Tuesday, 24 January 2012

January Bits and Bobs

Greetings Readers,
A quick entry this week.  Weather was not great last weekend and I was a little under the weather during the week so I comtemplated taking the weekend off.  Throw in Kal's sleep over on Friday and the cake is iced!  Home it is.

My Les Nessman weather update for last week: Frost overnight and -3 C (27 F) to start the week.  Mid week was 50's and sunny - beautiful weather.  Low 40's and rain rounded out the week.  The good with the bad I guess.

Lori and I ordered an online Geometry workbook for Karl to work on this year after learning the schools "plan" to work with Karl to keep him on par with his US mates.  Basically they aren't going to do anything extra for him.  Overall the schools are disappointing us (Lori and I) over here.  Karl frequently comes home and tells me about subjects they are learning (math, English history) for the first time that he has already covered in Brownsburg.  Thankfully we will be back in time for the kids to catch up before they get to far into high school.  Very frustrating but it does make us appreciate Brownsburg schools much much much more.

A funny little observation - Kalle told me it is weird to see me talking to the mothers when she comes out of school every afternoon.  And I have to agree, it does feel funny to be out there every afternoon.  I think Kalle is still adjusting to me being home all the time.  In the past Lori and I would split these types of activities with help from Bob and Lona (thanks again for all you did for us with the kids) but now it is all me.  Definitely an adjustment for me.

I started a Rolls Royce spousal meeting group last week.  Five of us met at Starbucks in the Westfield Mall.  Our next meeting is at Zizzi (zizzi.co.uk) on Friar Gate which is downtown plus the group has expanded to seven.  I had a lot of fun the first time discussing our UK experiences, vacations and backgrounds.  My thought was starting a group for the spouses to get together once or twice a month to get out of the house and have some American interaction.  (Side bar - The people here are pleasant but the comfort level of talking to people at home just isn't there.  You constantly think of your wording so that you don't say something off handed that would offend anyone.  Plus there is just a feeling of being kept at arms length by some people as you talk to them.  It's not true for everyone but is true for most people... but maybe it is just me.  Kalle had the second of her "home and home" sleepovers this weekend and the little girls mother is as friendly and talkative as can be.  Maybe it is just me after all.)  Interestingly enough all of the spouses who attended quit their US jobs to come here so we are all feeling a little lack of fulfilment (for lack of a better term) now that we are all working at home instead of in our professions.  Another part of the adjustment process I guess.   

One funny story from our meeting came up during our discussion on what we are doing with our Indy houses.  Most of us are renting and one family that is renting was getting messages from an easily excited neighbor about lots of activity at the house.  They contacted another neighbor who assuaged their fears about the renters.  The neighbor even went so far as to say how nice the family is and they invited the renters over for dinner and all had a great time.  As the spouse is telling the story she starts laughing and says, we've lived there for seven years and those neighbors haven't ever invited us over for supper.  So the group laughed and made a few jokes about the neighbors liking the renters better than the owners.  Hopefully that doesn't happen to us.  Gulp!

Without going into much detail on the group - there are two younger spouses without kids that are here on short assignments and will be returning stateside shortly.  One tweener (between middle aged and younger) is pregnant with their first child and one middle aged whose kids are living on their own.  Three of us are middle aged with kids still at home.  I am the token male.

This week's "Dan Stine extreme self restraint in the face of surmounting adversity moment of the week" is people who are allowed to drive cars smarter than they are.  I had my first English "run in" this week.  No damage to the car, just some minor cosmetic blemishes that I can live with.  It happened on the way home from picking up Kal.  Short version is that I am stopped on a roadway to allow a car to turn off of the road into a parking lot.  I couldn't go forward because I was three cars back from a main road intersection so I was waiting for the cars in front to get onto the main road.  Once the cars got onto the main road and the turning car pulls into the parking lot I was about to move forward and suddenly on my left was another vehicle backing out of the parking lot onto the roadway right towards me.  I press the horn and miss by an inch, instead pressing on the airbag which doesn't make any sound.  SCRAAAPPE!  Long story short is the damage is cosmetic so I decided not to pursue anything but she really peed me off.  She did see me behind her but didn't stop backing up because her rear sensor wasn't going off so she thought I was backing up.  To top it off she was talking to some guy (husband maybe) next to her car before she started backing up.  Talk about suppressing road rage.  Surprisingly (insert fake sarcasm) she had nothing to say and I did my best to calmly resolve the situation - make sure no one is hurt, no damage to vehicles, etc.  But seriously - DON'T BACK UP WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE BEHIND YOU!  Am I alone in thinking this?  You don't drive forward when the space in front of you is blocked so why back up when the space is blocked?  Dumb dumb people.  And sorry blond readers but she was a blond.  Fortunately she was in an older Land Rover so her bumper was higher than my front end so instead of bumping into my front end she just slid on top of it.  Plus I had my POS cruiser instead of the Rolls leased car.  I really hope we don't have to experience the joys of auto repairs while we are here.  Serenity now, serenity now...

A little black spot on my hood from her bumper I need to rub off.  You can see the trim that is pushed out a couple of inches on the side of the vehicle also.

We put up our first wall decoration last week.  We are not allowed to put up any wall hangers so anything we do put up has to use the existing wall hangers which really limits our decor.  While we were at Ashby last weekend I bought a poster that lists the English rulers and some historical tidbits that happened during each reign as a history lesson for us.  I then picked up a cheaply built and ridiculously priced frame and <Viola!> we have a decorated wall. 

Pic of The History of England above the fire place.

Close up of English rulers.  The country rulers date back to about 43 AD according to this poster and they still haven't figured out how to brew tasty beer.  How long will it take them? 

Kevin Coleman gets his own line up this week.  L-r: Warsteiner (beer from Lufthansa flight), Weihenstephan (world's oldest brewery - thanks Steve), Bud (that fine Belgian beer), Carling (okay but nothing special) and his own horseradish flavored English mustard.  I really like the mustard but they spelled your name wrong Kev.  I also added my Cadbury cup in the left background because the chocolate is WAY better over here than at home.  Much smoother tasting without being sickeningly sweet.

This week's Chuck Norris facts:

Chuck Norris' hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell Chuck Norris stories.

Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room.  The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

And finally, I passed my UK driving test this morning with zero faults!  Yeah!  The test went more smoothly than I anticipated which is great.  Both the written and driving tests were easier than I thought they would be, I guess I worried about them for nothing.  Now it's Lori's turn but with work, family, and restarting her course work she will be very busy.  She does have a year to obtain the UK license in case she gets to busy.

Thanks for listening,


  1. Your Chuck Norris tidbit crack me up. How long are you in the UK?

  2. Kim,
    We are here for approximately 18 more months. It has been a great experience so far. I think it will get better from April - October when the weather gets better which will allow us to venture out more. Jay

  3. Jay,

    Your blog is great! Meghan and I just looked...you have some great pictures! I hope you are all well. Give Lori my best and tell Kalle Meghan will be e-mailing her. :)Take care!