In-laws

12 Jul

Well, my small but growing group of ardent admirers it has been far too long since I updated you.And so I shall update now. But not in an informative way, oh no. And not briefly either. No. For this is not the way of the me. And certainly not now I have a PhD. HELLO POMPOUS ME!

So, I find it hard to write when I have no whimsy and the past few months have less whimsical than previous years. Moving country, starting a new job, getting married, setting up a new life, changing and adjusting to new everything…it is difficult to spot the whimsy when you don’t even know what is normal anymore.

To be fair my yard stick for measuring normal has never been quite the normal length as it was.

What even is a yard stick. HUSBAND, FETCH ME A YARD STICK. I just looked up ‘yard stick’. It’s a ruler. What the heck people? Just call it a ruler.

nun

All rulers should come with a free nun.

See this is the problem. So many things are not called the same things that I know them by, so when I’m asking for something or talking about something and I’m greeted by silence, baffled looks, misunderstandings, outright laughter, the sound of the wind whistling through a deserted street, clocks chiming, squirrels staring at me aghast, and at times a demand to meet me on the battlefield at noon to have it out with swords. At other times my blissful English accent is so confounding to people here it remains almost impossible to purchase everyday items, so even just asking for simple things like ‘butter’ and ‘water’ have become overly complicate How can a person be whimsical when they can’t even buy water or a camel???

And yes I do need a camel. Because of eight very specific reasons.

Anyway. So I got married some of the months ago. I’m going to say eight months…some anyway. And throughout life you see depictions of newly married life as being:

  1. Fraught with anxiety as you settle into the new role (fairly accurate – TRYING TO WIFE IS OFTEN HIGHLY CONFUSING WHEN ONE IS FAR MORE USED TO SINGLE PERSONING AND PLAYING WITH CATS)

cat husband

Sigh, sometimes you have to put the cat down and give the husband a hug too.

2. Full of arguments over stupid things (inaccurate – requesting that cupboard doors be shut and that one does not leaving water running for ONE HUUUUUNDRED years before you shower is NOT a stupid thing!!!!!!!)

3. Full of ‘how’s your father’ (just realized how ghastly that description is and as I’m British I cannot comment any further without bursting into horrified flames). Actually I can; if you google ‘polite ways to say sex’ what comes up is lots of people saying ‘no’. Instead I shall just refer to this alarming webpage: http://www.thedatereport.com/dating/communication/1552-100-different-ways-to-say-sex/ My favorites are ‘Horizontal refreshment’ or ‘quimsticking’. Actually I’m feeling all uncomfortable again. And I’m sure Murgatroyd is too. So…onwards.

4. Potentially distressing encounters with new in-laws who dislike you, or yours who dislike your newly married person. And this is what today’s little missive will address. Because this, my fine readership, is not the experience of I, the writer, and Sketch, the random vagabond I found on a train and forced to marry me. (Yes, romance is alive and well.) In fact we agree that when it came to families we both have awesome ones. And today I shall speak of my new family.

‘In-laws’, Webster’s dictionary describes them. Because that is what dictionaries do.

If you are to peruse the internet, and I do not advise this if you plan on leading a full and happy life, but if you do, you will see that most (yes, an internet-worthy generalization) content makes the claim that in-laws are the worst. That mother-in-laws are ghastly and bossy and father-in-laws are quiet and weak. I’d give examples but I don’t have the time. (*hushed whisper* I actually do have the time but I can’t be bothered, teehee).

Well, internet and judgmental folks out there – FIE ON YOU BECAUSE MY IN-LAWS ROCK.

As indeed do my actual laws. Or ‘family’ as I also call them.

However, let us not think for one second that they are not hilarious and slllllllllllightly barmy. No indeed, what Sketch has provided me with is a whole new array of humans to delight in! He gives so much! He also takes my chocolate and last crisp so it’s not all fine sailing!

I have never sailed.

I apologise for using references I cannot substantiate with actual facts.

I did not mean to lie.

LIES

I SAID I’M SORRY

obama

But…but I said I was sorry…

throne of lies

Oh you know what…I care a lot less now. At least I have a throne. What do you have?

THIS I AM SURE…

bull chair

Some sort of bull chair.

AND ALSO THIS

giant pants

I’m not sure what this is but it came up when I searched ‘stupid chair’. I love the places google searchers can take me.

But wait! I said don’t traverse the internet…

LIES

And so the circle of life continues.

Anyway, I digressed a tad: my in-laws – my parents-in-law are wonderful. They are very kind, very generous, and hilariously eccentric in brand new ways to me.

These are my favorite things about my in-laws so far:

Mother-in-law aka The Fork Hustler (TFH):

TFH has stringently high standards of cleanliness and neatness. Something I love about her. However, in witnessing her approach to her home and the humans who enter it I have come to the conclusion that she has a special compartment in her brain that over rides all loving feeling towards even those she made with her own body.

For enter into her home and you will see her mild mannered tone go in a second from ‘hello’ to…WASH YOUR HANDS, TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES!!!!!!!!

This might not be unusual in and of itself for a houseproud person, but it is blasted at her adult children and her husband and indeed new comers. It is also powered through ones ears when one has actually already done both of those things which can be confusing when you are new to the house. Indeed I wondered if I should grubby my hands and re-insert my shoes just so she could witness it firsthand.

Second, and I shall limit myself to just two of my favorite things I like to watch TFH doing at this time, is her relationship to cutlery. Well, I might also squeeze in here that I also find it wonderful that all crockery and cutlery and washed fully and then put in the dishwasher for a second washing. *happy sigh* beautiful cleaning.

On my first visit I was aware, while making a cup of tea, that teaspoons appeared to be in short supply. In fact all cutlery appeared to be in short supply. I was surprised for the house is beautifully decorated and furnished. However Sketch and I still have only two forks, knives and spoons and don’t seem to have any plans to get anymore so I did not think too far into the issue. Not, in fact, until my last trip to the in-laws of glory.

I was once more making tea and there were no tea spoons, there also appeared to be a lack of forks. My father-in-law, who we shall refer to as HE WHO SEES ALL (HWSA) said to TFH, there are not enough forks for everyone, you need to get out more.

TFH sighed with genuine frustration and barely concealed rage and walked to the next room where, as far as I could tell from the rustling and noise, I believe she removed some bricks from the wall and took out a plastic bag, the contents of which were well wrapped in paper towels. She held it close to her chest protectively and glaring at us all for being alive, she reached into what turned out to be her private stash of cutlery and withdrew a gleaming fork.

HWSA said he was just joking and we were all fine. At which point I believe a small vein in TFH’s forehead exploded. In her mind I think she made him burst into one thousand spoons. But instead, while making loud proclamations of the doom soon to befall HWSA the fork was lovingly replaced and the bag placed once more out of sight into what I can only assume was another dimension.

This level of madness honestly made me love her so much more. While I have no immediate plans to start popping out children, when I do I am certain to let them know that hiding spoons is a great way to make their grandmother provide free and loud entertainment. I shall give them popcorn to eat while they watch it all unfold.

Ah yes, ‘children’. This leads me to my father-in-law

 

Father-in-law: HE WHO SEES ALL (HWSA)

HWSA is a glowing example of a wonderful southern man. He is wise, thoughtful, full of southern wisdom and sayings that mean absolutely nothing to me but sound excellent, and three thousand frighteningly accurate observations on everyone. At a social gathering HWSA can be found sitting back in his chair surveying all before him. Usually with a look that implies he can’t quite believe humanity ever became this stupid. It’s not quite this:

sandra shock

Not least because he is not Sandra Bullock. Hmm, maybe it is like a more subtle and polite  version of this:

kevin shock

It is also not this but I sort of wish it was:

cbs upfronts 3 170512

Anyway, STOP DIGRESSING WOMAN! BLASTED INTERNET

LIES

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Right, back to HWSA.

With many people it is best not to know what they are thinking because of how much stupidity that can be contained within a single cranium, with m’father-in-law though, I ALWAYS want to know what he is thinking. It is also often hilarious. However, one of his current conversational bents that rises up in each and every conversation with Sketch and I is this one: ‘well…all this will change when the kids come along’. His determination that we are fooling ourselves about when and where we will produce little humans is glorious. As Sketch remarked, you could be talking about basketball and HWSA will make that very statement:

Sketch: look, a basketball (N.B I don’t really know how one talks about basketball), look a man is running with the ball, he is now throwing it, I do like that throw, I also like his very baggy shorts, I shall buy some.

Other person watching the basketball: yes I too like the throwing of the basketball but I prefer the shorts of the other team, perhaps I shall buy some of them. Oh look, a scoring thing has happened as a result of the ball throwing.

HWSA: Well…this will all change when the kids come along.

Everyone else: ………………

Sketch (frantically): LOOK AT ALL THE BASKETBALL HAPPENING

HWSA: *chuckles to self*

You know I always thought I’d hate being asked or teased about having kids. They are messy and sticky and pregnancy looks like the most hideous thing I’ve ever witnessed. The magic of birth is a horror show of blood and tearing and screaming and noise and drugs. And while that may be a normal Saturday night for some, I happen to prefer a good book and some chocolate.However, from my in-laws, all of this is actually utterly charming and hilarious because they let me tease them back, like with this blog…yeah…chaps? This blog…my in-laws…helloooooo. *noting the moment my burgeoning relationship broke down*

But still…thank you Sketch for my new family. I am very happy.

N.B. while writing TFH just sent me a random text message saying her next step is remove all toilet seats she is tired of cleaning. I LOVE THIS WOMAN.

 

 

 

Lil New York update for you here

12 Jan

Oh my beloved, it hath been a long time, too long me thinks since last I wrote and you all failed to leave any comment or indication of your time with me.

What has happened that might be of interest?

Well let us think…

I submitted a grant for some very useful research I want to do.

I am painfully slowly working up my publications.

I proposed to Sketch.

The weather remains a little unreliable and often pleasantly warm for the time of year.

I love my job.

Sketch said yes.

My dear friends are dear and blooming, like flowers. Thistles to be precise.

I have two plants in my apartment now! Both from dearly beloved friends/family. Hence the flower analogy. Although neither plant flowers…so perhaps that was an ill-placed analogy.

I found a store that sells PG Tips right near where I live!

I married Sketch.

I replaced my air mattress with a much more comfortable bed.

I still really need a rug.

In many ways, Sketch also married me.

I found an english shop, a fish and chip shop (called A salt and battery) and a little tea shop that has table cloths with the same pattern that my grans curtains used to have.

Yes, I think that about covers it for now.

I’ll write more when I am next covered in whimsey but surfice to say, all encounters with Sketche’s family have continued to be embarrassing to a tomato-ey shade of red.

Sigh.

Also

I’M GOING HOME FOR A VISIT!!!!!!!!!! How I miss the land of Eng!

Still not dead!

12 Nov

Seven weeks in this land I have now been. I think seven. Some. Some weeks I have been in this land.

Much has happened. I will share three fourths with you. The rest will be lies. A tiny proportion will be cheese.

Maths remains a struggle.

 

My job is glorious. I love it. It’s a lot of work. That part is tiresome. But then I love the work. I find it hard to stop doing the work. Except now…when I write my blog…or get a moment of whimsy. Today is full of whimsy.

I had purchased a glorious giant air mattress which I came home yesterday to discover had a hole in it. The superintendent was kind enough to loan me a new mattress made for a person half the person I am. In every way. My character alone was bigger. And so now I must go and buy an actual bed. Like some sort of grown up. Pah.

I recently met all of Sketche’s New York based family. Or at least about 30 of them. That was a lot. Things that happened during that visit that were unexpected and that being a deeply awkward British person has in no way prepared me to mentally handle:

  • Introducing myself to lots of people
  • Speaking at a volume where people can hear me
  • Having the card I’d written for his aunt (for twas her event I attended) read out
  • No one being able to read my handwriting
  • Having to read my card out loud
  • To 25 people
  • While being filmed
  • Being pulled into the centre of room and having to dance
  • While being filmed

Still…they were lovely and I am not quite dead from embarrassement. So a win all round.

What else has been news worthy…

I’m sure there have been things…

I’m making friends.

Not out of bluetac and stickyback plastic you understand.

Actual already alive people.

I am liking my new church. I have managed to go there more than once. (Twice)

Sketch does not like my cooking.

I made a very reasonable meal of prawn, scrambled egg, chicken and pasta with salad.

His objection came from my cooking the prawn with the egg in tartar sauce.

And then putting it all in one big bowl.

And putting on more tartar sauce.

Once his laughter subsided he declined to finish it. I had it cold for dinner two days later AND LOVED IT. So fie on you Sketchface.

The weather here remained ‘manic pixie girl unstable’ until about Tuesday. It was November and 19-24 degrees of centegrades! Now however it is dribbling down, the leaves are browning and falling and dying and everything is decaying in the dirt to doom and depression. So I’m in my element! It’s like being at home! I walk with a lilting and jaunty gait.

There is more. I can’t think of it. I’ll be home for two weeks in January! Very exciting.

Next post…my first thanksgiving. Will I give thanks…OR WILL I TAKE THANKS?

*disclaimer: still a little hazy on the details of the celebration

One month in…

22 Oct

Well chaps, I have been a living person in the United States of the America for ONE MONTH as of today! I’ve always been a living person but now I’m much more livingy. It’s a thing. Go with it. I have a PhD.

Despite being immersed in this new culture I am currently listening to the News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 which is about as British as it gets. A chortle emerges from my face every so often.

So how goes it with me I hear at least three of you ask. Well…I’ll tell you in the form of a short musical.

*guffaw* not really.

Work continues well. Last week I had an odd experience where my boss positively leapt at me and invited me to a benefit dinner for a charity (obviously a charity…it is unlikely to be a benefit dinner to raise money for benefits). It was being held two hours from when she asked. I accepted because that’s what I do, despite knowing nothing about any of it.

Living five minutes from my job is proving terribly helpful and so a work chum (delightful woman) and I came back to my home, prepared and set out like well-heeled interpid explorers. One traffic-heavy cab ride later we arrived late to the benefit where we found I was not on the list. Somehow I was still allowed in – no doubt due to my spectacular heels. We entered the event as some speeches were occuring and had to weave our way through the tables to find our table. By this stage my British awkward gene was exploding with warning signals and I was ready to simply fall to the floor and remain there, face down, until everyone had left for the evening.

But I made it, sat down and we then realised I had essentially stolen my chum’s bloke’s seat. She then planned to leave but I may have pathetically begged her not to. Her chap was on route so I said I was happy to go when he arrived. In the meantime I was able to positively FEAST on three lettice leaves and half a walnut. I’m still full to this very day.

He arrived and I departed, like an awkward gazelle.

I found a cab growing in the street and used it for my own travel purposes, collecting my own chap (Sketch) on route home. The cab driver, an older gentleman, sang hymns in an alto voice for the majority of the journey. It was unexpected.

In other news, well, I am finally set up with health insurance and need no longer avoid being hit by a bus or a disease carrying possom. Things I’ve been most careful till now.

My apartment is glorious. I still have need of a few things but they are comfort driven rather than neeeeeeed. I am just thankful I can get PG Tips from the supermarket near my home.

Today the empire state building is lit up in blue. Yesterday it was stacked as red, white, blue. My honest first thought was ‘oh how French’. I chose not to share this thought when I realised it probably represented the American colours, and also they seem to have issues with the french for some reason.

I love my job by the way.

The weather…now I am english. It is mandatory that the weather takes a lead role in any updates on my life. Last Monday it was about 21 degrees C. By Friday it had dropped to about 9degrees. By Monday of this week it was 2degrees C and I was ready to roll myself up in a large sock and not emerge until spring. But then…TWIST…yesterday it went up to 21 and today was 23…TOMORROW IS MEANT TO BE 25DEGREES CENTEGRADE. It’s madness. I can’t keep up. I might explode. Why so unstable american weather? Calm down.

What else…I think I’ve found the church I want to join. I’m going back this week to check it out but it was delightful. After church my chap and I met with a friend and her bloke for brunch. Later my chap and I wandered back to my home and picked up some food. We were so smug and couply and happy that I still feel inclined to slap us.

On Saturday we took the East River Ferry down the East River. Because if there is one thing I can do, it’s stay on a boat and not make it veer off course. Imagine if we took the East River Ferry down a different river!! WHAT SORT OF MADNESS WOULD THAT BE?!! There is more to this story and this day but none of it is remotely interesting to anyone who isn’t me, and I already know what happened.

Clearly I’ve had more than three days in the past month but it’s all so higgeldy piggeldy but let us see, a summary:

  • I’m dearly loving the people I work with and am begining to grow/force friendships with them
  • This had led to more wine drinking than I’m used to. I’m going to have to revert back to just drinking tea because I really don’t like wine that much.
  • The friends are lovely though. I was out for a dinner this evening, there was PG Tips. My friend proudly expressed her delight at her new vegan diet which did make me question why we had just been eating chicken…
  • I have found a friend with the same taste in comedy who knows many british comedy shows that many british people don’t know, plus her cat looks like mine!
  • I am waiting to be paid and have a better grasp on my finances after all the bills but I intend to start learning American Sign Language. I love their one handed alphabet.
  • I have been lost and confused on no less than 5 occasions.
  • My life is busy, and full and delightful and fun and interesting and the minor madnesses are not distressing me like they often do
  • I am finding that deeply unsettling
  • A lot of time is spent looking suspiciously around to try and figure out how it suddenly got so lovely
  • I thank God for it
  • while looking suspiciously around
  • It’s possibly the absence of having to do a PhD…
  • I should go to bed. I’m going to a ward round on the ICU of the hospital I’m based at for 8am.
  • I’m not even alive at 8am
  • Is 8am even a real time?
  • WHHAAAAYYYYY
  • It’s good that I have flexible working hours!
  • For mum and dad and the Kidds…Murdoch Mysteries is about three series behind here than in the UK. UPDATE ME WHEN IT STARTS AGAIN.
  • Today I said elevator instead of lift.
  • Sigh.

Pip pip

The bloggiest blog I ever did blog

13 Oct

The bloggiest blog I ever did blog

Well chaps, I’ll try to keep this relatively short. HAH. My internet connection is hormonal and unreliable so I have not the energy to litter the post with amusing images carefully culled from a search of the internets. JUST WORDS, HAHAHAHA.

So…I live in New York now…that’s odd.

I’ve been here three weeks. Wait…no…nearly three. Two. And a few days. And have I been living it up in the this city that never sleeps? No I have not! In fact I’m finding there is this particular thrumming noise near my building and it’s doing my head in, mostly at 3am. Thus how I have taken on this lively city in the first few weeks: the first weekend I had a cold of doom and was in bed snivelling all weekend with a fever. The second weekend I was hormonal and there was the threat of a hurricane (Joaquin, or some such name) so I remained in and snivelling. And this weekend…well…I DID LAUNDRY…IN MY OWN BUILDING!! I’ve learned that if you make no attempt to have a life you always get a washing machine. It’s possible I value clean pants over going out…but still…clean pants…GLORY BE.

My apartment is lovely! I have a view of the empire state building. Today it is lit up in white. On Saturday it was pink. That was nice. My flat was totally empty on arrival and so I was relieved that my over- (but still glorious) planning had occurred. Soon I had a cupboard full of cleaning goods and a fridge empty except from the chocolate drawer. *my priorities might be a little skewed…OR PERFECT*

I had a week to settle in and get stuff before starting work on the 1st October (a Thursday – I’m telling you because I keep forgetting when I started). The superintendent (who refers to me as ‘heeeey it’s the British girl’) helped me out with a load of very nice furniture and other human people have been lovely and generous with gifts/giving me the crap they no longer want. As ever, I am open to charity and pride is not an issue! I’LL TAKE IT ALL!

I have had my usual range of randomised issues (e.g. what do you do when the maintenance people fix your light switch but you find broken glass all over your kitchen afterwards?), hiccups (being referred to as ‘that’ in a meeting by a new colleague who forgot my name and apparently that I’m a person and not an inanimate object), embarrassing incidents (getting lost and going to the wrong side of the city for lunch despite very clear directions and a different address to the one I determinedly went to) and people REFUSING to understand my accent. Deliberately. With intent to injure (apparently ‘saucepan’ is incomprehensible when spoken by my fair lips, resulting in my having to fry water for a week before a friend bought me one and another friend gave me their old kettle out of pity). I have taken to referring to the English in terms of ‘this is very offensive to my people’ for example when people make me tea without milk (MADNESS).

Work seems glorious so far. I’ve started writing up publications from my PhD and am doing ONE HUUUUUUNDRED hours of online training for ethics governance. It is not in any way exciting but I do look glorious in my new tinted lense glasses that help my dyslexia. Like a sexy bono. I also have made friends. Aggressively. Occasionally using chocolate as bribery. On Friday night two of the girls came to my place and we cemented our growing fondness for each other with the fermented juice of the broken grape. A lot of the fermented juice. Which was good because it distracted from the discomfort of only having one chair and not knowing each other well enough to share it at the same time.

Since then I was able to get hold of a couple of metal folding chairs that I found lying in the street, brought back, cleaned up with all of the products and discovered they are green and not grey, thus matching my colour scheme! GLORY BE AGAIN. Were the chairs there to be taken? No idea. Let us hope the same rules of the UK apply to the US.

I am still looking for a church to settle in but I’m enjoying visiting new ones each week. My sister the Neef made the excellent point that you can learn a lot from seeing how other people do things. Plus it’s giving me an interesting insight into what issues the church sees as important for teaching, encouraging and prayer over here which is helpful culturally as I have no idea what is going on anywhere and consider it all glorious madness.

Things with my fella Sketch continue rather gloriously well. He is being a giant wonderful pip who is looking after me, mocking my accent, making sure I don’t set fire to my apartment, teaching me how to use sockets, and holding my hand when we cross the street so I don’t get run over.

There has been plenty more I could share but I’ll just list it or randomly refer to it in future posts with no context but a demand of your total acceptance and understanding:

  • Being stuck in an unexpected Latin American parade

That is all.

Ph.inisheD!

8 Sep

OHMYDAYS I HAVE A PHD!

PhD finished

My own as well.

Not stolen.

Not borrowed.

Not taken out for a nice meal and then kidnapped at the end of the evening like some sinister event.

Not certain why I went to such a dark place with that anaology.

Anyway, as of 1st September 2015 I stand before you, a Dr Nurse.

I might be magnificent…

I’m doing reseach to confirm.

My viva was truly grim but I’ve learned a lot from it, mostly to toughen up. But by golly did I defend!

I defended like a boss.

Huzzuh!

And now, in two weeks time, I am moving to New York to continue this life of mine in a researchy way.

And we have learned that when in New York I have less people to keep me in line and follow behind me, catching the things I knock to the floor, cleaning up my messes, apologising for my behaviour. In New York…well…future blogs will determine how things go. Although it strikes me, kind of like this…

phd mug

But yes. I am truly happy right now for many reasons. Although a blot on my horizon is discovering that I am not the first to come up with ‘Phinished’ as a pun. *insert anger*

I WILL UPDATE YOU ON MY ADVENTURES VERY SOON!

UPDATE

25 Feb

PENGUINS HAVE KNEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Special thanks go to Murgatroyd for this information. I love you Murgatroyd, I remain your faithful puppetmaster, Dead Rebecca)