Foreign Country Reminder of the Week

Once a day, since Monday, I’ve gotten a text that reads:

Please ring us on ###### to make a booking to fit spares to your faulty domestic appliance Thank You BUSINESS NAME ALL CAPS ######

So, here I am, stupid American, thinking this is spam. Because I’ve never heard of this company! And it’s so generic! MAN do they love duping old people here, or what?

But just in case it isn’t spam, I forwarded it to my landlord, who called the number, and it turns out that this is the contractor that their appliance insurer has hired to fix our washer/dryer’s electrical board, which by the way is shot. So I called the number, and lo, a technician will be here Thursday afternoon. 

But are you KIDDING ME? Why didn’t they CALL? Why didn’t they use MY NAME? Why didn’t they use THE INSURER’S NAME? Why didn’t they attempt to legitimize themselves AT ALL?

Because England! Gah!!!

This Week!

  • Monday: Don’t forget to shower. Cleaning lady. Job things. Tea. Theatre.
  • Tuesday: Don’t forget to shower. Job things. Dinner with people Charlie is related to that live here, apparently.
  • Wednesday: Showering optional. Learn how to lie down at Alexander Technique. Theatre.
  • Thursday: Don’t forget to shower. Job things. Dinner with second parents.
  • Friday: Job things. Repentance. Hunger.
  • Saturday: Repentance. Hunger. Birthday party.
  • Sunday: Recover.

WHEN WILL I GET MY NAILS DONE? Maybe Tuesday. Can’t go talking to people about myself with these nails. 

Things That Take A Lot Of Time And/Or Focus

  • Trying to get a job, or at least laying major groundwork for getting a job when you get back from your wedding and mini-moon
  • Having a wedding in <5 weeks
  • Making friends in a new country

So basically, all I do is write job emails, talk about myself in the context of my career, work on wedding things (like right now, I am listening to the Cocktail Hour playlist in order, to make sure it’s awesome), try to burn more calories than I consume, talk to my mother 3x/day about whatever wedding thing is on her mind at that moment, and go hang out with all the people I suddenly know and who want to hang out with me (!) in England. 

That’s where I’ve been since getting back from New York last week. Everywhere.


We landed back in London on Monday morning. I was pretty useless for the rest of the day, but after I napped for a few hours, I ran some errands, Charlie came home from work, and we stayed up until about 9:30pm.

Yesterday, I was up before 8am thanks to the Royal Mail parcel service, and I was pretty productive (unpacking, bread baking, wedding-doing) until crashtime at 4pm-ish. A little nap, some improvised dinner… and then we procrastinated. Like, for hours. This is so unlike us. We go to bed at 11pm like clockwork, but somehow, last night, we didn’t get in bed until 12:30. And while Charlie fell immediately asleep, I couldn’t. So I did what I sometimes do, which is find some Buzzfeed longreads to read on my phone until I fall asleep.

Unrelated to any of this so far, I guess the flat below ours was painted yesterday. I don’t begin to understand how air flow (or anything) works in this converted Victorian “maisonette,” but our entryway, bathroom, and bedroom started smelling like fresh paint in the afternoon. Since I spent all day above that in the living room/kitchen, I didn’t really notice how bad it was until I was trying to sleep.

So I read some longform pieces—the 34-year-old woman claiming to be a teenager, something else less memorable, and then the Ode to Empire Records. I am exactly the demographic that first got Empire, the one Peterson calls “a shoulder demographic between Generation X and the millennials,” and I loved the crap out of that movie in high school. Last week, I said, “I don’t feel I need to explain my art to you, Warren,” to my mother. So, this was a good read for me! But I was trying to sleep. And it went on and on and on. And then I noticed that the paint smell had not subsided. I had not gotten used to it, after all these hours in my bedroom. I started thinking I was dying of paint smell. I could only smell paint smell.

At 2:30am, I decided that when Charlie got up for work in three hours, I’d ask him to turn on our makeshift bathroom exhaust fan (long story) and open the bathroom window to blow out some paint smell. Then I realized I was parched, so I decided I’d also ask him to get me some water. Why couldn’t I do these things myself, since I was awake? Because I have a completely irrational fear when I’m trying to sleep or sleeping that if I get out of bed to do something, I will NEVER get back to sleep. Even if doing that thing (drinking water, getting an extra blanket, peeing) will make sleep more plausible/comfortable. My fear of losing whatever tenuous grasp I had on sleep overtakes it. And most of the time, I am a totally okay sleeper. I’m not a chronic insomniac. You’d think I could do this. I can’t.

I finished the story, I think, and fell asleep, I think, but I kept dreaming I was still reading it, and it was unending, and I kept dreaming that the cat was losing her mind because of paint smell (she was losing her mind, possibly because I was sort of awake?), and I was so so so thirsty. I was dying of paint smell, the cat was dying of paint smell, why wasn’t Charlie dying of paint smell? At some point I threw in the towel, of course, and opened the window, and despite it being chilly outside, the relief from paint smell was immediate, and once the cat settled back down, I slept. Birds were chirping. I kept dreaming I was reading the Empire Records article, which had basically turned into torture.

It was not a good night.