26 September 2009

Brrrr!


cold post
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Okay, it's not quite as cold here as in the picture, but in the past week the temperature has dropped considerably. It's like the weather was trying to stretch out just a bit more summer, realised that it's just a few days from October, and BAM! Colder weather. The days are markedly shorter...it's now dark-ish at 5:30pm and YIKES DARK by 7pm. I know that we're WAY farther north than where I used to live in the states, but it's still a bit shocking how fast the change seems to come on. Last week I'd wear a scarf on the way in to work and be sweating on the way back with my jacket on but not buttoned. Just yesterday my nails were turning blue because I'd forgotten my gloves.

With the cold weather I'm starting to notice the difference between houses with double glazing and those, like mine, without it. Thankfully we have the fireplace in the sitting room or I'd be completely unable to watch television there without a wool jumper and possibly the duvet from the bed. Once the fireplace is turned off (it's gas), the heat is sucked out of the room and it goes back to it's recently constant state of "It's chilly in here." We don't turn the "central heating" on until October, it seems...though I'm not entirely sure that I would call radiators on the walls that don't have blowers the same thing that I'm used to calling "central heating." (I may have to take shorts and a swimsuit to the US next month to deal with the temperature of my parents' house after getting used to always being mildly cold here!!)

As far as daily life here goes, I continue to plod along through my new life. I'm getting used to the idea that the English Nancy is a totally different person than the American Nancy, but I'm still not sure I like the new me. The American Nancy had a career that she was passionate about, and that passion for language and ASL in particular made it possible to overlook difficult clients and disagreeable coworkers. The English Nancy has a part time job that brings in just enough extra money to the house to make it impossible for her to quit in the face of difficult customers and disagreeable coworkers. American Nancy had a house full of greyhounds and cats, and her non-signing life focused mostly on activities involving her hounds, about her hounds, and with other people who have hounds. English Nancy has one hound and one cat, and doesn't really have any activities outside of work and her BSL class (there just isn't time, when a four hour work day takes eight hours with the commute time added).

Homesickness has struck again, most likely because a lot of people I know in the States headed to Myrtle Beach this past weekend for Beach Bound Hounds. I've only just started going to BBH again, but the absence of that gathering of people who understand me hit me just as hard as the absence of the RID conference did in August, the absence of the Georgia Renaissance Festival did in April and May, and I'm sure the absence of the Carolina Renaissance Festival will in October and November.

If I've learned anything, it's that I had a very very full life in the United States that I did not come close to appreciating until I lost all of it to move to the UK. Chilling thought, that. I always thought of myself as unhappy there, but I wasn't, not as unhappy as I've been from time to time here, when I think of what I gave up. Now, what do I do with THAT information? For now, to quote an earlier post about compartmentalizing, I'll put on my Confessor's face and get on with it...fake it till you make it...or freeze to death, whichever comes first.

09 September 2009

Outings in the Rain and other dislikes...

I like not having to drive when I go somewhere as far away from my house as Leeds. I like that all grocery stores will deliver my groceries to my door if my husband didn't just love grocery shopping too much to give it up. I like that people call me "luv" and tell me that my accent is Gorr-jus. I like that I can take Daisy on buses and trains and no one bats an eyelash. I like Carex hand soap, the blue kind, because the Aloe Vera green kind smells weird. I like that I can get the same kind of Dove soap I use in the US here in the UK. I like Red Leicester cheese and ASDA brand melba toast. I really like Marmite breadsticks and can't wait to try Twiglets.

I don't like going anywhere when it's raining. I don't like rainy days where the wind can't pick a direction and turns my umbrella back inside out faster than I can right it. I don't like cars that intentionally pull over toward the pavement I'm standing on to splash me while I'm waiting to cross the street. I don't like taxi drivers that refuse to take my dog in their taxis, even if it's to go to the vet. I don't like people who stand in bookstores and very loudly criticise America when I'm standing right nearby and have just asked if I can help. I don't like stairs. I've fallen down two flights of them in three weeks. I don't like having my only bathroom at home be on the top floor of my house. See above comment about stairs.

If you look at those two paragraphs and count the sentences I think you'll find that the first one is longer than the second one. That's huge progress for me. Finding my way to my job on my own for three weeks is huge progress for me, considering it involves two busses and four trains for the entire round trip. The fact that I'm working somewhere that requires me to talk to strangers every minute of every day that I'm there is huge beyond measure...I still make Simon call to order takeaway.

But the biggest huge is that while I'm looking forward to our trip to America at the end of October my entire life isn't hinging on it as it did on the one in June. Well, at least today it isn't...

02 September 2009

Why I Desperately Miss My Dishwasher


splish, splash
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Yesterday's post was pretty upbeat, if I do say so myself. I was up on time, I was ready to go to work on time, all was well.

Had I a dishwasher, things would have gone exactly to plan and I would have made it in for another day of destickering fun. However, I don't, and something as simple as soaking a grill played havoc with my day and turned all my plans on their collective ear.

Okay, that's a little melodramatic. Here's the Reader's Digest version of what happened (for those that are not as ancient as I am or not from the US, Reader's Digest is a fantastic periodical that contains articles and stories, and was my favorite read when I was in elementary school).

Simon had filled the sink with hot water and soap in an effort to soak the grill and remove the remnants of our last foray into quarter pound burgers for dinner. After I ate my brunch (Frosties or Frosted Flakes in the US, and yes, they are GREAT!) I drained the sink to rinse out the bowl so that the grill didn't soak in soapy milk. That done, I replaced the plug, poured in some dish soap and started the hot tap.

We have a divided tap, and the water that comes out of the hot one is akin to what comes out of our BADLY IN NEED OF DESCALING kettle. As in don't try to wash your hands under it unless you don't mind losing a layer of skin.

The sink was taking forever to fill so I dried my hair and came back. Mostly full. I turned off the tap and went back to finish my hair. In the five minutes that took, the sink drained because I didn't get the plug in all the way the first time. Literally, rinse, repeat. Plug back in and tap on, I ran upstairs to grab my bag, iPod, and other travel essentials. Back downstairs, thankfully without the iPod turned on, and I hear water hitting something that does NOT sound like the grill or the sink.

There was an inch of water on the floor and more spilling out over the lip of the sink. Seems that when one gets the plug in the hole properly the sink, which isn't huge, fills up PDQ and runs over onto the floor. It was 11:58 and I had 9 minutes to catch the bus that would get me to the train station to catch the train that would get me to the second train station in time to catch the train that would get me to Wakefield with enough time to walk to the shopping centre and be at work on time at 2pm. You can imagine my panic.

Rang up Simon at work who said he would come home and take care of it so I could go on to work. But then he said something that made me stay home...I heard him tell his co-workers that I'd flooded the kitchen...and they laughed. I rang up my work and told them what was going on, they of course said I could make up the hours later, and that was that. Much toweling and mopping followed, and after I placed the big fan in the kitchen doorway I had a chance to sit down.

None of that would have happened if we had a dishwasher...or if I knew how to plug a sink.

01 September 2009

Coming out of the tunnel

This past week has felt like I've been in a long tunnel, like the one between Shipley and Leeds on the Leeds/Skipton train, except without the ears popping. I started my new job a week ago Sunday, and in those nine days have learned to navigate the railway system, use a till correctly, order books in the system, and find the strength to keep moving for four hours without a break. I've also learned that the conductor for the London KX train in Leeds will not wait for love nor money if I'm there one minute before departure...but that's more a lesson in patience for me, isn't it?

I'm liking my job, if not the commute. To get there I take a bus to the train station, a train to Leeds and then another train to Wakefield, then walk about half a mile to the shopping centre where the bookstore is. On the way home, rinse and repeat. It isn't so bad when my iPod is cranking and I've got a book to read, but I do hate having to stand on the train on the way home because everyone and their brother's dogs are traveling at the same time I am. Who knew Keighley was that popular?

Yesterday was another small victory...Simon and I went to Costco to renew our memberships (which, by the way, Costco cancelled and I'm SURE it had to do with that American Express Card) and we were able to get a Yorkshire Family Day Rover ticket to go. That covered our bus and train travel anywhere in Yorkshire, and for two people the £8 fee is very very reasonable. We got to Leeds, walked to the bus station (though we could have gotten a bus there), then caught a bus that took us almost to Costco's car park. We could have made purchases and lugged them back on the bus, it was that close, but instead we went to Nando's for dinner before heading back to Keighley.

Mmmmm Nando's. That is going to be one of the drawbacks to moving back to the States...no Nando's.

So now bank holiday is over and I'm back to work today...and tomorrow...and then not again till the following Wednesday. Can't complain there. I feel like I'm coming out of the tunnel of my first week at a retail job and into the sunlight of knowing where I'm going, what train to get, etc etc.

Only we don't have sunshine here, really...I'd better check those timetables again.

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...