Day 256: A brighter day

September 13, 2007

When we first moved to the US, we lived in a small, rural university town, which was a gigantic cultural shock, on a daily basis. The only time that we thought life was funny and not just ridiculously depressing was when we had visitors from back home, and we could all be baffled by our situation as outsiders, with a temporary respite from actually living our lives. We moved away from there four years ago for the big smoke, but we never changed our bank. Despite having dealt with the phone banking system for years, and always having had great service, we thought that we should go back to our old bank manager to ask for an overdraft on our already very substantial overdraft. He was great to us when we moved here with no means and no transferrable credit history (why they couldn’t get records from a different country is still a mystery, what with this newfangled internet superhighway technology and all). He loaned us money for a car, and eventually a house so that we could get on our feet over here. Note to self, if you ever move overseas, and thus quit your job in anticipation, wait until your visa is actually issued so that you are not both unemployed for two months before you actually move, drinking away the money you borrowed to move country in repeated farewell nights out…

So this morning we put A in daycare, as she was feeling much better, and drove out to said rural town for a reception at L’s workplace, followed by a trip to the bank. When we got to the reception, there was two people there, neither of whom he recognised. Presumably most had attended at 9am, but by the time we got there, only the food was left as a hint of what had been. Nevertheless, day not wasted, we would go to the bank. So when we got there we asked to see Larry, our old saviour- turns out he retired two years ago. Oops. So who would we get to see other than the first person we met when we went in the bank, the one who had been utterly unhelpful six years ago saying they couldn’t loan us money without a credit history in the US, and that they had no means of checking our credit in Europe. Suffice to say, she was utterly unhelpful today, in a so very annoying, patronising smiley way. So that would be a no then. No temporary loan, no nothing. Although she did offer to help me ring the credit card company. Why thank you, will you hold my hand?

Before we got the call from A’s daycare saying that she’d woke up from her nap with a fever and was crying “call Mummy, call Daddy”, we spoke to the contractor. If we want to resolve our bathroom issues totally, we’d have to take the tile shop to court. Their best offer is to refund the price of the tile, and the tiler will knock 25% off his labour bill, which the tile shop will make up to him in business in kind. We talked about it a while, and we are just not the kind of people to go to court over mismatched tile, no matter how annoying. And presumably the tile shop could successsfully argue that they are just the middle man between the factory and the tiler- and you would have to agree. So, the upshot is, we are requesting that the worst bits get tackled and the front of the bath is finished (when the bath “skirt” as it is called, the panel at the front, was replaced, it was ridiculously obvious that the whole room is so wonky that it is never going to look like it fits. I vote we patch together the leftover butcher block from the kitchen, but L continually vetoes that suggestion. I have no idea why. When the tiler suggested that we make a skirt, I had visions of those fabric panels that you used to see around sinks and stuff. It seemed a little weird to make a floral skirt on a piece of elastic, rather than finish the job with something more substantial) for the price already agreed. Then we’ll pay for some of the labour and get the tile refunded and we will never speak of it again. Ever. If that doesn’t work out, I’m sure we’ll keep harping on about it. Which in fairness, we probably will do anyway.

But, something great did happen today which will solve many of our immediate problems. We have been waiting many, many years for a financial matter to be resolved, and we heard tonight that settlement really is imminent. So we can breathe a ginormous sigh of relief that we won’t be the ones getting taken to court over this whole remodelling job. Phewph, never thought the day would come.

Anyway, so this evening we made Chicken Divan and Egg Noodle Bake, which is essentially the same meal as yesterday, minus all the mushrooms, with the addition of chicken and broccoli. Long recipe cut short- cooked pasta tossed in white sauce, topped with chicken, brocolli, shallots and white wine, with cheese on top. Grilled. Eaten. We were surprised that it tasted better than what we made last night, although it was still spectacularly bland. Having said that, we weren’t in such a terrible state of despondency as we were last night. Plus the varnish on the floors was dry and the fumes minimal as our contractor came by this morning and put in some window fans around the house. But again, this was not exactly interesting cuisine. Unfortunately despite having some absolutely fantastic meals this year, and some truly vile meals, it is the dinners such as this that I’ll probably end up thinking of when I think of Rachael Ray. The mediocre- not great, certainly not bad, foods which may aswell come from a can. Or a burger place.

Tomorrow, however, when this is made with chicken and ham and served over mashed potatoes, I’m sure it will be a whole new taste sensation. And tomorrow I really think I’ll have to stay not-home with A if she’s not on top form. Maybe we can drive round all day and she’ll nap in the car. Or maybe we can rig up a ladder to her bedroom window and just climb up at nap time. We’ll figure something out.

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