New ways I am failing at parenting and being an expat

I will never get all of my laundry done. Never, ever, never ever ever. I have not yet adapted to doing laundry in the UK. Allow me to contrast the ways that laundry is done in the US vs the UK.

Let’s assume that you have two loads of laundry to do. I’ll stipulate that a washer-full is different in the US (bigger obviously) but let’s just set that aside.

USA:

9 am: put laundry in washer

9:45: Put laundry in dryer, wash a second load

10:30: take laundry from dryer, start second load drying, fold and put away clean dry clothes

11:15: fold and put away second load

DONE

UK

9am: put laundry in Euro-washer-dryer thingy

3pm: take hot wet laundry from the dryer and hang on the line. Put second load in the Euro-washer

9 am the next day: Observe that your laundry on the line has been lightly sprinkled on. It does not yet have slugs or spiders so decide to let it dry off a bit.

Noon: It rains. Your wet laundry is still on the line. Your second load is still wet in the Euro-washer-dryer.

4 pm: pray for better weather

9 am the next day. you decide that the clothes outside are ‘dry enough’ and bring them in. Lay them on the radiators to finish drying. Hang out second load.

10 am: it starts to sprinkle. The cats have lounged all over your clean laundry. The kids have knocked it to the floor. Pick up hairy, linty laundry and just fold the fucking shit.

5 pm: it sprinkles a little more.

9 am the next day. Your second laundry is mostly dry. Only has a few slugs. Bring in, hang on the banisters.

9 am the next day: fold crumpled fucking laundry and put it away.

DONE.

So the score is USA-3.5 hours, UK-5 days. USA-clean, dry, wrinkle-free clothes. UK-slightly damp, fuzzy wrinkled clothes.

What would your laundry situation be of you could only do two Euro-loads of laundry a week?

It is actually worse than this. The piles are bigger and I have not drawn the slugs.

OMFG YOU GUYS, I will never, ever get it all done. How is everyone else dealing with this?? Why can’t I figure it out? Seriously, if anyone knows please tell me!  I have piles and piles of laundry. Some of it I might just throw out. Euro-washers do not remove stains anyway so screw it. Just keeping my kids in clean clothes is a miracle. All of my clothes that are not ‘drying’ on the line are dirty. All of them. I put on a clean shirt today for the first time in 4 days. ‘Clean’ has a new meaning to me. If one of my shirts does not have gravy on it, it is now ‘clean’. I cannot go on like this. (help me)

I have said before that my kids swear like fucking champions. I have no idea where they get this from. But Little Stormbringer surpassed herself today. The White Rose was doing a truly cringe-worthy puppet show. The kind that is great if you are two, but was extremely sub-par for her. It had a dance routine and involved me watching a pipe-cleaner tell knock-knock-jokes. I love this stuff but apparently it makes older sister’s ears bleed.

I watched as my oldest started to twitch. A bead of sweat appeared on her temple. Then she saw my face and started to giggle. I giggled. Even The White Rose started to giggle at her foolishness. Then Little Stormbringer said “OMG fuck-the-hell-off with that shit!”

Then we all collapsed with laughter. I told you that we aren’t right. I was all ‘wow. that was a mouthful of swearing even for me! Tone it down a bit child! Jesus Christ!’

I set such a good example. But then later in the day one of her projects wasn’t going as planned and she said ” Awww STICKS!”

Are you kidding me? Of course we laughed about that too. I told you that I was failing at parenting!

You want to hear something worse? My kids are so gross. So very gross. This they do NOT get from me. One comes down and says that the other is reading a book on the toilet. I can only assume that the door is open. Yuck. Manboy and I eyeballed each other. “we did NOT need to know that, thanks.”

Then the other comes down, wearing only underpants, stretches, smiles and says “ahhhh…that let a lot of junk out of the trunk!”

OMFG SO GROSS. Are you kidding me? This is a little girl. Strutting in my living room in pants and talking about her bowel movement. No one that she has ever met reads on the toilet or brags about the product. Our living room explodes with cries of ‘ NO! Gross! No way! Ewwwww. Jesus! Please stop! Yuck!’ And them hysterical laughter at the absurdity of the whole thing. I cannot be the only one whose kids are disgusting. Right? Right?

How is your laundry today? Have your kids ever done anything that gross? Tell me all about it!

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.

Life in the UK is not always Awesome

Ice cubes are delicious

When was the last time that you went a week without using a single ice-cube? I have been here for so long that I cannot honestly remember. Please let me know.

I am pretty sure that I remember using them all the time. Possibly even daily.  Store bought 2 liter? Ice-cubes. Water after housework? Ice-cubes. Soup too hot for kid? Ice-cube. Offer anyone a drink? Ice-cubes for sure.

There is something magical about slowly pouring a freshly opened soda onto ice cubes in the summer. You simply cannot have iced tea without them. Then there are ice packs, filling coolers, rubbing on a burn, or heck, your forehead and boobs in August. Ice-cubes are such  lovely fantastic things.

Except we do not have any. Ice-cubes here are a luxury. Usually reserved for gin and tonic or maybe Pimms. (I adore Pimms.) And then only store-bought ice-cubes are used.

I think that there are two reasons for this. Everyone drinks everything warm here. I am used to it and I don’t really mind any more. Warm beer? Yeah, that’s fine. The second reason ties into this. You can no more put a case of beer or soda in your Euro-fridge than you can make room for ice cubes in your Euro-freezer.

I found an actual ice-cube tray in a pound shop once. It made a dozen teeny-tiny ice-cubes. I was THRILLED. I brought it home and made ice! Then I cracked all 12 tiny cubes into a glass of cold water. Then I had 4 sips, and the ice was all gone and I cried.

The very first purchase I make after collecting my lottery winnings will be an American fridge freezer. I mean that with every yearning fiber of my being y’all. Here is the best example of why American appliances will beat the euro-crap that we have here. I could not have said it better. Not without swearing.