Friday, August 31, 2012

A Kitchen Is A Puzzle

Actual date of this event: 29 August

One of the reasons I loved this house was the kitchen. I loved how there was two rooms of kitchen. To me it was brilliant to have the refrigerator, a sink, the dishwasher, the washer and the dryer all in one room with ugly cabinets and ugly counter tops... its the dirty room. And then the stove, the oven, and a double sink in another room with nice cabinets and a cutting board counter top... its the clean room. Brilliant huh?!? Well as time went on with unpacking, I was not feeling as thrilled as before. And that is why the kitchen deserves its own blog post!

A bit of background: One of the five men who unloaded and unpacked was from Glasgow. I havent met many, but I have been told that Glaswegians can have very strong accents. This man fit into the stereotype beautifully, but not so beautifully. Earlier in the unloading of our things, he brought in a package that needed to go to our storage basement. So a while later, he comes back and mumbles something about the basement. His face looks serious, so I assumed he wasn't telling a joke. I politely said, "I'm sorry?" asking for him to repeat whatever he said. Again, he says something that I cannot understand. So I nod and say "oh, okay." meanwhile, Luke is in the background making faces of 'I-have-no-clue-either'. So the man leaves to get another box, and Luke and I determine that we are both on the same page which is not the same as the Glaswegian man. Later, I decide to go to the basement to see if I can find out what the guy was saying. Turns out that he accidentally tipped over Luke's teeny tiny drawer set that has lots of teeny tiny nails in it. Spilling and unorganizing all of the teeny tiny nails. I guess his serious face was to say he was sorry and hoped we wouldn't make him put it back right! Longest story ever... Moving on...

This same man was in charge of unpacking all of the kitchen supplies. I still think Luke told him to go in the kitchen so that I would have to suffer while getting the kitchen organized. Suffer, you say? I. Could. Not. Understand. A word. Out. Of. This. Man's. Mouth. I am already trying to concentrate on if things are broken. And where to put these puzzle pieces. I did not need to also try to concentrate on English (maybe?) words. Luckily, we have a table in the middle of the kitchen, like an island but it is the kitchen table, so everything he unpacked went on the table. And luckily, many of those things went into the utilities room, so I could take a break from this man for a few moments. 

He told me a few stories while unpacking. Only one of them I could understand. But I did get the feeling that this man was a bit Anti-American. Every once in a while, he would make comments about what Americans have and what they expect. And blah blah. Maybe he is just grumpy. Well, in the amount of time that the four other men unpacked the other 6 rooms, he did the kitchen. I don't think he was slow, the kitchen is just very meticulous. 

After everything was out of boxes, I could finally start to organize where I wanted everything. BUT FIRST, I have to wrap and pack all of the kitchen items that the homeowners left. I do not trust myself to remember, when we are done with this home, that the small silver bowl is ours or theirs. So I took some time to do this and labeled the boxes with each item (unlike the guys who packed us) and put them to the side. Now, I can organize! And it was at this moment that I determined that maybe the kitchen is not my favorite part anymore. Because the kitchen is unique, it also means that there are no obvious places for kitchen items. Obviously, the cups go here. Wait, no, not there. Here. Um, I disagree with myself. They should go here. And that happened with half of the stuff. Before anything, I first needed to decide where our liquor cabinet would be. Wait. That doesn't sound make us sound very good. But it is such an integral part in our lives... I mean kitchen... I mean... Forget it. 

Once I got into the groove, things started making sense. And I think I have all but one piece left to finish the kitchen puzzle. That one last piece that you can never find. The one that pulls everything together. That last piece for my kitchen is using the kitchen to make a meal. I hope that it fits just right! Wish me luck!

In a home, the front, back, interior entry, cellar, and bedroom doors all have different keys. We have 11 different keys to use in our home.
set for the exterior


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricanes Have Landed

Actual date of this event: Today, 29 August

Today is a big big day! 
1.) Hurricane Isaac reached land in our old city of Covington. Praying that our friends are safe!, and
2.) All of our stuff is finally in our hands... well, the stuff we chose to ship to Aberdeen. Not the same kind of hurricane, but it looked similar at the end of the day.

The shipment came in two loads. We were very surprised with this because we were under the assumption that our stuff would arrive in the metal sea crate that it was sent off in. We saw the packers in Covington seal it up and they told us we would know if it was tampered with. Well, that didn't happen. But we were so excited about getting our stuff that we didn't even care enough to ask.

Truck #2
There were five men who unloaded the boxes and furniture from the trucks. I am very thankful that Luke was there with me and I am sure that he is very thankful that I was there with him. Each man brought in one box at a time. They would call out the box number so we could check it off the inventory. And then we had to tell them which room it needed to go in. This happened for all 122 items! Luke checked off the numbers, and I directed each box to its location. It was not the easiest job since not all of the boxes were labeled well. I felt bad for the skinniest of the guys because every box he brought in needed to go to the third floor. I didn't have the heart to tell him again to go to the third floor, but luckily I didn't have to :)

top floor
We have heard stories of many people who have not been able to fit furniture into rooms. You see, in Scotland, and maybe all of Europe, it is rare to have an open home. Rooms are closed in with doors. Anyway, task one was getting the box spring we brought upstairs. It took a bit of maneuvering but it went. Then there was the couch. It took 4 men to get the couch into the living room.

one man's job was to hold the chandelier out of the way
After bringing everything into the house, they took a short break and then the craziness began. They unpacked every single item from every single box. And then put it all on the beds. On the counters. On the floor. Everywhere! Again, luckily there were two of us. In the beginning of this whole shipment arrival, I was very uneasy about them unpacking everything. I wanted to be able to move things around from one room to the next in a box rather than having to carry each item to its location. In the end, it was so much easier for them to unpack everything. One of the biggest reasons is that all of the packing paper and boxes disappeared when it was over. Second, I did a pretty darn good job of directing the boxes into the correct location, so not much movement will be needed. 

Stay tuned for my take on the biggest task of all: the kitchen

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in New Orleans on the 7th anniversary of Hurriance Katrina.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Fish & Chips and Golf

Actual date of this event: 26 August

About a week and a half ago, Luke and I discussed taking a weekend trip this weekend since it was Luke's Friday off. We chose to come to Aberdeen because we wanted to travel, so why would we sit at home on a 3 day weekend? Just silliness! Well, I did a bit of research and we concluded that going away for the weekend was not going to happen. England & Wales had a bank holiday Monday, so all of the bed and breakfasts were practically booked. And any flights to another city were way too expensive on such short notice. So we decided to take a day trip to St Andrews on Saturday since it is only a 2 hour drive away. I had asked an old acquaintance of mine, who is from Fife, what we must do while visiting. He gave me a long list of things and I am grateful for that because it made my job easier! Thanks, Roy!

We woke up around 7 in the morning, had our coffee and breakfast and we were on the road by 8:30. The weather did not look too great, but it didn't matter to us. We had our rain jackets and that's all we needed. Laine and Jonathan decided to come meet us, so we took separate vehicles in case we wanted to do separate things. Our first mission was to arrive in Anstruther (driving through and then about 20 minutes south of St Andrews) around 11, so we could explore the town a little bit before lunch. Luke and I arrived an hour earlier than we expected (I guess Google Maps doesn't think Americans drive fast in other countries). First thing we had to do was go to the bathroom. Coffee and then taking a road trip in the country where you cannot stop to go to the bathroom was not a superb idea. Well, we find a bathroom across from the coffee shop, and oh no! It is 30P to pee. Sigh. Well, whatever.

What is the purpose of an admissions ticket to pee?
Now, whats next? Oh yes, let's get more coffee!

We walked around the town which is a super cute town with some unique and colorful buildings, and some creeks, churches, pubs and restaurants.

sea shell decor on a building

It was getting closer to lunch, so we made our way back to the main drag, so we could check out the harbor and pier. It was super windy and a little bit chilly, but no biggie.

We met up with Laine and Jonathan for lunch at Anstruther Fish Bar. This place apparently has the World's Best Fish & Chips. Well actually, they HAD the best but haven't won the award since 2009. What's up with that, Anstruther!??

The inside has the look and feel of a diner
Left: breaded fish (less oily)
Right: battered fish (more yummy)

At the end of the meal, you pay at an ice cream bar. Just cruel. So we had to get some of that!

Chocolate Hazelnut. I could have eaten 5 of those!

It was now time to head to St Andrews where we will visit the oldest golf course... St Andrews Links... where golf was born. When we arrived in St Andrews, we found some parking where we were limited to two hours due to a parking metre. We ran into the St Andrews Cathedral ruins while walking. This thing was massive! In the 1300's it was the largest building in the country.

half of the entrance wall was missing

me standing on part of the altar
cemetery surrounding the church

The Cathedral and cemetery were right on the water
We still had a little bit of time on the parking metre, so we walked around on some side streets. This was picturesque Europe. This is exactly what I pictured before I arrived in Europe. Quaint buildings with colroful doors as tall as me. Loved it!

We ran into the St Andrews Castle located along the sea, but decided that going to see the golf course was more important, so we just passed it by since there was an entry fee.

We also ran into a museum. Free, you say? Yes, I think we will check it out. We found a rooftop terrace that had amazing views of the sea, and we could see the golf course in the distance.

We had very little time left for parking, so we went back to the car - we arrived on the minute our time expired. Score! We drove not even a mile to the golf course, so we could park at the club house. I am no golf pro and I am apparently not allowed to be on a golf course because I dont know what a pin is, but it was a super neat feeling being surrounded by the history of the place.

putting and chipping green
profile pic!
Old Course Hotel
Luke hearts this pic

We walked over to the Swilcan Bridge, which is a historical marker on the course, to take some pics.

Along our walk, we saw tons of places that were "Members Only"... who do these people think they are? You mean you dont want Luke running around like an idiot in your establishment? I see where you are coming from.

Luke signed us in the guest book
We got the hint that it was about that time to be done because we finally began to feel the sprinkles. We could see a storm coming from a distance, and we were not about to get stuck in it. I guess we will come back in a few decades when it is Luke's turn on the course.

There are 7 courses at St Andrews Links.
The Old Course has been alive since the early 1400's. In 1457, golf was banned in Scotland because too much golf was being played which took away from archery practice. Says Wikipedia, of course.
Old Course is the skinny green one in the center
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