So, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know how our Bokashi odyssey is progressing. Given the state of the world, our ability to compost left over veg trimmings and off food is clearly something of vital importance.
So, one of the things with Bokashi is that the veg left overs need to be chopped up. There are devices like this:
Which you can use to chop up the veg – but I* didn’t want to fork out the extra for one of them so at the moment we’re manually chopping up all the veg off-cuts. Normally our recipes have a fair bit of veg in – this about 2/3rd of the off-cuts from one of our larger dishes…
As you might imagine this adds some time to our preparation. However, although the little compost bin – the countertop one we use to hold veg so we have sufficient to “make a layer” does smell sometimes (with the lid off, it’s fine with the lid on – it has a charcoal filter :) ) – the other bin so far is fine. When you take the lid off it smells a bit fermenty, but with the lid on nary a thing. And the fermenty smell isn’t bad. I wouldn’t want the entire house to smell of it, but it’s fine for a few minutes while we chuck the veg in and squidge it down.
These are the Bokashi bins:
We have two, because you seal one up to ferment for two weeks or so, once it’s full. We’ve about 2/3rds filled one of them – in about a week and a half. So it should work okay for us…
Addressing the state of the world issue – I’m feeling more and more pressing need to do every-single-thing we can to reduce our impact. We’ve realised that we can compost the paper towel we use (I have tedious allergies, still, so finding something to do with all those tissues is handy), composting has reduced our ‘landfill’ waste by about half. And I’m continuing my quest to work out a way to substitute our insight for a fully electric vehicle.
We keep trying for some political engagement, but at times it’s insanely overwhelming. On top of which, work still demands nearly all the time that exists. So self care has become of significant importance… so well, yes, that’s where we are.
* This was my idea and it was meant to arrive around Christmas, as a sort of “I’ve got this for both of us” gift – but…it arrived late. To be fair, I ordered it very late.
I applied for this job a little while back. I didn’t really think I had much of a shot at it, and I had been on nights so it wasn’t my best application ever. I ended up hurled the application together, and submitted it when I was barely happy with it because I really wanted a shot at it — but they were already interviewing and I didn’t dare leave it any longer.
…then I got invited for an interview.
…and I thought “well, there’s no way I’ll get this”, so I was (for me) relaxed. I even slept some last night. But I actually quite enjoyed the interview, relatively speaking, and had answers I was happy with for most of the questions. And the teaching session I had to do seemed to go well.
…and I came home and thought “well, I did okay. I did not make an arse (nor an ass) of myself”. Thought I’d pop off an e-mail saying thanks (as is the custom here) and then wait a couple of weeks for the answer…
…but I just found out I’ve been invited for a second interview. Which is fantastic, and terrifying, because it means I actually do have a shot at this, which makes it much more terrifying. But also fantastic, because I’d really enjoy it, and it’s kind of the combination of lots of threads through my nursing career.
So that’s pretty unexpected. And scary. And cool. And so on.
We spent some time talking to the strawbale
architect consultant about building today, and the price for the timber frame alone is prohibitive, and startling given the costs we’d seen for kit-built-post-and-beam houses.
Some of the cost assumptions we can tweak, because we’re happy to do things like using used components as long as they meet current requirements. Both houses we’ve had had salvage bathroom components, and electrical I’ve discovered that Habitat for Humanity have big plastic boxes filled with sockets and light switches, some of which are clearly nearly new.
Also, our requirements for the kitchen are ‘it has a sink, stove and fridge’, we can “finish” it later. Indeed, the entire house, our finishing requirements are that the walls are plastered, and the electrics are in.
Anyhow, at the moment we’ve gone from excited to ‘trying to figure out some way to make this happen at all’.
I didnâ€™t think that moving to the US was going to be transformative in many ways. I mean, you take yourself with you wherever you go, and that broadly means taking your problems with you. There were some things I hoped it would change for the better. The destruction of the NHS, for example, is now distant enough that I feel sad about it, but I donâ€™t feel the screaming despair. And I get home from my nursing shifts tired, not completely exhausted and demoralized.
Let me make clear, I loved my workplace. I loved the NHS and working the Emergency Department â€“ I worked with some of the most incredibly talented and committed nurses and doctors that I could ever hope to work with. But the word challenging doesnâ€™t even begin to cover it. The number of moments when I left work thinking â€śNo, today is the day Iâ€™ll be struck offâ€ť. I would make life and death decisions, I would weigh the risks and then choose the slightly less risky option. I would walk a tightrope between stress and exhaustion.
And being in a job where I actually get to sit down, where I get to take break and eat my food, where I can take a breatherâ€¦ despite my inexperience in the US. Despite the fact that Iâ€™m still finding my way around. Despite all of that, I get more sanity than I had for years. So whilst I watch the conservative party dismember the NHS and gift its severed limbs to their mates, I can do it with a bit more detachment. Itâ€™s still heartbreaking, but I can cope better now itâ€™s not my own heart thatâ€™s being shattered daily.
So thatâ€™s nice. And the space is wonderful. Driving home I get to see the glowing evergreen forests, and sometimes itâ€™s so utterly incredibly beautiful that I want to cry.
I kind of expected that too. I knew it was a beautiful place. I knew that there was a danger that my commute to work would be a struggle not just because of the time, but because Iâ€™d just want to disappear into the landscape. Iâ€™d want to let the light wash over me and lie in the woodland smelling the pine needles.
What I didnâ€™t expect is the vague but unnerving existential sense of loss. I should have, because Iâ€™ve read hitchhiker. And Iâ€™ve often thought of the ancient Arcturan Proverb â€śHowever fast the body travels, the soul travels at the speed of an Arcturan Mega-Camel.â€ť As Adams pointed out â€“ this would mean, in these days of hyperspace and improbability drive, that most peopleâ€™s souls are wandering unprotected in deep space in a state of some confusion; and this would account for a lot of things.
At the moment I certainly feel like my soul is meandering around the west coast of the UK, or perhaps somewhere into the Atlantic, and being very very confused. Whilst sometimes I miss the UK with an almost fierce sadness, what I miss most is my mum, friends and family, Bristol, the Lake District and Amaravati. I miss the centuries of built environment crammed layer upon layer, ill fitting and incomplete, jostling each other, interrupting each other like unruly children. 60s towerblock by Victorian terrace by medieval wall. The US doesnâ€™t do that, at least not on this coast. The Native American cultures, didnâ€™t, at least as far as I know, throw up such vast monuments to themselves. And those centuries of building have left Britain with an adoration for things past.
Sometimes itâ€™s really frustrating, but the angular functionality and general lack of preservation of anything not immediately seen as beautiful or meeting current requirements here is hard to get my head around.
And some stuff isnâ€™t even that clear cut. Likeâ€¦ before I came out I had a real look at myself. I introspected quite thoroughly, because, lets be honest, I had spent years denying myself. I spent years denying everything about me. So when I finally started to work towards dealing with my issues and working out who I was, it took a long time. A long time and a lot of thought. And I thought Iâ€™d kind of taken myself back to the very components that built me, and reassembled myself pretty carefully. Thereâ€™s a degree of brokenness, because it turned out that actually the bits donâ€™t all fit together very well, and some stuff is definitely hodged back together in a very bodgy way. But all-in-all I was pretty happy with the self-that I built. But when I did that I didnâ€™t really realize that it was built on a foundation of Britishness. The wonderful Professor Elemental says it very well:
â€śSo if you’re down with the Brits then make some noise
But if you’d rather not, that’s fine
We’re inventive, accepting, eccentric
And yes, I suppose we’re a bit bizarreâ€ť
And suddenly I find myself not only the archetype for British, which as I was always weird, even by British standards, is kind of an odd situation, but I’m also questioning who and what I am if Iâ€™m not living in Britain. Am I still really British? I mean, what am I now?
Itâ€™s all about as hard as I kind of expected, and at the same time way harder in person.
Kathryn mentioned sheâ€™d seen a blog post by Naomi Hattaway talking about the effects of living abroad, and whilst Iâ€™m no-where near where Iâ€™m sure sheâ€™s at, with her triangle-self, I suspect Iâ€™ll rapidly get there.
Anyhow, so thatâ€™s partly why the quiet on here, recently. Because I donâ€™t really know what Iâ€™m doing in my head, and some of that needs to be resolved through wittering like this, and some of it needs to be resolved through just quietly thinking. And some of it, apparently, through repairing random electrical devices. This whole uncertainty of self is, I think, is part of my recent spree of electrical repair. It harks back to a childhood activity, something I used to do with my dad. And that makes me feel a bit more like me, perhaps. Less untethered from existence.
So, my card holder finally no longer contains my British bank cards. They’re now securely & safely stored away… I’ve not quite had the heart to remove some of the loyalty cards from the independent retailers in Bristol. But the transition plods on.
I more or less remember to say pants at work, and ask them to get up on the gurney (although gurney still sounds odd coming from my mouth). I still fuck-up though and say plaster, not band-aid, which confuses the hell out of people. And I continue have no clue about degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, most of the thermometers at work will do the conversion for me when patients ask (and we work in Centigrade anyhow).
I can say gas station without feeling too silly, although in my head it’s still a petrol station. At some point I’ll switch and it’ll no longer feel unnatural.
I’ve finally got around to contributing to saving an NPR station (KPLU), and I think I may finally have managed to waterproof the front of the minor against the PNW’s weather (no guarantees yet, but it wasn’t wet after two heavy storms). All gradual signs of settling, I suppose.
On the topic of the Minor, the back is proving a little difficult to sort as it turns out most of the reason it’s had water in there isn’t that it’s been running down through the many small holes I’ve been sealing. Or at least, some of the reason is that. Some is that the trunk lid (no, that still feels wrong, the boot lid) actually fits pretty terribly. It’s a glassfibre replacement for the original – I went with glass fibre because the metal ones rust through due to a fabulous water trap.
Issigonis was good at many things, and apparently designing mud and water-traps in his cars was something he excelled at.
Anyhow, I remember when it was installed Jonathon commented that the first one was a terrible, terrible fit, so they sent it back and got a replacement that was merely a bad fit. It looks fine until you get close in and then realise that the panelgaps are all wrong, and from the underside you can see a gap through into the boot (trunk).
Added to which, the seal – which is held on with glue – is peeling off. So I need to find me some impact adhesive and see if I can sort that out.
Also, when we get back into dry weather I need to see if the vinyl repair kit will repair the tear in the front seat. Although I might want to do that when Kathryn’s here, because she’s much better at mixing paint colours, and I need to get a match for the blue of the seat from the selection of not-matching colours provided.
In other news, I gave in and ordered a new motherboard. After a full 4 hours of attempting to get around the fact that my motherboard is buggered, I admitted defeat. Every time you try and move a large quantity of data it falls over in a heap. I considered finding the code for my single byte-at-a-time read-write routine from the RiscPC (which was painfully slow, but did something handy at the time), then realised that I was clearly insane. All the disks report good health (although I’ve had very sick drives report everything is dandy). It does it whether or not you’re using the graphical system (which seemed to make the problem worse at first, but actually seems not to after more playing).
I worked out eventually that the reason it was going quite so spare was that I’ve moved a bunch of files around and both Plex, Logitech’s media manager and Subsonic were all simultaneously attempting to catalogue the roughly 8-9 terabytes of data.
I did pay for the speedy 3 day delivery of the motherboard…which I’m peeved at myself about because I’m not going to be around to install it until next week anyhow. I should have thought about that more. I was previously peeved at myself for forgetting to pay for the extra fast delivery on the case…before realising that I should be grateful that I forgot!
Now we get the excitement of seeing if Linux will nicely handle the sudden change in all the underlying hardware, or if I get to play ‘lets install everything again’, which is a fun game for one (annoyed) player. It almost invariably boots when I do shit like this, but usually there’s some problem that persistently rears its head and causes me to end up renewing the installation.
My main hope is that I can, at least, get away without buying any new hard disks for the moment. I mean, really that’s the bit I’d like to upgrade. I’d like a nice Raid 6 array, but it’s tricky to do so as things stand, because pretty much all the disks are full. And a complete state. Although it might be a possibility with careful shuffling. Hrm. Also; would involve expanding the partition after the installation. I forsee many complications… but it’s worthy of more contemplation. Might have to spend a moment looking at the state of the disks and then playing with them before I get into reinstalling.
Anyhow. House wise we’re still flailing around hopelessly. We look at places, debate whether they’re too far to really be liveable, fail to make any decision on where we’d want to start a business, and basically are having a bit of a crisis of ‘too many big decisions and not knowing what to do’. We’ll get over it, but it may take a little bit.
So, apparently the origin of “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is the latin phrase “Noli equi dentes inspicere donati”. Which is all very well when it’s actually a gift.
However, when looking at land that’s surprisingly cheap, it’s not really a gift so much, so looking at the reason the price-tag’s so low is a good plan. Which is what I did today. Armed with a list of questions Kathryn and I had compiled I headed back down to the permit assistance center (where they’ll soon be bored of the sight of me). Having looked at the land and various issues it looks like it’ll be either expensive or potentially impossible to build on it.
The combination of gradients and size of the plateau may mean that the only way to get permission to build on it is an expensive and slow process, with no guarantee of success.
Even the quickest way wouldn’t give us an answer for at least 4 weeks and is likely to cost over $350, just to tell us that we need to spend $3800-$4000 for the no-guarantee route.
This is unfortunate, because I needed cheering up because whilst I’ve fixed one of the leaks in Rebecca, the trunk (boot) is still leaking from somewhere, and now as a bonus special treat, the windshield (windscreen) is leaking from one corner too. Yay.
I did, in the end, engage in retail therapy. I’m still on the look out for a nice CD player, so I headed to goodwill. And bought a Stick blender and a Breadmaker*. Obviously.
* I’m sorry Oly, but the bread is just no comparison, no comparison at-all to Hart’s bakery in Bristol
So, we went to look at property yesterday. 5 viewings, scattered across the Oly area. There was the first plot that was wet and surprisingly noisy, the second plot that was wet and had a home that needed pulling down and you’d have to build right on the road, the fourth plot which has utilities in the road and a channel prepped to bring in the utility cables and is in a nice area with a pretty view (clearly the sensible choice), the fifth plot which has river frontage and a cute (possibly salvagable) 100 year old cabin on the lot…and an easy level building area.
So which one are we both desperately resisting being excited by?
The third one. The impossible to access one, which currently has no access road, on the top of a ridge, with basalt rock underneath. It has a well that’s roughly 150’* vertically down from the potential home site, which is currently covered in a semi-demolished-rotten-unpermitted cabin. The only building on site is an 8×12′ ‘cabin’ which currently has no floor. We’re unclear if the well is even permitted and might be within a wetland protection boundary. Half of the land is unbuildable due to power lines, but that’s fine, because the other half is where we’d want to be.
The only teensy problem is getting there. Oh, and owning an EV? We’re going to have put in some kind of emergency charging point at the bottom of the hill, because the 150′ steep climb at the end is probably not ideal if it’s nearly flat.
Anyhow, masochistic tendencies aside, we’ve got two possible sites of interest, but it must be said the one we’re most excited about is improbably challenging.
ETA* It may be ~80′, actually. It’s tricky to decide exactly where it, and the contours for what we’re planning to build lie.
Life continues to be more or less the same as it ever was. I’ve been working, at least intermittently, and I’ve even been paid. That has been rather nice, although it’s led to a bit of a flurry of spending as I’ve taken a bunch of stuff off the ‘want list’ which included several things that I’d decided I wouldn’t buy until we got to the US.
I’d been holding that restraint for a couple of years. Adding in the last 3 months of me not buying pretty much anything (I bought a few books, and a few items for our business) and then say “look, you’ve been paid”. I snapped. Much of this is ‘fun’ stuff, but the other thing that’s sucked up funds is things like ‘UK to US’ plug adaptors (10 of ’em, on the way). I’d thought I’d replace the old UK plugs with US ones, but bare US plugs are actually ridiculously pricey, so instead I’ve just bought adaptors. From China. Also, bonus, I get to keep the fuses for added safety.
And BC – Edison Screw lamp adaptors. I was unaware that such things existed – so I’d bought one of the 85-250v LED BC lamps for one of the anglepoises (as a test), but having discovered these I can just go to the store and get what, in the US, are regular LED bulbs and throw those in. Hurrah! These adaptors were way cheaper than the special bulbs and had free postage. Since I’m not in a raring hurry to get the lamps working, that’s fine.
I also started setting up my ‘home lab’, as it were. Up until now I’ve scrounged stuff from the lovely John, but 4k miles is a little far to take things for testing, and it’s a little tricky to ask John if he’d like to pop over for an evening of tinkering with electronics. I’ve finally got it together and bought a (new) soldering iron / rework gun combo. I wasn’t going to get a rework gun, I mean, me and surface mount are not close friends. But with our business plans, I may want to put together some kind of board with surface mount components, in which case a rework gun will become handy – and it was a few dollars extra to get that functionality. Second hand kit that’s also winging its way to me is a ‘scope that weighs approximately the same as the house (50Mhz Tektronix 453*).
I doubt mine will look 1/10th as nice when it arrives. Indeed, I know some of the plastic knobules from the switches are missing (the selector knobs are all there). I’m hoping (really hoping) that one day my 3D printer will arrive and I can print myself some new ones. If not, I’ve got some sugru in the toolbox.
I thought about getting something a bit fancier that would be better for digital hardware (perhaps the 150Mhz 454), but if I decide I need that later I can either sell off the Tektronix 453 and get something ‘more modern’, or just suck up the expense if I’ve got attached to the 453. I’ve also got an HP 6200B bench power supply on its way too. John has infested my mind with his HP / Tektronix lovin’, which meant that other, cheaper options got ditched on the way to this selection, but I think they should be handy. And the 453 seems to be considered to be a pretty good scope – which it’s within the realms of my knowledge to repair and keep going.
Whilst the scope is slightly frivolous at the moment, and is partly a ‘I have little to do at home’ thing some of the kit will be handy straight away. The bench supply will be handy getting the car alarm configured… since it wants to charge a bit before it works, and you need to send it various text messages to get it configured. That bench supply will also be doing duty building up the circuit for the first kit we’re planning for our business.
Most of this kit is pretty tatty, but should be enough to get me ‘up and running’. At least, once I’ve given it a really, really good clean it should be.
This splurge of spending does mean that I’m now rather over excited when I see UPS and USPS vans, which tediously never seem to actually stop here…
Still. I don’t think I can buy much else for the rest of the month (except for needs – like maintaining my poor Minor, that’s had hundreds of miles added some weeks). At any rate, I shall try to exercise restraint. I’ve put a bit into my savings this month and then I’m hoping to put some of the funds we extracted back into the house-savings too.
At any rate, the rain paused yesterday for long enough for me to go and throw silicone sealant around the minor with reckless abandon.
Water’s been dripping in through that wiper spindle’s hole for a while. In an attempt to prevent it totally destroying the glove box liner, and the radio underneath, and then the floor below that, I whipped off the nut cleaned up the seals and put them back with a thin layer of windscreen silicone on them. I note that this has been done before, with what appears to be gasket sealant. That might have been me… but it didn’t work that time. Here’s hoping this time it does work. Overnight it’s rained and there wasn’t any water that I could feel, so fingers crossed I might get some relief from that.
I also attacked the boot (trunk) – using sealant around the holes where the “MORRIS 1000” badge is mounted. This morning the boot (trunk) was actually bone dry, which I think is a first, and made me quite happy.
I also commenced trying to understand how to fit the alarm – and realised that actually, it’d probably make more sense for it to be on our family contract for it’s SMS messaging, rather than me stick it on the Net10 sim I’ve got kicking around. Well, maybe. We need to go and see if we can beg a cellspot for the house as it is slightly ridiculous that you have to go outside to make calls a lot of the time and while we’re there I’ll see if I can add it on at a low rate. Otherwise I’ll see which provider is cheapest for a pure voice/SMS option. It doesn’t need data of any sort, so it’s a big silly getting it a voice/data contract. I also realised that the alarm wants an SD card for some of its more handy features, and it makes sense to fit that before I put the alarm in the car.
Given that it’s a cheap Chinese system the manual is somewhat challenging to understand at times. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to require too many features the Minor doesn’t have (indeed, it looks like it should actually be able to track the fuel level of the Minor, which is pretty nifty, though why I’d want to is unclear).
I thought about fitting it this morning; indeed that was my ‘plan’ for the day. But I am distrustful of the weather, and although it said “0% chance of rain” the forecast started to get a bit sketchy around lunchtime, and it looks like rain every day after now for a while, so getting part-way through is undesirable. I succumbed to my rain-fear and went for a walk instead.
Which was probably a good plan as it’s been hacking with rain for the last hour and half, and I’d’ve probably still been out there dangling upside-down. I think when I have all the relevant bits, I’ll be a bit more enthused about getting it done.
In other news, I headed out yesterday to see if I could find a stick blender. We’ve wanted one for a long time, and before I got paid I kept seeing them at goodwill and value village. Of course, now I’ve actually been paid, they’ve vaporised. Goodwill does make me miss the cleanliness of most British charity shops. I’m sure there’s awesome stuff in there, but the electronics sections always make me feel rather like I need to wash my hands thoroughly on leaving. Anyhow, what I did find was ‘Goodwill Outlet’, which is a fearsome place. Unsorted, sad old things piled into plastic waist high bins… It’s the kind of place I feel the need to have a companion, because rifling through the stuff in there by yourself, it feels kinda weird. I suspect that there probably are stick blenders lying prone at the bottom of those bins, but I didn’t quite have the guts to pull so much stuff out.
And then we come to the elephant in the absent room. The house.
We’re off looking at properties this weekend. Five of ’em. One with a building, one with a ‘building’ (it’s a house of “poor quality” built in 1901), and 3 bits of land that are just land. I continue to feel the disappointment from the permit-disaster-wetland-hideousness, but hopefully one of these will speak to our souls. One of them, funnily enough, enormously close to where Kathryn’s mom used to live, and would give us effectively the same view. Which is weird. Although the land-with-buildings-on may be better for us, in terms of both location and usefulness. Still, we’ll see what happens.
* Handily, this is old enough that the entire manual is available here
So, yesterday being Friday, and the scheduled car-purchase day, Kathryn dropped me at the (conveniently close) Amtrak station and I got my first experience of US trains. Yes, it started from the station 20 minutes late, but it was a pretty relaxing ride, and some of the scenery was just beautiful. Despite many promises along the way we arrived… 20 minutes late. Still.
It was also, unsurprisingly, raining*. Which whilst some of it was very pretty (the mist rising off foothills), much of it was somewhat obscured. Mind you, it was nothing as to the journey back. Anyhow, I made it down to Portland, OR. Now why travel out of state for a car? Well, after much debate we’d decided that we’d get a first generation Honda Insight. These are kinda cool insofar as they’re Honda going ‘oh look we’ve got this great research project on hybrids, let’s see how many people will buy one’. It’s about the nearest thing to a hand built car we’ll ever own. All aluminium and all the tech they could throw at it.
They’re not quite collectable. Some people think they might be one day, others argue they won’t. Ours definitely won’t because it was much lower in price than others as it’s been rebuilt from a write-off (or ‘Totaled – Rebuilt’ as it says on the title). The thing is, the value of these cars is low enough that even a fairly minor prang can kill them – looking it over, it all looks pretty straight underneath and on-top. You can see where it’s been repaired – the metalwork at the front has a slight twist where the paint’s just cracked ever so slightly.
Having seen a few of them accident damaged, the toughened ally wings (fenders?) tend to crack rather than bend. So I expect it looked pretty terrible after whatever happened to it. Anyhow, it looks fine now, and has a startling 38,000 miles on the clock (for a 10 year old car, that’s pretty impressive).
Anyhow, Nikki + Kids met me at the station and we headed in to a public charger for her Leaf. Off we went for coffee and came back to find the charger had got bored at 60% for no obvious reason. After brief debate we headed off anyway, and made it over to Willsonville, where the car was waiting for us. Nikki’d already given it a test drive, but I took it out for a second survey. Nothing hugely untoward came up – although the CVT was maybe a touch noisy. Although it’s hard to tell. These cars are built for efficiency, not quiet, so that might just be the way it’s meant to be. Also, it turned out there was not much oil in the CVT.
After a bit more gentle prodding, Nikki headed off with the Leaf to find a proper charge, and I made my way through a US car purchase for the first time in my life. Not complex, but weird not knowing which bits of paper to sign and where. The plan was for us to meet up at the charger, but first I had to sort insurance. After several failed phone-calls and failed payment attempts we got that done, and then I trundled off.
Unfortunately, the charger Nikki was meant to be going to, for some reason didn’t show up on my map. Well, not until I got much nearer having visited two others. By which time she’d finished and moved off to her next errand. Thankfully I found her looping the car park outside the electronics store she’d messaged me to say she’d be in. Given the low oil in the CVT I was reluctant to make the 130 mile journey without a top up – and headed over to the local Honda dealer who were *lovely*. I pulled in and went to buy the fluid, assuming there was a filler I could reach – then asked the nice chap a the counter who explained that no, there wasn’t.
So then I asked if they could squeeze in a top-up and they sorted it, topped up the transmission fluid (for free) and sent me on my way. Parker Honda, Wilsonville. That’s ace customer service :)
Now, I kicked back at my friends for a while, petting their dogs, where it slowly became apparent that I’d not taken my antihistamines in my rush for the train. It turns out I *am* allergic to dogs still – and as my eyes worked up to itching and I went forth sniffling I cursed my idiocy. Still, after rush-hour(s) was (were) done I girded my loins and stepped in the car. Many-a-time I’ve dragged cars back hundreds of miles, but this was the first time I’d be crossing state lines…
…and some how it felt a little more unnerving.
Actually though, the journey back was uneventful. Apart from the *fucking hideous rain*. This bit of the country, it knows how to rain, yes it does. But the little Honda did its thing admirably. We trundled home, 130 miles isn’t loads here, but it felt like a lot in a
brand new decade old car and in the dark. Creeping in at around 2230, having set off from home 14 hours earlier I was very, very pleased to get in to bed.
It’s yet another trophy of moving country. We’re here, we own a car.
And today we spent time looking and land and houses**.
Hopefully soon our stuff will arrive and then we’ll feel more rooted. I hope.
* Did I mention that it rains twice as much here as in Bristol?
** And watching Philomena, because it was raining and hailing and… because we were tired. Basically.
It’s kind of hard for me to judge how it’s going at the moment. I’m still waiting for references to arrive, so each day is kind of blurring into the next one as I trade between couch and dining table, finding little tasks for me to do. I’ve got a record deck on the way that needs servicing, which is something I can dink with. I’ve been over to my soon-to-be-workplace for a drug test, which was a first in my life.
Although I required chiding at every stage of the process, eventually we got the urine sealed in the requisite sample containerÂ with me having more-or-less kept my eyes on it the whole time. Which was, frankly, a weird experience. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m so aware of the concepts that underpin slight-of-hand that I think that well, it doesn’t matter if I think I’ve kept an eye on it, someone who really wanted to doctor it could.
At any rate, it’s done. So now I’m just waiting for references to be processed. In the mean time I’m off to go look at a car. A Honda Insight, actually. First generation. It’s about a decade old, and I’m sure not what anyone in their right mind would tell me to buy, but it’s a pretty good looking car, with reasonably solid efficiency.
So those were my two main ‘tasks’ I’d set myself while I was off (I was, to be fair, hoping to be working by now) – which leaves me with more pondering time. So I find myself wondering how I’m settling in. I mean, everyone asks. Even random strangers ask. How are you finding it? What’s different? What’s the same?
I find myself wondering these things as I watch the evergreens flitting past the windows whenever I drive anywhere.
And y’know, I don’t really know. It’s all a bit weird at the moment, while I’m not working. I mean, it’s like a prolonged semi-holiday. I do know that everyone (more or less) has been lovely. People have been understanding of my idiocy as I’m stood there going “I don’t know how this works!”. The scenery around here is beautiful. My drive home I watch for the mountain each time, and when the light catches it right? Wow.
The incessant rain has so far not bothered me too much. Though there is, seriously, a lot of rain. I mean, I thought it rained a lot in Bristol (Average precipitation for the month of January – 90mm (3.5ish inches) but here? Oh wow… 190mm (7.8 inches). That explains much. When I thought it feels like it’s raining more here? It’s raining more here. Anyhow, that alone hasn’t really dampened my spirits.
I’m still finding my feet, very much so, but so far it’s not been terribly unpleasant an experience :)