25 October 2012

You know this had to happen eventually.

So as you might expect, since I'm staying at my parents house eventually I had to make my way into the old photos.   I could show you some really cute ones of me when I was younger (they did happen every now and again) but what would be the fun in that?

Yes, I am providing you some humor instead of a real post as I've done nothing but child care and endless texts and emails to Andy regarding our new life in California (Oh hey!  We found an apartment!)(Yay!).   I might get bored tomorrow night and go into some of that but I can't promise anything so here's some pictures of me with really bad hair.

If any of you young ones wonder what life was like in the 1970's, you are pretty much looking at it.  Flared pants and sticking as many of your children in the back of a wood paneled station wagon without seat belts.  I wouldn't doubt if my parents actually drove off with all the doors open like this.  The 1970's was one of the last eras where childhood was described as "survival of the fittest".

Can't guess which one is me?  I'm the one with the boy's haircut and who is missing most of their front teeth (ie: the one on the way left).

This must be the look of every only child when they are handed their first sibling.  It's the look of, "I don't care who he is, I'm not sharing the prize in the cereal box."

And yes, I still look like a boy.  But I have EARRINGS in, so no one can be confused.

This is the photo that I found that inspired this post.  Here I am in nature, which you must know I wasn't enjoying being in, but I appear happy because I'm not wearing pants and I'm promoting cigarettes.  

Story of my life really.

13 October 2012

While I'm waiting...

So after two weeks of living the husband-less, child-less carefree existence, I am now with Henry again. Andy has spent his week here in Wisconsin and is currently on a plane. I'm sure in 6 hours time I will receive a gloating text from him telling me how lovely the weather is where he's at and boy, doesn't he just feel like having a pint...or six. I don't blame him, since I did the same to him.

As expected, it didn't really take me long to readjust to life back in the States. It's been three weeks and part of me feels like I never left at all. The UK? Where's that? It's been good but I'm starting to get anxious to be done with this move already. Taking three months to move is brutal and we're only halfway done with the process. We were reassured that our stuff is indeed on a boat (I want to be on a boat) and depending on the line (BrE: queue) at the Panama Canal and US Customs, we should have our things again by mid to late November. I often look at my things and become jealous that they have seen more countries than me.

While I wait patiently (*scoff*) for our lives to once again be settled, I try to keep myself entertained as best I can. I'd like to add that my entertainment thus far as added around 5-10 lbs to my waistline. Thank you America.

Here are some photos from the last few weeks because, you know, that's all I got for now.

 I typically don't drink too many fruity beers but when I do, nothing beats a Leinenkugel's.   I've been a fan of their Berry Weiss beer for years now and I was excited to try this Lemon Berry Shandy.  It didn't disappoint.  I won't embarrass myself and tell you how fast I got through a six pack of it.   My only defense was that I was still child-less at the time.   I'm reckoning at least a pound was added to my waistline because of this beer.

While wandering around downtown, I happened to stop at this huge antique shop.    Since I had time to kill (like a week and a half worth of time), I spent almost an hour here looking around at all the old shit.   Just as I was about to leave, I spotted this - a Fisher Price Activity Center.   It was....OK, listen, this was the same damn Fisher Price Activity Center I had when I was a baby.   I stood in that antique shop and I pressed and pulled and twanged every "activity" on this thing and every time I knew the exact sound it was going to make before it made it.   It was very Twilight Zone.   Also, it made me feel pretty fucking old. 

If you want to know the kind of shit I do when I'm bored, this is a perfect example.  A couple Fridays ago I read in the paper that starting at noon, Milwaukee would be holding a two day Oktoberfest and per tradition there would be free beer from the first keg tapped until that keg ran out.   So I went....by myself...and drank free beer and shook the mayor of Milwaukee's hand...and talked to some older couple for over an hour until my parking meter ran out (that's a real parking meter and not code for something else).   This is a picture of the keg being tapped by the mayor of Milwaukee whose name I still don't know but who I didn't mind saying, "nice to meet you" as he handed me a free beer.

I didn't stop in here, but the name of the place made me laugh.   Oh Milwaukee...you're so funny.

A trip to the Midwest in fall (BrE: autumn) would not be complete without a trip to the Saturday Farmer's Market.   This was the first day of the weather being complete shit cold after a week of sunny 70's.  This didn't stop the farmers from serving ice cold apple cider.    Also, when you are out and about in very Republican suburban Wisconsin, it's probably not best to accept and proudly display the "Wisconsin for Obama!" sticker you were handed.   I didn't know farmers were capable of such dirty looks to people handing them money for their goods.

After the complexity of fruit machines in the UK (I swear you need some sort of degree to figure out them out - preferably of the rocket science variety) I was looking forward to the simplicity of American slot machines\fruit machines.  I really shouldn't have.  Only having 6 buttons and a single screen didn't exactly stop me from seeing my money disappear, it just took a little longer.

Now here's a game I have a chance with...bar dice.   While I managed to do really well, at the end of the day I don't think I really needed those free shots of whiskey. 

This was taken this past week when my two favorite AmeriBrits got into town.   I immediately took Henry to get his haircut but Andy insisted that he'd get his done once he got to California.   He also said he'd wash his jeans at least once a week which we all know is terribly unlikely.

We took Henry to a farm\petting zoo.  $20 bucks for us to all get in and all Henry wanted to do was play on the tractor in the parking lot.   Kids, right?  Can't live with 'em, can't leave them on the tractor while you go ahead into the zoo.

Well, that's about it for now.  Since I'm single parenting for the next month and a half, I can't promise I'll have much in the way of adult themed updates (that sounds dirty) but I will try my best.   Keep warm and to the California folks, Andy promised me he wouldn't go on a boat until I got out there so don't bother asking. 

Don't even think about it.

01 October 2012

On being back...

So here I am. In America. Eating American foods and donning my sports related sweatshirts outside of the house. I'm taking showers behind full screen doors and washing my hands under mixer taps. I'm driving on the right to Target to buy things that are reasonably priced. I'm here, in America, and it's...weird.

I fully understand that I wasn't in the UK for a long time. A year and a half, that's it. That's nothing really and because of that you would think that being back in the States wouldn't be...weird. But it is. It's this strange combination of trying to reprogram your brain to stop working so hard in some ways, and having to kick it back in motion in other ways.

It's been a week back in the States and I still find myself watching the weather report and having to tell my brain I don't need to convert the numbers on the screen into Fahrenheit. When I'm cooking, I don't need my laptop up to a page that does grams to cups conversions. When shopping, I don't have to wonder if the store I'm in will carry an item or if I'm going to have to go to that same store's bigger store downtown to get it. I mean, I know I don't have to think that way but my brain has been working so hard for the last year and half that it can't seem to stop.

There's also this constant realization that things are more convenient here. I spent the first three days I was back not leaving the house until 10 AM because my brain was programmed to think that no stores was open until then. I spent an hour planning which T-mobile store I was going to drive to that would be able to activate my jail broken iPhone only to realize that the Walmart up the street (open 24 hours) had everything I needed.

Being in America is kind of like dealing with your friend's cousin Vinnie, “Whadda want? Whadeva you want, we got it.”

But there are some things that I have to start thinking about again...like sandwich ordering. In the UK if I ordered a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, they may ask me what bread I wanted and blam, there was my bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. But at the sandwich shop here:

“I'll have the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich please.”

“What type of bread?”

“Um, wheat I guess.”

“White or yellow egg?”


“White or yellow egg?”

“What does that even mean? White or yell....um, uhhhhh, one with a yolk? Yellow maybe?”


“Yes please.”

“No, what KIND of cheese?”
“What? Uh, provolone?”


“Oh Christ. No, just how it is please.”

“What do you want on it?”


“Toppings, what toppings do you want on it?”

“Just bacon, egg and cheese....oh wait, yeah, add some tomato since you're there.”

I swear that the sandwich shop now has a large picture of my face with a “Do Not Serve” written under it now.

I'm also struggling a bit with the expat hoarder mentality. I was doing a grocery shop the other day and I had to stop myself not once, but THREE times not to “pick something up to take back to the UK with me”. I don't need 5 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese. I don't need the jumbo box of Q-tips. I don't need to overdose on kosher dill pickles. I live here now. All that is available pretty much any time I want it.

And just so you know, I'm doing pretty good with driving on the right – it's just parking lots where I sometimes find myself hugging the left hand side of the lane for no apparent reason.

Oh, and I can't stop myself from saying, “cheers” as a thank you, but I'm trying. It's now coming out as, “Cheers, er, thank you.” Thankfully I never picked up 'ta' though a 'mate' has slipped out once or twice.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some fresh (not instant) coffee with half and half to drink while I lazily watch 'Good Morning America'. Indeed.