Monday, July 25, 2016

First Week Observations

And in no particular order......

**City streets are labeled with the appropriate "look left" or "look right" for those of us who fail to remember that cars drive on the left side of the road here. Nice of the city to not cause a game of "flatten the American" as we are out and about.

**Within the city center, there are indoor malls with the same stores seemingly on every corner. I mean really, how do they all stay in business?

**People here love their cell phones. I thought the US was bad. But, nope. Folks walk around FaceTiming each other, watching movies, watching tv, or just reading. And, I mean walk around the crowded streets, the mall, and the MTR (subway). Not just sitting on the train or a taxi. Craziness.

**Speaking of cell phones, trying to get service set up involves having to give up your first born kid. Sorry, Katie. But seriously, it was annoying and full of paperwork. Process made even more fun when the US bank freezes your account, even though they know we are here, which made our cards not work. Happened more than one time.....ugh.

**From the city to our apartment complex involves taking a taxi along curvy, narrow roads over the mountain. Gee, my favorite kind of driving. I can't even ride rollercoasters without feeling nauseous. Geesh. Toss in taxi drivers who are trying to make a NASCAR team, and I'll be popping lots of Dramamine.

**The hot water heater for each bathroom (kitchen) is a separate switch you must turn on before using. To make it more fun, the switch is located in the hallway outside the bathroom door. I've heard many calls for "can someone turn on the hot water?" from wet people in showers. One of these days, I'm not going to hear that cry for help.......fair warning.

**The bathroom does not have an outlet to plug in a hair dryer. But it does have a wall of mirrors right by the toilet. Awesome. I just love the idea of watching myself taking care of business. Oh, there is an outlet in the closet. Maybe I'll just stand in the closet with my dryer. Good grief.

** The washer and dryer can each do one small load at a time. Takes 60 minutes to wash and 80 minutes to dry. I'll be doing laundry Every. Single. Day.

**Groceries here are sold in smaller packages than at home, unless you find US brands. Loaves of bread have about 10 pieces, crackers have one sleeve, meat is sold in half pound packages, ice cream cartons are half the size. Which means you are likely at the grocery store daily. Whoo hoo.

**Getting home with groceries involves hauling bags into a taxi or the apartment complex shuttle bus. If you are only carrying a few small things, it's easy. But, if you are like us crazy Americans, you are hauling multiple bottles of wine, beer, dry goods, and fresh foods. But, we had an Australian guy check out our groceries versus his....he wanted to come home with us. Ha!

**A plus to grocery shopping that I've discovered is that all the stores deliver or offer online shopping. One store already knows us by name and account number. Yep. It's a really small version of Sam's Club. Sells their things in bulk which, of course, makes carrying it with you rather challenging. I mean, have you tried to carry home a 35 pack of water, 12 pack of paper towels. and a 24 pack of toilet paper? All by taxi?

**Very thankful that at the end of the day, we are in a quiet "suburb" of the city, only a mile from the girls school (can't sidewalks), ten minute walk to the beach or grocery store, (or a 3 minute drive). and with an awesome view out our living room window.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Disney Adventures.....the conclusion

Yes, I realize I have a post labeled "Disney Adventures....the beginning" and now the "ending" but no middle. Oh well. We've been a tad busy.

Here are a few highlights from our week.......

*Convincing the girls that the rides and shows have fake people yet the Animal Safari has real animals

*Watching Anna Grace freak out when a "ghost" joined her on the Haunted Mansion

*Watching Alex and Anna Grace "space walk"  and skip through Tomorrowland hand-in-hand

*Listening to Abby scream on Rock 'n Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios (it never ended)....or so I'm told.

*Seeing Katie light up when she saw Beaker from the Muppets (her favorite! and yes, we bought it.)

*Asking Anna Grace if she was still with us on Space Mountain after a sharp turn (yep, I asked)

*Watching Katie and Alex be silly taking a Star Wars picture at Epcot

*Nine o'clock dinners and midnight bedtimes (oh my!)

*Searching for ice cream right before fireworks at Magic Kingdom (not recommended!)

*Being attacked by a killer stroller driven by an apologetic dad

*Spending four hours walking around the rain

*Not taking time to take pictures

*Buying the little girls charm bracelets and Alex.....a bow and (suction) arrow set

*Watching the girls feed the sea lions dead fish.....yuck!

*Riding the Mexican Small World (also known as the Mexico ride at Epcot)

*Watching Abby and Anna Grace drive (crash) their siblings on the Speedway

*After riding the Star Wars Tour at Hollywood Studios, Alex commenting, "There were so many things chronologically wrong with that, I don't even know where to start."

*Having my cousin Ryan join us for a day of fun.....brave man

*No tears and no meltdowns

*Meeting a dad at Magic Kingdom with the same double stroller we used to have and relishing in the fact we did not need it this trip......unlike our trip five years ago

*But the best thing, was having all four kids together for at least a few days. I know those days are coming to an end so we cherished every moment.....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Disney Adventures...the beginning

Are we there yet? Which way are we going, north or south? Is it almost lunch time? Are we there yet? Is this Orlando? Where is Disney? I can't see it. Are we there yet?

Nope, that's not the funniest thing that happened today.

Waiting in line for the Ariel Under the Sea ride only to find out we waited in line to meet Ariel.

Nope, that's not the funniest thing that happened today.

Hearing Anna Grace freak out when I told her a ghost had joined her on the Haunted Mansion.

Nope, that's not the funniest thing that happened today.

Sitting in a Tomorrowland restaurant and having a lady ask me if I was a teacher. When I replied yes, she said, "I knew it when I saw your girls sit so nicely and pull out books to read while they waited for their dinner. You set a good example outside the classroom."

Within seconds of this nice lady leaving the area, one of my lovely children ditched her book and began dancing around the terrace, looking for ducks, and chattering on about the castle changing colors.

All I could do is shake my head and think, "Lady, you have no idea!"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's only Tuesday?

Oh my. Where to begin?

Do I start with the fact that Katie's car suddenly stopped working while she was driving? And despite the fact it was towed to a great garage, no one can figure out why it died or how to fix it?

Or, do I talk about Anna Grace finding an old, supposedly dead, i-pod that she managed to salvage and revive? And on that previously uncooperative i-pod, she found many, many songs that she likes to sing very loudly? Especially the songs from "A Chorus Line"?

Oh, I know. I'll share that it took Dave three hours to get home from work today.....when it should take forty-five minutes. Ah, lovely Atlanta traffic.

No, no, no. How about the fact that I rounded up my small children to head to soccer practice only to find out we were the only ones there. Turns out the fields were closed due to muddy fields. But I didn't get off scot-free.....Abby's coach and most of the team showed up. Yep. We had soccer practice in the mud. Mud which then got brought to my car and home to my house. And, I had to listen to the whining of the child who really needed to be running but her coach followed directions and did not show up.

Or how about this? After sending the girls to play after school while I prepared for tomorrow, I was greeted with silence. Silence is bad. Trust me. Then I heard whispers. Whispering is worse than silence. That means they are conspiring about something.

Nah, here is the icing on the cake for today.

Anna Grace piped up with the fact that we could hear God if we listened carefully and were quiet. I said, "He's saying that you need to obey your mother." Whereupon she said, "Nope, He's saying that Anna Grace gets to do whatever she wants."

Oh hold on. Let's add some candles to that cake.

Dave mentioned today that he may need to be in Tokyo on Monday.

Yay me.

Yep, it's only Tuesday.

Can't wait to see what happens the rest of this week.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

And the dust settles......

Imagine my surprise this morning when I came downstairs after my shower to find Anna Grace sweeping the kitchen.

I could say, "Oh, how sweet. She's trying to help." But this is Anna Grace I'm talking about.

That should have been my first clue.

I was a little befuddled by the amount of dirt she was sweeping into the dustpan. After all, I had just swept yesterday. As far as I know, we had not tracked in inches of dust and dirt in just 24 hours.

Nonetheless, I let it go, got the girls, and headed out the door to meet my adoption friend Denise for lunch. My mind was totally focused on meeting a long time friend in person, in real life, after almost ten years of online communication.

Dust and dirt? Not so much.

When we arrived back home, I walked in the house and almost slipped.

Why was my floor so slick?

Katie, home for the afternoon, then asked the all important question.....

What is up with the dust on the counters?

I stopped, looked, stopped and looked again, and said....

Huh. I have no idea.

Every counter top in my kitchen was covered with a thick layer of dust.

I checked the ceiling to make sure nothing had exploded.


Checked for any other possible clue.

Nada. Nothing.

And then I looked at two short children.

When eye contact was made, Abby piped up and said, "It was Anna."

Really? Why am I not shocked?

Turns out Anna Grace decided to dust with the feather duster and then proceed to shake the

Deep sigh.

Why am I not surprised?