Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do you think....

Do you think that the powers that be ,who are in control of assessing visa petitions, ever think about the effects the lengthy wait times have on families who are separated while they wait for a decision? I'm guessing that they can't afford to even if they want to....

It also makes me wonder if there is some sort of vetting system, so that certain types of petition, get processed quicker than others - I suppose there must be, or maybe everything gets received into a central area, and then gets sent off to different places depending on the type of visa required, so all the work related visa's get processed together, and all the family ones get processed together. I wish I knew....

There are probably thousands of families like mine out there, separated because one person has had to move on ahead for whatever reason, and the rest of the family gets left behind because they have to wait for the immigration visa....

The waiting is hard enough on the adults, but I think it is even worse on the children. Take my boys for example. Once S and I get married, he will officially become their step-dad. They do not see their father at all, and do not want to, ever! As far as G and H are concerned my wonderful S is their Dad, they love him, and that's that. As far as S is concerned they are his boys, he loves them, and that's that. The boys hate that he isn't here, and they hate that due to time differences, S isn't as accessible to them as they would like. They are both worried and excited about the move, but they don't know when it is going to happen and they are stuck in a kind of limbo that feels both cruel and un-necessary. Having just finished the year at school, they are now wondering if they will see their school friends again after the holidays, or if they will be starting a new school after the holidays. They start to ask me if I can buy them something, and then say 'oh but there's no point is there, we might be moving soon'. I am hating every minute of being kept away from my wonderful S, and my recent 2 weeks with him at the new house in SM has only fuelled that fire of longing to be together with him. I am 44 and find it hard to make sense of why this whole petition process needs to be as lengthy as it is. My boys are 13 and 12 - how hard must it be for them?

I know that the USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services), needs to check that we are in a valid relationship, but does it really need to take this long to do? They are more than welcome to come and spy on me, on us, if they so wish and if it will speed up the process - hell forget spying, just come and stay for a couple of weeks, you'll get all the evidence you need, and then my children and my wonderful S and I can be on the other side of this hell, and get on with our lives together, as a family. It wouldn't be so bad, if, having been given an official receipt number for our petition, and having been told that we can use this number to check the status of our petition online, that the USCIS website would be updated regularly so that it was possible to track where the processing was up to. As it stands their website is 2 months behind - in the last week it has changed from saying updated 30th April to saying updated 31st May - Guys I hate to tell you this, but today is the 31st July - surely they should be updating their website at least once a week. They tell you quite clearly on the website that they are not able to give updates over the phone, and ask people to use the website service to check the status of their case - how can you do that if the website isn't updated regularly enough to see anything. Our petition was posted to them on the 16th April. Our official receipt is dated 3rd May. We kept our part of the bargain and S phoned them to update them on our permanent address. The guy on the phone then told S that it takes them 3 months to verify that we have a relationship, then they hand over to the State Dept who conduct my interview and issue the visa, that should take another 2 to 3 months - well they have had 3 months now, so surely we should be able to see something, to know something....

Surely it's not too much to ask....

Friday, July 29, 2011

Crowning Moments....

Its been a strange week this week....

I am still desperately trying to catch up on my lost sleep, and having no luck at all. I spoke to my wonderful S at around 8pm my time this evening, and said, I feel really tired. S said go to bed after this call then. It was too early then at 8pm, but I said that I would put my pj's on and snuggle down on the sofa until the boys went to bed at 9.30pm. Then I would go to bed and hopefully sleep straight through the night - it's gone midnight and I am still awake - I give up! My body is adamant that it prefers Pacific time so I am just going to have to go back to where it will be happy. I don't care if I can get the boys registered in school or not. I will home school them until the visa comes through - at least I will be able to sleep properly!

Obviously not me - but definitely my new colour
There has come one good thing out of this week though, and that is that I decided that the time had come for me to admit that the blonde had to go. It didn't matter that people said it made me look younger. I am fed up to the back teeth of having to recolour it every 4 weeks just to try and keep the dark roots at bay. I haven't gone back to my mousy brown though - oh no! Now I am a fabulously vibrant shade of auburn...well I'm saying its auburn - it's not orange enough to call ginger, and its not really red either, so I am saying its auburn....I am telling myself its fabulous and sexy....I will believe myself soon....The wonderful S says it looks good....The gorgeous G quotes Tim Minchin and says 'only a ginger can call another ginger, ginger'....handsome H said 'cool hair Mum' but he's creeping after the Xbox palaver....the beautiful A said 'I like it...'

Ahhhh well if the worst comes to the worst I can just dye it another shade next week, but for this week it is definitely a 'crowning' moment....

See more crowning moments at : http://hereslivinthedream.blogspot.com/2011/07/crowning-moments-hop-7.html

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday already....

Is it really Thursday already?
Have I really been back here that long?
I am still trying desperately to catch up on some much needed sleep, but am so way off with my body clock that it is 4 or 5am before I am managing to get off to sleep. Then I am up again at around 9.30am and consequently just feel like a complete basket case for most of the day....

I am trying various things to help solve the situation and get myself back in sync with the GMT/UTC instead of PDT, but my mind just won't let go....

At 2am this morning I was chatting with my wonderful S on skype as he was cooking himself some dinner. In the end he told me go and take some tablets have a large glass of something alcoholic and go to bed. I did as he requested, but at half 3 I was still awake. I obviously dozed off at some point after that because I was rudely awoken by my phone bleeping at me at 4am and then I drifted off again until 9.30am this morning. Now I am running on autopilot and just keeping everything crossed for a decent nights sleep tonight. I've been to the supermarket and bought myself some bottled beer to see if that helps. I don't want to consume large quantities of wine or spirits because that will only result in the mother of all hangovers, but hopefully a couple of beers and neurofen will do the trick. I certainly hope so at least because I have an appointment at 10 in the morning with a recruitment company, who can hopefully find me some temp work to keep me going until the move....

If I don't sleep tonight, I am going to have to admit jetlag defeat and go and see the docs tomorrow afternoon to see if I can persuade them to give me something to knock me out....

Any sensible suggestions on how I can get myself back in sync will be gratefully appreciated because I am seriously considering flying back to SM so I can solve this problem. I can home school the boys until the visa comes through and the beautiful A can have a fantastic holiday in the sun before coming back here to go back for her final year at Uni, and the wonderful S and I can be where we are meant to be - together....

:-) x

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maybe it's just him....

As some of you may already know, I am an avid follower of 'Cranky Old Man'....Maybe some of you have also stopped by to see him, and to have a little chuckle to yourself at his unique sense of wit and humour....

Anyway, since finding out that 'Cranky Old Man' had written a book, I was keen to get hold of a copy and have a read - I was sure that it would be as amusing as his blogging posts, if not more so....

Sadly, you cannot get hold of his book here in the UK, but knowing I had my recent trip to SM to look forward to, I ordered a copy of the book from Amazon.com and had it delivered to the new house. My wonderful S dutifully told me when it had arrived, and when I arrived out there on the 10th July, I sat and read and giggled everytime I had a spare minute or 2....Well probably more like spare half hour here and there but who's counting!

The point of this post being - If you haven't read Joe's Book, you really should try and get hold of a copy, because it is by far the most amusing thing I have read in a long time....

Even my wonderful S has been subjected to huge chunks of the book, and the poor guy never expressed a desire to read it - He would come home from work, grab a cold beer and come and sit out back with me, while I laughed and gigled for a 2nd or 3rd time as I read sections of the book out loud to him....

Joe - I can't wait for the next one to come out, but in the meantime I will just have to carry on reading and commenting on your blog! Oh and giving you the odd shameless plug of course!

:-) x ....



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Photos from trip....

Thought I would share a few pics from my visit to LA with you. Probably not very exciting, but here they are anyway....

Table set for my arrival meal
Living Room (with furniture at last)

The New House
Movers take such good care!
View across the LA Basin from San Gabriel Mountains
Crazy Guy who threw rocks at us in Malibu
Strange woman with a huge grin!
Strange man with a very large lens!



Must be fab to live here!
Pelicans across the breakers
View out across the Pacific
Strange man taking a photo of Strange woman!
Strange woman taking a photo of Strange man!
Our first Hummingbird
More of the bird!













So Tired....

I can honestly say that I can never remember feeling as tired as I feel now, ever before in my life....
My flights back to the UK were both OK. The first was a little crowded and I was unfortunate enough to be sitting amongst a group of young Germans, who were loud and rude and who succeeded in making everything the British say about German tourists true! I should say also, that I have no doubts that there are plenty of British tourists, who regularly fulfill all aspects of German stereotypical British tourist images too - but thankfully I have never been classed as a 'typical Brit abroad' and I am English not British anyway, just to make my point even clearer!....Anyway, I couldn't sleep - my mind was buzzing, there was too much noise, sleep just wasn't going to happen!

Oh my! I can even see my tiredness in the way I am writing - I have a touch of the cranky's about me! Well who wouldn't - I took off from LAX at 10am local time on Sunday morning. I was sad and blue and did not want to leave my wonderful S and our great new home. Don't get me wrong, I was looking forward to seeing the kids, but it would have been so much better to be bringing them to LA instead of taking me back to the UK. Anyway, my flight landed on time in Newark 6.30pm local time. I walked off the plane, lugging my bag with me (because I couldn't check it, due to quick turn around times), walked down from gate 96 to gate 83 where I arrived just as they were calling my seat row to board the flight from Newark to Birmingham. At 7.10pm this flight took off, and we landed at 6.50am yesterday (Monday) morning. I couldn't sleep on this flight either. It was quiet and the flight wasn't anywhere near full, so I had an empty seat next to me to spread into, but I still couldn't sleep. Every mile we flew was taking me closer to the kids who I did want to be with, and further away from S who I also wanted to be with. It was not a good place to be mentally!

My lovely Dad picked me up from Birmingham Int, and we were back at my house before 9am which was good. It was wonderful to be back with the kids, and the beautiful A had done a fantastic job of playing Mum and keeping the boys in line and the house spotless. I couldn't possibly have asked for more, and she far exceeded my expectations - even the laundry is all done!

My plan for yesterday was to stay awake for as long as possible, then have a short nap, and hopefully go to bed a reasonable time, and sleep through the night so I would feel somewhat recovered today....

I went to the supermarket and replenished food supplies, and then sat on the sofa to do as little as possible. I think I dozed off around 5ish, but was rudely awoken half and hour later by the boys, when H decided to tell me that he had been a complete numpty and given someone he didn't know, his XBox live account login info. They had promised to level up his character in a game, but weren't doing what they said and they had changed his password and now he couldn't log back in and he couldn't log onto his hotmail or anything. He was panicking! I'll cut a long story short here, because I don't suppose it will do any good to go into the details of my 12yr old sons idiocy. I phoned XBox Live - the person H gave his account details to used his account to spend £100 of my money to buy a game and Live points for his own account. XBox Live have launched an 'unauthorised account access' investigation. I will get my money back, but not for a couple of weeks. I did get just a teeny little bit upset with H, and I did tell the wonderful S when he skyped yesterday evening. H's XBox account has been suspended while under investigation, so playing on Live is out of the question, and the most important thing of all about this is that H has finally realised that Mum was not messing when she said that it was important not to give out account info to anyone - ever!....

So you can see, my napping opportunity flew out the window with that one. I spoke with the wonderful S on skype at around 8.30, then planned to get an early night. I ended up on the phone to my baby sis for a little while, having a catch-up, and then I tried to get to sleep. At 2am this morning, I was still awake - at 11am this morning the beautiful A came in and woke me up, so I didn't get too much sleep, and here I am....

knackered....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Am I?....

A blogging friend of mine - Dana, who writes Lark Creations has asked the question 'Who am I?' and I thought it would be a fun and cool thing to do, and a complete change of tack for a short while on my time in SM and my time waiting for the visa that seems like it is never going to come....

So....

'Who Am I?'

I am a 44 mother of 3 gorgeous children. Adulthood has been hard for the most part - a rebellious teenager who I guess got her comeuppance when she fell for the wrong guy, and ended up stuck in an alcohol induced mentally and physically abusive relationship for nearly 16 years. I guess that makes me scarred in a way, although these days scarred is the last thing I feel. I am a kind person, and will help anyone if I can. I am civil to my enemies, even though deep down inside I may well want to punch them in the face.

I love my children with every inch of my body, and will gladly give my life to save any one of them if needed. That sounds a little warped when you think that I stayed in such a bad relationship that has undoubtedly left scars on them too, and yes maybe I should have been stronger sooner and gotten us all out, but fear does crazy things to your brain and what appears the simplest of things can suddenly become the hardest imaginable - and it is also truthful to say that whilst in my bad relationship, there were several occasions when I needed to put myself as a barrier between my ex and his children, and did so without a seconds thought - like I said I would die for my children!

I am not a religious person, never have been, and am never likely to be. I never criticise others for their beliefs - each of us is free to make our own choices, and a different choice to mine is never wrong, it's just different. For me belief in an almighty God, who watches over us all, is just beyond me. As my youngest said, a few years ago now 'Mummy, I can't believe in God anymore - because if there was a God he wouldn't have let so much bad stuff happen to us, because we are really good people!' How can you argue when your 9 year old (at the time) presents you with that kind of logic? Anyway, I'm not religious and I never will be - end of.

I am close to my family, although perhaps not as close as I once was. I love them all passionately, but my changing life has given me a new found independence and I do not feel as reliant on them as I did in the past. I see this as a positive thing - I have been through a lot and have come out the other side with my head held high, and able to stand on my own. It has to be said though, that I couldn't have done it without the support and love of my family - they really did get me through some tough times!

Relationship wise, I am a best friend, a lover, a confidante and a support to the man I love, my wonderful S. Yes it may get a tiny bit sickening when I always refer to him as my wonderful S, but that’s what he is to me - wonderful. We spend so much time apart at the moment, but still know each other inside and out. We talk constantly, and yes that is something which again we do not have any real choice about at the moment, but even when we are together, we talk and talk for hours, about trivial stuff, about personal stuff, about absolutely anything and everything.

Finally, I would say that I am a take life by the horns and make the most of it person. I love my life, I love the people in my life, and I intend to make sure that every single day of the rest of my life is a valued and appreciated one and is shared with everyone I care about. It has taken a lot for me to get to where I am today - I have learned some very harsh but valuable lessons, and I will use that knowledge to make the rest of my life as wonderful as the people sharing it with me....

Who am I? - I am Louise, a proud and independent 44 year old Mother of 3 wonderful children, and soon to be wife of a wonderful man, and I am woman hear me roar!....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So Lucky.....

When we first found out that we would be moving to the LA area, we decided that we would live a distance away from the centre of LA in a place called Canyon Country. Having made the decision to rent, seeing as the US housing market was falling rather like a lead balloon, we started to look for houses in the Canyon Country/ Acton areas. This would mean a daily commute of an hour each way for the wonderful S, but we figured it would be worth it.....

Canyon Country Suburbia



Sierra Madre Suburbia
Well we didn't end up in Canyon Country or Acton as you all know. We are in the wonderful town of Sierra Madre, and boy am I glad! No offence to anyone who may read this and lives in either of these areas, but I am so so so grateful that we have a house in Sierra Madre. We took a drive this afternoon along Highway 2 through to Palmdale and  then back along the 14 so the wonderful S could show me Canyon Country, the place we had kind of set our hearts on when we first heard of our impending move. If I said Edward Scissorhands would you know what I mean? Lots of houses packed into tiny spaces with no front of rear gardens? Definitely not our idea of heaven - more like suburban hell. In Sierra  Madre we have a driveway long enough to park 4 or 5 cars on and a garage that can't be openly viewed from the road. We aren't overlooked by any of our neighbours, and it is our choice whether we want to speak to anyone. Had we have rented or bought in Canyon Country it is fair to say that we would have been slowly dying. Neighbours on top of us. No garden to speak of, a driveway only just about long enough to cope with one car (we have a VW and an Explorer!), and row upon row of identical houses. Busy busy roads, and open shopping malls everywhere you look. To some this may well be heaven but to the wonderful S and I, this is hell, and a million miles away from the beautiful; Sierra Madre, where the streets are quiet and where I won't worry about our boys riding their bikes or playing with their friends. Where a few minutes walk takes you into the town where there are local shops and restaurants, and where the locals wave at the cops as they drive past. Where the whole town turns out to bid a happy retirement to the school principal, and where this evening as we walked home from the local Italian restaurant, we met and chatted with a lovely lady by the name of Stephanie who lives on our street and has 3 fantastic dogs, and whose daughter is studying performance in London, which is a real co-incidence seeing as my beautiful A is studying Theatre & Performance at Warwick University!....

Anyway, the upshot of my travels today is that I am feeling even more lucky that we have a house in Sierra Madre where suburbia is more like village life in the UK although the width and breath of shops is literally just on our doorstop., where the streets are wide and quiet, and where it is safe for my children to be children and enjoy the naivety of being young for as long as possible....

We are so so lucky....

A week in Sierra....

Because S had sent me so many pictures of the new house, I sort of knew what to expect when I got here. It was still wonderful and exciting to go from room to room, especially since I hadn't had any new photos since all the furniture had arrived....

Monday morning it was 'business as usual' my wonderful S had to go into work which I actually didn't mind - it gave me chance to just get used to being in my house a little more. S came home at lunchtime just to make sure I was OK and wasn't freaking out at being on my own, and then went back off to work again until around 4ish when he was home for the day....

S has gotten into the habit of going for a walk in the evenings - as SM sits quite literally at the foot of the St. Gabriel mountains, in particular Mt. Wilson, you are either walking up or down hill for pretty much all of the time. Yes obviously there are roads that cut across and are flat, but the town is set on a hill, so going for a walk can be a real workout as I have found out. We set out from the house and walk up the hill towards Wilson.
Looking up our street towards the mountains
OK, maybe it doesn't look to much of an uphill walk at this point, but once we get up to the junction of our street and the main road and then carry on over, I can assure you that it does get much steeper than this. S says its kind of like using one of those stepper machines (yep - he's right). We keep going right to the top of the road, then turn right, and walk along the top road. This seems to be the closest road to the mountains that runs the length of the town. We follow this road to the end and then turn and walk down the hill, back to the main town road. Then its right again along to the town centre and out the other side and meander across and down back to the house - 2.7 miles, with a mile of that being uphill and in one go. It's pretty good workout, and we have done it 5 or six times in the last 8 days! My little legs are definitely feeling the burn, but as S says, if we do it often enough and combine it with actually walking up Wilson, we won't need to pay for gym membership, and the view is so much nicer!....

Have to say that spending the last week here in SM has made me realise that we are actually pretty lucky. Yes OK it's the LA basin and yes it is damn hot. S tells me that it will cool down a lot in the winter though - maybe as low as 15ºC/60ºF....Hmmm, so SM winter will be almost as warm as UK summer. I just keep saying to everyone that we will just have varying degrees of hot - in winter it will be hot, in spring and autumn it will be very hot and in the summer it will be ridiculously hot! Today for example the forecast says it will be 99ºF or for my lovely friends in the UK 37ºC - I think that I may need to get all my jobs for the day done this morning, so I can hide out this afternoon and stay as cool as possible!....

Going back to my point though - we are extremely lucky, we are going to be living in a lovely community, that is pretty stunning on the eye with the backdrop of the mountains, and all of the greenery around. All the locals seem friendly. The school here is excellent. There are great shops right on our doorstep, and if we want the hustle and bustle of LA, it is only 20-30 mins down the road. The beach is only 40 mins away. Camping in the mountains is literally as close or as far away as we want it to be - what more could you ask for? It's not where we wanted to be geographically, but it is certainly a far cry from what we pictured life around LA to be, and it is pretty perfect for us....

Just need to get the visa sorted out now and then the boys and I can come out here permanently, and maybe, just maybe, one day the beautiful A will decide to come out and join us too....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting to Sierra Madre....

It seems like a lifetime since I have had the time or the inclination to put fingers to keyboard and blog....

My journey from the UK to SM was uneventful but really really long. In-flight entertainment kept me amused for the most part (Battle of Los Angeles - very appropriate viewing I thought!), since sleep alluded me. Also cabin staff supplied a continual stream of food and refreshments or so it seemed. We were offered hot or cold drinks, and alcohol within 20 mins of take-off (9am flight!) and then presented  with Char-grilled Chicken, or Braised Beef at 10am. This was followed by the offer of more drinks roughly every hour, until about and hour before we landed when we given a hot chicken and cheese sandwich and our final  drink of the flight. We landed at Newark at around 11.30am (local time)....

The journey through customs was uneventful - I queued, got photographed and finger-printed, and was told not to get married during my visit. Then it was off to baggage retrieval, where my bag was one of the first ones off. I gave the guy at the gate my customs form and walked through. I wasn't one of the unlucky few that get stopped and searched, even though I had expected I would be. I kept left for the connecting flight check-in, rechecked my bag and carried on upstairs to go through the x-ray machine with hand luggage. In the US you have to take your shoes off for this which kind of surprised me, but hey ho such is life. To be honest the whole get x-rayed again thing surprised me. I did all of that at Birmingham International, after which point I had only been in an airplane or airport, so how could I have managed to smuggle something into my stuff....Anyway, it was what it was and it was very uneventful. I then found my gate for the next flight and amused myself for the next 3 hrs by speaking to the wonderful S, and calling the children to let them know where I was and how it was going. Then I wandered up and down and looked in the shops, sat and read my book, and then finally, later than expected boarded the 2nd of my monumental flights of the day, another 6hr flight from Newark to LAX this time....

This flight couldn't have been more different than the last if it tried  - OK there was in-flight entertainment, but if you didn't have any headphones, you had to buy a pair at $3 a pop. Yes you could have a drink as long as it wasn't alcoholic, but any food you wanted had to be bought - there was nothing complimentary! I think this is a bit of a rip off to be honest. I can understand with a short flight, but this was 6hrs, and I think at the very least you should be given a complimentary sandwich. Anyway, I ate nothing, drank coffee, too some Ibuprofen and drifted off to sleep - waking about half and hour out of LA....

The whole getting off the plane and out of the airport was so completely different this time. Of course I had already done the customs thing, so it was simply a case of get off the plane and follow everyone else down to baggage reclaim, then look for the wonderful S - my stomach was doing somersaults. I was actually in LA - after 86 days of waiting, I was actually here and going to spend 2 weeks with the wonderful man in my life, at our new house in Sierra Madre. I walked along in a bit of a dream state, and all the passengers approached an escalator down to baggage reclaim. There was a security guard standing at the top of the escalator, and there standing with him (in a place he shouldn't have been) was my wonderful S, with a big sloppy grin on his face and a kiss and a hug that was so good and so needed, I could have stayed there all day! All our waiting had come to an end, and finally, finally, we were back together again! We went and collected my bag and walked out into the LA heat and sunshine together. We got into our car and set off for our house - our new home in Sierra Madre....

I was here at last....

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Tomorrow....

Well it is finally here....
My trip to the US to spend 2 whole weeks with my wonderful S in our new house....

Our New Home
 My bag is packed, finally - having gone from a teeny bag to 2 huge ones, I am now back to medium sized holdall. I have the all important walking boots, and just enough clothes and undies for a week - what I haven't got I will get while I am there or just pinch from S....

Now I am waiting - the house has been cleaned, all the washing and ironing has been done and all that is left is for me to have a long hot shower, and put the rest of my toiletries in my bag and I will be ready....

Dad is coming in the morning to take me to the airport, so I need to be ready and waiting by about 5.30am, so we can make the journey to Birmingham International and be there for 7am at the latest so I can check in for my 9am flight. I think an earlyish night is called for, although excitement may well stop me from getting off to sleep too early. To be honest though I have decided that not sleeping well tonight could be a blessing in disguise because it will probably help me to get some sleep on the flight and hopefully not be too much of a basket case by the time I get to LAX at approx 6pm local time. I will be spending a total of approx 15hrs in the air, and I have a 3hr lay-over in Newark. Have to say I am not looking forward to the time spent at Newark, but as the first part of my flight was booked before S took up his new job and when we were just planning to come and spend a couple of weeks visiting S's family I can't really complain, and as long as I get there what does it matter?....

This will be the first time that I have flown this distance on my own, and the first time that I have had to get connecting flights, and I am feeling rather nervous about the whole thing. Weird dreams about me getting onto the wrong flight haven't helped, but S has given me clear instructions on where to go once I get to Newark, so I should be OK. And lets face it - it's not like when I was flying to Germany to see him and I didn't speak a word of German - this time I will be able to ask for help if needed and will be able to be understand what is said to me!

I guess my next posting will be coming from the new house, that's if I can find my way to the PC through all of the packing boxes that have been delivered. S says that the house is full and so is the garage, so I am definitely going to have my work cut out for me! I am sure it will be fun though - how can it not be when it is sorting things out in our new home? Our first proper home together - I can't wait....

Only 1 sleep to go....

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday....

Today I am grateful for the fact that since I got back home at around lunchtime today, I have been able to put my pj's on and mooch around the house doing jobs, without having to worry about anyone else....
Why am I in my pj's in the day? I hear you ask....spray tan this morning of course! What a laugh! I have never had one before and was feeling just a teeny bit worried that I might come out looking like the tango man, so I dragged A along with me for moral support. I did ask her if she wanted to get one too but she just looked at me and said "no Mother"

Anyway, the lady at the tanning salon was lovely, couldn't have been nicer and put me completely at ease. I told her of my orange concerns, and she said not to worry, there was no danger of any orangeness. She said that she would give me a very light tan, so that you could see I had some colour, but not so that I would look like I had been living in the desert for the last 44 years...that was cool, I could go for that....

The tanning room was tiny with this little thing that resembled a kind of pop-up tent in it, where I had to stand, naked except for a very fetching paper thong. I had to put my feet on these sticky pads on the floor to prevent my soles getting tan on them, and I had to stand initially like a kind of rag doll, legs apart, arms out to the sides but dangling from my elbows. Then I had to move into various new positions, so that she could ensure equal coverage of the whole of my body. I have never been embarrassed about my body as such, but getting my lumpy bumpy bits out for a complete stranger is something new on me, but I have to say, I don't think she even saw me as such. She chatted about all sorts of things as she sprayed and gave instructions, but I really don't think if you asked her now, she would be able to describe me. This is a stupendous thing from my perspective - there is nothing worse than thinking that people are talking about you after you have left somewhere. Inevitably you assume that they are being negative - that's just human nature I guess....

Anyway, I am now at home pottering around doing my housework, tackling the huge pile of laundry that has appeared in honor of my going away, and I am apparently developing! Hopefully I will only develop a lovely tan and not a 3rd boob or anything, but we will have to wait until the morning to confirm or deny this....

I am not allowed to shower until the morning otherwise, I will apparently not develop properly. This has left me wondering if having white bedding was really such a good idea after all - but I am reassured that any staining of clothes is only temporary and will wash right out, so I guess that applies to bedding too - that'll be yet more washing to do tomorrow then before I go away on Sunday....

Fingers crossed, I will emerge from the shower tomorrow morning, a sun-kissed goddess - no don't say a word! Leave me to my little fantasy. As long as I don't emerge looking like either Katie Price or the tango man I will be a happy bunny....

Until tomorrow....

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Movers....

As I write this tonight, I am waiting with as much patience as I can manage for the wonderful S to skype me to say that the movers have gone....
The truck arrived on time - the delivery truck that is - there were no men inside of it to actually unload all the stuff, these guys were just the delivery guys....
S sent me an email that said the delivery guys and dropped the trailer on the drive and would call back for it later on. He was waiting for the unloaders....
It is such a good job I am not there at this moment because anyone who knows me, knows that I would be jumping up and down and going crazy right about now - how dare they deliver my stuff, but leave it secured in a trailer on my driveway, in front of me, but where I couldn't get to it?....
This is actually stuff that is S's from before we were together, and it has been in storage for a couple of years. Because of work commitments and other things that went on, the poor man has been living out of a suitcase for pretty much most of the last couple of years, and now his precious belongings have been delivered to our house, but are still beyond his reach - how bloody cruel can you get!

"Think calm peaceful thoughts Lou - getting wound up isn't go to do anyone any favours, especially when you are 6000 miles away"

Talking to myself isn't helping much, and to make matters worse I am bored. Bored, bored, bored. I've drunk far too much coffee today, there is quite literally nothing but crap on the TV; there's no housework to do - yep I'm bored!

Annoying Orange Spray Tan!
I have only 2 days and 3 sleeps to go now until I can finally see my wonderful S and I am being a real saddo and having a spray tan tomorrow. I've never had one before, and I am terrified that I will turn out Katie Price Orange, but I have taken courage in both hands, and the recommendation of someone who I believe to be in the know, since they work in the beauty business, and I have booked the appointment for 11am tomorrow. I have told the salon that I just want a bit of a glow, not a deep tan - good god my body hasn't seen a deep tan since I was in my teens! That would be a shocker! But I cannot stand the thought of my pale and pasty English legs in my shorts, blinding everyone in the street as the reflect the burning sunshine - no a tan was called for and I am just hoping that I don't regret it - I guess if it looks too bad, I can spend all day Saturday in the shower with a packet of Brillo pads, and just scrub myself raw to get rid of it - then I am sure people in LA will be staring at me for a completely different reason!

Ho hum - wish me luck, and wish the wonderful S luck with the movers, hopefully he will call me soon and all will be unloaded and good....

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Children....

OK folks, the packing just got even more bizarre - as well as a load of Ibuprofen gel, camera flash, 3 mugs, 2 licence plates, assorted keys, PC ram sticks, wooden tie rack, tea tree oil and an assortment of t-shirts, shorts, trousers, and undies in my suitcase, I have now added a rifle scope!....

Yes, you did hear me right - a rifle scope! It belongs to eldest son G, not that he has a rifle of course. He does however have a BB gun (had I have been clever enough to know what it was before I ordered it on Amazon for him, he wouldn't now own one, but that is a different story). As he knows that the BB gun cannot possibly go in plane luggage when we move and will have to be packed and go in the container, he has decided that the scope is far too valuable to be trusted with the movers and has requested that I take it with me....

I have this weird feeling that I am going to get stopped by customs, and they are going to take one look at my luggage for a 2 week trip, decide I am completely crazy and call for the guys in the white coats....

On the plus side of my trip, the movers who have shipped all of S's stuff  from one side of the US to the other, are delivering tomorrow, so there will be plenty of boxes for me to unpack when I get there, and subsequently lots of things for me to find homes for....

I now have only 3 days and 4 sleeps until I arrive in Cali, and I am doing my very best not to let my excitement take over me. I still have lots of things to do here before I can go anywhere, like take A to the supermarket to stock up on food for the 2 weeks that I am gone. My daughter may be nearly 21 but she still has no interest in learning to drive, so won't be able to just nip to the shops if she runs out of anything. We have agreed that she will do an online shop if need be, but being the way I am, I need to make sure that I have left a good 2 weeks supply of food and sundries for the 3 of them - if they choose to use everything in the first couple of days, then that's up to them, but I will leave them enough for the duration!

I also need to make sure that all the clothes washing is up to date and that all the bedding is washed, because it is unlikely to be washed again before my return. Also after the slating I got earlier in the year when I went to Germany for 5 days with S, I need to make sure that the house has been cleaned and sanitised with bleach from top to bottom, because apparently I left it a complete pigsty - of course it looked exactly the same upon my return, so what does that say about my lovely children? Yep you've got it, either they are all dirty pigs or they are prone to exaggeration regarding the cleanliness of their home - as A and G spend half their lives in the shower, I kind of lean towards the side of exaggeration - however H is a dirty little monkey, who has to be physically thrown into the shower every couple of days because he would never venture in by himself....

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What to take....

For the last couple of weeks I have had 2 travel bags (big ones) out on the bedroom floor, and I have been putting stuff into them that I thought I should take to SM with me. S had assured me that I could bring both, and when I checked with the airline I was amazed to see that he was correct - 2 bags that can each weigh up to 23kg....

There are lots of clothes that S left behind, because he wouldn't need them straight away, so I thought I would put his stuff in one bag and mine in the other. The plan being that I could bring back one bag inside the other and leave most of the stuff behind - less for the movers to take!....

S says that he doesn't need any of his stuff - says he has done what he always does when travelling. Taken the basics with him, then gone out and shopped for new stuff. "All my stuff can come with the movers" he says....
OK, that's fair enough, I will just take my stuff. Then I realise that taking my stuff to leave is not necessarily the best idea - if it takes the USCIS another 6 months to process my visa application, I may well need stuff that I leave behind....

Right, I will take t-shirts and jeans - bare essentials. S says "I've got loads of t-shirts, you don't need to bring any of those. Make sure you pack your walking boots though, we'll be doing lots of walking in the mountains. Don't worry about anything else though, we can get it here!"....
I look at him on the webcam "You want me to bring a suitcase with nothing in it but a pair of walking boots and my socks, bra's and knickers?"....
He looks back at me, and dead straight he says "Don't worry about the underwear, you can buy that here too!".....
My response "Are you serious?"....
His reply "As long as you bring yourself, we can get the rest here - I just need you to be here".....
Somehow my frustration disappears in an instant, and I think to myself  "this is why I love this man so much"....

However, having established that I can buy whatever I need when I get there. We have now discovered that there is a camera flash that I need to take with me. Some keys that belong to furniture that is being delivered out of storage this week, so will be needed. A super fantastic ice/heat pad that has been living in the bottom of my freezer for the last 3 months - oh yes - and my walking boots!....

Can you imagine the faces of the US customs guys if they open the rather small bag I will be toting for my 2 week stay? Hmm, I don't think I want to go down that route, so rather than waiting to shop over there, I went shopping with the lovely A yesterday and bought myself some linen shorts and some linen trousers to take with me. I have ironed half a dozen t-shirts of my own to wear, along with a couple of pairs of jeans, although I doubt I will need those, and I have put out a selection of my own tried and tested underwear....

I am going to take some nik-naky stuff too, hidden amongst the clothes, so that when I have to come back to the UK again, I can leave definite traces of me behind, so that the wonderful S doesn't feel quite so alone anymore. Needless to say, the 2 huge suitcases I was planning to take have now been swapped for a much more moderately sized one, and the movers can take everything....lol

Oh yes - I mustn't forget the all important walking boots though....

My Walking Boots



Monday, July 04, 2011

4th July....

Happy 4th July to all my American blogging friends and followers....


I am sad to be missing the parade - every parade, and I am even more sad that my wonderful S is spending the day on his own, because we cannot be together until the end of this week, and his family live too many hours away to make travelling just for the day practical....

He is not despondent though, and is going to go and watch the parade by himself and take the camera so he can send us photos, and then he says he will do some writing throughout the rest of the day, and try to keep out of the heat as much as possible - it's been up in the 100's for the last few days, but I think this is something that we are just going to have to get used to!

Obviously, I will interject at various times throughout the day, but with an 8 hour time difference, I can only do so, until tiredness takes over me and I have to admit defeat and go off to bed.

Still this time next week, I will be there - it will be the first day of our 2 weeks together, and I just cannot wait....

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Apologies....

This week I think I am going to be driving everyone crazy....
Why? I hear you ask....
Because this time next Sunday, I will probably be somewhere over Maine on my flight to Newark which will put me roughly halfway through my journey to my wonderful S....
The flight to Newark is apparently 7 hours and 50 minutes long and will cover a distance of 3,375 miles. After a 3 hour layover, I then have the 2nd leg of my journey to LAX which is another 5 hours 17 minutes and a further 2,442 miles....
S says that by the time I get there, in the evening by PDT, but in the small hours of the morning according to GMT (yes I know they call it OST now but to me it will always be GMT), I will be a complete basket case, but I am hoping that my excitement at being there will keep me going and I will managed to stay awake long enough to see round my new house and sit and enjoy a glass of wine with my man....

So, I will apologise now, if my postings end up being completely centred around my impending trip this week. We have been waiting 86 days for this, so please cut me a little slack. I will endeavour to blog about other things, but we will just have to see how it goes....


Friday, July 01, 2011

This week I am grateful for....

.... reading blogs of other people and having them make me want to reflect on my life and what it has become....

Lets see, I am the eldest of 3 daughters, and self professed black sheep of the family. I am close to my family and love them all to bits despite never feeling that I quite live up to their expectations, but as I get older I am starting to care about that less and less....

I am Mum to 3 gorgeous, bright and intelligent children. I have my beautiful daughter A, who is about to start her third and final year at the University of Warwick (you can't say Warwick Uni because its disrespectful I think - something to do with it being one of the oldest uni's in the country, and also one of the very best). Anyway, A is studying Theatre and Performance, and plans to become a theatre Director when she has graduated. I have no doubts that she will succeed, she is incredibly strong-willed and stubborn, and she has known what she wants to be since she was about 15 (she turns 21 this October)....

After A comes the gorgeous G. He has been known as the gorgeous one since the moment he was born, and has spent his life being told about his beautiful big blue eyes. He is my thinker. Don't get me wrong, he is also a doer. He is fair more intelligent than he knows, and he tries to hide beneath his sisters shadow, but we can see him under there. He is the quiet one, the moody one, and the incredibly good at card tricks one! At 13 he has no idea of what he will become when he grows up, but I think 'mentalism' is on the cards, or perhaps travelling the world trying to catch lots of different fish, rather like Robson Green does on the TV over here.

Finally we have the baby of the bunch, 12 year old H, the handsome one - although how he sees through his mop  of hair or how anyone sees him through his mop of hair I have no clue. He is my collector of friends, and my hasn't a care in the world one. H is also bright as a button and extremely intelligent, although he really couldn't give a damn about anything other than playing on the xbox or on the pc. He is my sporty one, with amazing hand eye co-ordination, and can drop kick the tiniest bit of dirt you can find! He is unassuming, and takes life as it comes, and when it comes to his future he says "I will be whatever you think I should be Mummy".

My life with my ex was not good to say the very least. I kept quiet for many years, 15 to be exact, but now I readily tell the world, he was and is an abusive and controlling alcoholic, who couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it. Eventually, I found myself cowering inside my body, drew all my strength together and kicked the piece of sh*t into touch. That was in 2009 - he has only seen his children once since the day he left, and that was a week after he left. He abandoned them like an old pair of pants, and they have now abandoned him. Actually they were able to abandon him long before I had the strength to, and in fact most of my strength came from my children, so I am grateful to them for helping me find myself, and for supporting me, and never doubting that I could save them from a truly awful situation....

After the cr*p of the past, trusting people became a bit of an issue. I was desperate for a good relationship, but very wary of allowing anyone in. The wonderful S put an end to all of that. We are testament to the fact that Internet dating sites can work. We emailed, then we called, then emailed and called and then we met. The first time I saw him, I knew that he was going to be someone I could trust. S will tell everyone that on our first date he took me to meet his very good friends - I drank a little too much, but didn't get rowdy or anything. I fell asleep in the car on the way home, and the rest is history. He is the man of my dreams, my knight in shining armour, and the man I will spend the rest of my life with. People always used to laugh because I would say that I want to find someone I can sit in my rocking chair with on the porch in my twilight years - S is buying the rocking chairs!....

So today, I am grateful to Sarah Mac for making me reflect on my life, my crazy family for being just that - crazy; my beautiful children, who showed me what true strength is and helped me to find mine and my wonderful S, who quite simply makes me life complete....

I am very lucky....


If you die in SL....

Tonight I thought I would give my lovely daughter's blog a bit of a plug, because she writes extremely  well, and her blog has just tickled me in a way I didn't expect from my daughter....

I'm damn sure that she is meant to be prim and proper, and have no notion of any of the things she has notions about. These days I am trying very hard to be more of a friend than a parent, because her parenting needs at nearly 21 are far less than those of her brothers at 12 and 13, but it is tough to find the terribly fine line between parent and best buddy....

Still I will persist and hopefully succeed in the end....

Please read her latest posting using the link below, and click on the picture to enlarge...lol

If you Die in SL