27 August 2011

The Isle of Man...barely

So 24 hours after we returned from Glasgow with the Henbot in tow, we found ourselves at the Liverpool Pier Head waiting for our ferry to take us across to the Isle of Man.   Going to the Isle of Man was a last minute decision on our part which all started with me innocently asking whether or not the Isle of Man was part of the UK or its own country.  (For those who might still be wondering, it’s both – a bit like Puerto Rico is in relation to the US.  It’s its own country, but it is “looked after” by the UK.)    We booked the Isle of Man with the same furious passion that we booked our Glasgow trip – which is to say that we happily clicked our hotel and ferry tickets without once thinking logistics.  And when I say logistics, I mean, of course, the Henbot.  I think both Andy and I were thinking of our two day trip to London which besides the Underground wasn’t all that bad.   Henry slept through most of it and even when he wasn’t, he was quite content sitting in his stroller looking around.

Henry is a bit older now.

Waiting for the ferry.

Good-bye Liverpool!

It all started on the ferry trip out.  The ferry only takes 3 hours from Liverpool to Douglas on the Isle of Man.  The ferry left at 7 PM so we figured we’d feed the little guy then put him down at 8 PM like normal and he’d sleep peacefully while we merrily sipped our pints of Carling while doing the Radio Times crossword. 

Oh.  Ha.  Ha ha.

Our first mistake was sitting in the more noisy “social” section of the ferry.  Our second mistake was continuing a conversation with a brother and sister duo on their way out to the IoM to attend their father’s funeral.   They were nice enough but due to the situation, they were getting quite hammered in an effort to forget the funeral.   I don’t blame them really.  I did mind them bumping the stroller to talk to us or talk to us in a shouty voice (the ferry was quite loud) right by Henry’s ear.   Obviously Henry couldn’t sleep.  What should have been a lovely 3 hours of sipping Carling and crossword doing ended up as almost two hours pushing Henry around the ferry begging him to “please sleep…please sleep….sleeeeeeeeeeep….you want to sleeeeeeeeep.”

By the time we got to the hotel it was almost 11 PM.  Andy and I were starving but the hotel restaurant was closed.   They had another 24 hour restaurant in the casino next door but no kids of any kind were allowed in and they didn’t do take away.  Room service also ended at 11 PM.  

So now Henry is still awake and very grumpy.  I’m exhausted, hungry and desperately wanting a drink.  Andy is exhausted, hungry, desperately wanting a drink and is trying to appease both a grumpy child and a very grumpy wife.    We made it up to the room, Andy ordered a pizza (but no booze sadly) and I got Henry properly ready for bed where he slept (thank fuck) soundly until the next morning.  

It was a rough start to the Isle of Man.

The next day was better, but only slightly.  We headed to the half mile stretch which is downtown Douglas and…walked the half mile stretch of Douglas over and over again.  We made stops to eat but otherwise, that’s about it.  The Henbot (logistics!) just didn’t want to stay in his stroller for very long so every hour or so we had to stop for an hour and play with him.   Not that it’s a bad thing mind.  I love my son, I love playing with him.  I would have liked to see more of the Isle of Man but we just couldn’t manage it on this trip.   Andy rides motorcycles and the TT races are held out there so one day we’ll be back to see them…and hopefully more of the place.  Unless he’s way older, the Henbot will stay at his nan’s next time.

Just as a side note, I’m enjoying Henry’s baby time but I’m also really looking forward to the time when he’s old enough for zoos and aquariums.  I love me a good zoo and\or aquarium.

Despite the storm clouds, it was actually a really nice sunny day.

"The Isle of Man?  Yeah, I'm cool with it."

"Gimme that beer!"

Walking along the boardwalk

Playing in the sand for the very first time.  I realize I don't like cleaning sand from in between little toes.

Anyhow, by 6 PM – 8 hours of walking Douglas – Henry throws a fit.  A bona fide toddler fit – at 4 months.  He’s not hungry.  He’s not tired.  He doesn’t want to play.  He. Is. Having. None. Of. It.  We head back to the hotel room, stopping at the SPAR for some water, snacks and a bottle of wine and he is just SCREAMING.   Have you ever tried to think logically about what you all need at a store with a baby causing you early onset deafness in your left ear?    We finally get back to the room and make him a bottle.   But he’s still not hungry.  He’s not tired either.   You know what he was?  Over-stimulated.  We get him down to his diapers and placed him on the bed….and he’s happier then a pig in shit.   “Yay!” Henry says, “’Quantum Leap’ is on!”   We ordered room service and cracked open the wine.

The tiny castle in the middle of the sea.

The next day was more of the same but cut short as our ferry left at 4 PM.  Henry thankfully slept on the way back but this time the Irish Sea reared its ugly head and caused a person who normally doesn’t get sea sick to be quite a bit queasy (that’s me by the way).  

"What?  Are we leaving so soon?"

To sum up, from what I can tell, the Isle of Man is beautiful.  If you go, leave all infants with a reliable caretaker.  Bring your own Dramamine as the ferry only sells holistic type medicine (read: crap).   If you take the late ferry, bring some sandwiches with you….and booze….lots of booze.

20 August 2011

Conversations in Glaswian

Because I'm absolute shit at describing my vacations, I thought for this one occasion I would give you our two day trip to Glasgow (with a stop in the Lake District) in picture and conversation form instead of a story type post.

ANDY: Why are you taking a picture of the Services station?
MOE: It's pretty.
ANDY: Do you need me to drive around so you can take a picture of the gas pumps next?

ANDY: You know we aren't in Scotland yet, right?
MOE: Yes but, it says SCOTLAND on the sign.

ANDY: DON'T TAKE A PICTURE OF THE COPPER!  We'll get pulled over!
MOE: Just relax dude.  It's fine.

MOE: Thank you for driving slow past the sign for me. (smiles)
ANDY: Anything for you sweetheart.

ANDY: So why do you want to drink Tennent's so badly?
MOE: It's made in Glasgow.  It's LOCAL beer.
ANDY: It's tramps beer.
MOE: I don't even know what that means.
ANDY: Tramps drink it because of the high alcohol content.
MOE: That can't be all bad.  (sips beer)  OH MAN!  This beer is horrible!
ANDY: I told you.

ANDY: Taking pictures of buses now?
MOE: No!  Well, yes...in this particular one perhaps.   But the building is cool.  It's old and shit.
ANDY: All of Europe is old and shit.

ANDY: (sighs deeply)  Are you planning on crossing the street at any point in time?

ANDY: Upon request, here is your 'old man's pub'.
MOE: Ugh, it's filled with men watching the football match!
ANDY: (thinking in his head) Why did I marry a bloody American?

MOE:  What's a 'neeps'?
ANDY: I have no idea.   Turnips?
MOE: You're suppose to know these things.
ANDY: I'm a vegetarian.
MOE: So?  'Tatties' are potatoes.
ANDY: (thinking in his head) Why did I marry a bloody American?

ANDY ON FIRST DAY OF TRIP:  Make sure you close the gate or else the elevator won't work for anyone else.
MOE ON LAST DAY OF TRIP: You forgot to close the gate!
ANDY: What!  I'm hungover!

MOE: You know, the most north in the world I've been WAS Blackpool.
ANDY: Now you can say it's a whiskey distillery in Scotland!
MOE: That's so awesome.

 MOE: OK, stand by this lake and look like you're having fun.
ANDY: I am.
MOE: Look, we had to do something on this trip besides go to pubs or else one would think we have a drinking problem.  Besides, you can't come to Scotland and not see a castle.
ANDY: (thinking in his head) Why did I marry a bloody American?

 MOE: What a pretty footpath!
ANDY: It's the footpath of doom!

MOE: You know, this castle is kind of crap.  The ones in Wales were a lot nicer.
ANDY: (thinking in his head) Why did I marry a bloody American?

MEN WE MET IN PUB: You know why they decided to film part of the new Brad Pitt zombie movie ('World War Z') in Philadelphia?  Because Glasgow looks more like Philadelphia than Philadelphia does.
MOE:  I don't know who they're trying to fool.  I've been to Philadelphia, it isn't that clean.

MOE: (whispering to Andy afterward) You know, the only reason they started talking to us is because they heard my accent and thought we were part of the movie crew.
ANDY: Did they think you were Angelina Jolie?
MOE: Yes, well, TV might add 10 pounds to your figure but the big screen subtracts 100 pounds.

MOE:  The Lake District is really pretty!  The mountains look like butts!

ANDY: Do you want me to pull over again so you can take more pictures?
MOE: No, I'm pretty much bored of nature now.

ANDY: Was that...?
MOE: Oh.  We. Have. To. Stop.

MOE TO BARMAN: Do you sell t-shirts?
BARMAN:  No, I'm afraid not.
MOE: That might be the saddest thing I've heard all day.

MOE: Somebody make me a t-shirt with this on it please.

10 August 2011

Glasgow Advice

OK, I need your help. And I'm talking to you there, Mr.\Ms. Reader of my blog. We're going to Glasgow for a couple days without the child. What should we do while we are there? I should let you know that Andy and I aren't exactly museum people. We don't like going on long hikes either. We've seen many a castle and aren't particularly interested in seeing more at this time.

Here is a short list of things we've enjoyed doing in the past:

- Going on a fan boat in New Orleans through the swamps.

- Hanging out at the Safe House, a spy themed bar\restaurant in Milwaukee

- Any whiskey or brewery tour

- Seeing the Rugby 7's matches (I couldn't care less about rugby, but I love two days of creative costuming)

- Any unusual festival or fair

So, any suggestions?

I'd go out of my way to see this up close and personal. (Dirty!)

09 August 2011

Things I've been doing when I'm not whining

So I thought I would give you a run down on some of the things I’ve been doing when I’m not whining about not having any friends and not having any rioters set our wheelie bins on fire.

To start off with, Andy and I have gone to a couple more festivals since the one in Crosby. I am glad to report that both festivals had more food choices besides the Mr. Whippy van and the burger\banger van. Sadly, the Crosby festival was the only one with elephant rides.

3 weekends ago, we met Andy’s sister down at the free Brouhaha Festival in Aigburth. This was toted as an artsy international festival. I didn’t quite understand the “international” part of it, unless the Caribbean has since invaded the world, but at least the jerk chicken was pretty decent. It was also family friendly event as – which didn’t make a damn bit of difference to us since we left Henry with his nan – and which basically means that there wasn’t any beer. No beer! At a festival! The nerve! After about an hour, Andy and I started to get twitchy and we three headed to the Baltic Fleet for the remainder of the afternoon drinking local brews and discussing British to American English. I also got hit on by an older deaf man, which is neither here nor there, but which I find funny since the people who want to talk to me are the ones that can’t hear me speak.

I can assure you these people have not been drinking.

2 weekends ago, Andy and I finally took the Cains Brewery Tour. I’ve been wanting to take the tour since we moved here and since it’s on our way back home from Andy’s mum’s house, I see it all the time – mocking me. What’s worse is that you can’t make a last minute decision to go on the tour (like Andy and I tend to do with all our plans – see below) and you have to call Monday – Friday by 5:00 PM to take the tour on Saturday.

The tour itself is good. I’ve been on quite a few brewery tours and this tour rates a bit above average. The highlight of the tour for me was them mentioning Milwaukee – something about borrowing their pasteurization process. Of course after Milwaukee was mentioned, I had a hard time concentrating on the rest of the tour, as eager as I was to Facebook the news that Milwaukee was mentioned in a Liverpool tour. Anyhow, if you go in the summer, wear the lightest clothes possible as it was terribly hot in the brewery. As well, there isn’t a gift shop (!!) but you can buy a t-shirt for your dad from behind the bar.

Sure, you may see a brewery in Liverpool - all I see is Milwaukee.

Last weekend as Andy and I were driving to drop Henry off, I saw this girl wearing a Liverpool Pride t-shirt.

Liverpool Pride,” I asked Andy, “is that like gay pride?”

“Probably not. I don’t think gays own the word ‘pride’.”

“Let me check,” as I break out my cell phone. “No, it’s definitely Liverpool GAY pride. It’s today. It’s down by the Three Graces…it’s also free.”

“Do you want to go?”

“Sure, why not?”

And that’s how most of our weekend plans conspire, and that’s how we ended up at Liverpool Pride. Of the three festivals we’ve been to thus far here, Liverpool Pride was definitely the best. It had great music and a great vibe. Everyone was dancing. Best of all, they sold beer (and cocktails and wine) in multiple locations so, you know, awesome. I did try to convince Andy to get a feather boa to wear but he wasn’t having it. I suspect he just wasn’t drunk enough.

Party by the Pier Head

Don't I look pretty by all the trash?

Proof Andy WILL wear a feather boa if the occasion calls for it.

Now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way, I’m going to talk about my kid. Because a comment I got in the last post made me think that I’m giving the impression that kids aren’t cool. Kids ARE cool, I just didn’t want to go on and on about mine because not that many people care. BUT, I think talking about your kid sometimes is absolutely acceptable and I’m going to do so now.

Henry is now 4 months old. The very best thing about that is that since June 12th (I can remember the date!) is that he started sleeping at least 6 hours in a row during the night. Since July we’ve been getting quite a few 8-10 hour sleeps per night which might be why I love him even more then I did when he was first born. I certainly feel more human.

During the day he’s more active. He actually PLAYS with things. He tries to talk to us too which is really cool. I went against the advice of almost everyone and started giving him tastes of solids. Never a meal replacement, just a snack. He watches us eat all the time and he has such bad acid reflux I thought getting him started early was a good idea. Like every mother, I think he’s the cutest and best kid in the entire world. I sometimes falter in that opinion when he’s overtired and whining and refuses to sleep. I’m only human. We also like to dress him up with mustaches. Again, we’re only human.

Next week I probably won’t be posting because we are finally going on a proper holiday. Two days without Henry and two days with Henry. Both trips should be good and I’ll have loads of pictures to bore you with. Until then, enjoy your last few weeks of summer!

03 August 2011

A Friendless Six Month Moan

So next week at this time, I will have lived in England for 6 months. I’ve learned a lot in those six months, least of which is that feel like a social piraya* the majority of the time I am out in public. In six months, Andy and I have made a total of zero friends. I blame most of this on the basic fact that we don’t go out much because of the baby. I’m sure if Andy and I were still living our carefree pub filled weekends we’d be friends with the mayor of Liverpool by now (I, of course, can not be bothered to look up whether or not there is such a thing as a mayor of Liverpool - and if so, who he or she might be). Regardless, this zero friend business means that it’s been a fairly lonely 6 months and that I am more than willing to chuck in any level of pride in order to make friends. Yes, it’s true. I saw ‘the Great Outdoors’ and immediately looked up if there were any walking clubs in my area. I don’t even like walking.

During the week I try to go out at least once a day. I go for walks (even though I don’t like walking, it helps Henry sleep), I go to the shops, I go to playgroup. I try to engage people in conversation as much as I hate making the first step to small talk. All my efforts have been fruitless and I spend more time repeating what I’ve just said or asking them to repeat something – which isn’t prudent for good conversation. I just recently discovered this article, only to realize that I have been guilty of every single one of the points listed. Seriously, who doesn’t introduce themselves right away? It’s not like I’m going to enforce a mandatory Christmas card exchange if I know your first name for fuck’s sake.

Anyhow, there’s this language barrier thing going on as well. It’s more of an accent barrier really. I spent a miserable two hours at the hair salon on Monday being dutifully ignored conversation wise starting with my request for water.

“Would you like some coffee or tea?”

“I’ll just have water, thanks.”

(blank stare)

(more blank stares)

“Oh! Water. Sure, I’ll get one for you.”

As most of you realize, in the American accent ‘water’ is actually pronounced ‘wadder’. Don’t believe me? Say really fast, “Do you have water” and tell me if there’s a ‘T’ anywhere in what you just said. The English, of course, say ‘water’ with the ‘T’ firmly in place and as much as I try REALLY FUCKING HARD to say ‘water’ and not ‘wadder’, it always slips out. So I get blank stares until the person surmises that I’m an idiot who doesn’t realize there’s a ‘T’ in the word and refuses to talk to me further. By the way, you’d be surprised how often ‘water’ comes in basic conversation.

Andy and I joined the tennis club in our area. No, we don’t play tennis. We joined as auxiliary members to drink at their bar and make friends on our days off (the days where Andy’s mum baby-sits). We were there on Saturday hanging out, trying to chat with anyone who would let us. I noticed that they had a sign asking for volunteers so I asked the woman in charge if they still needed volunteers and if so, I’d be more than willing. Now, this is for volunteering. There is no pay in volunteering. YET, I still had this exchange:

“Well, it’s for bartending shifts.”

“Perfect! I used to bartend – for many years in fact.”

“Well, it would be week nights probably – maybe some weekends.”

“That’s no problem. I don’t work so I’m always free.”

“It would be late nights.”

“That wouldn’t be an issue for me.”

“Like REALLY late nights”

“That’s fine, really.”

“Alright, well…give me your name and number and I’ll call you if something comes up.”

I gave the woman my name and number and she wrote it down on a piece of paper. But she then left that piece of paper sitting in front of me the entire time we were there. I reminded her when we left that it was still there which I think was her cue that it was finally safe for her to chuck my number in the bin.

Seriously people, I’m trying. I’m moaning about this as I’ve never gone this long in a new place without meeting new friends. It’s frustrating and depressing. I know Andy means well but he telling me that “at least Henry and I like you” doesn’t actually help. Andy and Henry are REQUIRED to like me. If they don’t like me, I’m going to cut off their monthly cash deposits.

I’m not going to give up though (it’s not the American way!). Tomorrow I’m going to meet up with some local mums that are having a ‘Meet Up’ from netmums. We’re meeting in a park. I’m sure there will be walking.


*If you watch ‘Modern Family’ there was an episode where Haley says, “If you do this, you’ll be a social piranha.” Alex replies, “Yes, I’ll be an Amazonian carnivorous fish.” Andy wondered why I didn’t laugh at the time as it’s a pretty good joke. Just to nail home the ‘I’m an idiot’ factor, I had always thought ‘piraya’ was another word for ‘piranha’. I mean, I wouldn’t want to hang around a piranha, especially since they would eat me. It made sense. I’ve since been corrected.

 Me, with my new red contact lenses in.  Do you like them?