Friday, June 10, 2011

Jet Lag

We made it back to London early Tuesday morning.  The flight went smoothly, but we didn't get much sleep in our tiny Economy seats.  We've been spoiled flying in Upper Class on previous trips, where you sit in individual pods that fully recline into beds.  While it's still tough to get a decent amount of sleep in between dinner and breakfast on a 7-hour red-eye, it's infinitely more comfortable!  At least Virgin Atlantic treats their Economy passengers pretty well: free pillows, blankets, headsets, and an amenity kit with slipper socks, a sleep mask, a pen, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.  They serve a hot meal for dinner (with free wine!) come by periodically offering coffee, tea, and juice, and hand out pastries for breakfast before landing.  If you can't sleep, you can watch a variety of movies and TV shows on the seat-back entertainment system.  It's quite a contrast to domestic flights in the US!

Josh had to be in Portsmouth for work, so he changed into his suit at Heathrow and put me in a cab to Wimbledon with all our luggage while he made his way south on the train.  I kept dozing off during the 1.5-hour ride, but eventually things started looking familiar.  When we pulled up in front of the house, the driver helped me with my bags and then told me the fare was £72!  Our taxi ride from our house to Heathrow was only £48, so I was a little taken aback, especially since I only had £60 in cash.  I asked if I could pay with my debit card, but he said he wasn't set up to accept cards.  Honestly?  If you are going to provide taxi service from an international airport, you really should be required to accept debit/credit cards!  Just then, I heard my neighbor, Anna, saying hello.  I looked around, but didn't see her until she called out that she was in her car.  I had to greet her by asking if I could borrow 20 quid to pay off my shady cab driver.  Fortunately, she was able to help me out.  Whew!

So was I home?  Had I just left home?  I think I'm still in limbo.  I haven't been in London long enough for it to feel like home, and I think the trip to DC set me back a little further.

I wanted to go straight to bed, but I had several voice mail messages to listen/respond to regarding furniture deliveries.  Our new bed was going to be delivered that afternoon, and the old bed frame collected by someone else.  Our dining table will be delivered Saturday afternoon.  I finally dragged myself upstairs and crawled into bed.  A couple hours later, my phone rang -- the bed would be delivered in 5-10 minutes.  Crap.  I folded the guest bed I was sleeping in into a couch and pushed it as far to one side of the room as I could.  I was just pulling out the vacuum to deal with the dust bunnies when there was a knock at the door.  The delivery guys were in and out in 5 minutes.  They carried the two pieces of the bed base up the stairs and left them in the middle of the bedroom, still wrapped in plastic.  One of them gave me some basic instructions on how to put them together, and they were gone.

About 20 minutes later, there was another knock on the door.  It was a guy with a small moving van who had been hired to pick up our old bed frame and box spring, which I offered up for free on (the local version of Craigslist).  Since he was by himself, I had to help him maneuver our queen-size box spring out of the guest room and down the stairs.  No easy task!  I was relieved to be rid of it before our first visitors arrive this weekend. I hope whoever took it was able to get it into their house at the other end.

I was still pretty groggy, so I snacked on some cheese & crackers (we didn't have much else in the house) and went back upstairs to continue my nap on the couch version of what used to be our bed.  I got up again around 5 and vacuumed up the dust bunnies in our bedroom and the two guestrooms. When Josh got home we ordered a pizza and then shifted the beds around.  He moved the guest bed down to the larger guest room while I assembled our new bed in our room.  It was a challenge wrestling our mattress up the narrow stairs and through the doorway to our room, but we managed to get the bed put together and re-made by bedtime.  There was no way to attach the headboard to the base, so we just wedged it between the bed and the wall.  Not great.  It bangs against the wall every time either of us moves even the teeniest bit.  There really isn't anywhere else to put it, so we'll have to figure out how to fix that.
New bed
Underbed storage!
I had no idea where I was when I woke up early Wednesday morning.  All this travel and musical beds is very disorienting.  When Josh left for work, I read for a little while, and then fell back asleep.  I woke up at 11:30.  Doh!  After a long shower and a late lunch of leftover pizza, I ventured out between rainstorms to replenish my stock of cash and groceries.  Then I sorted through the pile of mail that arrived while we were away and made up the beds in the guest rooms.  By the time Josh got home, we were too tired to make dinner, so we just snacked on leftover pizza and scones, watched some TV, and went to bed.

Thursday I overslept again, but I did manage to make it to IKEA in the afternoon.  I bought two small lamps, a wastebasket, curtains for the living room, two closet organizers, and a watering can, since our landlords left all their houseplants behind.  I brought the giant IKEA tote we bought on our previous visit and managed to carry everything home in it on the tram.  It started getting pretty heavy during the half-mile walk from the station, but I made it!
IKEA loot
I put one lamp in each guest room, made up the beds, and cleared out the random stuff to get the rooms ready for our first guests -- Josh's brother, Ben, and his daughter, Laska -- who are arriving Saturday afternoon.  The purple duvet cover doesn't go very well with the mushroom-colored paint in the smaller room, but I couldn't really justify buying a new one -- and I didn't see anything at IKEA that I liked that would have worked, anyway.
small guest room
slightly less small guest room
This morning I managed to drag myself out of bed at 10:30 (after waking up at 6 and going back to sleep at 7:30), so I had a slightly more productive day.  I met my friend Bethie for lunch at noon to hand off a bag of baby clothes I brought back from DC for her daughter Charlotte.  Clothes are very expensive here, and since Charlotte grows out of them in a matter of weeks, I can understand Bethie not wanting to invest a lot in them.  Bethie had ordered some cute things online from Baby Gap and had them shipped to Josh's parents' house, so all I had to do was stuff them in my suitcase and bring them back.  I laughed when they arrived -- they were addressed to "Joshlotte Fitzhungerford."

After lunch I ran a couple quick errands -- returned a library book, got cash from the ATM, bought Oyster cards for Ben and Laska, picked up some flowers -- and made it home just in time.  Josh's assistant had arranged for a courier to come by and pick up the 8 boxes of law books and work files that have been sitting in our dining room and bring them back to his office.  He was supposed to arrive after 2:30, and I think he showed up at 2:30 on the dot.  I was glad to be rid of those boxes, especially since our dining table is supposed to be delivered tomorrow afternoon, so we will finally get to use that space for something other than storage.

My neighbor Anna invited me over for some leftover birthday cake -- her daughter's birthday was the yesterday -- so I chatted with her over a cup of tea until she had to go pick up the kids from school.  Then I started some laundry and got to work trying to tidy up the house.  It started raining again, so I had to rescue the towels from the clothesline and hang everything else up inside -- which means it will take forever to dry.  Josh got home early, so we were able to get a fair amount accomplished. We still have a few things to do tomorrow -- fun stuff like vacuuming ("hoovering"), grocery shopping, and cleaning the bathrooms -- but we're in pretty good shape, especially compared to the state of the house just a few days ago.

This is weird.  Josh is sitting next to me, reading my blog on his laptop.  I'm tempted to add a personal message, but since he's reading an entry from 2 weeks ago, I doubt he'll get to this one tonight.  If we're ever going to conquer this jet lag, we really should try to get to bed earlier...

The next couple weeks are going to be busy since Ben & Laska will be here, but I'll try my best to update when I get a chance.


  1. Welcome home! We miss you at home. :-( As for the expensive cab ride, that's so annoying. The last time I was in London, I took a cab from Heathrow to my hotel (opposite Hyde Park, a couple of blocks from the US Embassy), and it cost the equivalent of $115! I'm sure that cabbie took me for a ride (pun intended). Fortunately, his cab was equipped to take credit cards, but I was still horrified by the fare!

  2. PS--I gave your blog a shout-out on my blog, so maybe the one or two readers we don't have in common will start reading your blog, too! :)


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