it’s either gonna be Cruz or Trump getting the nomination and I just can’t trust the Democratic party to stoop to whatever depths will be necessary to keep them out of office. Not that I’m dancing at the idea of another Clinton in office**, mind you, but the lesser of three evils, you dig?

Of course, since the GOP have got themselves a lock on the legislature until the day Citizens United is overturned (fat chance) it’ll be another four years of obstructionism but better that than starting a slew of new wars within a month of the inauguration, I guess.
*These guys never read Frankenstein, did they?

**As a reformed socialist, myself, I love Sanders, but he doesn’t stand a chance.