Konban, (this evening) we sign contracts and drain our bank accounts to cover the up-front cost of renting a house off base. No wonder Japanese people typically live with their parents until they start their own family - renting is no joke! We're lucky because the Mew gets a cost-of-living allowance that alleviates a lot of the pressure, but the up-front cost is about 6 months rent. Security deposit, pet deposit, first month rent, key money, agent's fee, and renter's insurance.
Ashita no gozen, (tomorrow morning) we have a meeting with the realtor and the housing department on base to make sure everybody has originals of everything signed and work out any details. Then we pick out what furniture and appliances we're going to borrow from base housing. We'll definitely need a refrigerator and washing machine (houses typically don't come with either of these), hopefully a convection/microwave oven (houses will have a fish griller, but not an actual over as we think of them), bed, dresser, something soft to sit on, and anything we can find to put between our desks and the nice unscratched hardwood floor.
Rokugatsu tsuitachi, (June 1st) the guy from the housing office will do the home inspection before we move in. The next day, furniture/appliances and our express baggage will arrive, and it will start to look like a place where someone lives. Pictures to follow.
The cat import process is long and annoying. They've already gone through the microchipping, first rabies vaccine, second rabies vaccine, blood test to make sure the rabies vaccines worked, six month waiting period, and 40-day advance notification to the airport. Now they need three forms filled out (two health certification forms and an import application), which we should be able to do soon.
Someone who is here that will be taking a trip back to DC has graciously offered to escort the cats back. I'm not sure exactly how one can say "thank you" for something as great as this. I feel worlds better knowing that someone who has done this before will be able to keep track of them and make sure we can get them through the airport without pissing anyone off.
Speaking of the cats, apparently Crooked has adopted his foster mom's mom. Foster Grandma moved in while he was missing, so she's a new friend, and she doesn't particularly care for cats, but Crooked doesn't mind. I understand he's recently been banished from the upstairs while they're sleeping because he has that habit of sleeping on her head and kneading her hair into tangles.
Mona is the indigenous cat. Aria, my sweet little girl, turns into a raving b*tch around other cats for no good reason as far as I can tell, and has Mona cornered in the master bedroom. Hang in there, Mona, 39 more days.