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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 03:57pm on 16/06/2009 under , ,
I'm up at my parents' for a few days. It took me 7 hours to get here. They closed a lane of I-78 and it took me over an hour to go 7 miles (there are mile markers). Then I ended up at the Holland Tunnel, had to get uptown, and it all meant I didn't hit the Midtown Tunnel till 3pm. Ugh. I was so tired I didn't notice I was in a cash only lane and got stopped by a toll taker. I apologized profusely. (I've gotten used to roads where all lanes take EZ-Pass.)

Today I had a doctor's appointment. It would seem that I have managed to lose 35 lbs over the past 8 months, including 10 in the past 6 weeks. Wow.
location: 11747
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 03:31pm on 09/06/2009 under , ,
It has rained here for most of the past 2 weeks. Except, oddly, the weekends. We got a total of 7" in May and 1.6" so far in June. When it hasn't been raining, it's been humid. Yuck.

We took Aliza to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, which was a hit (though, McDonalds sponsorship in one exhbit, tut tut). She was a little young for a couple of things, but she had a great time playing with everything--especially the walking piano and the drum set. Unfortunately my camera flash decided not to work, so no pictures. Afterwards we went for Italian food. Aliza was well behaved (though she got out of her chair and stood in the corner behind our table) until she took a mouthful of Neil's pasta, which had crushed red pepper in it. I had to take her for a walk to calm her down.

She's also finally found another fruit she likes, besides bananas. She now loves blueberries. She wasn't sure what to do with strawberries. If we get a run of sunny weather (I hope, I hope) I'll take her to the strawberry U-Pick and see if I can get her interested.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 03:27pm on 15/05/2009 under ,
1) I can drive to Baltimore in 1h15 if I time it right. This is better and more convenient than going to suburban Philadelphia to shop, though that has the King of Prussia mall. Kosher meat (and, OK, Whole Paycheck) are not available here so that's nice. Not that I'd want to do it too often (it is tiring) but it's nice to be able to. It is a shame that you can't get the train to Baltimore or DC, though. With the number of Baltimore commuters moving to York County, maybe they'll think about it. I can dream.

2) I-83 is really dull and consequently quite tiring to drive. The drivers are maniacs. I was doing 80 and getting passed on the outside. One guy came into a fairly small gap between me (left lane) and a tractor trailer (just behind me in the right), passed me, then passed someone else in the right--all at at least 90. He basically weaved in and out.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 03:17pm on 13/05/2009 under , , ,
First, some minor explanation. As soon as we knew we were moving, we investigated cable vs. FiOS. FiOS won (principally because it carries the Yankees' YES network, plus the NFL network; Comcast has neither. I am married to a man of priorities.) We booked Verizon for an install on Friday. As a new customer I was asked to fax them ID; I did so.

On Friday, after moving in, Neil rang Verizon to confirm that they were coming. it turned out that the fax I had sent them hadn't been correctly connected to our order. Consequently, no install. The next available date was Wednesday. So, no phone, no TV, no Internet. Bah.

Side story: We do have basic cable (very basic) included in our rent. it uses a coax cable. We couldn't find a coax-to-component cable and resigned ourselves to no TV. However, on Tuesday, when Neil unpacked our new TV (more later), he discovered it does have coax input. He subsequently discovered our other TV does as well; he just missed it! We missed the season finale of House for no reason! Harrumph.

Anyway.... we drove down on Friday, but none of our belongings did. By the time they'd packed everything up, it was too late for the drivers to get to PA and back. We spent the night in a Holiday Inn. (We did get the grocery shopping done, though as always, I subsequently discovered various items we'd forgotten.)

New place, by the way, is a 3 bed, 2.5 bath townhouse with garage and basement, at a rent to make a New Yorker weep. Location isn't ideal from my perspective (suburban hell) but we were on a short timeframe and this was the nicest place we saw by far. I do mean suburban hell, by the way. The main street is basically lined with big box malls--the really awful kind where if you need 3 stores, you need to move your car every time. Bad enough on your own, horrible when it involves getting a toddler in and out of a carseat repeatedly.

Saturday was a haze of unpacking. We're still not done (32 boxes of books remain, but the shelves to hold them are as yet unassembled). Our garage is filled with boxes and packing paper. The garbage was picked up on Monday and we disposed of some of it, but i think it's going to take weeks to get rid of all of it. The packers did an excellent job (only breakages: a ceramic ramekin and the glass on one picture, and that was in 2 moves) but they used an obscene amount of paper.

Sunday, I had to go to Bed Bath & Beyond (again. My 3rd trip, I think, I've lost track. I believe I've had 4 trips total. Worst part is that if i'd realized how much stuff I needed I would have gotten it all in New York with Carly's 20% discount, but it was impossible to keep it all straight... I did get a new Dyson there for 20% off, but there was one annoying part. BB&B Farmingdale didn't have the DC25 Animal. They didn't even have shelf space for it. So, I assumed they didn't carry it, and got the DC25 All Floors. When I went to the one here, they had the Animal. Gah.) We keep finding things that were missing, that were thrown out because they were broken, that we didn't need before (we only ever had 1 bathroom before, for example), that were accidentally thrown out or sent to the charity shop (Neil confused the good glasses with the £1 IKEA glasses), etc.

As I was leaving, Neil phoned me from Target saying he'd spotted a great deal on a new TV, but didn't want to buy it until I'd seen it. As it happens, BB&B is in the same shopping center, and I ran into him on the way out, so we went back in. It was a 46" Sony Bravia LCD (in the top 3 in Consumer Reports, though I don't know if it was the same model) at a great price. It may be a discontinued line, or not the top series (damn my lack of internet to comparison shop) but it had the right features, looked great and it is a Bravia--not going to be a piece of crap. Neil decided to get it then and there. Hilarity with transport ensued. It seems that a 46" Bravia is just a little too wide for the back of Neil's (rental) car. On top of that, the backseat had previously been occupied by a new wheelie bin. We ended up swapping the contents (including Aliza + carseat) of both cars, and swapping drivers as well because transporting the bin in my trunk meant keeping it open.

Monday, Neil started work. He has a very easy commute. His current lack of distractions also mean he has a very short getting-ready period, which meant that he spent half an hour on Monday sitting at the kitchen table, waiting to go.

This brings me to the final episode (for now) of this saga: the IKEA furniture. We decided that the easiest way to procure necessary IKEA flatpack would be to get it in New York and load it on the truck. Fine. Until Monday night, when Neil went to put his desk together. It comes in 2 boxes. Despite being labelled 1 and 2, they have identical contents. We now have to go to the nearest IKEA (90 minutes) to exchange it. Hopefully. They originally told him he'd need to take it back to New York; however, at the time, he thought he'd lost the receipt. Turned out he hadn't. So he has to call again and find out if he can return it to any IKEA. Hopefully yes, though it means a lot of driving. Also, because we haven't been able to set up bank accounts here yet (and won't be for a few weeks, I think, because banks usually want proof of address which I don't have yet) I may have to go to Philadelphia this week (home to HSBC's only branch in PA). Luckily, there is good train service so I don't have to drive. (The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania subsidizes Amtrak from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, no doubt so legislators don't have to stay here too long.) Driving to Conshohocken (IKEA) or King of Prussia (megamall) is one thing but driving into, and parking in, downtown Philadelphia on a weekday can be tricky.

Aliza is adjusting. She's got the concept of "new house", but this morning she asked me, "go home? Grandma? Papa? Ziggy?" I felt guilty. It's 200 miles, so I can't just pop up there. Neil can't take any vacation days yet, and I'm not enough of a fool to attempt to drive to Long Island on Memorial Day. We might go up for July 4th, though, in which case I'll try to drive at some convenient time, and Neil will take the train up. That's also my birthday (well, it's on the Thursday, but we could use the free babysitting and go out Sunday night).
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 08:56pm on 26/01/2009 under
Yes, I've been quiet. Not much to tell. Aliza is cute. She's getting a little better with other kids (we've been to several play sessions now).

Funny thing: before I left, [livejournal.com profile] philipstorry commented on "how much less American" my accent had gotten. well, in the past few weeks I've had several people comment on my accent. In 2 cases I didn't even have to say I'd been living in England--they said something first. Oh dear. I never wanted to be Madonna with the fake English accent. The funny thing is that when Phil said it, I didn't hear it at all, but now that people have mentioned it so many times, I can hear it. I do a British short o (or at least something much closer to it than the usual American "ah") in some words (like not and coffee), I don't d my t's as much, a few other things. Not to mention the vocabulary and phrasing that's stuck. My accent is now this bizarre mishmash.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 10:43pm on 13/01/2009 under
I like some things about winter. However, being cooped up indoors is for the birds. When it's warm, there's tons of things to do here (OK, maybe not if you're a bored teenager, but plenty of places to go as a family, or at least just get out, and not for much money). But in winter, either you're stuck at home or you have to spend a lot, and it's even worse when you don't have a lot of space. We're all going stir crazy. Neil needs time to himself, which I can't do as often as he needs, because there's nowhere to take Aliza. Just, ugh.

Not that I'd want to live in Florida or something, either, so I'll have to live with it, but still.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 11:18pm on 01/01/2009 under , ,
See title. Too much traveling. aliza was well behaved, thankfully, despite all the traveling (we got the train, well, 2 trains, from Heathrow to Devon)

Happy New Year, yada yada, let me know if there's any important news....
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 07:21pm on 16/12/2008 under
I went to do an errand after lunch today. On the way, it started snowing. By the time I got there, the snow was pretty heavy, but 1010 WINS said we were only getting about 1".

I parked, went up--and they had a sign saying "Closed due to bad weather"! Bit premature!

Postscript: The snow stopped while I was driving back. Hmph.
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 10:15pm on 27/11/2008 under
I need to figure out something to do tomorrow so we don't go stir-crazy (we've done very little this week).

Everything will be crowded with either Black Friday shoppers or families amusing kids. I don't want to go into the city (crowds, plus I'm planning on going in after they light up the tree next week). LI Children's Museum is supposed to be fun, but not cheap ($10 each and Aliza is full price) and probably busy.

Trying to convince Neil to go to the Woodbury outlet mall next week. if we go on a weekday, there won't be a 2 hour queue on the Thruway. (one year, there was a 10 hour traffic jam on Black Friday there!)
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posted by [personal profile] alexist at 06:41pm on 22/11/2008 under ,
It's freezing here! Worse, my Uggs are AWOL (Neil remembers packing them but can't remember where). They really need replacing anyway but I was hoping to put that off (also, shoe shopping, bleh.) I went to the farmers market today and my feet nearly froze.

My mom finished the scarf:



Experienced knitters will probably have spotted the problem: she knitted in stockinette, no border, so the edges curl. (For the non-knitters, plain stockinette with no border will always curl, because knit stitches are bigger than purl ones.) It's not too bad, and the scarf is wider than Aliza really needs anyway, but I do have a slight dilemma. There's a lot of wool left, so she offered to do a matching one for me. (I'd still have to buy one more skein, but I've already got most of what she'd need and since it's been wound, it's non-returnable.) However, I'd like it to lay flat, and I have to decide how I want her to do that. I don't like garter stitch. The wool is chunky (she only needed 21 stitches per row to do a scarf for Aliza), so a garter stitch border will be quite wide and I don't want to ask her to try anything complicated. That also precludes knitting it in the round and sewing the edges. As well as taking twice as much yarn, it would be too thick, and alpaca is really warm as it is. So I'm left with having her knit it in rib, but I'm not sure how it will come out. Hmm.

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