Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Day in the Life

This is not my usual format, but today I'm going to do a diary of a rather uninteresting day that is today. Why am I doing this? Well, there is a project spearheaded by the History Matters folks called "1 Day in History". Those who want to participate are to write a diary of their day on October 17th, then upload it to the History Matters Web site.

This is just in Britain, so I guess history only matters here. As an American expat, I figure I can skew the results a little }wink{. So here I go:

Rude awakening to my Palm Zire playing a tinny "Flight of the Bumblebee" at 7:45AM - snooze. And again at 7:55AM. Off. Must - get - up, aargh, I need to take Lauren to nursery school. Still have remnants of the cold I brought back with me from the flights last week. Lauren's in a worse stage of the same cold. Quick ablutions and go downstairs to make some tea. Pour out an apple juice into a yellow sippy cup, grab my tea and back upstairs to wake Lauren up. She is not a morning child, rolling over and pulling up her pyjama top for a back scratch. She is such a cutie pie, I cannot resist her. But we must get dressed, have some breakfast, and get going. I put together an outfit for her and toss it on the bed, throwing some clothes on myself while, dare I say, nagging her to put her own clothes on. She is easily distracted, and so must be told over and over again to keep putting her clothes on, keep moving, we don't want to be late.

Finish with the upstairs routine, downstairs for some breakfast. Nasty tasting chewable vitamin (I'm not buying that brand again) and a bowl of Cheerios (possibly Honey Nut), both for Lauren. No time for anything for myself, I must retrieve the stroller out of the shed 'round the back, gather some change for the piggy at school (supplements their funding for more supplies for the children), and put her empty nylon portfolio in the basket of the stroller. Over the course of the week, the teachers put all the children's work into their portfolios and they bring them home on Fridays. Since Lauren missed school yesterday due to this cold, she'll bring her portfolio in today.

Miraculously, she finishes all the Cheerios in time for me to put a raincoat on her and head out the door. She climbs into the stroller under the clear vinyl raincover while I don my new high tech rain jacket and lock the door. And we're off. It's about a 10 minute walk if you keep a reasonable pace, a little bit downhill until the last block which is back uphill. I take a slightly longer route through the neighborhoods, where there are fewer cars and a bit less litter. I will probably blog on the litter problem here at some point.

We actually get to the nursery just as they're opening the doors (they open them at the last minute and leave them open for the first 15 minutes of the session), so we're not late. 9AM. I drop Lauren off and almost walk out with the portfolio but her teacher, Mrs. H, asks me if I meant to leave it. And so I make my exit, running into Rachel, one of the few parents I chat with, and offer to wait for her so we can walk home together with her 4 month old son, Ethan. I put the stroller around the side of the building and wait. Rachel returns and we walk until she turns off for her home, chatting about breastfeeding her son and switching to formula.

Move on home the quick, noisy, and littery way. Back in the house, no-one else has made it downstairs yet. The mail is on the floor under the mail slot in the door. There is a birthday card for me from my friend in Providence, I smile - I look forward to opening it later. Upstairs I change into my exercise gear, and come down for a workout. Put on my Stott Pilates "Strong and Streamlined" DVD, and work out with Moira, Beth, and Max. Phew. Time for some breakfast, feeling pretty hungry since I hadn't yet had anything to eat.

Muesli with blackberry and apple yogurt, both organic. More tea. Read the birthday card and enclosed letter. It's a nice prelude to my birthday. But there is no time to lose, I must shower in time to dry my hair before I have to go pick up Lauren from school at 11:30. Back upstairs I check on my husband, who is home sick from work with the same cold, and my MIL, who also has my cold. Both want tea, so back down I go to make tea, return upstairs, warn everyone I must shower, and finally get to shower. By the time I'm out of the shower, moisturized, deodorized, dressed, and combed, there is no time to dry my hair. Back I go to pick up Lauren, thinking I'm a few minutes late, but the doors aren't even open when I arrive, so I wait with the other parents, saying hello to Josie, another foreigner in this country (Filipino) whose son, Bradley, started nursery the same time as Lauren. The door opens, the line of children progresses down the ramp, and my beautiful little girl is directed towards me. She runs to me with a smile and shows me her latest creation, a "model", that is, an oblong cardboard biscuit box with little pieces of white shiny paper glued on, along with a flap of navy fabric. "It's a bus" she says, as does the tag on the model with the teacher's writing. I ask her who's on the bus, and she says it's Bradley and his mom - Josie laughs.

[I do realize at this point that this is far more detail than the History Matters folks want, indeed, perhaps far more than anyone wants, but I shall plod on, attempting to stem the tide of details where I can.]

We head home, with Lauren walking and me pushing the empty stroller. She picks some flowers on the way, one for me, one for Daddy, and the rest for Nanny. Arriving home, Lauren is a little surprised that Daddy is there, and happily distributes the flowers. I reconnoiter with Richard, as we need to transfer some money into our solicitor's account today to meet the requirements of our house buying contracts exchange tomorrow. He says we'll go after lunch. I call our solicitor to verify some other points, and then set to the task of getting lunch for me and Lauren. One cheese-on-toast (wholemeal) with cherry tomatoes and cucumber bites on the side later, Lauren runs off to the front room to play with her toys. Having finished my mediocre steak and kidney pie (and the rest of her tomatoes), I clear off the table and get ready to go to the bank. I put a large plastic garbage bag full of plastic bottles into the old car to take to the recycling bins by Lauren's school.

Not long after, we get going. The recycling truck is collecting at the moment we arrive, so they just take the whole bag, which saves us some time. We park and walk the block to the bank in the High St (equivalent of downtown, or Main St, the commerce center of town). I fill out the form while Richard sits and sniffles, and then double checks all the information. The nice lady behind the glass wall takes it, explains some fields we clearly did not understand, then gave us the carbon copy and assured us it would go out that day. It is now 1:30PM.

Outside it's started to rain lightly, though it picks up on the way to the car, so I pull out the high tech hood of my new coat and gloat while Richard pulls his fleece over his head. As soon as we get home, I run to the butcher's to get a dozen very large free range eggs - not very chatty there today. Back home again, it's time to get some things done for the house. Check email to see if our US financial guy, Joshua, had answered my questions - he has. Richard calls the solicitor and gives her more information. I begin to prepare some forms to move US money to the UK for the final house closing, called completion here. With any luck, we'll be UK homeowners in less than 2 weeks! I am really looking forward to it, though not to the move.

I also check the National Trust Web site, where I find out about this "1 Day in History" thing, but my main thrust is to find out about a Halloween-themed event at Tyntesfield on October 28th. It took some navigating, as the event was not listed with the other Halloween events, but I found it and wrote down a phone number. I answered a quick online survey as well, and looked at a couple of the other events.

I also looked up the etymology of fib, discovering in the process an online etymological dictionary Web site. At least I don't remember seeing it before, but then, maybe I have.

3PM, Richard and Lauren are up in the attic, and I join them to fill out some forms and fax them to Joshua in the US. It takes some time, and Richard is also trying to get something done, I play with Lauren a bit while I can. I finally get everything done, convincing Richard to sign the forms, we fax them to the US, and email Joshua. He calls back and Richard talks to him. I guess everything's OK. In the meantime, I take out a box of clothes that were too big for Lauren before, and rifle through them to see what she can wear now. She has more clothes than any one child has a right to, since we are the last amongst our peers to have children and Lauren is so small. We get beautiful clothes, some of them with the tags still on! Since she was born, we've probably bought 5% of her clothes, including diapers (in fact, diapers, underwear, and socks are pretty much all we get to pick out :-).

But it has suddenly turned 7PM, and it is time for dinner. Tonight we are eating leftovers from the fridge, since there are lots of them and everyone is sick anyway. Assembling a little plate for Lauren, I warm up some pork sausage from the local butcher, cauliflower and broccoli, and Richard makes some instant mash. For myself I take some leftover pilau rice, Bombay potato, and lamb madras from the local Indian takeaway, heap it into a bowl, and heat it in the microwave. It is incredibly hot, but very good. Clear up, play with Lauren a little more, start this blog.

At 9PM it was time to put Lauren to bed, so I save my work, give her a little milk, and take her upstairs. Go potty, wash hands, take medicine, brush teeth, and then get the jammies on. She is pretty good about taking medicine, though sometimes we have to bargain with her. 3 books tonight, all in French: Au lit, petit monstre; C'est moi le plus fort; and Petit Ours Brun prépare son sac. She has to gather several of her stuffed animals to listen as well (Pinky the poodle, Boo the cat, Google the spider, Tinky Winky, and a teddy bear backpack), and make sure each one sees each illustration. Then a little lullaby, and a kiss goodnight. She is amazing, snuggling down with all her friends.

Back to this blog at about 9:45PM, and now it's 11PM. I must do the dishes and hang the load of laundry I did earlier on the indoor rack.

Gee, I think this is more than 1000 words, maybe I shouldn't bother to upload it to History Matters. What do you think (that is, if anyone has read this far...)?


At 11:23 PM, Anonymous melanie gao said...

I loved it Andrea, every detail! Thanks for letting me live a day with you. :)

- mel

At 2:30 PM, Blogger I18n G.A.L. said...

Whoopee! someone did read it to the bottom! Thanks, Mel!


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