Settling in, part one
Ok ... so here's what's been happening
First, do not trust United when they say that someone will bring you the little tags from the pet carriers -- tags United puts on the carriers themselves, with information about what flight the owner is on, and what seat number -- they will not do this. You will have to hit the service button and threaten hysteria to get the flight attendant to check right as they are closing the plane doors. Fortunately, the flight attendants all seemed fine with the bitchiness. Oh -- and if you want to take a red-eye? The airbus 300 is not a plane designed for this. I can usually sleep in any plane (as my most recent travelling companion and reader of this LJ can affirm). I have never been so uncomfortable on a plane in my life. But the people were all nice and the children all fairly quiet.
Next, the apartment. It's very nice. People who choose to visit me will have a decent place to stay. But. Because I have to complain about something ... When I spoke to the realtor, I did say that I would prefer to live closer to the part of town called Old Town. What clearly didn't occur to me is that, to most USAmericans, I am close. One can drive to OT in less than 10 minutes. But what I meant was that I wanted to be able to walk there with ease. That isn't going to happen. Instead, I am about equidistant to OT, the Uni, and most of the shopping. The apartment itself is very nice. High ceilings, central heat and air, nice-sized rooms, and new construction. But it's an apatment complex, with all the charm that entails. And frankly, I'd forgotten how much I don't like living in apartment complexes. Still, it's very nice. It's just ... well ... OT is, for the US, actually old. There are tons of really lovely and charming brick and stone buildings that are between 150-200 years old --some even older. There's a pedestrian precinct with not bad looking pubs and coffee shops. There are even nice little wooden victorian houses and brick terraced houses ... And I hate having to drive there. As far as I can tell, this is definitely not bicycle-safe country.
Yesterday was a wash. Very tired and jet lagged, and I wanted to spend some time with the kitties. But... I went to grab dinner at a place I knew had TVs in the bar, thinking to watch replays of the football. It's a chain restaurant, but not the one known for its flair. Cheap Coronas in the bar, but sadly, I'd forgotten I was on the right coast time zone, and had just missed the footie. I'd noticed the England flag on a couple of cars as I drove in, and I had just ordered my beer when I noticed that I had been noticed. Three English builders trying to chat me up at the same time. Very pleasant, none my type. Turns out they live in the buildings on either side of me. Joy. But still, neighbors. Sadly, the chain restaurant is the best they can do for a local. Not me. I will be seeking out a better pub. I also found a much better place to watch the football -- another chain, but one I'd never seen before. This one is a bona fide sports bar, so I was able to watch the Netherlands play the Dirty Cheating Bastards this afternoon.
I spent part of today looking for a car. I need to go and test drive a Hyundai I saw -- a couple of years old, and only about 23000 miles. Also under $10k. But neither a standard transmission nor anti-locking brakes, which I really want. I also test drove a new Scion xA. the one I drove was an automatic, but they have one standard transmission coming in later this week. It's about $14k, but I really liked it. Unfortunately, their financing is terrible -- I can't get anything lower than 6.25%, so I'll have to see about getting a loan from a bank if I want that one. that, and I really hate the idea of buying a new car. I don't think anyone in my family has ever done that. It's against the rules ... Oh well, off to a couple more car places this evening.
Car update: I may take my father's advice and try to get a beater for a couple of grand to last me a few months till I can estimate finances better. I hate to waste money, but it sounds like a decent idea not to get locked into a loan I really might not be able to afford, and I can always trade the car in ...
In other news, no one told me I had to make arrangements with the post office for a mailbox key, so I will have mail sitting and waiting for me in a day or two. I have unfortunately ascertained that I really should have had a pedicure before leaving old city. As it happens, there are no cheap Vietnamese nail shops here, and pedicures are half again as pricey as I am used to spending (by used to, read "about twice a year"). Coffee and grocery stores are OK -- although the drip I had this morning seemed to have been flavoured. At least the evil *$ doesn't have a shop here, as far as I can tell.
Finally, because I know that the kitties are the most important part of this ... They are fine. The boy is throwing his cat litter around like a crazy man. The girl has taken to the tops of the kitchen cupboards, by way of the counter-tops and refrigerator. Pictures to follow as soon as I have the other computer and peripherals set up. They aren't eating as they should, but the vet said they needed to lose weight, anyway. i think they will be happy when my bed is here. The boy kept waking me up crawling into my sleeping bag last night. The girl slept on the floor nearby. I am going to disturb them shortly by using the new vacuum cleaner .... But they seem to be adjusting much better than I expected. No sulking after yesterday afternoon, at least.
That's about it for now. I'll be trying to catch up over the next few days. I missed you all!