Friday, October 30, 2009

Lavatory laments.

If you are prone to a weak stomach and toilet talk, then stop reading and go have a cup of tea, and come back tomorrow! Today I'm sharing with y'all my lavatory laments.
It's gonna get ugly!

No, this isn't a post about my bowel movements, but rather about the very sad state of my blocked toilet this morning, and my even sadder attempts at trying to unblock it! Let me start by telling y'all that I am convinced the toilets here in the US are not built to flush more than a few sheets of toilet paper at a time, and that's one-ply to boot!

No matter where we have stayed since our time here, whether it 's been in the apartment, hotels or here in the house, the toilets are all the same.......those darn things just keep getting blocked! I now have a wonderful, black, rubbery toilet plunger-thingie ready for the next emergency. And so far, it hasn't failed me yet!
Until today.
Today no amount of plunging and sweating and grumbling under my breath could dislodge whatever was down in there. I tried, I waited, I tried again, I waited. No, it ain't gonna happen, I thought. So what do you think I did next?
That's right, I went to my old faithful, and Googled it!! Don't you just love Google? But I have to admit that I've never Googled a question like how to unblock a toilet before. I just wanted to get some other advice, before resorting to an expensive plumber or drain cleaner. And I could not imagine the wealth of advice and tips to be found on this subject. It seems it's a common enough problem alright, which further confirmed my suspicions about the sensitive toilets here. And it was there I learnt about something called a toilet auger. Now, I had no idea what this gadget was, but everyone was giving it rave reviews, so that sold me! Off I went, with mother in tow, to find a toilet auger at Lowe's.
I was expecting a few items stuck in a corner of the store somewhere......this is what I found....

............ a whole assortment of toilet unblocking products. It was like looking at the breakfast cereal aisle in Wal-Mart! What variety...what choice.....wait a minute we're talking about toilet drain cleaners!!! Well, there was every kind of cleaner imaginable. I found the one I was looking for, amid laughter and amusement between my mother and I, come on.....some of these things looked like instruments of torture for crying out loud! Next, I had to find a pair of long-sleeved gloves, if you know what I'm talking about! And off we went back home, to put our new purchase to good use!

I had to dress for the part. PVC gloves, old clothes and even contemplated wearing my hubby's gas mask (more for effect I'll admit!). And soon I was winding and pushing, and winding. To cut a very long, and not so pleasant story short, I eventually heard the sweet, sweet sound of gurgling water, as the blockage miraculously shifted, and I could once again flush away. What joy!

I could rest after a good scrubbing down later, and enjoy a cup of tea, knowing that I had conquered the commode, or latrine or whatever you wanna call it!!
I am the toilet auger queen!!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just some chit-chit.

Following on from our interesting day on Saturday, we decided to try out the children's Theatre on Sunday. Now I'm a big theatre fan, and it seems I'm passing on my love to my children. They loved to go to the theatre in South Africa. So they were very excited about our upcoming theatre trip, to see Robin Hood!

Now the actors are all children, some as young as 5-6 years old, but they were jolly good. The older lead actors were about 16. They danced and sang through 2 hours of merriment. And we all enjoyed it. Now the kids want to go to next production of Aladdin, so it seems they're hooked!

To change the subject a tad, today I went to the hair salon. Nothing that exciting I know you must be thinking, well yes, that may be so. But I just happen to hate going to the hair salon. And in the past 8 months since arriving in the States, I haven't stepped a foot into one. So yes, you can only imagine the current state of shapeless nothingness my hair style has been. In fact to call it a 'style' would be wishful thinking! So like it or not, it was time to pay my local salon a visit. I looked something like this.........


I think the reason I hate going to the salon, is mainly because I'm never sure how I want it cut, and then 9 times out of ten, I walk out looking nothing like I wanted to! Is it just me? Does anyone else ever feel like this?

Anyway, I ventured in and an hour later emerged feeling much lighter! Oh yes, it did feel nice to have a good trim! I can't remember the last time my hair was this short, but I do love it. Should have done it ages ago!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The end of a thing, is better than the beginning thereof!

What words can I use to explain the festival we went to last Saturday.....I'm just not sure!

I was trying to post this last night, and add some photo's, but alas...I ended up deleting the photos from my camera BEFORE downloading them onto my computer......don't ask....I have NO idea how I did it, and I ended up battling with Picasa the whole night! Thus no photos today! So you are all going to have to use your imagination, as I am not going back to take more photos! One trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival was enough for me, and my mother, and my children!

Let me elaborate.

I had searched the Internet for fun, family events over the weekend, as Hubby was studying for his exam he finally wrote yesterday (that's a post for another day). So we needed to get out of the house in order for him to have some quiet.

I had found the Texas Renaissance Festival, and it was supposed to be a pirate themed weekend, which I thought my boys would love. I was advertised as being fun for young and old alike, as people dress up in the theme, and there was supposed to be rides and fun things for kids to do.
Well...... we bought the tickets (which were not cheap either), and off we went, early Saturday morning. There were crowds of people streaming in, and a lot of them dressed up in costume. At first, all seemed well, until we got further into the park. And my mother and I started to see some VERY scantily clad ladies (young AND old, mind you) parading around very casually, in medieval theme (i think it supposed to be anyway). We though it might get better, so we started to look for things for the kids to do, and found about 4 sparse games that were geared to young kids. Like a "cage" that the kids were supposed to crawl through. That's it, no prize, no excitement, no surprise at the end, just a crawl through a cage. And it cost $3-00 per climb through a cage????

We moved on.

The next thing was a round about, that cost $3-00 each, but looked a tad fast for my young ones. So we looked some more.

The only thing my kids went on was a log that they sat on, and were given pillows to knock each other off the log. It lasted 1 minute and cost $4-00. I know I shouldn't have paid that for it, but by this time all I wanted was for the kids to have a little fun, and feel like I was getting my monies worth for the tickets we paid for. Oh, and they went on a "ride" that was manually pushed by a worker there.

So, needless to say, we were very disappointed, and I really felt like I had wasted my money! And we weren't the only ones, as many other families were leaving when we were. We were on our way out, when we saw a parade of quite a few of those scantily clad ladies who must have been in some competition of some sorts. But when I say scantily clad, believe me they were barely dressed. It left little, if nothing to the imagination. Which might have been fine for all the adults standing around watching, but I didn't like it for my 6 and 8 year old boys let me tell you!

We left, and ended up at good ole "Incredible Pizza", and for those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's like a mixture of Magic Company, and Pizza Hut combined! Great fun for the kids, and a whole lot more family friendly! No wandering half naked maidens around there I can tell you!

Later in the evening My mother and I had been invited for supper and games at a couple in our church, and it was great to meet some more American folk, and just had some good ole fun! We had a really wonderful time, and came home exhausted, but happy! As the saying applies to us, the end of the day was truly better than the beginning!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 19, 2009

My beef!

I have a beef!

That's right, and I don't whinge a lot on this blog, so you are just gonna have to let me get on with it. Although I could say it's more a unanswered question than a genuine beef. But anyway, if someone out there can correct or inform me, I will be only too grateful!

My mother, as you probably know, is out here on vacation from the UK. And she had to get some currency changed when she arrived. We found a foreign exchange store at the airport when we went to collect her, but due to excitement and the hour and a half wait for her to get through customs, we forgot to go there.

So, plan B was to try and find the closest foreign exchange to where we stay. Easier said than done!
We tried our bank....they couldn't help us, and didn't even know where to go either.
Then I googled it, and saw that a hotel close to us exchanged currencies. I thought it a bit odd that a hotel would do that, but hope prevailed, and off we went.
No, they couldn't help us either!

Well, back to google I went, and this time I found another bank who said they could change currency. So off we went once again, and this time the nice lady said, "Why, sure we can help you!" I almost jumped over the counter and kissed her.
But, good thing I didn't, as her very next sentence was..."You do need an account at this bank of course...."
Last I checked , my British mother, and first time visitor to America didn't have an account here!
Apparently, by now, the nice lady could see the frustration plastered all over my face, and gave me a brochure of all the foreign exchange centres in Houston. There were three. That's right...three!!

Now firstly, I couldn't believe that in the whole of Houston, there are only three places one can change currency, and secondly, why-oh-why are they all in downtown Houston? Surely they must be all over the place?

Apparently not!

So, after all that, it was back to the airport we go! (I was not ready to deal with downtown traffic, highway changes and GPS malfunctions just yet!!)

And that, dear friends, is the end of my sad saga! Although it did have a happy mother did manage to change her money, and I conquered my first highway expedition.
So I suppose, all's well, that end's well!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Posted by Picasa
I am mobile once again......what joy!!!
I collected my car on Saturday, and let dear husband drive it home (alright.....I haven't had the courage to drive on the Interstate yet!!). But once we were home, I took it out for a spin, and it is lovely. Truly!!
And what space!! For those of you who remember me riding around Johannesburg in my green Mazda Midge a.k.a "the little green bomb", then you will appreciate how spacious this car really is. I feel like the Captain of the Starship Enterprise.....(I know, I DO need to get out more!)
My kids think it's "so cool", and all the space to move is really fun, and the fact that they have a choice of chairs is such a novelty!
Our only dilemma, is the fact that since the acquisition of the new car, our garage seems to have shrunk. No kidding!!
We have since learned how to become contortionists. As you can tell from the way we climb and bend our way in and out of the cars, once they are parked side by side in the garage. I have decided that the trick is to do it on an empty stomach. And forget trying to do it in a lady-like's NOT gonna happen!
But who cares??? I'm on the move...I have a car!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Full MoonImage by auburnxc via Flickr

My mother and I have spent the most part of yesterday and today pondering the latest efforts by NASA to blow up the moon. they weren't really trying to blow it up. But when they tell me they are sending a rocket that weighs 2.2 tons into the surface of the moon, it sounds to me like they are gonna blow it up!

We did laugh about this, whilst drinking our 3rd cup of tea for the day. C'mon....this is serious tea drinking conversation here!!! We asked questions like........have we not caused enough damage down here, without starting to blow things up, up there? Have they not seen enough apocalyptic-Hollywood-blockbuster movies riddled with special effects, to maybe even wonder if bombing the moon would be a good idea or not? Will the moon really spin out of orbit and wreak havoc on our tides and seas? Should we have another cup of tea? (Like I said.....serious questions!!!)

Anyway, as it turns out, all of our concerns proved unfounded. (Well as far as they've told us anyhow!)
The earth is still turning, the tides are, and the moon is still hanging beautifully in the sky! I prefer it that way! It works!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our first visitor!

Its safe to say that the longest I have ever waited for someone to come through customs at the airport was hour and a half to be precise!

We were at the Houston Airport to fetch my mother from the UK. She's here on a 6 week holiday. And it's her first time to the US. So we were pretty excited to be collecting her. And aside from the long wait at the airport, she arrived safe & sound.

The kids were so excited to see her, they spent the afternoon making welcome posters to hold for her as she came through the airport. And they started off waving those posters around very enthusiastically! However, as we waited.....and waited....AND waited, they kinda lost their focus, and ended up counting the luggage trolleys instead!

Nevertheless, we are all happy to have family visiting, and I am counting the sleeps till I collect my car.......5 more to go!!

Another bonus, is the gift of British chocolate my mother brought with her....Galaxy AND Cadbury' that's chocolate!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday update

friday Pictures, Images and Photos

Don't cha just love Fridays?

I do! The knowledge that I don't have to get up before the sun, two days full of non-weekday-activities....heaven!

It's been a rather busy two days, well considering my life is pretty uneventful, any activity out of the norm is a BIG OCCASION!! For starters, Thursday was my birthday, and dear hubby decided to take the day off and took me out for breakfast and a movie. Good start!!

Then I asked him if we could stop off at a store I had been wanting to check out for a while. It's called Michaels and it's a craft idea of a shopping sanctuary! Being an artsy-crafty person, there's nothing I love more, than to browse through an arts or crafts store, whilst drooling at the endless things I could create! And this is just that kind of place. Scrap booking, beads and jewellery making, art stuff, knitting, framing, a craft, and they have it! I only managed to check out about a third of the store really well before reality caught up with us, and we had to dash off to fetch the kids when they came off the school bus. But the little time I had there was enough to permanently etch itself in my memory....I'll be back!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent with extra tuition for Kellan, and then Open House at the kids school. That's where the kids show us all the work they've done so far, and take us around their class and school.

Then this morning I had my first experience of doing school volunteering duty. This basically entailed helping the teacher with group reading , and then doing odd jobs around the class that freed him up to do more productive teaching!! Was an educational experience for me, seeing how they do things in the school, and I really enjoyed it.

Another milestone crossed today, is that Andrew got his Texas drivers license. Woohoo!! Now I just have to get mine..... But that's a blog for another day!!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]