29 January 2008

Is It Me?

I am beginning to be convinced that we are cursed concerning all things water in this flat. Let's do a quick recap thus far :)

1. Washing machine issues for about 3 months now. No, still not fixed. Every time we think it is fixed, it continues to leak. Ah, well, at least we can use it when Mark pulls it out and we put the hose down the garbage disposal trap....well, that is, until today (keep reading for that story--oh dear, just now realized that really will cause problems for doing laundry....sigh).

2. About 2-3 weeks after we moved in our landlord had some kind of electrical survey done on the flat to make sure things were properly working. One thing that was discovered as not functioning as it should was the shower pull. It is supposed to turn off and on. That's hard to do when there is no pull/string. So, our shower stayed in the "on" position all the time (however, better than the "off" position!). Not really a big deal (actually more convienent) just maybe a little extra money because it is electrical. (Mind you, the shower itself wasn't on, that has its own button--see left--top button.) But our landlord was finally motivated to fix this since he is now trying to obtain new tenants when we move. Funny how that is a good motivator, isn't it!? Thankfully there have only been two real times our shower didn't work and we discovered that the shower fuse had been switched off due to other electrical work being done in our building. (Below is the new string and "On/Off"switch)

3. Our ceiling has had a slight water spot for at least 2 months now. To the landlord's credit he has tried to get this taken care of but he's waiting for the surveyor's report to be sent to the insurance company (or something like that) to see if the insurance will cover the cost to repair the roof, etc, etc, etc. Guess it must be one very long report to take this long. Meanwhile, it's a very good thing the ceiling isn't actually dripping anything out of it or we might be a bit frustrated.

4. It really is rather ironic that today (of all days) our sink got backed up. Let's just say it is a good thing it wasn't yesterday because we were already a bit fed up with our landlord (he keeps making appointments to come work on the place, we arrange our schedule around that, etc, and then he doesn't come or stays a really long time) and I don't think we would have handled it well. Today the Lord must have prepared us because we are both trying to take this in stride. The irony comes in because the landlord is supposed to show the flat 3 different times tomorrow to prospective tenants. I decided to cook a bunch today because tomorrow I won't really be able to betweeen viewings, etc. So I was towards the end (thankfully!) of a couple hours in the kitchen, when I realized that the garbage disposal "stuff"was regurgitating in the other side of the sink. This has happened before so I didn't panic. But the more I tried to clear out the disposal by continuing to run it and also running more water down it to help push it through, the more the other side filled up. It was then I realized we had a problem--a major problem. The left side of the sink is not draining at all. As in, the drain stopper is completely out and the water hasn't moved for a couple hours. Sigh. The right side, where the disposal is, at least is draining a couple inches an hour. My theory is, the washing machine's draining issues and the garbage disposal's draining issues must be somehow connected. Now, I mentioned that this could be an option well over a month ago (like I said, the disposal has had slight issues), but I'm just a woman, what do I know?!! I could still be wrong, but I think it is a good theory for now.

So we are supposed to be washing all those dishes so the flat will be ready to show tomorrow, but alas, here I am instead since I can't wash the dishes. Honestly, I don't mind :) Mark left a message on our landlord's cell phone informing him of this new complication. I dread thinking about how long it will take to fix this new problem and foresee having to do dishes in the bathtub (at least it's clean!). I am just glad that we have on our side the fact that the landlord wants to show the place to prospective tenants so maybe it won't be as long as it could be otherwise.

All this brings me to say "Is it me/us that is jinxed or this flat?" (Our landlord is probably wondering the same thing.) One way or the other, we are counting the days until we are out!!! (And in the meantime praying we can stay sane without clean clothes or dishes!) Oh, and if anything happens with the toilet, I just might have to get on a plane and fly back across the Atlantic :)

25 January 2008

Quick Update

I got my letter today asking me to make an appointment for my chest x-ray. We've scheduled it for Monday, Feb. 4th so we'll see if that shows any abnormalities. As for my blood tests, they came back as "satisfactory" so no clues there :) Guess, though, that it is a real blessing to have "good blood."

We are glad it is the weekend (as I'm sure you all are as well)! Mark and I have been looking for a place to live and that will continue this weekend. I'm also excited to meet a new student that just arrived here a couple of days ago. I overheard some collegues talking about her situation and her homesickness so I volunteered to speak with her and introduce her to some other Americans during the weekend. I briefly spoke with her on the phone while at work. I think we are both excited about the possibility of a new friendship! So that's us (man, these Aberdonians are rubbing off on me...)

23 January 2008

How Great Is Our God!

Mark and I both enjoyed a fantastic sunrise yesterday morning. We wanted to share it with you. The only way I could have you enjoy Chris Tomlin's "How Great is Our God" song along with the slide show was to add it separately to the blog. Maybe you can figure out a way to sync the slide show with the music! Hope you will be praising God along with us for His goodness to us and His greatness over us!

20 January 2008

Yesterday and today we've had gorgeous sunny weather which is always a blessing! I needed out of the house yesterday afternoon so we make a journey to a park on the outskirts of town which we had heard was a great park. And it didn't let us down! Granted, I think it will be even better when everything is in bloom, but it was still good to get some fresh air and be encouraged by signs of life. There were small green heads starting to stick out of the earth! And I even saw small buds on some bushes :) I am very excited about that! Maybe spring is really already around the corner! We have been warned, though, that sometimes the snow starts falling in Feb or March.

While at the park I spotted a Monkey Puzzle Tree. If you have never seen these, they are pretty cool. The first couple of days we were here I saw one and asked what it was because I had never seen one and it was so unusual. This one looks kinda normal from a distance but up close the shape of the leaves (or
whatever you call them) are unique.

After the park Mark needed something from the hardware store so I sat in the car and watched the skiers! It's sort of random that in the midst of all these big stores and alongside a very busy street there is a small skiing place. Very odd. What is even more odd is that one of the slopes looked like it had artificial snow on it, but the other one almost looked like it was rubber grates/mats laid down. I couldn't/can't figure out what it is! Can you see how there are black areas? It was definitely not mud and it looked like the same grate-like things as the whiter ones. But what could it be? Any ideas?

18 January 2008

Sad, Sad Day

You know that you are 24 junkies when you have to write a post commemorating the sad event of watching the last episode of the sixth season. Mark and I have really enjoyed watching "Jack" (as we affectionately refer to 24 as--after the main character--in case you haven't seen it!) together the past year or so. We are officially caught up, and are bummed with the rest of the other loyal Jack fans that the writers are on strike. To keep 24 memories with us in the meantime, Mark has downloaded 24 sounds and wallpaper to his laptop. I will also fondly think of Jack and the other 24 characters when someone's phone rings down the hall from me at work with that famous CTU ring. Beep-beep-bo-do...Ah, the memories....

And by the way...if you haven't started watching 24 then don't or else you most likely won't be able to stop :)

17 January 2008

Doctor's Visit

Thanks for praying for me today as I went back to the doctor. This doctor seemed much more interested in listening to what I had to say. He did the usual doctor type things (actually, more nurse type things, but they don't have nurses at the GP!) like take my BP, listen to breathing, etc. I was grateful he offered to have a chest x-ray ordered and also some blood work. He said the x-ray would only take 2-3 weeks until I could have it done. Maybe he saw the shocked look on our faces (Mark came too) because he said that was a fairly decent amount of time for the National Health System (NHS). Or maybe it's just because he knew in the States I could have had it done today! Ah, socialized health care at it's finest :) Anyways, at least the ball is rolling and we're getting something out of the crazy high taxes we have to pay! My blood work will at least go faster. I'll have that drawn tomorrow afternoon and then the results should be in by Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Once we have the x-ray results in too (a week after they are taken) we'll go see the doctor again and discuss where to go from here. I know that I shouldn't really want anything to show up on the x-ray or the blood work, but yet there is a part of me that would like some conclusive evidence that something indeed has been going on inside of this crazy body of mine. Whatever the results, I know God is in control and is directing our steps! Thanks for journeying with us in this matter.

15 January 2008

Doctor's Appointment Coming Up

Hey ya'll. Just wanted to ask you to be in prayer with us about a doctor's appointment I have this Thursday (3:20pm our time, so 10:20am EST). It's with a new doctor (thankfully!) and I want to talk with him about the possibility that my troubles breathing, still having "attacks", etc are more related to my lungs or thyroid rather than my allergies. I've done some researching on-line and think maybe this new approach is more where I need to focus my attention for the time being (rather than just on allergies). I'm praying he'll at least be willing to hear me out and be compassionate with how I've been feeling, as well as agreeing some further tests need to be run.

Thanks so much for all your prayers and concern on my behalf! I'll try to remember to post and let you know how it goes!

12 January 2008

Bits and Bobs

Hi-ya (said in singy-songy tone, with voice rising on the "ya"--a traditional greeting here).
How you gettin' on? (Typical question I am asked every day at work at least once!)
It's been a busy week catching up on bits and bobs (all sorts of things, little bit of everything) after the holidays. I'm sure you have had the same in most of your homes. I've finally got a little food stored away in the freezer for myself, took the tree down, recycled our Christmas cards, returned unused/unneeded Christmas presies (aka, presents), made sweeties (i.e. cookies) for myself with ingredients Mom/Dad brought me special from the States I can't get here. Of course I also worked and we "moved office" (four of us in one room swapped with four others in the room next door. Sounds easy but it was quite chaotic as I began to believe that our department must win the award for the most paperwork in any office on campus!) Also had the repair man and landlord come. Repair man discovered the drain pipes aren't installed properly for our machine and the leak is coming from there, not the new machine. Guess that's good to know. Landlord came to see what he needed to do about it. You get the picture. So, that's me (us) sorted (me in order, all set--one of my absolute favorite sayings here and also said at work a lot!).

On top of all this we gave our 2 month required notice for leaving our flat at the end of our lease. So we are actively looking for a new place. Pray with us that God will provide one for us to be in no later March 13th!

I've also finally decided to do more research about my health issues. While I haven't been having reactions every day or even bad ones, I still continue to have persistent, small "attacks" (or whatever you want to call them) often enough to make me know something "isn't right." So, I have made numerous calls trying to look into alternative treatments. I've also done some more internet research to figure out what could maybe be going on in this crazy body of mine! I might have found a lead today, but still have more investigating to do. I'm on a 4 months waiting list with a gastroenteroligist and hope to have an appointment sometime in March. My doctor told me the specialist has a special interest in food allergies/sensitivities, so I have hope that maybe, just maybe, I'll finally have a listening ear! I hope so! I could really use your continued prayer as I search out for more answers and a willingness to accept whatever answers I receive about what's wrong. It's been nearly 4 years of doctors and questions and some answers, then more doctors, more questions...I'm ready for some more answers!

Mark is plugging away at his thesis (dissertation) and is hoping to hand some work into his supervisor this week. He had me reading a draft of it today. I told him it was like trying to walk through a swamp that was waist deep, it was so thick and hard to comprehend! (Mind you, that was because my brain is muddy, not his writing!) He suggested maybe it was more like hiking through a Scottish bog :) It's a good thing I have had some Greek and a good theological training/background or I would be utterly lost! I'm just glad I won't be quizzed on what I'm trying to read. I look more for the grammatical, over-used words or lack of interesting sentence structure, etc, type of things. Today reminded me again of why I'm so proud of him for even attempting a PhD :)

Mom and Dad are back home in NC also getting back in the groove of life. I think we all sometimes wonder if they were even really here. It's surreal. Just glad I have pictures to prove they were! And today, on Skype (video cam) Dad was sporting his Scottish wool hat he got for his birthday (that we got to celebrate with him on Jan. 1)! Isn't he handsome?!

Well, friends, I better leave for now. C-ya or C-you (I have noticed only I seem to say "bye" at work!)

05 January 2008

The 80's, UGH, and the Leaky Machine

The title is our day in a tiny nutshell. We were out doing a little shopping and stopped by a few clothing stores to spend some Christmas money. I was defeated again. I'm not sure if any of you have ever heard me say "the 80's should not have happened" but I have said it numerous times and I will say it again. The 80's should not have happened (not clothes, not music, not haircuts, not any of it!) and they definitely should not be happening again!! But alas, in Aberdeen they are...at least in regards to clothing. I'm a fairly picky person when it comes to clothes so you can imagine my quandary when trying to find clothes in a place that sells mainly 80's throwback clothing. I very much dislike many of the styles, colors, pattens, etc. Maybe some day I'll grow up and get with the times, but until then I'll just keep being frustrated when I go clothes shopping!

Once we arrived to our street, Mark got most of the way into a spot by parallel parking, but the spot wasn't quite big enough. In the meantime, a car went passed us and then stopped. Next thing I know, the left door opened and a man had his head bent over (like he was going to vomit). I was horrified that he was driving in that (supposed) drunk position...then I remembered we were in Scotland and he was the passenger! Anyways, won't go into the details, but it wasn't pretty and I was glad there was another car parked to block most of the events taking place. You might think this is a rare event here, but it's sad to say that we pass vomit on the sidewalks nearly every day. In fact, we had to warn my parents that you never walk without looking down because you just might step in something you'd rather not step in. I knew the Scots drank a lot, but didn't think about the ramifications being spelled out on the sidewalks and other parts of the city (like our church steps--they usually get a washing down each Sunday morning).

My fight with our new washing machine goes on! One faulty manufactured part is fixed, but in the meantime it continues to leak water (not tons, but enough to be annoying!) on our floor when it drains. Guess we'll have to have a 3rd repairman come to fix our 2 month old machine! That's why they have warranties! We are (well, our landlord) getting good use out of ours!

01 January 2008

One More Laugh for the Day

A friend from our church in Raleigh asked us if a video he saw about a seagull stealing chips in Aberdeen was true. I Googled it and came up with a bunch of You Tube videos, so it must be! :) This one was pretty funny! Or you can go here and read a little or watch more videos. Looks like Sammy was on the prowl sometime this past summer. Enjoy!

Say What!?

So you can start off your New Year with a smile or laugh, here are some signs we've spotted that have made us stop and take notice. (Here's a slight disclaimer--not trying to make fun of the Scots (well, maybe just a little!) I'm sure there are many unusual signs in the States, we just like the way they phrase some of these!)I think this is a very clever sign posting the speed limit. You see these on many residential streets, like ours.
"Tobacconist" -- "one who tobaccos" -- I have no idea what a tobacconist is, but Dad thinks it's someone who rolls the tobacco to your personal liking. Anyone in NC's tobacco country know?
I pass this sign on my way to work--it made me scratch my head. Do you see why? How in the world is a handicapped person supposed to get up the 5 or so steps behind the sign?! Obviously they aren't in a wheelchair!
Here's the one I promised from before. Talk about being struck down by a lightning bolt from heaven!
Not really funny, but if you ever wondered where Deep Fried Mars Bars come from, now you know--Stonehaven, Scotland.
Here parking lots are called "Car Parks." I guess, then, that it would be appropriate that the place you park your dog would be a "Dog Park!" Very cute! Mom's keen eye spotted this one in Ballater. You will very often see dogs tied to poles on the street "wilst" :) there owners "nip" into a store to buy something."Beware! Fat Foliage Thoroughfare!" One day I am determined I will sit and wait to see an obese green mass walking across the street!

This one made me chuckle. Like all elderly people have a curved back or that they are a road hazard! Sometimes they even list out "Elderly People" below the sign in case you weren't able to figure it out :)
This might just be my favorite that we spotted on the way from Banchory to Ballater. Someone is very clever!
What can I say about this one?! Fags are cigarettes. Thankfully we had a friend explain that to us the first week we are here. BUT if you are not aware of that, it can be, um....startling! The best is when they say "I'm going to go have a fag."