Well I’ve seen Fire and I’ve seen Rain (UK;US)

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain;

It is raining now in Devon. When I got off of the plane in the UK for the first time it was raining. I wanted to get out of the car and dance in THE England RAIN. I was deluded, but not by much. You have got to see me through another day.

I am now going to deconstruct a song, and make it mean something more. Something of my family. A lesser joke than the last one.

(to see my first attempt of deconstruction of a song...here 

i’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end’

Yes, this is true, but not  by much. I am glad that the hot is over, but my ‘sunny days’ have just begun.

“I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend”

Yes. I have been lonely. But even in the UK i have found my Friend, She may be Herself, but I can be myself with her.

But I always thought that i would see you again. “But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now”

This applies to all of my boos that I will never see again. All of my friends that i will never see. All of my family that I will never see. All of my cousins that we will never meet.

‘just yesterday morning…when i wrote down this song..’

Its odd when you KNOW that you will be Here Forever, And that you will never go Home,

see you one more time again ….

Kisses my boos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvMcVZf7fyE

This is super silly now England part II (with wasp bears)

You guys, I cannot any more with this horseshit. You need to cool yourself off for realz. I did not move to the UK to be hot. I came for the clouds and I want them back.

This is the drawing that I made when it was hot for THREE DAYS one time in the UK

I posted about it here. And that when it was only a few days. I have done weeks of your hot weather and I am DONE. I am fighting the air.

For those of you in the US, let me just tell you a couple of things.

THERE IS NO A/C here. There is no air conditioning. None. Nope. This is an old and backward country and there is no a/c anywhere. Unless you are in a Tesco, you are going to roast and there is no reprieve.

THERE IS NO ICE HERE. Even in a Tesco, you are not going to get ice.

THERE ARE NO WINDOW SCREENS. I’m usually upset with this, but it is so freakishly hot here now that I am all…meh. let them all in. Who cares.

The UK can not handle weather of any kind. I am OK with this because there is usually no weather here. But our roads are melting, our train tracks are buckling and there are fucking wild-fires and people are dying of heat and NO JUST NO.

It is like the sun never goes down. It starts at 3 AM and just keeps on giving until Ten PM. This is just stupid.

I have been so angry these last few weeks. I am melting and I am pissed off and I want to kill people and I have yelled at every member of my family because SO HOT.

I hear the south-west might get a break a minute this weekend then back up into the nighties (30C or what-fucking-ever) for the rest of the month.

I am done with this and you need to stop England. I even told Manboy that we need to move to Scotland or Finland or Iceland or something because I was not made to do sun and heat.

He has been mostly staying out of my damn way because I am just hot and angry like a  bear shitting wasps. Not a single stitch of house work gets done after 10 am because fuck all of the things it is hot.

I went to make Manboy a coffee before work, and grabbed the milk and it was SOLID. Everything that I own that is food has gone off. This can not continue.

Please England…can we have some rain? A cloud perhaps? Maybe can it stay normal and not freakishly weird for a minute?

I’ll just hang in here with the rest of you suffering Brits. Just do NOT ask me if I am ‘enjoying the nice weather’.

To the Mum on the High Street with the Retarded Boy Today; (hope I am not boring the rest of you)

I haven’t got any hate mail! I can not decide if people need to phase out the word ‘retarded’ or not. On one hand, I feel that I have the capacity to use that word with humour and respect and also to make a joke. On the other hand, as someone with mental illness myself, maybe it isn’t ok.
I was with my kids on the high street today and a profoundly handicapped  man came by with his mum and wanted to pet the teddy bears that we had just made.
He was all ‘NUN huhnna  so soft bearz’ and touched my kids teddies with a steady and careful finger. I allowed him to do so and so did my kids. His mother was a bit anxious.
What is his name? I said to the mum. Her glazed and anxious eyes lit up.
‘His name is, oh don’t touch that, oh don’t, you will scare the girls….
“What is His NAME?’ i said, just touching her arm ever so slightly.
Oh, it’s stephan.
She never saw me. She could only see him and worry.  I wish she saw me and let them linger a minute. What a life she has, I can only guess, but I could have given her at LEAST 15 minutes.
Wanna see my bear? said my oldest?
funzybears toucccch funzybearzzz?
my oldest just went; welp: HERE wanna hug it?
and his mum said NO NO! Dont let him! he will…
and then he hugged it and gave it back.
His mum was out of speech. (no mention of weasel)
Apparently he could not be trusted around stuffed animals. His mum mumbled that she had got him one years ago and that he had destroyed it. I have two kids. they destroy everything i own.
But he did not destroy anything. (this time…I know)
And when he walked away, my kids just shrugged, but one of my charges was all? what was up with that man? why was he weird ugly and stuff’
Baby doll, because he has a medical condition. He is sick. He will never get better. He will be a baby-like man for life. He is retarded and he was awesome and special wasn’t he?
‘yeah Auntie! He was funny and awesome! I feel special and funny too…LALALAL”
I wish his mum could have heard that!

One Year I was in charge of a camping experience for the Retarded. (this won’t upset anyone, I am sure)

You have no idea how difficult and gross this was. It was also incredibly rewarding and also a bit sad.
I need to credit the great Gweenbrick here. He has given me the courage to post this. Do not blame him though. He writes about his work with the less gifted. (and other hilarious stuff. He also has fantastic comics. Go check him out and say hi. )
I worked with the DD (developmentally disabled)  and Old Folks for many years before I had kids, and (strangely) hope to again someday. Or maybe Dementia. Or Fostering. Nothing has ever been so hard and awful, but, somehow? Rewarding in a way that…what am I saying? That was years ago so I must just have blanked out everything and be remembering it fondly like a bad acid trip or a toddler.
ANYWAY…
So, I signed up for four weeks of *volunteer* camping ‘experience’ to help further my career, and because i wanted to see my people in the great outdoors.
Six adults and two carers. In wooden platformed tents. With port-a-loos. And Poison ivy. And swimming and canoeing. I would like to remind you that I signed up with no pay.
Week one was awesome. We had your usual DD and one Downs and one GIANT man who looked like Shrek. They were awesome. They loved making fires (GASP!) and singing and even eventually went to sleep. They ate foods and we wiped butts and they were weirdly making ‘boy/girl friends” and it was totally OK. (omg so not ok)
We had also reserved a Christian Camp for this. This means it was extra weird at ‘vespers’ and meal times.

Believe it or not, it gets weirder.
The second week was…i kid you not..’Clown Camp Week’. We all dressed as clowns, did makeup, juggled (bwahaha..i still have the scars) and basically consoled the extremely confused retarded campers who had just been thrown into one of the seven circles of hell as far as they were concerned. I agreed.
The third week we got a lot of high functioning Downs and a few elderly DD. This week went well. Except my male counterpart was from Nigeria and spoke ‘only some’ English. We had a  lot of sing-alongs at the fire and no one got poison ivy that week because My Nigerian Boo was All About Fels-Naptha on the hands. I had to explain foxfire to some of them, got to stargaze with the weirdest of them and no one fell out of a canoe.
The fourth week was when we got the ‘rest of them’ from the group home. I felt so bad for these kids. Kids are the only way to describe these folks. I can remember one young-ish manboy in a chair that used to slap and drool furiously when we sang koombyya (or whatever it is called, i have had to have wine to even type this out loud to other humans so whatever)
It is a weird thing, working with persons with no verbal skills. One never knows how we are affecting the non-verbals. Maybe they had fun! Maybe this was awesome to them! Maybe they wanted us to all just shut up! Maybe they wanted to go home, but judging on how much they flapped at the fire? They had some clue that this was different and interesting. One hopes.
But six of them? CAMPING? Drooling and shitting themselves? Being sprayed with chemicals to keep the mosquitoes off? Shoveling food into them then lowering them into a pool? Taking EVEN ONE of them in a canoe? FIRE MAKING?
I don’t know if you know what these folks are like.  I hope you can look on them with respect and humor, because they are awesome.  But, can I just repeat, six non-verbals, two of them in chairs camping in the woods with port-a-loos and fire. Sleeping in cots, in tents, with only two caretakers. .
FOR SEVEN DAYS
I remember one boy, Paul, who was profoundly handicapped. He had such dark hair and such a horse like, almost noble face. He used to slap his arms together in an awful way whenever we started a fire. One time He somehow gestured to me in a way that made me think he wanted the marshmallow that I was roasting out of desperation.
I cooled it off and attempted to let him have a bit in his ever drooling mouth. *I think* what he really wanted was the burning stick which he grabbed in one of his malformed and *not functioning* hands and then burned me with it. I have never heard a laugh so guttural, so visceral, so cruel and well deserved EVER.
I imagine he was thinking  ‘BITCH P00ned you ya’cunt!’
After the four weeks were over the staff had a get together where we made fun of, and laughed at every one of these poor son-o-bitches and defragged ourselves.
Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Look, I gave you a story about compassion and kindness and laughing at the retarded. I must be insane.
Ready for the hate mail but if you have never been related to them, worked with them and BEYOND ALL never camped with these fuckers,,,just laugh and do not judge. We are all funny and retarded in our own way.
comment anything, you guys?

Embarrassing things that have happened to me this week.

My kids. They must really yearn for my demise. I was in the pharmacy picking up meds for my family and this happened:

MUMMY CAN YOU GET ME SOME SLEEPING PILLS SO THAT I CAN SLEEP AT THE HOTEL?

What??? NO! *gasp* Go Outside! This makes me look like I am entertaining meth-heads and drugging my kids. This is so not the case. 

I turn around and try to mumble ‘I do not, I would never, please believe’ to the gramma behind me and she was, thankfully, understanding. “do not worry, last week my grandson  told his mother that he doesn’t want to come to my house because I hit and kick him.” She smiles.  I thank all of the Gods.

I was in our local shop the other day and I had to hide in the milk.

Sometimes, dinner just does not happen for the grown-ups in this house. By the time that the kids are fed, news is watched, Man VS food has been on, we are just too wine tired to cook.

I went to the shop with Manboy. He picked up a packet of mushrooms. I asked him;

What are you going to do with those mushrooms?

(innocent enough, i just wanted to know what recipe he was going to use!)

He said:

I am going to EAT them! I haven’t eaten in THREE DAYS! 

At this point the women next to him looks at us like we are total freaks and maybe I do not allow my husband to have food.

This sets me off. I start to giggle, I start to laugh, I start to cackle, and I AM DONE. I cannot anymore. I go hide in the milk cooler and am pressing a jug of milk to my face (*in public*) to try and stop the laughter. Bury me for I have now died.

Then The White Rose comes up to me in the milk-hysterical state that I am in and shouts: I HAD A DREAM ABOUT FROGS! DO YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT I DREAM ABOUT FROGS? This makes me laugh more. We eventually made it out of the store with absolutely zero dignity left.

I was in the same store last night while Manboy had on his Assassins Creed Shooty Greeve Armour on. We are LEGEND.

I had an epic autocorrect yesterday. I texted Manboy about our cats. It was flee treatment day and we had missed one cat, who knew it was her turn and was not having with any of that shit.

So Manboy got this text from me

I bought a pig. 

What he did not get was the text that i sent. I said ‘ i have caught Morganna’ meaning that I had flee treated the last cat.

This boy? Knowing about The Bloggess, he simply replied:

Is it stuffed or taxidermied? I know you have a blog but really? Lets try and be as sane as we can be. NO, you may NOT name it Beyonce. 

Did you have an embarrassing week? Am I really Crazy with a capital C? Is my family normal? Let me know!

I can speak American, but I am still learning how to speak English

Whenever I go somewhere to do anything official or business related, I always take a native Brit with me because it is impossible and embarrassing trying to communicate a lot of the time.

I have been here for five years or so, and I know how to use most of the words. Eggplant=aubergine, zucchini=courgette, I want=please may I have etc.

But sometimes I still get really baffled at not being understood.

When my mother visited England the last time she tried to order water in a restaurant. “Wader” she said. excuse me? “Wadter“. Pardon? “Water!” Me: oh, she just wants a wowta! Oh, you wanted a wowta! OK!  Le Sigh.

I was at a pub a while ago and without thinking, I went to the bar and ordered a diet soda. We worked on this for three minutes. “We only have regular sodah. I don’t think there is diet sodah. Do you mean slimline?”

Me: ???

Barmaid: ???

Then I realize my mistake. OH. Right! I want a Diet…(think of the word think of the word) soft drink? Pepsi? Coke? haha? Being a Brit in customer service the bitch just rolls her eyes, gives me three cubes and takes my money without another word. I die a little inside.

I was at a Slimming World meeting the other day. Obviously I have my best Brit friend with me to translate. We were discussing things to put on our food. I suggest Hot Sauce. Out of 30 people, not one had a single clue what I was saying. Hot Sauce. HotSauce. HotSauce.  Nope. My friend is already laughing at my foolishness.

“She means   Hoot      susse!” (laughter) “oh, she was saying HAWTSAASS!” (laughter) Fine, that was funny.

Sometimes, phrases get in the way. I was watching TV with some Brits when I saw a haggard looking lady and said “Wow! She looks like she was ridden hard and put away wet!”

These people knew me and could not believe what their little British ears had just heard, coming out of my mouth. Then they started to giggle, then guffaw and then were rolling as I continued to say “What? What? What’s so funny?”

“ALL I MEANT WAS that she looked like a lot of hard road! WHAT? Why are you laughing at meeee?”

I finally got them to understand that she looked old before her time, or had had a rough day. I have never lived this down.

These same people watched me walk into the room with a drink in each hand, one to serve, one for me, and I innocently said ” Look! I am double fisting!” I thought I was making a joke. In Englaland, I was making a FAR DIFFERENT joke than the one I had intended.  Hilarity ensued.

I never use fisting in any way anymore. Even if it only means that you have a drink in each hand. Dirty minded bastards.

I am tempted to suspect that I am being deliberately misunderstood, now that I know the local sense of humour, but I am sure the majority of the time I am just baffling people. I know this because my best friend sometimes says words to me that I just do not get.  After three repeats I sometimes say…..can you spell that? Then we laugh at how a simple word can confuse us both.

The interesting part is that my closest friends and family have evolved to speak American rather than correct me or ask questions. They know how I use the word Pants. They sometimes text me to see if they can come round for a soda. I find it flattering. I have asked them to stop me when I say Pants because I really should not be allowed to go on this way.

Can you imagine when my teen-age daughter brings a boy over and I casually say  “I like your Pants!” GAH!

Don’t get me started on voice recognition systems at call centers. (see this video) or my experience talking to the Scots.

Have you ever had any problems in translation with different countries or parts of the same country? I’d love to hear about it!

*updated*

I was reminded of this happening to me. Where the toilet became an issue. It still is.

I cannot believe that the Brits cannot Do Ice. New, updated Ice Issues; it’s poisonous.

I really need some Americans to chime in on this because I cannot, will not, do NOT get the Ice problem in the UK.

I have complained, at length, about the lack of the ice in the UK here. (worth a read, one of my better posts)

But now, i have discovered a new reason why there is such a lack of frozen water on this side of the pond.

Apparently it is poisonous.

If you make ice in Englandland, it suddenly turns into poison. And this is America’s fault.  (of course it is.)

OK, fine. But in America, we have a lot of ice. Every where you go, there will be ice. A lot of it. All frozen and full of goodness. Sometimes, people touch and interact with ice. I have never known a single person to DIE from ICE in America, where the ‘poisonous ice’ comes from.

I tried to buy a bag of ice from my local shop the other day. They were sold out. SOLD OUT OF ICE. Can you imagine? What this tells me is that the Brits do really, actually, love ice and want some, poisonous or not.

Listen to me. Ice is not dangerous. Ice is not expensive. Ice is not a problem. It is just frozen water and it is totally fine.

I guess I will just keep repeating this every summer until I die from lack of frozen, poisonous water.

Oh England. Stay classy y’all. I’ll hang in here wit’cha with my warm beverages.

I have been talking to someone in Scotland and I am exhausted.

If your business phone call starts out with “Wow. I am an an American and you are WELL Scottish so lets both just talk R E A L slow…” you know that you are in trouble.

OO Uoo hoose OOO Noom’er?

HUH? nope. lets try for some consonants.

O O O Uooo Hoose a Coosmor Ommer?

Yes, i know, you Brits can probably translate that easily. I am a massive fan of Scotland and their rugby team, but MAN, talking to the Scots is hard work!

OH… a customer number…right. Ok, its (american number speak)

Joost, is it:  OOO? Oo, Oh, Uh, Oh OO?

Not at all. I will go real slow ok? (OOOKay) 8675309

So thats OOO, sex, OO feva threed OOO none?

Uh, i think so. And we were just getting started. After about an hour and a half on the phone we had become fast friends and managed to work everything out but now i need A NAP because i have talked to the Scots. No wonder the Romans just built a wall and gave up!

 

PS, if you are a girl or a fan of men in general, go up and click that link to Scottish rugby. Try not to drool.

Two Things that I find Hilarious about the British

You guys. There are so many things that I laugh about here. The Brits are Funny. In ways that they can not seem to see. Here is a short list.

They Love A Sing-Song.

America might have a bit of karaoke, but they have NOTHING on the Brits. These folks love a sing-song like the sun loves the morning. Get a few of them together, and they will *sing for all of the life*!  Really these folks will sing for anything, and when they do they are hilarious. Wanna sing Happy Birthday? Fine. Wanna sing ancient pirate songs? Fine.  Wanna sing England/Wales/Scotland hymns? Yep. Would you like to sing a negro spiritual?  OH WAIT that is your national anthem for ‘football’?

“swing LOW sweet CHARIOT comin’ for to carry ME HOME!”

As an American, i can only be confused at this. That is putting it nicely. REALLY? SWEETCHAROIT? oh, just wow. Lawd.

They Do Pantomime

If you are like me, you have no idea that this is a thing at all. I had never even heard the word ‘pantomime’ before i moved to the UK. They love this stuff. I am, even 5 years in, unable to find the words to even tell folks in the US what this is.  I guess it is where b-listers dress in drag and the audience participation is a bit ‘rocky-horror’

Little StormBringer had a school assembly the other day and we were encouraged to BOO the ‘baddie’ and CHEER for the other side. It is all so insane. But fun and also funny. I might one day see a proper Panto. I might one day get Cricket as well. (not gonna happen)

The Brits are hilarious. Every day, all of the time. I love it here. I may not get everything that they do, (no, do NOT look up dogging y’all) but I get to have a chuckle once in a while at their foolishness.

Did I miss anything? What do you find funny about Brits or Americans?

Eight more weeks of this torture? Are American or UK School Holidays Better?

I have been reading lots of lovely blogs about how happy the US moms are that it is finally summer and the kids are out. I am a little bit jealous. I have eight more weeks left in my sentence.

Every year, like the rest of the mums, I start out organized, ready and super excited for the new year. Supplies are stockpiled, uniforms are bought, homework areas are designated. All goes well for most of the year.

Then May hits, and my internal school clock begins to wind down. I feel like it should be the end of the year. Wrap things up, last tests, field trips, movie days. I begin to be DONE with school.

I’ve said before that (in my limited experience) the schools in the UK are better by far. I do like the longer year in theory, because we get the six-weeks on, one week off deal and LOTS of time for x-mas and Easter. But man, it is barely June and I am SO DONE with school.

I am tired of homework. I am tired of uniforms. I am tired of hair and nails and shoes and socks. I am tired of homework. I am tired of school bags, PE kits, special projects, school lunches and signing things. I am DONE with homework, and I am so very, very DONE with school.

By this time of the year, I am no longer able to care if they even have homework. How am I supposed to look for it, help them with it, keep track of it, and get it signed and sent in when I do not even look in their backpacks anymore?

I.cannot.do.anymore.homework.

I have been reduced to saying ” hey, does anyone have any homework” about twice a week. That is my level of commitment to my kids all-important education in June.

This morning The White Rose came downstairs in two very different socks. I rolled my eyes and told her that I know that there are many clean, matching pairs in her room. Ya know, the ones that are part of her required uniform. She shrugged, I shrugged, and out the door she went.

I have 2 field trips, one week long school activity, two sports days an an assembly/play to go to. I want to bang my head on the walls at the thought of this. In the beginning of the year I take pictures and attend everything with a tear in my eye. In the summer? I am just so over it all.

What? Oh your teacher wants yogurt pots and boxes brought in? OK, good luck finding it, bagging it up and remembering it because it is fucking June and I cannot anymore with this shit.

I have until July 26th. JULY. July TWENTY SIXTH OMG.

I will have to find some reserve energy from somewhere inside and carry on for the EIGHT WEEKS of this crap that I have left. I know that in September I will be fired up and eagerly awaiting the fun and learning we have in store. September will see me promise to be the perfect example of a helpful mother of two school age kids.

How do the British parents keep this up for 11 months of the year? How do you guys do this?? Tell me!! It is insane. Probably way better for the kids, but after 24+ years of my own US schooling, I am so not feeling the love.

Which way would you prefer? More breaks or a longer summer? Tell me if you have any tips or if you would be willing to help my darlings with homework for the rest of the year!