Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cleaning....boooo... and I need Cesar Millan

I spent all day cleaning my house. How do walls and doors get so dirty? It's like people have spilled stuff all over them. How does that happen, especially to closet doors? I scrubbed walls and doors half of the morning! Now, I can't stop looking at my doors and walls. I also scrubbed all of the base boards. I'm tired. On another note, Bona brand wood floor cleaner is fantastic. FYI.

After a full day of cleaning, I had to leave my house so potential buyers could look at it. I sprayed air freshener all over. It's Paula Deen's brand, and guess what, even her smell good stuff is fried. The scent is "fried apple pie". HAHAHA. I find that very amusing.  Anyway, when I left, I took the dogs because it was a re-show, and I didn't want the dogs barking at them the entire time again.

So what do you do for an hour and a half with 2 dogs in Texas? Well, I used my Starbucks gift card to get a pumpkin spice latte (2% milk), and then I sat in the Target parking lot talking to friends on my cell while enjoying the yummy. When I finished my coffee, I took the dogs to Oyster Creek Park. Definitely need to work more on socializing them! They went crazy every time a dog passed. I'm going to take them one at a time to the park every day until we leave. Hopefully this will help to cure the unwanted behavior. Frog hones in on every dog, begins running toward them, and then starts barking...interminably.  Then, Angel starts making gremlin noises while jumping on Frog and biting at his face. It's almost like she's telling him to shut up. She does flips and runs around me like a tether ball on a pole. It's annoying. Guess all those walks in the neighborhood didn't prepare her for walks in a busier park. Where is Cesar Millan?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Good-byes are hard

It's crunch time now. Things fell through with the last offer on our house. They were unreasonable. Steve is still trying to sell his car. I am spending my days organizing things so that I can easily put a "Storage" or "Aberdeen" sticky note on cabinets, drawers, and other items for the movers. Movers make me so nervous. The company who moved us from Minnesota to Texas stole about $700 worth of MY stuff. I think I'm going to do a video inventory. I'm trying to figure out what I will do with all my plants, cleaning supplies, and food when the time comes. Anybody want any of these items?

We will probably be leaving sometime between the 5th and 9th of November. It's strange that so much is going on and our life is about to change tremendously, yet here we are driving to Kung Fu like any other regular Monday.

I'm not good at "good-bye". I'm a sensitive being. We had a party with our friends Friday night to say good-bye. We played arcade games at the 1820 Lounge in Houston. I was a little upset that they had sold the Tempest game. However, I did enjoy Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, X-Men, Burger Time, Marble Madness, Pinball, and air hockey amongst others! We are really going to miss all of these guys. Here are a few images of friends from some of our last times to hang out recently.


We've tried to see as much of our families as possible in the last couple of months. Mine just left Sunday from a weekend of German food and just hanging out at my house. I'm really going to miss our family. I'm already looking forward to when they will arrive in Scotland next summer, especially my sisters. They mean more than the world to me. As sisters, we fight, argue, and say stupid things to each other sometimes, but that will never alter the fact that they are my sisters, and I love them unconditionally. See... I'm all sappy. Anyway, here are a few great pics from some recent family outings!

My cousins, Chris, Patrick, Rachel, and I

Steve and his brother, Eric

Steve, Mama S, Eric, and Papa S

Me and Eric being silly

At Rudi Lechners

Steve, Grandma Brenda, and Sawyer

Aunt Stacy and Me

My sisters and I

My mom being silly. :o)

Love to you all. Peace and good night. :o)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Prepping the dogs and what to do with laundry machines

So things are moving right along. I bought the dogs some coats. I know they don't really like stuff like that, but I remember how Frog used to shiver in the cold when we lived in Minnesota. A coat helped in then, so it will probably be good for Scotland. I got the kind that Velcro underneath so it's not as constricting as the kind that have sleeves.

Aren't they cute? They are waiting for a treat. :o)

 I also got their crates for their trip. They have to be big enough for them to stand and turn around. They have to be able to see out of the door without ducking. They have to have vents on all 4 sides, and the two halves must bolt together, not snap.

Still no word on our visas, other than they've been sent out of Austin. The moving company is coming tomorrow to take a preliminary inventory of what they will need to move us. I'm trying to decide if we should put our washer and dryer in storage. Does anybody know how well they will keep in climate controlled storage and for how long? Is it best to just sell them?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rental car and Kung Fu

The rental car has been obtained. I asked for the smallest SUV they have, something standard. They gave me a Chevy Equinox. It's a nice vehicle. It has lots of buttons, a backup camera, a touch screen, and remote start. Pretty cool. We went to Kung Fu tonight. I'm really going to miss Master Chu. I've enjoyed Wing Chun so much! I hope that I can find some place in Aberdeen to train. If not, I guess it's up to Steve and I to keep practicing. Think I'll ever be as good as Grandmaster IP Man? :o)

They made a great movie about him. You should look it up. Both 1 and 2 are AMAZING. IP Man is the title.

I think my checklist for tomorrow will be to get the dog crates and pack up some of the things that I want to pack myself, such as my china. I also think, I've very tired. I know this is a blog about moving to Aberdeen, but I just don't have much else right now other than what I will miss and what I hope to find.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some pets you just can't take with you

Our cute little guy, Athen
Wakey, wakey, eggs and... McAlister potatoes! MMmmmm.. They were just as good reheated as they were when I first made them. Short post tonight because it was a quiet Sunday, as it should be. Athen is settled in his new home now. He is about 8 years old, and we just didn't want to take the risk of transferring him that far. Beardies only live 9-15 years in captivity. Erica came over to pick up Athen's stuff and to hang out. It was nice spending some time with her.  She took his tank, stand, and accessories. I'm confident that he is in good hands.

As for the house, I have to say, Heritage Texas was a good choice, or maybe I'm just a great decorator. They got somebody interested in our house within about 2 weeks. Staging and landscaping seemed to have been worth the cost. It is a bit frustrating keeping everything so clean and clutter-free, especially in the morning when we are getting ready for work.  Anyway, I've bored you enough for one night. Cheers.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Preparing to move and when it may happen

So my car is gone. It was a bit sad watching somebody else drive it away. I liked my car. Steve and I ate lunch at Pappadeaux's Seafood. I had crawfish bisque and a salad. It was yummy! We went to Houston Premium Outlets afterward. We were advised to buy what we could here in the US because everything is more expensive in the UK. We bought some nice rain coats at the Columbia store.
Mine is like this one but with a lime green coat inside.
 We also bought some pants, sweaters, and scarves. We still need some other things, but I can get that done this week. I plan to go to Cosco to stock up on things like Rotel, fire roasted tomatoes, taco seasoning, spices, my favorite Amy's mac and cheese, and of course... White Cheddar Bunnies. mmmmmm.

Our visa stuff has been submitted. They are saying we may have them by next week or the week after. Looks like we may be heading to Scotland around the 9th or 10th of November if that happens. I hope we get Steve's car sold soon! If you decide to sell your car, I recommend posting it around work and on Facebook. Also, try Autotrader, but don't pay for more than 3 weeks. You can put it in the local newspaper if you get really desperate, but it's expensive! What else do we need to do? Hmm. We need to look into getting a slingbox and a multi-region DVD player (or see if we can unlock the region code on our DVD player). We need to get bicycles! We need to buy the specified crates for the dogs' travel. I need to get a rental car since I no longer have a car. Whew. It will get done. One day at a time. :o)

Friday, October 19, 2012

What do Mr. Clean, Rampage, and Walgreen's have in common

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. Prepare yourselves. Things have been crazy busy! We received an offer on our house, and we are working through that. We are trying to work with the buyers' needs without being upside-down on our end. In the meantime I've been cleaning the house and making sure things are repaired. I called Ray's Electric to repair some fixtures for me. They are fantastic. We have called them for repairs in the past. His wife is so nice. We sat and drank coffee while he and his partner worked. I spent other days repairing things myself and scrubbing walls with the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Those things are great! It even scrubbed the mold off of the outside door frame upstairs, which sees a lot of moisture.

Tuesday night I went to dinner with some women who lived in Aberdeen. Kristin, a girl I met in Aberdeen who is in Texas visiting, invited me. They were a great group of ladies. They were so fun! They told me that I would really enjoy it in Aberdeen. Here are just a few interesting things they said:

  • They don't really do baby or wedding showers there.
  • Boots has some great products.
  • It gets cold, but not as cold as Minnesota.
  • Buy a one-year movie pass. It's worth it

Anyway, I had to get a picture taken for my visa this week. Walgreen's will do that for you. However, it is done at your own risk. I didn't know that you couldn't smile, and they didn't either, so the first set I took was sent back to me to redo. I went there for a second time and took the instructions from the UK to them. We took another picture.

Let's jump forward in time. Here is how this morning went. I'd love to write the other things that frustrated me but for the sake of keeping Steve somewhat sane, I'll skip those parts. Not him... just for him. :o)

I got up thinking I had plenty of time. At 8:20 AM, Steve told me that my appointment at the visa service place (for fingerprinting) was at 10 AM, and that I had paperwork to review and sign. Great. So I needed to leave at 9 AM to make it there but before that I needed to shower, dry hair, review papers, sign papers, feed dogs, let dogs out, put dogs up, print out title transfer papers for my car, clean my car, put in my contacts, eat breakfast, pick up photos at Walgreen's, and get to a place 30 miles away by 10. I felt like one of those monsters on that game Rampage.  Guess I should have asked earlier for confirmation of that appointment.

After a shower without washing my hair, no contacts but instead glasses with little make-up, no breakfast, and unbrushed hair pulled into a pony tail, I got into my car at about 9:07 AM. Ladies will understand the level of frustration at just this step in the day. Of course, no gas. I drove to the gas station, got out of the car, and realized... GEEZ! I parked on the wrong side. Really? So I drove around to the next pump. I got out and swiped my card. It asked for my pin so I entered it. Stupid "beep" sounds don't actually match up to the timing of when you hit the buttons, so you end up hitting more than necessary thinking it didn't register. I was asked by the pump to "See attendant."  FINE! I threw my card in my pocket, grabbed my wallet, and walked inside. "Guess I should get some coffee and a breakfast bar." I went to the register, took the card out of my wallet, and swiped it. It asked for my pin, so I looked at the card to make sure it was the right one. wrong card. I told the attendant that I was so sorry but I used the wrong card. She rolled her eyes, sighed, and continued to shake her head side-to-side as she pushed a few extra buttons to ring things up again. Why is everybody being so mean? Was hitting a few extra buttons really that big of a deal?

After that, I went to Walgreen's to pick up my pictures. She showed me the picture of myself looking a bit angry (you aren't allowed to smile... hehe), and then I noticed that it was cut off right below my chin. I had no neck or shoulders! That is not acceptable for a visa or passport photo! GGRRRRRR..... I could have smashed a building like those characters on Rampage. She tried to tell me that the computer didn't recognize my light colored shirt. I pointed to the previous set of incorrect photos and said, "Really? Because I'm wearing the same shirt here, and my shoulders appear in this photo." I know how photo shop works. A person crops the photo. So she says, well let's take a new picture now, and I'll fix it. Okay. (1) It's 9:25 AM, and I have to get 30 miles IN HOUSTON by 10 AM. (2) I'm wearing glasses, which are not allowed in the photo. I also have unbrushed hair in a pony tail and very little make-up. Let's put that on a picture that I have to show everybody for employment for the next 5 years. Fantastic idea. "No, I don't have time for that." She said she would use the previous photo and fix it at no charge. I left incredibly frustrated. By the end of today, they got it right, but Steve's company has to pay to overnight them to the UK. :(

On a happier note, I sold my car today. It's nice to have something major done. Everything will be worked out tomorrow. Steve's company will pay for a rental for a while.  Tomorrow we are going shopping for winter clothes. It's cheaper to buy clothes here than in the UK.

I took my my earlier frustrations out on the concrete. I took the dogs walking and ran 2 miles. Then, I cooked Steve some steak and McAlister potatoes from Guy Fieri's book (my mom bought it for me). Steve described it as, "Heavenly". Guess I did it right! I told him that with all he has to deal with at work and with selling things at home, he deserved a guilt-free yummy meal. :o) I think he was happy.

So, what do Mr. Clean, Rampage, and Walgreen's have in common this week? They're all destructive.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bed frames and tables and chairs... oh my!

Well, I think we are finally recovering from the jet-lag. We are so busy. We didn't even get a break after getting home from the airport. We immediately had to deal with messages left for us and other business such as the pet relocation. Forms had to be signed, vet records found, and microchip numbers recorded. My friend Randi is going to keep the dogs for us when we leave until the relocation company can pick them up, and Erica is keeping Athen (the bearded dragon) while we are in Scotland. Thankfully that is all worked out now. We have fantastic friends.

Yesterday, we rented a U-Haul truck so that we could go to IKEA to pick up some furniture for the house in Aberdeen. I drove the big truck! I think it's fun.

Here are some things we picked up at IKEA. We got a new table because the one we have in our house now is a dark wood table, which doesn't really go with the new house/kitchen. Steve picked out the table and chairs. I think he did really well.

This is the table, but we got it with the gray chairs instead of the ones in the picture.

We needed some sitting chairs for the dining room, which we are not using as a dining room.

The daybed pulls out into a queen sized bed. We are planning ahead for visitors! :o)

I always wanted one of these! It was on sale.
We are going to pick this up from Pottery Barn for the lounge.

I can't wait to decorate everything! I'm so excited. I'm really not looking forward to putting it all together, but eh, such is the nature of IKEA.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The worst thing about business class travel

We have made it back to Houston. Stupid humidity. My glasses kept sliding down my nose! The flight back was easy. No issues in security or customs. Here's how this goes folks (this is my brain after being awake for over 22 hours with a couple of short naps... sorry?):

 We woke up at 3:30 AM. Who disturbs my slumber!? "It is I... your hotel tele." Boooo. We checked out, hopped in a taxi, and went through the Aberdeen airport easily. I didn't even have to take off my shoes. We sat in the KML Crown lounge. They have free food and drinks of all kinds. I napped while Steve snacked. Then, we got in line to get on the plane. We walked down a long corridor, passed a worker in his yellow vest, and walked out into the dark across the pavement. We had to haul our carry-on luggage up lots of steps to board the plane. I was asking Steve, "I wonder how they get disabled people on here?" I looked out of the window, and there was my answer. They bring them out in a wheelchair and then put them in a smaller, thinner, wheelchair. Then, 2-3 people carry them step-by-step until they reach the cabin door. A little girl in pink sweats with blonde hair was holding her doll and waiting patiently at the bottom of the steps as they moved who I guessed was her dad up and up and up. I was amazed at the patience of that 7-year old girl.

On the plane, they gave us some shaved meat, cheese, and yogurt for breakfast. 1 hr and 20 minutes later we were in Amsterdam. We had to go through security AGAIN. This time was not so easy. Everything out and in the bins. Walk through the metal detector. Spread arms and legs. They do a complete pat-down on everybody. They even feel under your bra and between "the girls" like they are trying to saw them apart. Then they pull the waist of your pants away from your body and run their fingers all around the inner edge of your pants. I watched another woman traveling with a toddler go through the same thing, but a worker had to hold the toddler while he screamed as if he was being tortured throughout the entire pat-down. Guess mine wasn't so bad. FUN.

Luckily, my big cozy seat, tons of leg room, care package with slippers, and the tray of cheese and champagne that greeted me on the plane made it all better. I was asleep in about 10 minutes. The flight was 9.5 hrs long. I watched 4 movies! All in all, not too bad. :)

In summary, I have discovered the worst thing about traveling business class on the company's dime: As Steve so eloquently put it, "The worst thing about traveling in business class, is that you never want to travel in economy again."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Food and more food in Aberdeen - yummy venison

Today is our last day in Aberdeen for now. We had breakfast in the hotel as usual.  For lunch we went to Piccolo Ristorante for a calzone. It was yummy! Light, crispy crust with bell peppers, onions, cheese, mushrooms, artichokes, and green olives inside. Mmmmm. After that, we walked to Starbucks because we had some gift cards. I saw "Starbucks Scotland" coffee tumblers! I was going to go back to get a few, but they closed earlier than I expected. Maybe next time. Steve went to work afterwards, and I went back to the hotel to read. I've been reading City of Fallen Angels. Great series of books!

Anyway, for dinner we went to another great place. I highly recommend trying Soul. Steve ordered fish and chips, and I ordered roasted venison with a small shepherd's pie. It was fantastic!  See:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Places to eat and a place to live!

Today was another cold day.  It's about 9 PM here and 46 degrees. I don't think it was much warmer than that during the day. We got to sleep in a bit because we were waiting to see if we got the house. Turns out... we got our first pick! We had to offer a bit more because we didn't want their furniture and because we have dogs. At first they thought "bulldog" meant BIG dog. Our agent suggested they "Google" it. In the end, we got it even though there were a couple of other offers and another showing today. Tough market here!

We went to a sandwich shop called DejaVu today. It was very good! I had an Italian panini, and Steve had a seafood sandwich. They were both steamed and tasted so good. I recommend this place for lunch if you visit.

We visited the house after lunch to take lots of pictures and measure spaces so that we can plan what to bring. Here are the pictures I took today. Everything is still pretty dusty because they are still working on some things.
House! They are still painting and restaining doors.

Downstairs guest room
 Downstairs guest room

Downstairs dining/lounge
 Dining/lounge. We are probably going to make this a sitting room.

Living room. I love the big windows.
 Steve measuring walls in the living room.

Kitchen/breakfast area

I love the kitchen.
 Gas range.. finally. :o)

Breakfast area

 Laundry room. They use condensers for dryers. It has a container under it that catches the water from your clothes. You just empty it when it gets full.

Upstairs guest room in back of house

Upstairs guest room in front of house. This will be Steve's drum room.

Part of master bathroom

 View of master bathroom with double closets on each side

Master bedroom view of windows. Steve was measuring the walls. :o)

We love the house. Steve is a little worried about where he will put some of his stuff such as his kick bag, but I think it will be fine. The house is in a nice neighborhood with lots of little shops within walking distance. There are coffee shops, a cheese shop, butcher shop, and lots of other little stores and markets.

So tonight we ate Thai food for dinner. The restaurant was called Sabai. Best for special occasions because it was a bit pricey, but very tasty.