I can’t tell if we are mentally or morally handicapped

“The next person to leave my refrigerator open will have to sit in the refrigerator all day. Am I Clear?”

I actually said this a few minutes ago. Out loud. Quite loud actually. And all of my windows are open. And my neighbours are outside. Sigh. I am sure that they think I am some sort of vile beast.

Ok, as I have a Euro-fridge, neither of my children would actually fit in it. But I swear, I am so tempted. How hard is it to close the door to the fridge? I mean, how do you NOT close it? Neither of my children are mentally handicapped. I think.

Morally handicapped? Well, probably. We had another of those charity pan-handlers at our door again yesterday. (The British have a great word for them. Chuggers. Short for charity muggers. Get it? Hysterical.)

So this time they were collecting for deaf children. (OMFG, what next, blind puppies?) The White Rose thought they wanted money for Dead Children. “we don’t know any dead children, but my gramma is dead.” She says helpfully. Now, a normal parent would calmly correct the errant child and apologise for the awkwardness. Not me.

No, I started to giggle and could not stop. I’m all “dead children hahahahah”. The poor bastard at my door had no idea where to go with this. This made me laugh more. “I’m so sorry” I mumble, “dead children aren’t funny. BWAHAHAHAHAH!”

In the end, I just closed the door. It was the kindest thing that I could do for the poor man.

There is something seriously wrong with us. Then I had to come back into the living room where Manboy was nervously waiting to hear the result of me opening the door. The only explanation that he got was “OMG she said…and he wanted…ahahaha! OK. I’m OK now.”

The BBC has helpfully provided a guide to Brit life in the run-up to the Olympics. Here is a snippet from their advice to tourists:

“The English are British and lots of people think the British are English but that annoys the Scottish and Welsh because although some think they’re British and some think they aren’t and some think they are but don’t want to be, they all agree that they definitely are not English.”

(link here)

OK, thanks very much for that. That was super helpful. I feel so much more confidant in my ability to handle London now. Jesus wept. The person who wrote that needs to just have a seat in my refrigerator.

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Morphine in the UK, and yes, I’ll be fine

I am beginning to develop relationships with the staff in the emergency room. I should have a punch card or a VIP pass at this point. It would not surprise me if, the next time I am in there, that they pull me aside and ask me if I am ‘having trouble at home’. (I’m not)

So I fell down the damn stairs again. This happens to me more often than it should. I am so clumsy that I regularly fall UP the stairs. I am the only person that I know that can manage this feat of grace.

Look, I am 5’2″ and most, no, all of my clothing is too long for me. All of my trousers are at least 4 inches too long and all of my dresses are even longer. I waift around the house pulling up my skirts like a damn Edwardian. This means that stairs are a huge hazard. Especially when I have Doom Cats swirling around my feet begging for food.

So I fell down the damn stairs again. I spectacularly fell down them. I fell down them so hard that I managed to unglue one of my shoulders. This was not cool. Being British, I had some wine and then went to bed with mutterings of “I’m Fine” and ” I am sure it will be better in the morning”. It wasnt.

I got up the next day and was all “OMG I AM BROKEN! SHIT! THIS TOTALLY SUCKS!” I was positive that I had been mortally wounded and would die at any minute. I had probably contracted ebola as well. So of course I had to wake up manboy and demand to go to A&E. (Accident and Emergency. Somehow ER sounds more dire, but that’s Brit life for you)

I hate this.

Now, the last time that I was in A&E it was because I had broken my foot. Would you like to know how I did this? I broke my foot getting out of bed. I am not joking. I awoke  in the middle of the night and wanted to go to the bathroom. So I got out of bed, hit my foot on a bookshelf and broke it. Again, I just went back to bed all “I’m FINE. ” I got up the next day with blood all over me and a purple foot. I had even managed to rip off one of my toenails. I am an idiot.

I had to go to A&E with a leaky foot, toenail hanging off by a string, and broken toes. And I was all…”I hit my foot on a bookshelf because i had to pee” and they were all “yeah, sure you did, ok, that looks really bad though.” Sigh.

So this time I was prepared to look like an idiot, no worries. When they greet you with “oh, Hello! ” at A&E, you know that you fail at life. The first nurse that saw me asked me what was wrong.

I broke my shoulder.

How do you know that it is broken?

It hurts and it does not work. (this is my definition of broken. Broken=not working and oowie)

OK, let me get the doctor.

The Dr says, Ok, now, I don’t want you to scream. I am sure he is going to move my arm or press my shoulder or some other dire test of pain. This is how it goes right? No.

Do not scream, but you have a spider on you.

I turn my head to my not-broken-sholder and shu’nuf, there is a spider. I pluck it off and set it free on his desk. It spiders across his desk, around his keyboard and spiders away. He looks at me as if I am crazy. (WHAT? That is totally what normal people do. Shut up)

Then he prods me and pokes my obviously broken appendage and says, well, we will have to give you some pain medication in order to examine you further. Lets start with some really lame OTC painkillers. And I am all…can we skip that and go right to the Vicodin? I am totally ouchie here.

Now in the UK they only have three types of pain management. Tylenol, codeine and morphine. That is all they have. I do not know why. So he says “would you like some morphine?” HELLS YES, BRING THAT SHIT. I mean, yes, that would be very kind of you. ouch.

Turns out that I dislocated my shoulder, then ripped some ligaments or muscles or whatever I have in there, then popped it back into place and hurted it more. Great. They gave me a strip of cloth with a diaper pin and sent me home. Which is fair enough, I get to go back in a few days and be poked some more. I have no dignity, it’s FINE.

Oh and don’t worry about my hurty arm. I am sure I will break something else soon, just to take my mind off of it. I promise to tell you all about it.

(for a Better pain rating scale; see here)

Living in a Big Old City

I can not get this out of my head. Because I am. Living, and for sure in a Big Old City. History cannot escape you in the UK. 

I do not talk about what we left behind in America. Not just now. We left it all behind us. But when i hear Little Stormbringer sing “someday, I’ll be, living in a big ol’city” I know that we have made it. We are Here. I know that this is not the point of the song. But we did it, we made it, and now we are here, safe, in this big old city.

It might not be ‘big’ as you would think of an american city. But it is old. So old. Dumnonii  is an old place. You can dig three feet down in your garden and uncover a hord of Roman coins kinda old. No, i take it back, it is only two feet down that you have to dig. And then you find an old walled fortress. I am not joking.

This is very soothing. When I try to explain this feeling to my British friends they just chuckle nervously.  This attitude must come from the 3000 years that they have been trying to defend this tiny island. ok, probably 30,000 but STILL…

There is a magical part of living here, you KNOW that you are part of something bigger and better. Something old. Something wise and wonderful. Something more.

I am an American through and through, but i do not ever want to leave this big old city.

My Snail Tried To Run Away, I Am That Embarrassing

I did not think this was a funny story until I told it to someone and they tried to choke to death. I do not think my life is funny, but enjoy the tragedy. Ahem.

So the other day…wait, you will have to understand who Sir Humphrey is and why he is called that. It is important. You can click those links now, or, conversely, wait until you are confused and then come back and click them. Up to you. Not Judging.

So my snail tried to run away. I have a pampered Giant African Land Snail and he tried to go on an adventure. Or something. Manboy had one of our good friends over ‘of an evening’ and I wanted to show Sir Humphry off. “My gosh, have I showed you how BIG he is these days?” I go and get the cage and...no snail.

Now, I do not keep a lid upon my snail because he is an emancipated snail and everything, and he never tries to get out. He just has his cucumber and his fruit and his drinks, and maybe a wee dram of beer on holidays…he has no reason or desire to go anywhere else. He never has. Until he did. And then PANIC. I realize that he is named after the “Sir Humphrey, master of obfuscation and manipulation”, but still.

OMG MANBOY MY SNAIL! (I think i squeed) IS IT IN THERE? WHERE is Sir Humphrey? I was totally calm. I started looking behind all of the furniture. Where does a snail go when it goes? I had no idea. I saw something behind the chest where the  water snails live.

MANBOY!

what?

IS THAT A DOUGH-NUT OR A SNAIL?

I… I am not sure. It could be a doughnut.

WELL I NEED TO KNOW. MY BABY IS MISSING.

OK, well…if you can just move this table…

DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! MY SNAIL! 

I think maybe if I just look over here…gently….

YOU DIDN’T FUCKING EAT IT DID YOU?

Wha? no hunny. Just let me have a look…

I SWEAR YOU ARE GOING TO FIND MY SNAIL

Yes bunny, could you please have a seat?  \_

It was at this point that I realized that we had guests and that I was still acting as Hostess. And then I gave up. “would you care for another coffee?” just didn’t seem like the thing to say.

So when the furniture was lifted up, Our Guest announced: I see a doughnut and a snail! Huzza!

Huzza indeed. I am now the proud owner of a runaway snail, and the kind of house-keeper that does not know if there are doughnuts behind her furniture. Beautiful.

Please go give some loves to our singers of the high seas, Tricorn Shonkey! Woooo! Tell them that the snail sent you. I hear they give discounts for that sort of thing. (really, not really, but totally maybe.)

My kids break everything I own and I am bitching about England again.

You guys. My kids are breaking my house now.  It isn’t enough that they have gone through 3 computers (or is it 4?), one TV, one expensive DVR box, one kindle, one couch….no, make it two TV’s…a few door handles, some light-fixtures, one toaster, one car roof, seven bicycles…you get the idea.

Now they just want to break my house. It is a house of bricks people. Like the one that stopped The Big Bad Wolf. Nope. If you build it, my kids can break it. If anyone knows how I can get a bespoke window latch replaced for a few pence, let me know.

Let me just back up to the couch for a minute. How do you ‘break’ a couch, you may ask? I’ll tell you. You wait for mummy to cook dinner, then you jump on it until is is a pile of dust on the floor, then you say…’mum? why is the couch made of sadness?’ yeah. This couch had a welded metal frame. I am not joking. Dust.

And how, just how, did they manage to wrench the latch off of the window in Little Stormbringer’s room? Seriously? If, in a fit of madness, i decided to vent my anger on a window latch, i could NOT pull that shit off. I’m a Big Girl from Detroit, and…and i have issues…but…no way am I strong enough to bend metal, people.

Sure. I am convinced it was easy. So easy.

And yet, my sweet, soft, squiggy little White Rose managed it. Now I cannot close the window. At all. They even stripped the screw, and FUBAR’d the lock. OK…….i’ll just …uh, fix that…somehow….uh…

Add to that…this weekend they managed to break an OAK AND IRON bench that sits in my front garden. Are you Kidding me? Jean-Claude Van Damn with a Seattle attitude, high on Bruce Lee and Bruce Willis could not have cracked that. And yet….

(this is where you go and comment and make me feel better. Please tell me that I am not the only one with destructo-kids)

England, you’re killing me here. I love the UK with extra loves, but you owe me a break for a minute. Last week i had to re-wash several loads of laundry. Two because, well, there are only so many weeks that you can watch your pants be rained on while you are waiting for them to dry, and one because my fresh, lavender-scented laundry is just what Orb-weavers and slugs want to nest in.

Sloe-worms. Maybe it is slow-worms. I do not mind a snake, or even a worm or two. Heck, I am the girl that will stop to save a worm from sidewalk-sun or a snail from dry-death. But there is something that is just gross about a creature that cannot figure out if it is a worm or a snake and just wants the worst of both. Ick. Trust me, they are even more gross when they have been chewed on by a cat and dropped at your feet. Just no.

I cannot stress the superiority of american appliances. I have to sing Mary-had-a-little-lamb TWICE just to time how long i have to push a button on my Euro-stove  to get it to light so that I can cook foods.(you can see that this is not driving me insane) Tell me, what is the best temperature to cook chicken on? Is it 5, 8, 9, 12,  or the series of dots, or the one that says POWER? I have no idea. What is an oven-timer? You know, that  thing that goes ‘beep’ when your food is done? I do not remember. (kill me now)

I even have to adjust my shower in Celsius folks. How hot do you want your shower? Somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees? Yeah, good luck. What that really means is: you must choose to burn or freeze.  Choose burn. Choose freeze. You may not choose warm. Sigh.

Well that wraps up this week. Enjoy your appliances, America. If your kids break everything you own, you can take some solace here.  I’m out.