CATS

Dec. 30th, 2009 02:33 pm
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THE CATS PASSED CUSTOMS!!!!

Elliott and Nigel will be arriving home tonight!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!
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If you are the praying kind or the magic making kind, please send some energy my cats' way. They leave the US with my inlaws in about 7 hours. I am hoping that tomorrow at noon (UK time) I get a call from Adam telling me that they've arrived safely and won't need to be quarantined.

*Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease*

I will cry if they have to be quarantined. We've jumped through many hoops and paid a lot of money to avoid 6 months of quarantine. However, there is no guarantee. I miss Elliott Cat so much.
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I keep postponing my partial posts 'Things that are different #2' and 'Things I like about Lampeter.' I am going to whine a little right now.

Yesterday Bennett and I went on a 4 mile, 2 hour walk out of town. I pushed B up hills and down hills, around a forest and along a river. This place is so peaceful and beautiful. The walk was just what I needed, and B had a wonderful time too. We saw cows and sheep and two swans flying low overhead. Last night I went to bed early. I crawled in with B at 8pm and didn't get up until 7.30 this morning. I didn't sleep through the night - when Bennett does, then I will! But that much physical rest was necessary and only highlighted just how exhausted I am on the inside. I want to curl up in a ball in a corner somewhere, wrapped in a big cuddly blanket or duvet, and have a cry. It's so hard trying to concentrate on reading Important Scholarly Works when we still don't have internet at home, which means Adam can't pursue his work and we can't use skype, which means I can't resolve things with our credit cards or my bank back in Oakland, which means we're getting close to the end of our available cash. And we still don't know how we're going to resolve the childcare issue. The Vice Chancellor hasn't yet responded to my letter.

I'm really trying not to panic about all of this. I know these are just bumps along the road of moving abroad. And we've only been here three weeks. But this all comes on the heels of living out of bags and boxes for three full months now. I'm really really tired. It's hard to plug ahead as if life were normal when some pretty important pieces are as yet unresolved and out of our control.

My stomach hurts. I'm sad. I'm really overwhelmed and waiting for relief. Maybe tomorrow?
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I was going to spell out the details, but I just don't have the energy for it. Basically, I'm tired of obstacles and buraucracy and working around the systems. I just want the internet set up and a freaking phone. But one piece is needed for the other which is needed for the next, which makes certain details a complicated circle. It's like a closed system and we can't quite seem to break in.

I'm super pleased that I cooked a dinner in my own home last night (sauteed potatos, mushrooms and onions, green salad with vinaigrette, and fried whiting - hee). But this morning, I'm tired of things being difficult, of running into unforeseen obstacles in trying to accomplish basic daily tasks.

Thank goodness we're not in a truly foreign land. I can't imagine how taxing that would be!
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Friends, tomorrow we leave for Wales. Tomorrow morning at 10 AM Adam, Bennett and I board a plane and start an insane journey to a place I've only spent three whole days. Adam's never even been to Wales. My adviser has been told she's on the list for redundancy. We're unemployed and the world is in the middle of a recession and we're moving to a village.

We rule so hard. If you get in the way of our plan, our awesomeness will steamroll you into enthusiastic submission!

No really, people. In less than 24 hours we get on a plane and move to Wales for three years. Hot DAMN.

I'll be off the grid for a while. Once we get there we need to find a place to live, first and foremost. And then get the ol' internets set up. We have a skype account, which should be big fun. I'll be able to check in every now and again via the libraries, but our first priority is finding a house. Please give the heavens a shout out for us, that we can find a nice, centrally located, furnished, 3 bedroom house (we'd take a 2 bedroom, but why not dream big?) at a good rental rate. Oh yeah, and one that will take pets eventually.

Onward and upward to adventure and excitement!
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My father in law loves to go to thrift stores. Several times a week after work he'll hit the stores. But it's not the vintage kind of thrift store, it's the Salvation Army or AmVets. He LOVES them. And on the weekends he goes to the swap meet. His garage is filled with things he thinks he'll use some day. He has 16 tennis rackets, several incomplete sets of golf clubs, old paintings because he wants to use the frames someday, etc etc. But his favorite things? Stuffed animals that light up, sing, and/or dance. Oh yes. He has three (that I can see) dancing chickens. A valentine's dog with sunglasses that wags his tail and sings "I feel good." And others. But we've hidden them. Obviously Bennett thinks they're wonderful. They light up! He can effect change! It's music!

But the worst thing is that my father in law loves to buy Bennett cheap plastic toys that require batteries. Can the toy light up or make music? Did it cost a dollar or less? Then Bennett must have it. The worst offender these days is a microphone that plays only 4 measures - not the complete songs, for better or worse - of Wiggles tunes. I have "We gonna do the ooooowwll! hoo hoo", "Quack quack quack", "Head shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes", "Wake up Jim! We need you for the show!", and other fine tunes STUCK IN MY HEAD. Bennett thinks it is the most wonderful toy ever.

I have told both Bennett and my father in law that these toys will not be making their way to Wales.

But speaking of Wales.... our visas - which arrived today! - have been approved for THREE WHOLE YEARS! Hot damn. We'll see if I can write an entire dissertation in three years. I have a concrete deadline now. I am SO excited to be there. I cannot wait to make my new home in Lampeter.

Ask LJ

Sep. 1st, 2009 06:09 pm
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We are in the midst of packing. The heat (and all the AC to combat it) is taking a toll on me. Stress, excitement, poor self care, it's all adding up. Bennett remains amazing and brings joy to every single day.

What I'd like to write about: books, breastfeeding, food, etc.

But I have a question for you: Do you think email petitions - where the text is the same and you just add your name - does anything? Do you think a personal letter (either email or paper) is more effective? Thoughts?
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First, the New York Times posted this article on the effects of a NICU stay on parents. While I don't feel I suffered from PTSD, I will say that it was the worst month of my life (that I remember). And Bennett was the healthiest kid in the NICU. We knew he wouldn't be there for 4, 5, 6 months.

Second, Wales. FUCK YEAH! Getting an answer from the Home Office has re-energized and motivated me. Adam and I have a few leads on housing, not sure how they'll pan out, but a lead here and there is hopeful. We have a place to mail our boxes. I think I'll be able to send over the winter coats, since it won't be so cold for the next month or two. Looking at last year's weather for September and October I am excited for cool and damp. A real autumn! Yay!

Thirdly, we all went shopping yesterday. I scored, big time. Kohl's was having a massive sale, everything was 50-60% off. It's like a slightly nicer Target. I got three tops (from the junior section), a pair of earrings, an awesome aqua purse, and some cute underwear. Then I went to Victoria's Secret and bought non-nursing bras. Why do I ever try to buy bras from places other than Victoria's Secret?? I don't know. Hands down VS makes the most flattering and comfortable bras for big busted ladies. HANDS DOWN. I wish they made nursing bras.

Speaking of which, nursing mamas, any recommendations? I need to get another one. One of my two is falling apart.

Thirdly, Bennett is on a growth spurt. I swear he's two inches taller than last month. He's saying "hot" and babbling up a storm. Also trying to say "moo." He's just the most happy, easiest going kid ever. Who still wants to nurse all the time. I'm thinking of night weaning at 18 months. Right now, B's great grandpa is chasing him around the den on his hands and knees.

Lastly, tonight I'm going out into San Diego to meet up with some women I went to high school with. Martinis! No nursing! Ladies night out!

Life is good. Again. Or, life was always good and now my attitude is matching up with reality.
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Adam's parents belong to a time share thing. They just volunteered to get us a week at Pantglass Hall, a time share place about 40 minutes away from Lampeter. This would be WONDERFUL. The units all have laundry, which means we can keep cloth diapering easily. They also have kitchens so we don't need to spend a fortune eating out all the time. We'd have to pay for the rental car, but I think this would be the most helpful situation. One of the property agencies finally got back to us and said that basically, all Lampeter rentals are posted on notice boards. How..... quaint.* This is a HUGE load off.





*I actually love this. Although it sucks for those us not actually there.
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Life feels like a total train wreck these days. Let me enumerate the ways:
*No one at the Univ of Wales, Lampeter, feels the need to return emails
*We still do not have visas, nor a place to live
*Our stuff is everywhere in an already full house
*Santee is a suburban wasteland
*I feel like we're bleeding money
*Adam and I are getting testy with each other
*My wrist is getting better but is still preventing me from normal action
*Bennett is teething, between that and anxiety attacks I am not sleeping well
*Which leads to my brain and attitude not functioning well
*There are other decisions to be made about various things and I just don't have the bandwidth for them
*For example, if we don't get the visas, what the hell do we do? (First thought out of the gate? Anchorage)


And all that leads me to what I'm grateful for these days:
*Airconditioning
*A happy, healthy, delightful, patient kid
*In-laws that do not guilt me or annoy me, that let my family take over their house, and seem to even enjoy it
*Adam's increasing self-employment
*Lots of great tv and movies thanks to Adam's computer skills
*Mindless reading of vampire mystery/romances
*Hot tea with whole milk
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Bennett slept like a rock last night. He's happy as can be. Thank god. He was even able to nurse. PHEW. It feels funny, though, when he does it. It's not quite the same as regular gums. It's all uneven and a little pokey. He's got the GROSSEST blood clot on the left side. But all is well. He is even giving honest to goodness hugs. This kid amazes me.

I am still unwinding from the whole ordeal. I did yoga this morning and I had that feeling in my stomach that if I let go anymore I'd throw up. My whole person was scrunched up tight. Unwinding is going to take some effort. Healthy food, sleep and a happy baby will help for sure. I'm still grieving the accident. I'm sad that Bennett is going to be funny looking for several years. It's a really minor thing, I know, and I'll get over it, but it's still hard.

More happy things to look forward to: the cats are now indoor/outdoor cats. Elliott is a happy camper. Four years ago I promised him this would happen and I'm finally following through with it. Nigel isn't so sure about the whole outdoors thing. Today Adam, B and I go to get our biometrics done for the visa application. I believe this is the last piece and we can mail all of our paperwork in tomorrow. Tomorrow night I'm going to preview night for ComiCon. Friday night Adam and I are going to go see live music! My god, I'm so excited. A guy called William Fitzsimmons (sort of reminds me of what John Mayer and Iron and Wine's baby would sound like) at a coffee house called Lestat.

Now to shower.
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Here we are. It's hot. We're sticky. I think this will be nice. Tomorrow we unload the van and sort the boxes. Bennett is going gangbusters. The cats are prowling, when they're not hiding. Adam's parents are joining Facebook. Facebook is officially unhip. Was it ever hip? Dunno.

Technically Adam's parents live in Santee (east county San Diego) - the land of dumpy, poorly dressed, Walmart shoppers in big trucks. San Diego however is full of strappy sundresses, flawless tans, short shorts, and obvious plastic surgery. I seem to fit in neither world. But I figure I'll shave my legs.
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I'll be offline until sometime tomorrow. Possibly Sunday. Adam just went to get the Uhaul. You know, to pack all of our stuff in. All our stuff that is boxed. Only a few last boxes to throw together. A few more errands and poof! We're gone!

Goodbye Bay Area! You have been tasty! And very, very good to me.
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*Gallileo by the Indigo Girls always reminds me of the Future Gov. We sang it once with our one-show wonder band.... which was a million years ago.

*Once we get to San Diego we are still going to have to repack many boxes. It's all those damn personal effects, all those little art pieces and altar items and cards and jewelry that just can't be disposed of.

*Holy cow, do we have a ton of stuff to give away at our party tomorrow: jewelry, cds, shoes, clothes, filing things, candles, glasses, dishware, peacock feathers, a glow in the dark Virgin Mary, coat rack, a clock, and even a framed Barbara LaValle print. Oh yeah. Among other things.

*We still need to pack the kitchen, our clothes, the bathroom and the art.

*Only three more nights in the Bay Area. It is truly the end of an era.
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I am so tired. My brain hurts. Spent 1.5 hours at the DMV today. Bennett is now down for a nap, so I've at least had lunch and a warm beverage. I can't start taping boxes because it will wake him. There is so much to do. SO. MUCH. Errands to run. Furniture yet to sell. And most of our stuff still to pack. Adam is still working this week. Bennett is super clingy. He knows change is afoot. Moving is always hard but it is a thousand times more taxing and complicated with a child.

Lesson learned, universe!
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I'm all nervous and freaked out. I've just applied online for my visa and Bennett's visa. There are so many hoops to jump through. We must apply online but still print it all out and then send it in with all sorts of supplementary info and pictures and documents. Eep. I can feel my nervous system shake and twitch. The decaf latte may as well have been full strength.

Pleasepleaseplease let everything go through. God I'm a wreck. It sucks to have to do this the week we are packing to leave.

I feel like I'm about to lose it, but I know everything will get done. It will because it has to. Poor Bennett. He's a little neglected these days, though we are trying our best to give him ample play time. But, like the cats, he sense the change - the stress, the weird people coming in and out of our apartment as items get sold, the disappearing furniture, the mess, etc. I don't blame him for being clingy. I feel that way too.

Today the tv went away. Tomorrow the coffee table and piano go. Must get more boxes.
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Oh my goodness, so tired. The house is such a mess. The boxes are really starting to pile up. Ansel, the former nanny, is coming over for three hours to take Bennett while Adam and I out in a few hours of serious baby-free packing, sorting, tossing, discussing, etc etc. And then I'm going to go sit in a coffee shop and apply for the visas.

T minus 7 days.

But today has been amazing. Let the record reflect that.
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I am loving our new-ish schedule around here. B's morning nap has moved back a little and is now about 45-60 minutes, then he naps for about an hour at 4 or 5. We are all up until 10 and sleep until 8. Yay!

Bennett didn't wake to nurse until about 5 am last night. Yes!

Bennett is a freakin' delight. Still whining, but it's kind of nice seeing him develop his own person.

My old job at the Jewish nonprofit just reminded me that I had 60 hours of unused vacation time - and they are going to cash it out for me now. They are also going to continue to cover me, Adam and Bennett on the health insurance until we get set up in Wales. !!!!! This is so unheard of. We are so blessed. So incredibly done-well-by.

It is my sister's birthday today. She is 32. For some reason it always takes me by surprise when she ages.

Tomorrow I am getting a few hours B-free to read and go shirt shopping. Then, Adam and I have a date at our favorite restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. Saturday we have another date scheduled - use of a gift certificate for a hot tub place.

Life feels really good today. I see the packing monster looming, but it feels manageable.

It also helps that I got my paperwork from Wales yesterday.
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*House? Massive disaster. Dishes stacked in and around sink. Books in boxes, some on shelves, mostly stacked on the floor awaiting to be sold tomorrow. Dust bunnies float about and breed.

*Accomplished today? Got rid of 20 years of sheet music and scores, plus my MA notes. Sorted my photos. Still have two file boxes and a chest of "stuff" to sort through.

*Dinner? Will be pizza. And hopefully either an episode of True Blood (so good!), Party Down, or Scrubs.

*Baby? Miserable, mildly neglected, tired, regressing. Thankfully passed out cold for nap #2. Possibly traumatized from watching an episode of True Blood with us. I'm not sure he should see such lasciviousness, even if he won't remember it.

*Adam? Selling off our wares on Craiglist and burning all of our CDs to an external hard drive. The two dressers, tv, mini dresser (currently manifested as a tv stand), our camping back packs, his trail bike, and a clarinet are posted. We have sold my piano, his fancy street bike, a vintage saxophone and one entertainment chest. Oof. Bookshelves and bed are next.

*Me? Ok. Drinking Laphroaig.

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