30 April 2011

Royal Wedding flung with a beard over a rainbow

So Friday was pretty busy around these parts. Well, this whole week has been pretty busy to be honest but I don’t have pictures from the rest of the week so we’ll just focus on Friday.

Friday actually started at 2 AM for me as it was my turn to do the Newborn Night Shift and that’s when the Henbot woke up for his feed. As a quick side note, the term ‘feed’ bothers me slightly as it makes me think of vampires and by saying my child is demanding a feed is like saying that I’m raising a blood sucker – which, you know, to each their own, but I would hope he wouldn’t put in fake fangs and wear dorky leather trench coats until he was at least in his thirties and I was well dead and unable to witness it. ANYHOW, I had the night shift as stated and the Henbot was going through a growth spurt (he seriously grew out of some clothes overnight) and was fussy because of it so I got a meager 3 hours of sleep and couldn’t get anymore after Andy woke up and sent me for my morning nap because my mind was too preoccupied with figuring out what we were all going to need for our trip to London next weekend and oh my god this is a run on sentence (my favorite!). I finally gave up at 10 AM and came downstairs because the Royal Wedding was coming on and there were mimosas to drink.

Got my Tesco's Prince William champagne all ready!

I don’t want to say that I was excited for the Royal Wedding because I wasn’t. I wanted to see it and I wanted to buy some kitschy Will & Kate souvenirs to send to my sister as I get pleasure from sending tacky gifts to people but I wasn’t counting down the days to the wedding or anything. The Royal Wedding to me was just one of those British things that I felt I should experience – like watching the Queen’s speech on Christmas – even though the wedding (and the Queen’s speech) was what I would consider a bit boring. But I watched it – all two hours of it – and lived through Andy’s comments of cockneys and didn’t turn it off through the particularly boring hymn bits as much as I really wanted to and drank mimosas and dressed the Henbot up in patriotic clothes and made him watch it too and oh my god this is another run on sentence (my favorite!). I experienced the Royal Wedding in the UK and I can now tick that box off.

All kitted out...

While it shouldn’t bother me, reading Facebook yesterday did. What I found was a lot of my American friends both ruthlessly mocking the Royal Wedding and mocking those friends who posted that they were watching it. I don’t care that they were taking a crack at the Royal Wedding but it really pissed me off that some people were taking the piss at those who decided to watch it. It was like this whole hipster position of “it’s cool to hate the Royal Wedding so you must be so uncool to be watching it but instead of leaving it alone I will make sure to let you know how uncool you are because that makes me feel even cooler, especially that much cooler than you.” I mean, c’mon. Just let it go and focus on your ironic tube sock collection instead please.

(rant over)

Around 5 PM, we dropped the Henbot at his nan’s and headed to Liverpool City Centre. We had tickets to see Dylan Moran. Now, if anything describes Andy and mine’s early relationship, it can be summed up with Arctic Monkeys, Spaced and Black Books. Basically a lot of great music, funny fucked up randomness and drinking inappropriately. When I saw in the Liverpool Echo that Dylan Moran was performing it didn’t take us long to secure a babysitter and get tickets. For those who might not be aware (hi Beth!), Dylan Moran is an Irish comedian. He always seems perpetually drunk but manages to be fantastically funny. We were pretty stoked to be seeing him live.

We had a few hours to kill before the show started so we had a few pints in the Irish American pub and managed to feel very much like our old pre-parental selves even though we were both struggling with exhaustion. To be fair, a lot of our conversation focused around Henry. We’re only human.

The show was at the Liverpool Royal Court, an old theater built in 1938. We had seats up in the balcony but still had a great view. Dylan Moran was funny as expected and we had a great time. I would like to mention now that I am absolute shit at describing gigs so you’ll have to settle with that piss poor quip about the night. Just know that we had a lot of fun and I was pretty tickled that they gave out smoking passes during intermission.

Pardon the blurry shots; the camera on my phone doesn’t have a flash.

I was too scared to take a photo and annoy people when the show started.

Pure Awesome.

Next week we are headed to London with the Henbot to get his American citizenship at the US Embassy and staying a couple days to see the sights. I foresee a lot more sleeplessness as I stress about traveling with an infant in a huge city for two days.

23 April 2011

Bank Holidays make me hungry

This is going to be another random post because I’m working on some pathetic number of hours of sleep (is “pathetic number of hours of sleep” a proper phrase? I have no idea. My god, I’m so tired) and the child is sleeping next to me on the couch all bunged up with a cold and making weird grunting noises that have carried on since 1 AM last night and I’ve got “Merlin and the Dragon Wars” tuned in on the flat screen (another SyFy television movie travesty) and a glass of chilled red wine next to me as I’ve got a cold too and the ice helps my throat (whereas the wine helps me be a good mommy) and Andy has gone AND LEFT ME to go to the Liverpool match because his cousin had an extra (free) ticket for him and I’ve got some crazy amount of stupid chores to do that I’ve forced upon myself so I can ward off the guilt of not contributing financially to the family at the moment and FUCK IT, I’m so not taking a shower today.

Its day two of the 4 day Easter holiday which means absolutely nothing to me being unemployed and all; though it does mean that Andy is off of work and the stores are inconveniently closed right at the moment where I really don’t feel like cooking.

Today is the first day in a week where the weather hasn’t been absolutely gorgeous. Even though I was dead tired on Thursday and only working on two hours of sleep, I decided to take the boy out to the park to enjoy the sun. Calderstone Park is this massive park about a half mile or so from the house. Sefton Park is actually massiver (it’s a word dammit) but it’s farther than a half mile and I’m pathetically out of shape. There’s really not much to say about our park trip except that knowing where the bathrooms are before entering a gigantic park is probably a good idea and having a tiny baby in tow is pretty much the equivalent to catnip to women aged 30 to 65. I met a lot of people (read: women) that afternoon though I was unfortunately too tired to hold much of a conversation. Let’s be honest really – after determining that my tiny baby is a boy and is his name is Henry – the only thing further I want to know is whether you like going for a cocktail now and then and that just sounds like a pick up line – so I don’t say anything and just smile. Sadly, I have no idea how to make friends with girls who aren’t girlfriends of guys that I’m already friends with. Making friends with guys is simple. You both flirt but then mention that you are both already involved with someone else so the pressure is off (as is the flirting) and bam! New guy friend.

Obligatory pictures:

I love self motorized strollers.

If I wasn't so tired, I might think that this was really pretty.

I really had to pee at this point.

On Friday it was yet another gorgeous day and Andy was off of work, so I convinced him to take a walk along the Otterspool Promenade. The walk turned out to be really short since we were both really hungry and stopping into the Otterspool Pub for lunch seemed like a great idea after a 10 minute stroll. We lazed around in the park for awhile after lunch and at the point where Andy was getting entirely too overheated I suggested that we go to that “one picturesque town place” that we passed by last week. Andy insisted that I be more specific. It was finally determined that I was talking about Thornton Hough (pronounced Thornton Huff) and we took a short drive across the Mersey and had ourselves a pint in that “one picturesque town place”. Seriously that pint and overall experience was exactly how I always pictured life in England to be – sunny day in spring, cold pint outside, baby peacefully sleeping in his car seat, Tudor houses and an old chapel AND red phone box in the background. Of course, peaceful sleeping baby turned into fussy baby and our experience was cut short – but it was well worth it.

Obligatory photo:

"Stop putting flowery crap on me!"

Having my classic English springtime moment.

The only other news I have for you is that since Andy actually took the entire week off, I have a chance to get my hair cut sometime this week. I know! A haircut! As Bethhead will tell you, my hair is one of those things of mine that I care entirely too much about. This is mostly because I’ve long ago given up hope that my ass will be of a controllable size but my hair (as thick and prone to grey as it is) is something that I can manage. Finding a new stylist here is going to be a bit of a challenge as they don’t have Supercuts or Fantastic Sam’s in the UK. I know to avoid those places – I don’t know what to avoid here. If anyone has any tips, let me know by Wednesday.

Hope every one has a happy bunny day tomorrow.

20 April 2011

Up on the wall...

I'm trying to find the time (read: energy) to get my weekly post out.  Because I'm obviously going to be late with it, I'll give you my favorite photo of the week.  Yeah, it's a baby photo.  I could give you a picture of the 12 unopened boxes sitting in our spare room but it's not as awesome.

Strangely, both of them are wondering when they can head to the pub.

15 April 2011

A sliver of the food post that never was...

I never did get around to writing that food post that I was planning.  I think you can figure out why.  Because I still don't really have time, this is more like Food Post Lite.  A tasting menu of food posts.   A chocolate miniature of food posts. A goddamn tapa of food posts.  A sniff from the Cinnabon store when you're in the mall just to buy a pair of shoes for the Christmas party of food posts.   You get the picture.

Speaking of which, here are some pictures.  The first is from the fish & chip shop in Crosby (seriously, THAT'S how long I've been meaning to write a food post).  This particular fish & chip shop would be considered a Chinky, meaning they serve mostly Chinese food, and 'chinky' apparently isn't a horribly racist term like it would be in the US.  Or maybe it is a horribly racist term here as well and now I'm going to get hate mail due to my ignorance.  

I've been struggling with Chinese food since I've arrived here and it's due to the fact that none of the Chinese food dishes are termed the same as I'm used to.  In all fairness, 90% of the Chinese food in America is not really Chinese food at all but an American bastardization of it but I thought there might be some similarities here.  There isn't. The biggest difference I've seen is that in the US, you normally choose your meat and vegetable accompaniments.  For example, I normally get beef with broccoli or chicken with snow peas.   In the UK, the Chinese dishes are separated out by sauces.   Beef with OK sauce.  Chicken with Peking sauce.  I have no idea what these sauces are and I don't know what kind of vegetables will be coming with my meal.  As someone who doesn't eat mushrooms or onions (both very prevalent in Chinese food) it's a bit of a crap shoot when ordering Chinese food here.  The best that I've worked out is that I like the oyster sauce (that thankfully doesn't actually taste like oysters), the rest, as they say, is a mystery.

Board of Mystery Dishes #1

I don't even want to know what "special fried rice" is.
The 2nd thing I was itching to show you was the launch of Stella Artois's Cidre last week.  Yes, I did spell that correctly spell check.  Apparently it's not pronounced "cider" but "see-dray" or some equally lame ass pronunciation like that.  As someone who has a soft spot for Snakebites made with cider and Stella, this is an interesting development for me.  Not that I've had time to hang out in the pub getting smashed on Snakebites recently, but when that time does come again, I'm going to be as embarrassed to order a Stella\See-Dray snakebite as I am my decaf sugarfree vanilla lattes with a half pump of syrup.  But order it I will because dammit, it's got to be awesome.

 Wait for me my pretentious sounding future hangover!

13 April 2011


So it’s been 6 days with a newborn in the house and as expected, things have been utter chaos. Despite my best efforts, I’ve become a cliché with all grown up talks with Andy revolving around feeding schedules, poo consistency, thoughts about gas and our ongoing argument on whether the baby is too hot or too cold. Compounded with all this is the lack of sleep which to be fair, I’m not handling gracefully. I’ve never had the best record for sleep. 6 hours is my typical night of sleep and if I don’t get those 6 hours then I tend to turn into a four headed monster – moody, difficult, impossible – basically I revert back to a 2 year old.

Saturday was when I hit my wall. I had done 4 days on 4 hours sleep (sometimes that 4 hours broken up into 45 minute segments) and it was my turn to do the couch sleeping night shift. While Henry can sleep for 3 hours solid before requiring any of his basic needs, that particular night he was up demanding something every half hour. I just lost it. I don’t mean I lost it in the sense that I screamed and yelled or threw anything, I just broke down. There was a point at 5 AM where I’m feeding Henry for the 5th time that evening and tears are just rolling down my face. I’m sobbing. And I couldn’t stop sobbing. I was just so tired and overwhelmed. Typically when I hit a wall like that, when things get too much for me at work, or in a relationship, or if I’m just having one of those days when everything goes tits up, I leave. I leave and go for a drive or I leave and go to the pub or I leave and go sit in a park…I just leave. The fact that I couldn’t leave made me break down that much further and I ended up waking up Andy around 6 AM, eyes all puffy and red and tears still streaming telling him over and over again that I was sorry and that I couldn’t do it anymore. My husband is awesome. He put me to bed where I slept for almost 5 hours. Then last night, he sent me to bed at 11 PM and let me just sleep….and sleep…and sleep. I never thought that being given 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be as romantic as a getting a surprise shag in the middle of a car park, but my god…it is.

Today I feel normal again. My brain seems to be able to process more than “hungry = eat food”. I feel up to making important decisions like deciding to cut out Facebook and news\blog reading for the week so I can utilize Henry’s sleeping hours to actually unpack a box or two….or prepare a meal more complicated than a bowl of cereal…or to take a fucking shower.

3 days later…

Very typically, after I wrote “fucking shower” Henry started screaming and I completely forgot to finish this up until right now. Part of that was due to the fact that because I had gotten some sleep I managed to find the energy to tackle some of the boxes littering every corner of our house. I’m proud to announce that my kitchen is back. Well, as back and complete as it’s going to be. Even though the physical size of our UK kitchen appears to be the same size as our US kitchen, the kitchen cabinets here aren’t as deep or as wide as the ones in the US and I’ve had to go through and repack things that we don’t immediately need. Like barware. I know! The barware! My theory behind packing the barware away is that we don’t exactly have a group of friends here yet to invite over for BBQ’s and the likelihood that Henry will let us get out and about to make such a group of friends is away off still so…away it goes. In another Shit We Paid to Ship that’s Completely Useless Here are my baking trays. My baking trays are made for those wonderfully wide US ovens and simply don’t fit in my UK oven. Not that I didn’t try. Holding one of the baking trays in hand I could physically see that the tray was too wide for the oven but it still didn’t stop me for trying to jam it in. Not that it would have worked, but the tray didn’t even fit if I put the tray on an angle. Looking back I’m not sure why I tried to fit the tray in at an angle – I think maybe if it fit that way I would have gotten all smug and justified that we paid to bring it over…or something.

By the way, I’m doing pretty well at my Facebook ban. I couldn’t manage to give up blog reading and a little news reading but I haven’t logged on to Facebook for 3 days now and I feel…a bit free really. I might have to continue my ban for longer than a week – or modify it a bit and only check in once a week.

This is a random post, isn’t it? It kind of reflects my brain at the moment. Like now I want to tell you that Andy has gotten me hooked on “Jonathan Creek”, a now cancelled mystery show that humors me to no end. In the two specials that I’ve seen so far (which with a baby takes us 2-3 days to watch) the main character will solve the murder and announce how he solved the murder TO the murderer (or relative of the murderer) and yet the murderer doesn’t feel inclined to, you know, MURDER the main character. Yeah, I know…I’m easily amused these days.

So I know this post isn’t that entertaining but my sweet son is about to roar his head in hunger so it’s the best I can give you for now.

08 April 2011

And so it begins...

*WARNING: Gratuitous photos of baby ahead.

Diaper changed. Check. Milk drank. Check. Gas removed. Check. No milky crusty shit stuck in the chin folds. Check. Possibility that child will sleep long enough for me to get out a proper post. Undetermined. Possibility that midwife will show up right when I’m in the middle of a thought. Almost certain. Possibility that I’ll get distracted by the utter cuteness that is a small sleeping newborn that I get to call my own. Guilty.

So it’s 3 days later or perhaps 4 days, since the birth. Actually, what day is it? I have no idea. I think its Friday. The Grand National is on tomorrow so it must be. I’ve managed to get showered before 9 AM and I just realized that my normal jeans already fit me again so fucking hell, it’s already a good day in my book. Not to mention, there’s a bottle of whiskey in the kitchen and a Friday night to justify cracking into it. It might ease the pain of the 20 some boxes and various unassembled furniture littering the house at the moment.

Not sure how he managed to get his coat up there, or where he might be going at night.

To get the details out of the way (for those of you who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about baby things especially labor and delivery, I would recommend just reading ahead to the end where I will put a picture of badger for your amusement), Henry’s arrival this week started off by my water breaking at 4 AM on Monday morning. Just as an FYI, in the UK they consider this process as your waters breaking (note the ‘S’). This is just a further example of the Brits shifting their S’s all over the shop and lands in the same pile of wonder as “reading the Sport page” (note the lack of ‘S’). I was actually prepared to give you more examples of this ‘S’ phenomenon but I’m fucking tired and can’t remember another one at this time. Anyhow, my water broke at 4 AM but nothing else was really happening so I just stuck it out at home. By 4 PM, I was getting random contractions but nothing more. We called the hospital (in the UK, you would say that you’re going to hospital – no ‘the’ – yeah, I know) and they told us to come in to check things out. Since we were just in the hospital 2 days earlier for the same thing and were sent home, I didn’t bother to bring all my things with me the 2nd time around. This was a huge mistake on my part as we didn’t get sent home the 2nd time and by the time we left 16 hours later, I had my hair pulled back using a surgical rubber glove. I’m nothing if not resourceful.

Because I wasn’t in what anyone was considering “active labor”, I was sent to the midwife unit for assessment. I had been weary about going to the midwife unit because I wanted an epidural and the midwives are not allowed to give them. I went anyways because I really didn’t have a choice at that point. This would appear to be the theme of the evening. Now before I begin, I would like to say that I really have no issues with the NHS (National Health Service) in this country. I’ve had numerous doctors’ visits in the two months I’ve lived here and besides one time with an extremely long wait, I’ve had no complaints. Everyone has been both very nice and knowledgeable in their profession. So when I say that the midwives at Liverpool Women’s Hospital were awesome and complete bitches at the same time, take it with a grain of salt.

He brings home the bacon and cooks it up in a...bottle.

About a month before giving birth, I was watching one of the morning news shows and they had a piece on how epidurals aren’t readily given in this country and in fact, there are midwives who flat out refuse to send a patient for one. At the time I scoffed at the piece, turning to my mother in law and stating matter of factly, “I’m getting an epidural. I will make sure of it.” Oh, how naïve I was! Because I didn’t get one. I asked for one. I pleaded for one. I begged for one. I whined for one. At one point I turned to the midwife and said, “I WANT A FUCKING EPIDURAL. WHY CAN’T I GET AN EPIDURAL? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE?!” I would like to state for the record that I did do a lot of apologizing after the fact to any of the midwives I might have offended.

You may be wondering why I was refused an epidural. To be quite honest, I really have no idea. I was told from the get go that the delivery ward – where there are real doctors who give real epidurals – were too busy to take me. Too many emergencies, not enough beds….or some bullshit. I refuse to believe that and instead think that because the only thing that was wrong was me was my pain and my trucker mouth, there was no real reason for me to go up to use the resources of a real doctor. So yes, the NHS, you get what you pay for. Which is nothing, which is what I got in terms of pain relief.

First day out on the town.  He looks like he's going to an NFL game in Green Bay.

I am exaggerating a bit, because it’s my blog and I can. I did get morphine twice – which worked for an hour at the very beginning and fuck all at the end – and I got laughing gas which made me sick to my stomach – very pleasant when you are in that much pain and also feel like puking. In my eyes, besides that hour at the very beginning, I did this birth naturally, something I would highly recommend to anyone I hated or who might cut me off in traffic. For the 6 hours I endured the worst pain in my life, these were the only words\phrases in my vocabulary: Fuck. Fucking Shit. Fucker Fuck Me. Jesus Fuck Shit Fuck I WANT AN EPIDURAL Fuck Me Christ. These words\phrases were accompanied by banshee screams and various body flings into the walls. What I find amusing (now) is that the windows to my room not only looked over the main entrance, but were also wide open allowing any and all visitors, patients and staff to get the full extent of my soon to be Harvard speech that I was giving.

You may wonder what giving birth naturally feels like. I’ve been comparing it to passing a baby dragon, with all its claws and scales and breathing fire, through your love hole. I think that’s all I really need to say about it really.

Just born and already complaining.

16 hours after arriving at the midwives unit, we were sent home. Technically, if I wanted, I could have gone to the maternity unit with Henry to rest while Andy would be sent home. Since I had no desire to lounge around with a bunch of other women who may recognize my voice (the embarrassment of hearing, “Jesus Fuck Shit Fuck I WANT AN EPIDURAL Fuck Me Christ” all night), I agreed to go home when they asked if I wanted to.

Since then it’s been everything you probably expect. No sleep. Visitors coming to coo at your child. Take out dinners. Laundry (my god, the laundry!). Spit and Shit. Bottles of milk sitting next to glasses of wine. Crying (both Henry’s and mine). Burping (they call it “winding” here). Little socks. Love. Lots and lots of love for this tiny little thing that made me uncomfortable for 9 months, near death pain for 6 hours, and refuses to let me sleep ever since he arrived in the world. You rock K.I.S.S. style, my son.

 You rock even when you're farting.


06 April 2011

Introducing Henry...

Henry managed to arrive smack dab on his due date, April 5th at 12:39 AM. He weighs in at a whopping 7lb 2 oz which only means that I didn't lose as much weight as I hoped in the last 48 hours. The shippers with our stuff from the US also arrived this morning so I'm assuming that you'll all understand why I'll have to give you a proper post with all the fun stuff later. Until then, please enjoy this photo of our handsome son doing his best James T. Kirk impression: