As of the last posting, Jennifer was busy looking online and on foot for houses in The Hague. Then, several days lapsed with no updates, during which time we secretly found a house and worked with the real estate agent to get some minor repairs/detailing worked out with the landlord. The house wasn't perfect, but it couldn't have had a more perfect location. In the city center, but not on a busy street (actually, on a beautiful canal street). Walking distance to EVERYTHING. After Houston and Doha, walking distance to everything seems heavenly. But I didn't post that news. Given what we'd heard about HR, I was afraid releasing that information would be enough for them to send the Bureaucracy SS after me. I kept my mouth (and fingers) quiet, and Markus played their game.
They won anyway.
They have officially denied our request to go on the open market. As in Doha, they want to force us into a company house that numerous other families have already rejected. What bites is not living in company accomodation; it's this uneven application of policy that could mean any arbitary decision from whomever you come up against on whatever day that results in us being told where we can live our private lives. Not fun. But also, apparently, not open for debate. Sigh.
So...Markus is now looking at company houses without us. Why, you ask?
Once again, Jennifer and Ellie are stateside. Sunday morning, we had an email from our dear family friend, telling us she would be having an emergency surgery on Monday. It wasn't life threatening, but the recovery would be challenging for a person on her own so Markus and I agreed Ellie and I should be here. Although we are ahead of schedule, we were planning to come for a few weeks around Thanksgiving time anyway. My dad's house is still untouched by the $%&$^%# contractor (two months after the finish date he quoted me when we signed). I need to be here to either light a fire under his behind or get our contract annulled so I can find someone else (though who that will be, I have NO idea because good contractors on the Gulf Coast are booked out til the end of time, apparently). When I called Steve (the AWOL contractor) and told him I was here, the "oh $%^&!" in his voice was pretty clear. He said his flooring guy ran off with a few thousand dollars and he's been trying to track him down, but don't worry...he's got a new guy who will be there at the beginning of next week. Monday, I ask? Well...apparently the new guy considers Halloween a holiday so he won't be in until after the holiday. Wednesday, I ask? Yeah, Wednesday.
How much money do you want to bet that there will be NO ONE there on Wednesday?
Or Thursday for that matter?
What a debacle.
On the upside, Markus managed to get leave approved for Thanksgiving, when he will join us up at my mom's. Thanksgiving is on her birthday this year, so we're really happy to be able to celebrate with her! Since our things won't clear the massive red tape that completely engulfs The Netherlands until at least December, there's no reason to stick around waiting (no pun intended).
Finally, I am happy to report that little Miss Ellie is officially a walker! I set her down in a shop in New Orleans on Tuesday afternoon, and she just toddled off to get a toy across the store. There's no stopping her now!