On being back

A week in to our return to the Land of Convenience, we're still hip deep in boxes and misplaced furniture. And this is only our stuff that used to be in California. We're in no way prepared to receive the bulk of furniture and things we accumulated in England that's currently crawling its way across the Atlantic in this direction. But every day, a little progress is made. We've marked each day by what we've managed to get done. Yesterday's accomplishment: installing 4 of those really cools metal & particle board shelves in the garage and basement. I've always been secretly envious of people who had those shelves. They're so tidy and industrial looking. I felt a smug sort of accomplishment when I put the first item on them (camping gear that was last used in 2001).

Also, we've been exploring our local neighborhood markets figuring out what's where. It's amazing how easy it would be to slip back into old habits. In England, our location, the shops and our miniscule refrigerator caused us to build habits of shopping for less, and fresher produce. The obscene prices of eating out meant that we ate home cooked goodness for 99% of our meals. As we've been scurrying around this week to both Hither, Massachusetts and Yon, New Hampshire, it's been easy to eat out, and the prices are refreshingly low, and the portions are obnoxiously big. Yesterday, we hit a mall for a few items, and there, side by side in a food court, were a Chick-fil-a (home of the world's perfect chicken sandwich) and an Arby's (Beef and Cheddar melt. It's genius. They don't use cheddar cheese, you see, they use cheddar sauce. It's a cheese and a sauce, people. You see the genius??) But we've also found the farmer's market in our village and the town next door (which provided some of the most fantastically good tomatoes that I've eaten in a long time), and are determined to keep up the healthier eating, despite the temptation to take the easy, temptingly flavored and fried-on-a-stick road.

Most importantly, we've finally gotten the whole phone/internet/cable thing sorted. We figured out that our phone came with voicemail on by default, which explained why our fancy new answering machine wasn't doing its job and, you know, answering stuff. Also, our internet connection was moved across the house and patched into a panel in my new study, meaning I don't have to be strategically positioned to get the wireless signal from the basement anymore. And after three separate visits by Comcast technicians, the cable boxes and Tivos are all working (mostly) correctly. I don't even mind too much that they had to come out a few times to get it right. After the second time we figured out that things weren't quite right, I took a chance and called after 6pm. Turns out, they're open 24x7.

Never mind the sniffling, I told the Comcast Lady. These are tears of joy.

If there's one thing that made me realize we're not in Europe anymore, that was it. The fact that we had to get the techs out several days in a row because they only fixed 80% of the problem each day, that could have happened anywhere. But answering the phone at 2am if I choose to call? Only in America. We've got 4 years worth of bad tv watching to make up. Never mind the summer reruns. It's all new to us.

Meanwhile, Maggie has settled in beautifully. We're still struggling a bit with where and how to kennel her at night - most dog crates are rated up to 110 lbs. She's 15 weeks and over 50lbs already. Her mother was 125lbs, and her father was a staggering 180lbs. But she's already one of the family. OK, a member of the family that occasionally craps St. Bernard size poops on my floor, but Squirmy doesn't exactly have bladder control, and we're still keeping him.

Yesterday, she found a new favorite place to escape the heat of the day.

Cute. But that dog's in for an awkward moment when winter kicks in.