...not having internet at home! Well, we do have it in the form of D's smartphone, but the connection is slow and since he's logged into Facebook and Twitter via apps I just don't even bother trying to get into my own. Email writing is frustratingly slow on that thing, too, so I only respond to emails if it's urgent, and my replies always feel a bit too curt. Right now I just want to be connected more than ever - to drop in a note online about strange British stuff I've noticed or upload a photo I think a friend would appreciate or just connect to a familiar human being other than D - but I only can when I'm sitting at wifi somewhere downtown. (Haven't managed to find any in my neighborhood yet.) Although I am sort of psyched to have discovered there's wifi at Krispy Kreme. But they don't heat the Krispy Kreme for some reason and my GOD it's been freaking cold here. Also it's in the Bull Ring, a mall which is an impressively annoying place to be. Conclusion number one from visiting the Bull Ring on a weekday - no one in Birmingham has a day job, but they all have plenty of spending money. It's so full and everyone's shopping away.
This morning we successfully found a neighborhood with both a train station and a well-populated high street - Cotteridge, only one stop from us! We looked through all the charity shops there this morning and didn't see anything we're searching for, but I DID see this awesome chest with tall ship carvings on it which I'd have totally gotten if I just had a place for it. (I definitely have a use. Just not a place.) I'd show you, but can't get my memory stick in D's computer. There are also two butchers and a hardware shop there, which could be useful. Our neighborhood has a couple of hardware shops but they're both massive chains and really expensive.
We've managed to sign up with the gas/electric company, leaving one major startup chore, which is signing up to pay council tax. We dropped in a city council office in our neighborhood to ask about it, and they told us that we had to go to a different office and make an appointment. There must be some better way because that seems like a lot of complication on our part when they're the ones who want money from us.
Yesterday for lunch we braved the latest leg of the blizzard to have lunch at our local pub, and it was not bad at all, and at a good price. Sadly, they only have food on the weekends so it wouldn't be an option for a lazy post-work Tuesday dinner. Speaking of the snow, we'd heard many tales of how poor the UK is at dealing with snow. It seemed throughout the three days of snow we had that it was business as usual in Birmingham, with some train delays. The only problem I've noticed is that none of the sidewalks are cleared, salted, or sanded at all, so you walk around at your own risk!
Two days until the movers arrive with our things. We asked the secretary at the estate agent's office if she had any ideas for how to clear our street for the truck with any certainty, but she only suggested the same thing the moving company did - just asking the neighbors not to park there on Wednesday. Of course this assumes that only our neighbors would ever be parking there, which isn't necessarily a great assumption. So, all the awkwardness and freezing-cold work of trudging up and down knocking on doors may be for naught. Now we know why this moving company was the cheapest. Maybe a more expensive one would arrange their own place to park and shuttle a van onto our little street instead. Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about the impending arrival of our stuff. It will of course be nice to have everything, especially in the kitchen and wardrobe. But it's also going to start feeling really crowded in our place once it all comes. What little we have for extra space is all given over to a guest room. Make that worth it, you all. Make that worth it. :)
Well, it's REALLY cold in this Krispy Kreme so that's all for now. Everyone cross your fingers that my sanity stays intact in these limited-connectivity days. ;)