29 September, 2010

Updates all around.

























It's been a while. Many things have happened in the House of Gabs. Sit back, relax, prepare to be inundated with information.

I studied for (briefly), took (quickly), and passed (thankfully) my driving theory test. Himself got better scores, but he actually read the book. I prefer the iPhone method of study, i.e. download the practise test app and take it thirty or forty times, then hold my breath and hope real hard. Meh, it worked.

Himself and I are off to Tejas on Friday. I haven't been home since Easter, and this will be the first time I've been in town for the Texas State Fair in seven years. Fried beer, here I come. We've taken the moglets down to Himself's sister in Colchester, where I'm sure they're living in the lap of luxury as her fiancee is the Essex equivalent of Dr. Doolittle. Soft touch doesn't quite cover it, I'm betting they come home even fatter than they are now. Last time they stayed there, they climbed the wallpaper to over head height, shredding it all the way down. Luckily, said wallpaper was scheduled for removal, but still. *sigh* Hellcats.

I'm sure this one isn't such a surprise to any of you, because I've only been spouting off about it for weeks, but Himself and I are in the process of buying our first house. (see link for completely insubstantial and unsatisfying pictures)

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-26302240.html

We've been told that it should be a fairly quick process, as there's no upward chain and the current owner wants to move out as quickly as possible. This means that our letting agency wants to show our flat while we're in the states, which led to a mad dash around the flat last night attempting to hide the crazy. I'm not quite done, but got the bulk of it sorted last night so tonight and tomorrow won't be so manic. I also got the majority of my stuff packed up, which was no mean feat given that over half the suitcase is Christmas presents for family and friends. This way, no shipping charges and no potential hassle with Customs. Plus, I get to be smug not having to navigate the shops in the Christmas rush. So there.

We've been told that there's even a possibility of the new house being ready for us by the beginning of November, so it's just a matter of how quickly the rental agency can find tenants for our flat to free us from our notice period. This would mean the housewarming party could be Thanksgiving, and we all know how into Thanksgiving I get... double party time.

So, tomorrow's the last day in the office before Texas Time. Mexican food, margaritas, pumpkin carving parties, familial brawls and weight gain. Bring it on.

07 September, 2010

Transport-mageddon.


So, London Underground are striking. This, of course, means that all of London has ground to a halt. They're running VERY limited services on a few chosen lines, and the rest of us have to resort to using (as the BFG puts it) the Big Red Things. This means that instead of my usual comfortable, airy half hour of a commute, it took me a sweaty, cramped hour and ten minutes.

People have opted to stay home from work. They're using sick/holiday allotment so they don't have to face a tube-less London. Business are working at half capacity. The striking union members are set up with their flags outside padlocked stations, sitting comfortably in camp chairs with cigarettes and cups of tea. Outside my office window traffic winds past at a snail's pace, blaring horns venting the drivers' collective frustration.

What fascinates me is the general attitude of my fellow commuters. Some of them are bravely fighting on, calmly taking setbacks and delays on the chin with aplomb. Then there are ... the other ones. Wild eyed and vaguely frazzled, sweaty and wrestling with briefcases and suitcases, some even to the point of tears. Angry, frustrated, furious.

I can't say I empathise with the unions. I've been without a job, and I know people who are still in that position. These people have it pretty good, if you ask me. They have very fair wages and a generous benefits package. How they can justify asking for a raise in these economic times, and then when refused the raise hold London to hostage, is completely beyond me.

I realise none of the tube drivers are going to be reading this. I apologise for the slight rant, and will attempt to make the next post more palatable. Until then, perhaps I'll be on foot...