Reversepilgrims Blog

a northwest family moves to the UK

Farewell my stinky white friend June 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 9:59 am

The new owner will pick up my husband’s 1990 Toyota 4-Runner tomorrow. I was planning to just scratch it off the list, one more task complete, but the thought of never seeing or hearing or driving the stinky thing again has me more choked up than I would like to admit. (It didn’t start out stinky, but after 14 years of industrial jobs and two kids, the mixture of gravel and grime and happy meals would catch up with any vehicle.)

He said he was heading out to clean it up. I thought I’d give him time alone, you know, mano-a-machino, but as he walked by the window to the driveway, a giant sigh hit me.  I eventually joined him as he sorted through the mixture of trash and treasures on the floor of the back seat and all our adventures bobbed to the surface one by one. The day he bought it turned into a night out with friends that ended in our first kiss…we took it camping, drove it to the beach on both coasts and logged countless hours sitting on the tailgate talking turkey. We drove it to the train station when we moved across country and shipped it full of our belongings. It has survived the endless array of parenting stages from one rear-facing baby seat in the middle to our current two booster arrangement that is close enough for slug bug  and far enough for a “do not cross” line down the middle. It has literally been through everything with us and I will forever miss hearing the boys exclaim “Daddy’s home!!” when we hear the gears wind down as he rolls down the street and turns into our driveway. Tears have been shed and there are most likely more where those came from.

On a lighter note, I’m happy to report that in addition to one lunch box and a pair of dirty Mickey Mouse socks we found 27 Legos, finally freed the Sand Man action figure that was wedged under the front seat and recovered enough small, round black-and-white magnetic pieces to our travel-sized Othello game to play it on the plane.

Remembered you will be, yes. May the force be with you.


Wikipedia to the rescue June 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 10:30 pm

A superb four bedroomed FURNISHED modern detached house situated in this sought after village location with highly regarded schools nearby. . . it offers hall, cloakroom (w.c & basin) living room and dining room, attractive fitted kitchen with oven, hob and extractor.

I didn’t expect house hunting to require the use of Google Translator, but I am officially adding that to my ever-growing list of misconceptions about moving to England.

The w.c. is short for water closet (toilet) and a basin is a sink, but I was imagining that something out of a Quentin Tarantino film could be found in the kitchen before Wikipedia came to the rescue. A hob is the cooking surface on top of an oven and an extractor is the range hood. Whew.


Time Travel

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 7:23 am

A friend told me she calls the process of sifting and sorting through old boxes of stuff “Time Travel”. How perfect is that?

The first few boxes were no big deal, I felt like a pirate digging up buried treasure. But then I got sucked in like the characters in books or movies who swirl about through some psychedelic portal and tumble out into the destination all disheveled and out of sorts.

As I sat on an old footstool in the garage hunkered over a box of old family photos this weekend, I heard a strange voice through the fog. I looked up to see a man who looked familiar. He was obviously my husband (I had come across the wedding photo with the two of us in it) but it seemed so entirely out of place for him to be asking if I was coming to dinner. Then, he called out to the boys to come in, too. I swear my first thought was–I have children?

I unearthed myself from the garage and have since learned to take those boxes one at a time, but I’d say Madeleine L’Engle and Michael J. Fox were dead on about time travel–it may be a crazy ride at first, but it’s kind of fun after you get the hang of it.


drink me June 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 5:14 pm

My husband forwarded the email to me 3 minutes after he received it. “Your application has been approved and the visa has been issued. Sincerely, Queen Elizabeth” OK, I made that last part up, but it’s official–they are letting us in.

One could say that I should have known this was coming, but I am learning that there is little correlation between my idea of the milestones we will pass as this adventure unfolds and how I actually feel when they fall out of the sky and hit me on the head. I’m glad I was sitting down.

I imagine only Alice in Wonderland would nod in understanding at my description of the mixture of dread and triumph and the sinking, swirling sensation in the pit of my stomach. Our bottle just has a different label.


Bilen min sitter fast i solen June 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 5:20 pm

You can learn a lot about yourself as you sort books into “keep” and “let ‘er go” piles. The keepers can be obvious, like favorite my cookbooks, the classic college textbooks that essentially embody my major (a.k.a. cost more than the car I drove in college), the classics I want share with my children (Calvin & Hobbes collections, an illustrated version of The Hobbit). But there is another category of books that I hang on to for reasons far beyond what lies in black and white. It is the fundamental nature of these books that matter. I want to keep them not so much for the potential life or personality change associated with actually reading them, but for the belief that they act as a good influence on my other books.

My keep pile contains An Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals (you can quickly deduce that my major was not psychology), Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook and Selections from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.

I’m also hanging on to “Say it in Norwegian”, a pocket sized book with a cover that boasts ‘over 1,200 up-to-date practical entries’. We will be going to Norway, this is perfect! When I was done patting myself on the back for lugging this around all these years, I cracked it open. Just think…if I start now, I could impress my cousin in Oslo when we go for a visit! Of course, I could only revel in my cleverness as long as I overlooked the fact that she and the rest of her friends have spoken my language relatively fluently since they were six years old. (insert the sound of a balloon deflating and flying around the room here) Oh, well, on with the lessons, you have to start somewhere.

Et sapestykke…. A bar of soap. ( Just remember ‘a soap stick’–got it.)

Bilen min sitter fast i solen….. My car is stuck in the mud. (Let’s hope I don’t need that one)

Jer er sjosyk, vaer sa snill og gjor i stand koya mi…. I am seasick, please prepare my berth. (or that one!)

Smorgasbord….. Hors D’oeuvre. (Does that really qualify as a translation?)

Vaer sa vennlig a spille en foxtrott? …..Can you please play a foxtrot?

That last one spurred me to look at the publication date, it was published in 1957. Great, I’m going to sound like  a Norwegian Lucille Ball. Wish me luck.

p.s. My husband is not willing to part with “Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival”. He’s an engineer, so I’ll let you ponder just which category that one falls into…


Plan B: au natural June 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 3:53 pm

Today I’m changing my approach to having our house on the market. I’ve been cleaning and tidying as I go for over two weeks now and not one person has come to see my house. So today, I’ve decided to go au natural. I couldn’t achieve “total disaster” in just one day of neglect–that takes time and dedication, but with two boys, I think we’ve definitely gone beyond untidy and would lose AAA’s three star rating if we had one.

Hear ye, hear ye all the potential buyers–the toilet seats are up, the beds are unmade, there’s toothpaste smeared in several places, plenty of toys and grass and food bits and dirty clothes are strewn about the floor, dishes are stacked in the sink, the houseplants are drooping and there is a slightly unpleasant odor from the full trash can in the kitchen.

Welcome home!


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