Tuesday, June 28, 2011


A couple of weeks ago we went camping with the family. Since we don't have any camping gear we stayed with my parents in their new camper. We were totally roughing it:

When at one point their in-cabinet flat screen TV went fuzzy I managed to keep it together until my dad could turn the antenna (no cable hook up at this poor-man's campground).

This is the view from the sofa to the kitchen. The entire camper is bigger than our Dublin flat.

Sorry, but those are the only camping pictures I took. I was too busy swatting away mosquitoes and gnats to actually hold the camera. Funny thing is that Wes and I often talk about getting a tent, but then my mind wanders back to the A/C my parents have in their camper and well, I'm not sure I can wean myself off of that.

We did have a family picnic on Saturday (I don't know why I'm hesitant to call it a 'reunion') and that was awesome. I love hanging out with my family. The weather was perfect, there was a ton of delicious food, and best of all, my grandma was feeling well enough to make it. We belatedly celebrated her 94th birthday.

Monday, June 27, 2011


The ugliest car I have ever seen is parked in front of our house right now. I can only imagine the douchebag who owns this thing.

UPDATE! He drove away while I was posting this. He must be a mind reader.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Navigating our way around the grocery store

One of the hardest things for us to get used to is buying enough groceries to last us a week all at one time. Now that we have a ginormous freezer that I don't have to hack the ice out of, we can buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Now that our fridge is cold we can rest assured that the milk will not go off prior to the sell by date. It's wonderful. It's no secret that I love to cook, but I have to admit that I was looking forward to making the occasional box of rice-a-roni instead of making my own rice pilaf from scratch. I had bought a box of Uncle Ben's mushroom wild rice pilaf just to have in the pantry. Last night we decided to have it with dinner and it was disgusting. I threw it away and Wes didn't object, which is unusual. It was just so salty. I bought some store-brand fresh soup and we both agreed it was gross. Guess that's it for me buying the occasional short cut! I feel we've had a lot of 'lesson learned!' experiences with food so far.

The bummer is that some of the staples I had in my cupboards in Dublin is really expensive here, like plain wild rice or white basmati rice. It's hard to find a nice variety of lentils. We might have to buy chorizo from a speciality shop. Fish (even frozen) is very expensive. I had a pretty good spice selection in Dublin, so replenishing them has been pricey. And, don't get me started on the ginormous boneless chicken breasts we had the other night. Pretty sure they were all roided up! On the flip side, they have a wide variety of Fage yogurt, which is Wes' favorite. Beer is super, duper cheap. There are black beans all over the place. The cold meat selection is more than just ham. I eat a lot less bread because I'm not stopping at the store on my way home to buy bread to have with dinner.

We have a decent selection of grocery stores around us, it's just a matter of finding which has the best deals on the freshest stuff. Wes gets jazzed about bonus cards and how much we save after each trip to the store. I like not having to worry about having too much to carry home!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Outdoor exercise in Dublin vs outdoor exercise in Baltimore

Dublin wins.

Unfortunately, my grand plans of joining the gym have to wait until one of us has a job. After a lot of sitting around on my ass, I figured I'd have to suck it up and actually go outside. The other day I was feeling motivated to walk/run and convinced Wes to go out with me around 11:30. It was already about 90 degrees and bright sunshine. We took a water bottle, slathered on some sun screen, and figured we'd go to the Inner Harbor, stopping at Barnes and Noble to cool off a bit before heading back. By the time we got there (about 25 minutes) the water was gone and my face was on fire. The annoying thing is my legs felt okay and while my heart rate wasn't great, I wasn't gasping for air or anything. I found a water fountain at BN to fill up our bottle and splash some water on my face. Did I manage to cool off? Uh, not really. We went back outside, where it was now probably 95 degrees, to determine our next plan of attack...lunch. We decided to walk/run back to Canton and go to Chipotle. Nothing screams exercise like a burrito bowl! By the time we got all the way home I had burned 638 calories, more than my lunch!
That same evening I had my first yoga class. They're on offer in Patterson Park and they're only $5! They supposed to be held in the rec center, but there is no A/C, so they have them outside if it's not raining. By that time it had cooled down to around 80 degrees and was actually cooler outside than inside the rec center. I had to laugh because it reminded me of the hot yoga class I took when I first moved to Ireland and this was just plain, old yoga.
This morning I went out for a run around 8:30 and it was already 80 degrees with bright sun. My legs felt like they were running through treacle and I was barely able to drag myself around the park. I know I'm terribly unfit, but when I think about how far I could run in Dublin it's a bit of a downer. The only thing that makes me feel not-so-bad is that Wes is struggling too and he's super fit. He tries to go out really early in the morning, but it's already hotter than he's used to. Add the heat onto the fact that he occasionally gets lost and ends up in an episode of The Wire, it makes for some interesting runs.

In totally non-related exercise news, my friend just started a blog and it's very funny so you should check it out! It's called Adventures of a Stay-At-Home Dad!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First things first!

Buy American deodorant.

Holy crap, that Irish deodorant was no match for the American heat! Too bad I stocked up on it too. Guess it will have to be used in cool weather only!

I've been thinking about my first blog since repatriating. How should it go? Should it be about the trials and tribulations of moving to a new country? Should it be about culture shock? Things we miss from Ireland?

I hate to say it, but (knock on wood) so far it's been a breeze. The worst part was the taxi drivers at JFK who wanted to charge us $100 to drive us 3 miles to our hotel. Don't worry, we found the FREE shuttle bus that took us to the hotel for FREE. Wes had to have an interview at immigration and he was done with that by the time I found the cat sitting in her crate all by her lonesome in the middle of the baggage area and figured out I had to pay $5 per cart for the airport luggage carts (boo for not being free!). The guy told him he was lucky because sometimes people have to wait for 3 hours for their turn.
Since I know you're dying to know, we did not have cat litter or food for the cat. The hotel wasn't in the nicest part of town, so we weren't about to go exploring. She had lots of water and I tore up newspaper to put in the litter box I had brought along. She actually used it! I brought her back some milk from breakfast and my sister and BIL came to the rescue the next day with food and litter so she was a happy cat.
We stayed with my parents for a few days then moved into the house in Baltimore. Wes was added to the bank account with no hassle. We had movers coming on Friday to get the stuff from the storage unit. And you know what? They showed up on time. We had an appointment for to have our internet/cable/phone hooked up and you know what? He showed up on time and was done in about 25 minutes. It was amazing. When I moved to England it took 6 WEEKS for my internet to finally get hooked up. Why? I have no idea. They never had any good reason for it to take that long. We went to apply for his SSN and it was totally hassle free. Right now the only thing we're waiting for is our shipment from Ireland. It has cleared customs, so it could be delivered at any time now. Fingers crossed it's all in one piece!

Here's hoping jobs come as easily! Previously we had been looking for jobs as far north as Boston, west to Chicago, and south to Raleigh. We're so sick of moving, so Baltimore and Washington it will be for us!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moving is crazy enough without a stupid strike!

It's been a crazy week around here.

I think I have had more to drink this past week than I have all year. We had drinks with friends on Wednesday, drinks with Wes' colleagues on Friday, then we travelled to Cork where my mother in law had planned our 'American wake' for Sunday. What's an American wake you ask?? Well, back in the day when people would emigrate by boat they would plan a party with food, dancing, music, and of course drink. They'd basically party until it was time for the boat to leave, then they'd put the person on the boat drunk as a skunk. Fortunately, ours was much more tame. It was a bbq at a nice restaurant with views over the ocean. We were home by 8pm. We got back to Dublin and it was more drinks with more friends. Wes said it feels like our American wake has lasted a whole week! 

It's been pretty smooth sailing all along with drinking and laughing and drinking. Cue Aer Lingus to muck it all up.

Rumblings that the pilots were considering a strike started on Wednesday. If they did strike it would affect flights starting on Tuesday. We were scheduled to leave on Tuesday. We didn't think much of it, airlines say this all the time. Thursday passed with no resolution. Friday passed with no resolution and they started offering people with flights on Tuesday and Wednesday to change their flight for free. Saturday morning comes with no resolution. This is when I start freaking out. We have people picking us up at the airport (which is not right around the corner), we have movers coming on Friday, and everything in our apartment is getting cancelled on Tuesday. We had to take the cat to the vet and when we told her when we were going and even she used an expletive, so I'm glad she could confirm my freak out. Plus, this prompted my husband to take my freak out a little more seriously!

The cat has made everything a little more difficult. I couldn't just change our flights online. I had to call to make sure there was room for the cat on the new flight. After an hour and two phone calls I'm still not sure it's all sorted. There's room on the flight and we're supposed to just show up with her at the airport on Monday. I even called back a second time for peace of mind and ended up getting the exact same guy. What are the odds?? So, I just have to take his word for it.

Since we're going on Monday evening, this means we're staying in a hotel until my sister and BIL can pick us up on Tuesday at midday. We found a pet friendly place close to the airport, but now I have to worry about cat litter. I'm packing a litter box in our stuff. Can you even take cat litter in your luggage? Do I even want to waste space on cat litter? Not one bit. Hopefully we can get a taxi to take us to the closest Target/Wal-Mart/grocery store.

I'm doing the final load of laundry and I'll be spending tomorrow sitting in front of it with a hair dryer thinking about cat litter. It's a great way to spend your last day in Ireland!