Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yes!! This is what I've I mean when I say "Are you fucking me about or what?"

I'm not AWOL, things are going fine. I'm just spending my time blowing steam on Facebook. Playing games, doing three sentence updates - not writing article sized posts. I just don't have the patience. But in a slap-dash:

Movers were here yesterday and packed up most of what we're taking. I'd prepared as best I could by packing up our suitcases so the stuff we were going to keep, was in a safe place. I had post-it notes on certain cabinets saying "Pack" "Don't pack" "Pack all but NO FOOD" "Pack all but No Wineglasses." because the wineglasses are super cheap and not worth it in fact I hate drinking out of them because I have this thing, as you know, about drinking from glass ever since I was a kid and saw that bad movie about Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper or both being zapped into the future and in the beginning of the movie there's a struggle and a huge fish take gets broken and a woman's throat is sliced against the broken glass filling the tank with blood, and an angle fish swims in the bloody water as the opening credits roll. My Grandmother took me to see that when I was about 8*. Thanks Nana! Won't put glass near my face ever since. Where was I...

So yeah I was well prepared and they showed up. Packed stuff. Took a couple breaks. At one point Shorty went up and pulled her bag of Littlest Pet Shop toys - the new ones she just got for her birthday, and was playing with them or coveting them or something, but she left them on the floor and the guy packed them when he got back from his break. Someone is heartbroken to NOT have their favourite toys for the next four months.Also, I went into the kitchen to pour a glass of water from the brita filter and couldn't find it. The guy looks at me and says "Well I packed it, it wasn't electrical. You said to pack anything not electrical." It still had water in it last I looked.

I'm all a bit forced mellow at the moment. House not sold, had viewers today, they said they like it. I'm now tired of hearing that and just want to shout "Show me the money!" and I hiss at slow passing cars "Buy my house you bastards." and it's getting rather ugly. I'm not very proud of myself. I made chocolate chip muffins and ate four. Granted, it was the only thing I'd eaten that day, but still.

I don't know what they're selling but this makes me giggle.

It may have been Time After Time, 1979, so I was seven.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Heart Ida

The Weird World Makes No Sense

Picked up on this news bite from the Denialism Blog this morning talking about San Francisco's cigarette butt littering problem. They link to an article in the NY Times where Mayor Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for tackling the cigarette butt problem with a new tax that adds another 33¢ to every pack. Makes sense if the smokers are the ones dumping the butts in the streets, they should also be the ones willing to pay someone to clean them up. Especially the filter ends as they aren't biodegradable, end up washed down the drain and into the oceans where they eventually find their way floating back to the beaches.

However, the poor Mayor has already had a complaint. From the cigarette companies:

“Obviously we think people should follow the littering laws, in California and elsewhere,” said Frank Lester, a spokesman for Reynolds American Inc., the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of cigarettes. “But we oppose any additional taxation on smokers to pay for that.”

It's whose responsibility then? The non smokers? Get real Reynolds American Inc! I think it's funny how the American cigarette companies cry foul all the time and whine about any laws that dig into their profits when their money is made on an addictive poison. I don't think they cigarette companies make nearly as much noise, or it's ignored for the squalling tantrum it really is, when the UK puts photos of tar infested lungs, neck tumors and sluggish sperm on every pack of cigarettes.

UK cigarette warnings kick ass!

I wonder what the tobacco companies would do if they tried this in the USA? It would be litigation Heaven. I've not got time just this minute, but I'd like to look into what Big Tobacco had to say in regards to the pack prices and images the UK launched last Fall. What do you think? Canada and Australia have had similar images for years, have they helped reduce sales and encourage people to quit or never start? Do you have active anti-smoking education weeks like we have in our public schools? If it were suggested images like the ones used in the UK were to be used on cigarette packs in California, what would be the likely outcome?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Have I been robbed?

I just got paid on Friday and it''s gone. All the money. Gone. I've got enough for two weeks of groceries. After that we're down to bread and one normal meal a day. I seem to be hemorrhaging money just now. I'm only slightly exaggerating, but you know: not really.

This emigration stuff is getting expensive. Get a few extra winter-weight clothes while they're on sale here in the UK, new luggage - bought cheap at the outlet but still £140, plastic bag things that you can vacuum out air and save space in your suitcase, new sneakers - well they are a essential as I caught mine yesterday on the door and ripped a hole in one and now my little toe pokes out! And the new ones are causal all leather ones that should last me years. I'll get new runners when I get to Oz as I've not been running as evidenced by the jelly roll over my ribs. And I ordered new books for Sassy for her birthday, some activity books for the airplane, an origami kit...It's not silly expenses! It's something like 30 hours of flying and layovers I have to find entertainment for two kids. Have some sympathy, will you? I do not fly well. I may look like I do, but really my guts are in a bind for the whole time. I'll probably not poop for days before or weeks after . AND trying to be nonchalant while choking down a panic attack and smiling at the kids and saying "Isn't this exciting!" so they don't get nervous or scared will be no kinds of fun. So I'll be talking myself down from my anxiety a lot over the next few weeks. I keep telling myself the flight is just one day of my life. One day. Just don't want it to be my last. Fucking terrorists have made me nervous and I hate them for it. Was bad enough worrying about spontaneous engine eruptions without Fundies hijacking and crashing planes.

Have all these little bills to pay and wind up now. Last utilities, last mobile phone bill, pay off the credit card as I can't keep it while living abroad, cancel it all, close it all down. Scrub all remnants of our life here away. Why does it all have to be so expensive? Wouldn't be an issue if we could sell the house quick.

Must get a reign in.

I'm nervous about moving day on the 29th as well. What if they pack something I really wanted. what if they pack something I don't want to take? What if they fuck it up? I don't really want them rummaging in my underwear drawer or poking about in my bedside table? What the fucking hell is going to happen to these fucking comic books?! Husband leaves on Friday and he's not going to be here to sort them out, and if they get fucked up then he'll be crushed and I'll feel guilty for ever and yet he could've done more for getting them ready but you know where's his time been to do this? None - he's got none! You know it will get ruined. You know the comic books will be nothing but pulp at the other end. This is why people shouldn't be sentimental and collect things! Collecting things is just silly. (And don't you dare mention my bento stuff, alright.)

OH It will be fine! I'll get through it. In a years' time it won't fucking matter and I'll be a happy Melbournian. Hopefully with a few dollars in my pocket.

I hate worrying about money.

Woke up with a start this morning, early, began to have a cuddle with Husband and then started to cry because I'm not ready for him to go away again. I mean he was away for over a month in Dubai, then America for a month, Then America again and Australia for a month and now after Friday I won't see him for 7 weeks until we fly out to Australia. It's a lot, and we miss him. I'm worried about doing this moving stuff alone and the keeping the kids from being worried while being a worried mess myself. So I had a wee cry and he cuddled me and then I went downstairs to make coffee. One of these days we'll manage some marital relations but it's weird with my mom in the house - you know?

We're going out with a good friend tonight. I'll have to try and keep it together. I'm turning into a big girl these days.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fingers twitchen' to choke the chicken...

I'm ready to off my neighbor (What were you thinking?). Not that I would ever commit violence (And if anything should happen to her in the near future; it's a complete coincidence!) but she's really being such a colossal ARSE!

House sale is being an annoyance just now. My wacko neighbor, who has a three bedroom terraced house (I have a two bedroom duplex with a better view and a garage) whose house has been on the market for two years, who's been through three estate agents and lost three serious offers; has now dropped the price of her house to £10K more than mine. So all viewers to ours this weekend have scoffed "Why are you asking so much when the house next door is bigger?" and I've had to explain "Our property was valued by an independent surveyor recently and they've set the price, not us. Also my neighbors house has been on the market for nearly two years and I'm not sure they've got a home report in place so the true value of the property is a mystery." when really I want to say "Why don't you go look at the other fucking house and stop wasting my time - good luck though because the woman is batshit crazy and won't sell her house because she doesn't want to die in New Zealand." So right now I'm trying not to go next door and strangle the wee bitch so she can die on her beloved UK soil and stop dicking the house prices for our whole post code. Other than thinking we're asking too much, people like our house. Although apparently one gent thought our decor was dated. He can fuck off. I'm not selling the decor, I'm selling the shell around the decor, you spiv.

I no sooner got back from collecting Shorty from school at noontime, when the school calls to say Sassy isn't feeling well and can I come get her. Sassy knows, if she's feeling sick she should tell the office BEFORE 11:30. So I had to trek back up the hill in the rain to fetch her. I think she's just a bit constipated and crampy. She's not argued with her friends so, we'll see. At least we got back home again before the rain really set in. Now it's just dark and stormy.

Caught the piggie-toe section of my running shoe on the storm door and ripped it. Now my little toe pokes out the side. I can't really afford new sneakers just now, we seem to be hemorrhaging money on getting things for the move. I'll just have to think positive that it's one less thing for me to pack - but what will I wear from now on? I'll have to buy a cheap pair of sneaks in the interim. Not that I've been running!! There's a flab roll growing under my boobs as a result. It's frightening me! But I'm losing weight on my legs and butt. That'll be muscle loss. Fat gain in the boob-tube. Fucking splendid.

Oh I'm just so damned cranky!!

...just had an IM chat with Husband and feel a bit better now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gearing Up and Winding down.

It's a strange flux I'm in where there's a flood of activity to get things moving in the right direction to an easy, uncomplicated emigration - as if there is such a thing but I plan to find the utopia - and winding down on the things that have been a regular in my life for the past 14 years. I will admit the winding down part has lead to an unusual nostalgia phase for me. This is unusual as I'm not an overly sentimental person.

I find I'm rehashing old longings for home; missing things like half-n-half, lobster plates on Cape Cod, and Jell-o brand of gelatin and pudding. I'm missing driving a car. I drove extensively from the age of 17 until I emigrated at 23. Hundreds of miles a day most days. I loved day trips out to the Mohawk trail and that freedom of not having to report where I am, and being accountable to no one but myself. Long gone are the days. Moving to Edinburgh I found an amazing bus system, easy walks to shops and everything on my doorstep. I went from "Are you kidding? That's like a mile away and I'm not walking that" to averaging four miles on foot on a typical day. Now I have people looking at me funny with a silent whine "Can't we just drive?" Nah! We can walk and I'll show you some interesting things, promise. I became an urban wanderer. Did you know off any of the small side alleys in Edinburgh you may find a secret historical treasure that's probably not been paid any attention for decades? It's true! But I'll also wager the same thing exists in your own city. When the city is "home" we just don't bother. We take home for granted. When home suddenly becomes a very foreign place it's like Wonderland.

Sadly, over the years, Edinburgh has become more like Home as opposed to the place where I live. I've not found the exciting nooks and lost treasures, I've stopped seeking them. I have other things to take up my time, responsibility. How dull. How disappointing of me! I go through this kind of dialogue every year and eventually, usually around Spring, pick up my camera and go treasure hunting. Then the lust for life returns, my youth returns and joy is there for all. As everyone knows, when the Mama is happy, the house is happy.

This Spring, I've not had the luxury of the conversation of Awakening discovery, as on my horizon lies the biggest adventure. The newest one, and it's far bigger than Scotland. Sorry Scotland, you've been aces, but Australia promises more. Also, it promises to have jollier, happier more laid back people who don't blank, ignore and regard strangers, foreign or indigenous, with extreme prejudice. Maybe a slight exaggeration, and certainly not for all of Scotland, but certainly for Edinburgh it has its cold shoulder for strangers, even for their own. Glaswegians however will be friendly to anyone. Why didn't we move there? My Husband is from Edinburgh. It's taken 14 years of my interference to deprogramming the poor, shy soul. Now look at him! Ready to take on Emigration to 10,000 miles away! He's come so far.

So what are we looking forward to? China Town, open markets (I've missed Fanuile Hall!), parks (New Parks!), museums(New Museums!), the graffiti and the wonderful bustle of city life. We've missed being central to the action, although the suburbs offer the nicer homes, we have to admit, as curious, engaged people, city life really is our forté.

What am I expecting? I have no real expectations*. I have a feeling Aussies are happier folks - hell anyone must be happier than the Scots. I'm looking forward to the differences, the words, the slang, the outlook. The politics are completely foreign. I'm told Australia is a more racist country and it's a Catholic country and it's not got as many societal boundaries. I'll have to wait and see. How can a place that relishes the arts, culture and diversity of own indigenous peoples be so racist? I'm really looking forward to seeing what the truths are, as there are so many interpretations. At this point, everything is hear-say. Until I'm thrown in the middle, I'll not know for sure, and I'm hopefully optimistic that it's going to be a place of adventures to last me the rest of my days.

If not, there's always Japan.

In other news: Oh holy hell (Ree inspires me to swear like a W. Virginian) my kids are driving me frikkin insane! They are both off their heads hyper as it's Shorty's birthday today. She's five. Happy birthday Shorty. She however thinks today is a get out of jail free day and is being a wee shit. Encouraged by her also hyper and enabling sister. They're both about pushing the limits, and I'm short on limits just now. Or, I'm long on limits. I have tons of limits - in fact the line to cross to get grounded is merely a sneeze not covered or even a pair of dirty socks left on the floor. I'm fucking merciless. They better watch it!

Now I feel guilty and will have to make a love cake. I love my kids! They just make it hard when they bug me so much, to show them. I better stop talking about it before the social services start checking in.

I'm so moody.

*Apart from a whole lot of fun, a whole lot of awe and the excitement of meeting new people and seeing lots of different cultures and feeling a part of the bigger world.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

All Systems GO!

The board outside our house went up on Monday, photos for the schedule were done on Tuesday with help from me running out between rain showers to catch views of the bridge in patchy sunshine as nature had stage fright at the time. Thursday the schedule and pictures were submitted to the ESPC, which is Edinburgh's estate agent's property page and is a must for anyone looking for a new home in this area, Friday our house was listed, Sunday we had an offer for the full valuation price from a guy who pulled up outside our house, didn't even want to see inside and said he would give us the full price if we took the house off the market Today.


Stuff like that doesn't happen. It just doesn't. And right now it's only 7:30am and I have to wait a couple more hours before I can get in touch with our estate agent and have a right ole' chin wag with her about this because we will most likely take his offer if he's ok to let us stay here until July 5th. Depressed market? Fucking hell. Apparently, the guy has been wanting to buy my neighbor's house. She's the dithering drama queen whose daughter lives in New Zealand and has been begging her to move there to be with them, but my neighbor doesn't want to move to NZ. She's 73, has health trouble, and will burst into tears and wail on about how she couldn't die in a foreign land. It is sad. Her tears are genuine. It's just she'd had a car accident a few years ago and has a touch of brain damage so she forgets she already told me this and it seems, as I'm in a similar situation (Although I actually want to go and don't care where or what continent I die on) so now she only needs to see me and she begins to cry. I don't like feeling like the person who makes a sweet old lady (who is rather crazy) cry all the time. But there we are. I seem to have that effect of people lately. I'm casting an aura that sends people into throes of emotion. Or

We've got to change banks, apply for accounts in Australia, inform all utilities that we'll be shutting off in July, call tax offices, I have to fill in insurance forms for the movers - really must get on that ASAP as I've dithered about on that too long now. And always, clean clean clean to keep the house in order for viewers - although now since this man came and offered on the house not only do I think, well maybe I don't have to be so anal, but since the bloke didn't even care to look in the house Why Did We Buy A New Kitchen, Pull Down The Shed, And Paint Everything?!? Could I have that £5K back please? Someone's laughing somewhere at that. Tried so hard to be forward thinking, best our chances and it was for nothing. Well, then again, the valuation wouldn't have been as high if we'd not done those things know. But still. I wanted to have someone buy it and say "Lovely home, great kitchen" and such. Housewives don't get validation on their hard work often enough, although I did pay someone else to paint. I managed it all! I'm the home manager. Managers can't get a project done unless they delegate.

So I'm going to be glued to the phone today. We all know how much I love talking on the phone? You all know from the hours of conversation we've racked up. Here's a fact - there's a layer of dust on our upstairs phone so thick you could felt it. I never look at the thing, I didn't even know. It was like the lintel over the door - ever run a finger over that spot? If you haven't in a while go ahead now and see what I mean. Shocking huh? If anyone had picked up the phone upstairs besides me, they'd have had an instant asthma attack. (I'm exaggerating slightly, but only slightly)

We've had a lot of interest in the house just from the board, to be honest. I'm getting a little paranoid at the amount of slow drive-by cars who then peer around and write notes before driving off. Mostly Mercedes Benz if I'm honest and that must be the car of choice for landlords but we had an Audi R8 yesterday, was gorgeous. I have to keep telling myself it's normal. We've only had flats prior to this and I'd never have seen someone slowing down to take notice of our sign. The computer is right at the front window so now I see everything.

Right, so. Estate agent, tax office, laundry. Busy day.

Friday, May 01, 2009

One Step Closer

Our visas have been approved! We're now completely legal to go and run merry mayhem in Australia! Damn that was fast. So much faster with a sponsor. I mean, we still haven't heard back from the Australian computer Society about skills assessment. Although before this job came up, we were perfectly happy to hang about until November time. we weren't because Sun barfed and laid off half of it's staff at Linlithgow. Nevermind! Funny how up until the moment I was told about the visas I was very content to hang about for the next 10 weeks (10 WEEKS People!) and get the kids through school and then sell the house, but now that the visas are accepted I just want to say fuck it to it all and go to Melbourne. I found out yesterday there's an absinthe bar there. I've never tried absinthe. I really want to now. There's so much to discover, I'm desperately eager to begin this new adventure.

I imagine my blog will take a different lean once there, where I yet again go though a bit of culture shock and come to grips with the differences and wonders of a new country. Husband's been hinting at getting me a new camera, and I'm al for it. so far I'm leaning towards the Panasonic DMC FZ28 I also like the Canon SX10, but after comparing them, I prefer the panny. I also want an iPod touch and a Sony ereader. I'm thinking, I'm stockpiling. although normally I stockpile clothes, for some reason, this time I'm stockpiling gadgets. What does that say about me? I'm feeling like a consumer whore. Perhaps, there are a lot of "buy stuff, buy lots of stuff, and buy it now before it's all gone or becomes so expensive you'll never have any neat stuff." subliminal messages going on because I do have that kind of twitchy paranoia that some day - I'll never get the chance to have an iPhone! And then where will I be?! Swine flu will come and take away all the gadgets, and all the people who make the gadgets, and all the fun and joy and normality will whither and die just like in The Stand. Seriously, everytime a new virus outbreak hits the news, I curse Stephen King.

I've been busy, being a domestic; cleaning, purging closets, scouring, tidying, tidying up again...damn where does all this fucking dust and fluff come from?! It's boring as hell. I hate indulging that obsessive side. Given free reign to stress over every damned crumb on the counter, it's a wonder my hair isn't falling out. Of course then I'd be stressing about the amount of hair on the carpet - which I am already because damn it we shed like molting huskies in this house! Doesn't help that Shorty has been pulling the hair out of her barbies and pretty ponies so not only is there hair everywhere but sometimes it's pink and purple hair which freaks me out for a nanosecond before I figure out what it really is.

The board is up in front of the house and I've noticed a few cars stop and write down the address and details of the estate agent so has to be a good sign, but then where property is concerned, people are given free reign to be nosy fuckers and I'll bet a good half of any viewers we do get will be those looking to compare the competition and not really interested in buying.

Not too much else to talk about. I see the books on the shelf are not aligned properly and I must fix it immediately.