15 June 2007

Sorry so slacking...

So, I’ll bet you’re all wondering why we’ve been such slackers on our blog lately. We took this nice trip to Italy and then seemingly disappeared off the face of the planet! Were we abducted in Italy? Did we like it so much we decided to move there? What’s the deal? Where’d we go?

So here’s the problem. The week before we left for Italy, our flat had a meltdown, it seems. First, our shower has been broken since we moved in; it releases no cold water in the stream, so if the water heat is turned to a normal temperature, it scalds us in the shower because no cold water is mixing in. We’ve countered this problem by turning the main water temperature down to a level we can stand in the shower, but the landlady was supposed to have sent someone to fix the problem while we were in Italy. We figured that would be the best option, so that we and the dogs were out of the plumber’s way and vice versa.

In addition to the shower, however, my computer crashed the week before we left. Andrew had been watching a baseball game on it in bed the night before, and we got up and turned it on to check the weather only to receive a loud series of beeps in reply.

The night before we left, we were still trying to finish up some last minute laundry and realized our washer/dryer combo machine had broken, as well. The morning we left for Italy I was pulling sopping wet clothes out of the machine, wringing them out in the sink, and laying them out around our kitchen to dry while we were gone. We had every intention of calling the landlady to ask her to have the dryer fixed while we were gone, as well, but we were so excited about our trip, I guess, that we forgot.

Anyway, we arrive home from Italy, absolutely exhausted, to a hot, muggy London and a messy flat, only to discover that no one had been there to fix anything at all! The shower was still broken; my computer still wouldn’t start, and the dryer hadn’t magically fixed itself during our absence, unfortunately. Katy picked us up from the airport and took us to East Croydon to pick up the girls, and she got to see the Wrath of Andrew as we came in and realized this; poor girl.

Andrew called the landlady, who was full of excuses for why nothing had been done. We never told her the dates we would be gone; she was sick in the bed; she was on holiday, etc. Whatever, lady, just admit you forgot! She eventually let us know that someone would be out the following Wednesday to fix the shower; Andrew was so angry that he didn’t even broach the subject of the dryer.

So Wednesday Andrew leaves for Miami. He’s being put on a new engagement with GM, and he’ll be spending a lot of time Dubai. Yes, Dubai. Google it if you don’t know; it’s paradise, literally. He’ll be spending two weeks at a time there, so I’ll be left to fend for myself on the weekends for the first time here in London. It’s going to be excruciatingly boring without him around the house to crack me up and make messes that we have to clean later, and, meanwhile, he’ll be spending his weekends sleeping at five-star hotels, laying out on beautiful beaches, golfing at famous resorts, and shopping at the amazing malls. Okay, maybe his life won’t be that blissful in Dubai, as he’ll be as lonely as I am, but at least it should be peaceful there. And he’ll have a maid, living in a hotel. Lucky dog!

Anyway, back to Wednesday – Andrew leaves for Miami; I leave for work, come home to find a gigantic hole in my shower. Luckily we have a separate bathtub, so I didn’t panic. I just figured they’d be back the next day. But, of course, they weren’t. I began calling the landlady at 6:30 and called both her house and cell phone once every couple of hours after that until about nine. I think I left three messages total between the two machines. She calls me back the next morning and is pissed with me! I have a hole in my shower for two days because of something she was supposed to have had fixed a week before, and she’s mad at me! She says they’ll be there to fix it on Monday. The plumber comes on Tuesday and fixes the shower so that it works. I’ve still got a hole in the wall; there are no tiles up around the faucet, but at least the shower works. We still have no idea when the hole will be fixed. We haven’t heard back from anyone in two days.

By this time we’ve arranged for the dryer to be fixed, as well. Unfortunately, we have to pay for that in cash, out of pocket, ourselves, and it’s really expensive, so it’s not getting fixed until this coming Monday, the 18th.

Also during this time, Andrew is doing his best have my computer fixed, as well. He had to mail it to Scotland. And now we come to the point of this emergency not-abut-Italy post… Andrew’s computer won’t let us upload our photos, and there were so many amazing things to see in Italy that we don’t want to post them without the photos, which means we have to wait until we get my computer back. Once we do, however, I’ve been working on the postings, and we’re doing three separate posts, one for each city, so that you don’t get too bored because I know I ramble and you all probably just skim through these posts to get the gist and the important things!

Love to you all!

09 June 2007

Tommy and Adelle

Our good friends Tommy and Adelle (Andrew’s coworkers from HealthSouth in Birmingham) came to London recently, and we met up with them a couple of nights for drinks. It’s so great having people from home visit our lovely city. We love hearing stories from home and visiting with old friends! Adelle and I even climbed the lions at Trafalgar Square!

03 June 2007

When in Rome -- dine with Simone!

Rome was amazing. After being the tour guide for Venice and Florence, it was Kelly's turn to lead us around Rome and figure out what to see. She did an awesome job and there was very little that we didn't see that we wanted to. What we missed we chose to because we had run out of gas. We spent the first day walking through the Piazza Navona, going to the Pantheon, which was my favorite, and walking along the Tiber while Kelly pointed out significant places. We also found our favorite restaurant in the world; Al Pietro.
It is owned by an Italian couple and he is the chef and she is the host. We found it in our tour book and it was highly recommended. When we went in at 8:00, we were the second couple to arrive in a restaurant that could only seat about 30 people and had a total of 9 tables; including the 3 outside. The other couple in the place was from Atlanta and we immediately began chatting. Our hostess served us fresh baked cheese bread topped with truffles and served us a drink of fresh basil, bourbon, cuointreau and champagne. It was nothing short of divine. She showed us the fresh pastas she made that morning along with the fresh veal cutlets, scallopine, sea bass, squid and prawns that had arrived that morning. Kelly and I shared fresh made fettuccini topped with homemade tomato sauce with bacon bits in it along with the veal scallopine topped with cheese and truffles. The wine was outstanding and the evening became more memorable as the other couples arrived. As the evening progressed a couple of newly weds from NY came in and we chatted with them and the Atlanta group before two guys from Denmark came in to celebrate the closing of their big business deal. The four groups took up all the tables in the front room and we were chatting across the room to one another. The guys from Denmark were drinking $150 bottles of red wine (I know it but I just can't remember at the moment) and consistently kept ordering them and pouring them to all in the room. They put down four bottles before Kelly and I bought a bottle for the room but it was a €25 bottle. The placed closed at 11 but we all stayed until one; except for the Atlanta couple.

The next day we toured ancient Rome, the Nevi fountain and the Spanish steps.
It was in ancient Rome that we ran into a guy doing a free tour for English speakers. He was amazing and we met him the next day for his tour of the Vatican museum. At the end of the second day we met my parents and promptly took them to dinner at the place we had eaten the previous evening. Yes, it was that good. The third day was spent in the Vatican. We slept till almost noon before getting up and heading over there.
The tour of the museum was awesome but I was somewhat disappointed by the Sistine Chapel. It was amazing, of course, but I thought it would be larger. I think it had been hyped up so much that it couldn't have ever lived up to the expectations they place on it.
Kelly and I were wiped out by the end of this. We took a taxi to my parents hotel where we picked up my mobile phone, which we had provided to them in Venice as a way to keep in touch, and had a farewell drink before heading back to the hotel to nap before dinner. Kelly and I had a modest dinner that evening and we were too tired to sit in the restaurant to finish the bottle of wine we ordered. So Kelly put the cork back in it and stuffed it in her big bag and we took it back to the hotel to watch a movie and drink our wine. We didn't even finish the bottle. We were too tired.

The next morning we got up early and caught a 9:45 flight back to London via Zurich. We touched down just after one and we went to pick up the dogs before collapsing on the couch. We loved the trip and can't wait to go back but we are glad we got all of the tourist things out of the way and now we can enjoy the cities the next time at our leisure.

I am busy again now and I have been assigned a client in Dubai; where I sit today writing this. I will be here on and off for the next three to four months in addition to trips to South Africa, Egypt and possibly Kenya. My work will keep me away from Kelly for at most two weeks at a time so it will be a hard next few months. Kelly and I will get some great trips out of this on the firm bill but it's hard being away so much. Dubai is amazing but it has too much construction going on for it to be really impressive.