Stagecoach is the finest

Where else would you be doing gardening with these as your audience?

deer

 

Stagecoach has it’s own police force that drive past my property at least every 30 minutes. Just the other day I had a couple of contractors laying grass for me in the backyard. The local constable on driving past didn’t recognise the contractors truck parked out front – so he came to check them out and to make sure i was safe..how satisfyingly sweet that was.

Then today, I had one of the garage doors open as a constable drove passed – he slowed down and waved as he passed – just making sure it was me that had the door open. I just love it :-)

Then every day squirrels, birds, butterflies and geckos come and visit with me..truly is a blessed life I’m leading.

Feeling naked!!

A true Texan I’m told is not dressed unless they have their gun concealed on them. It is a statements i’m finding to be true – men, women, young, old – all seem to be ‘carrying’! The news yesterday reported two men had attempted to steal a parked truck – but they were spotted by the truck owners as they started to drive away. The truck owners (two brothers) ran out shouting and yelling at the two men who were getting away with their truck. One of the thieves pulled out a gun and aimed at the two brothers!! Maybe his intention was to fire or simply to frighten the two brothers and to stop them pursuing? Who knows? But these hapless thieves had picked on the wrong brothers….Both brothers drew their own guns and opened fire…one thief dead, the other arrested.

Police and press report it as a justified killing and there is a huge part of me that agrees. You work and save to earn your material wealth – then some low life thinks  they can come along and take it..well NO THEY CAN’T! Another thought is – well that saves our taxes from keeping and looking after another inmate!?

But my British social conscience screams out – No!! this can only lead to anarchy. We can not take justice into our own hands and get away with manslaughter.. or can we or should we?!

Texans have a great sense of life and justice and level headedness…way above our  British normalities and moralities. Maybe this is because throughout the centuries they have been able to develop a social conscience of self protection alongside human preservation. Where we have had centuries of being told what is right and wrong, lead by the hand by our appointed peers – having all responsibility and attachment removed from us – and we did this willingly- after all isn’t it easier to follow or point fingers then having to burden our own actions. Has this left us without the ability to self administer justice…maybe it is us that would  bring about anarchy if given the right to bear arms!!

It’s all in the !… !!!!!

It’s all in the !. The exclamation mark has a totally different meaning here in America than it does in Britain. There have been certain emails I have received from american folk that I have wanted to write straight back putting them right on a few things all because of the ‘hidden and unknown’ differences we have in the use and meaning of this very simple mark. Here are some examples:

American written email  – Only words found in an email

Thank you!!

As a Brit I read those few words as ‘well thank you so much for telling me my job but I’m quite capable of knowing that, thank you!….when in reality it meant ‘Thank you so much – that was so kind and thoughtful!

Similarly, receiving an email from an American with the phrase ‘Your welcome!’ can also inflame me as I read it as ‘Your welcome, you idiot shouldn’t you have known this?!  I can only say it is a good job I’m a quiet, refrained, self controlled person (Oh yes I am!!!! :-)) As I am sure I could have ended up in hot water with my realtors, bankers and mortgage advisors – all those folk you simply do not want to upset!

American’s use ! to add an extra special hug to an email – where us Brits use it something like this..

‘Here is a second copy of the document I provided you with earlier! – meaning ‘Here is a second copy of the document I provided you with earlier – this time please action it as you should have done first time around, thank you!……thankfully for me these emails have been interpreted as ‘ Here is a second copy of the document I provided you with earlier – its been my pleasure to send it to you again :-)! ..phew!!!

Americans – or at least Texans are so nice, so positive, so calm, very patient and so trusting…it is quite difficult for us prickly, quick tempered, inpatient Brits to get used to. Please be warned Texans – if you come across an ill tempered Brit – it is nothing to do with you but rather more to do with British culture (think our grumpiness must have something to do with our rotten weather in Britain..and the more stressful we are the more prickles we have – there has to be an excuse for our shocking behaviour ??)

So be careful, be very careful indeed when using punctuation across the Atlantic as it may cause unexpected stormy waters!!!!

When is a biscuit not a biscuit?

When is a biscuit not a biscuit – when its a scone!!!!!!

Called into the local KFC to grab some food last night. We all know KFC and it was good to see familiar food such as chicken fillets, boneless chicken and family buckets – yummy. So we ordered 3 piece meals with two sides each, which on the board said comes with biscuits.

Now in the local supermarket there is a UK section filled with all the food products British expats long for.. such as Bisto gravy, birds custard and chocolate hobnobs ( I know so healthy us brits!!). But you have to agree if there is a biscuit to miss then it is definitely Chocolate Hobnobs…..mmmmmmm

Hobnobs

So, hubby and I thought, ‘Biscuits with chicken, strange but hey we are in Texas so we will go with the flow’. This is what we got!

KFC

 

Notice the biscuits, no??? As we, who know our biscuits will see is- SCONES!!!! Yep KFC give scones with your chicken. In fact here scones are served with lots of food and with gravy or sauces poured over them….yuck! And there was us thinking we were going to get a sweet treat to follow our finger licking chicken :-(

 

 

It’s a knock out!

Decided to go for a walk in the local park to get some fresh air.  There I was minding my own business when I heard running footsteps behind me. Now this is a well patrolled community park so I wasn’t frightened when I heard the steps, just turned my head to see it was a jogger catching up to me. So I step to the side of the path near to the grass giving at least 2 yards space to the left of me for the jogger to pass. Then I heard the jogger behind me shout ‘to the left’.

Now I’m just starting to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road so thought, ‘Oh bugger, I must be on the wrong side of the path!’ So I took a large step to the left to continue walking on. But instead I collided with the jogger, knocking him off his feet! He lay on the grass panting and cursing…’I said to the left?’, he said gasping for air between each word. ‘I know, I heard you’, I said, ‘ So I did as you asked and moved to the left’. On hearing this he just collapsed – I honestly thought he was out cold…will my UK phone connect with 911 I wondered?!

He then struggled up to his feet, tutted, laughed, shook his head, and carried on jogging, leaving me completely bemused :-/

All in a days flight!

Hubby has travelled the world round several times without any hiccups although with some extraordinary luck – he was on the plane that left Kuala Lumpur 10 minutes after the ill-fated  MH370 and only a few days ahead leaving Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur when the second Malaysian ill-fated plane took off!

But when flying with me – things just seem to become complicated :-/ Flying from Houston to London via Delta Airlines he was denied boarding onto our connection flight and was told at our stop over at Minneapolis that he had never boarded the plane at Houston!! ‘Ermmm excuse me’, he said waving his hands in the air, ‘I’m here…. so I must have!’. Even with his passport, boarding card and his bodily presence -it still took several minutes for the gate clerk to agree with him, ‘You must have been on that flight sir!’  Turns out that Delta computer had boarded a totally different guy …wonder where he ended up!? Once on the plane I prepared hubby for the realisation that his case would have been taken off the plane at Houston as he ‘never boarded the plane’ but at baggage reclaim in Heathrow – his case was the first out onto the carousel…so much for airport security!!

Then on our return back to Houston we decided to fly BA for the first time via Heathrow..never again! Our flight out of Aberdeen was delayed which lead to a guided sprint for us and 23 other passengers through Heathrow to our connecting flight…quite a sight to see 25 folk of various physical fitness, age and ability desperately trying to keep up with a very energetic guide who wasn’t taking any prisoners as she barged her way from one terminal to another. Pushing us all onto a train and into lifts..no time to go to the loo or buy any sweeties (we needed our sweetie supply :-() but we got to our gate just in time to catch our connection…but not all of our luggage was as lucky! Yep, my case made it through but hubbys…..well lets just say we are still waiting to see it! Think he thinks I’m a jinx….who me!!!!

Red Red Rose

We went to another Texas Saloon last night called Texas Tavern. Now these saloons are as you would expect a saloon to be if you think of the ones you have seen in the movies. They are rough and ready, full of everyday folk who just want to kick back, relax, have a drink and where folk go to to watch a band. There is every type of folk, the hill billies with base ball caps and tee-shirts. and the cowboys with their boots and Stetsons. The girls well they are like girls everywhere – the men come as they are, whereas the woman folk dress up mighty fine in their dresses and finery. Its great to watch young and old couples get up and dance together to the country music – something we don’t do too often back at home, where it is more common for the girls to dance and the men to sit!

Surely Texans must learn these dances from a very young age at school as they all know the steps. Anyway last night hubby and I were sitting tapping our feet to the music when a guy from the bar comes over and says

‘You’re a mighty fine woman – here is a rose to match your beauty!’ Wow weee, of course I thanked the kind gentlemen as I blushed and hubby rolled his eyes and tutted. The Texans sure aren’t shy in coming forward and this gentleman made my night :-).

A Roberts Burns poem came to mind –

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

 

Rose

Note my drink served in a jam jar – real classy places these saloons!

Well here is right where I would have liked to have ended this story but hubby says I have to tell it as it is…darn it!!

The guy was a sweet elderly gent who during the night had presented all us ‘bonny girls’ with a rose – as I looked around the room I realised I certainly wasn’t the only woman to have a rose on her table…doh! My ego lay crushed on the floor whilst hubby enjoyed smirking!!

Online banking here isn’t what I’m used to!

Online banking is weird here. When paying a bill it is more important for you to know the person’s phone number and address rather than their bank account number. If you haven’t read the post just immediately below this one – do it now then come back to read this one – it will make more sense then.

I couldn’t pay the property inspector in person when he had finished his inspections so later that day I thought – ‘I know I can pay him using online banking’. I have a USA bank account with online facilities so I emailed the inspector asking him for his bank details stating I will transfer the amount immediately into his account. He replies providing his bank details but also adds, ‘It is not usual to ask for these details when making electronic payments’……Well just how else I am going to make them then I thought to myself, tut!

I went online – clicked ‘pay a bill’. Up came a screen asking for the phone number of the person I wanted to pay. Strange I thought, but as I had his phone number I entered it and clicked ‘OK’. The next screen magically showed his name and address. Ermmmmm!!!!!

I thought I better check his address before accepting this as being the correct person I wanted to pay, after all I didn’t want this address to conflict with the bank account details I was waiting to enter, now did I.  So I sent off another email to the inspector asking if this was indeed his address. He replied saying it was. So ‘ok’ I thought and went back online with my USA bank and clicked ‘Correct person’. It then asked me how much I wanted to pay the inspector – so I entered in the amount of money and clicked ‘Submit’.  Now remember I still haven’t entered his bank details and so I’m expecting the next page to ask for these details. And you will never guess what the next page said…how unbelievably out dated can a USA bank be!!?

The next screen informed me that I had been successful in making an online payment – woo hoo….ohhhh no!!. It continued to inform me that a check will be printed the very next day and popped into the post for me, to be delivered to the inspector in 2 days time, and all at the very reasonable cost of $19!! – What, really, honestly, in 2014, in the US of A, online banking consists of them printing checks and putting them in the post for their customers, really, really, really!!….Where is all the modern technology in that?? – Very unhappy..humph!!!!!

Oh well, guess the inspector will have to wait for his doe :-(  It probably explains his comments in his first email when I was asking for his bank account details. I can’t help wondering if he might be a little bit worried now – as I am now equipped with his bank details, name, home address, and phone number…could I possibly be involved in Identity theft?!!!!

Feel sorry for the inspector!

Just got to feel sorry for our inspector.  We have put an offer in on a property which has been accepted so the next stage was to book an inspector to go in and conduct structural, mechanical, termite infestation, and well and septic inspections (the property doesn’t have public water and drainage – instead it has its own well!). So Monday gone was the day our hopefully new home was to be inspected. Me and my Realtor needed to be on site when the inspector was doing his inspections. The owners of the property have to vacate but leave their selling Realtor on site on their behalf.

So….three of us (me and two Realtors) are at the property when the inspector arrives. He informs us he will do the roof first and the full inspection will take about 4 hours (yep 4 hours – least these Structural Engineers earn their living!). So we three go back into the sitting room, I pick up some magazines whilst the Realtors log onto their laptops and do some work and together leave the inspector to get on with his job. About 3/4 hour in, a monsoon began. The heavens opened and the wind got up something rotten. We three could see the inspector outside getting drenched from the rain. He had brought out of his car a huge golf brolly which when he opened it flew out of his hands and landed some 50 yards away. We three giggled and settled back down to our reading in the warmth.

Then my phone rang!! ‘Is that my phone’, I asked as it never rings. It turns out to be hubby who is at work some 30 miles away.

‘Hello pet’, he says

‘Hello’, I replied, ‘Are you checking up to see if the inspector has arrived?’

‘No’ he said, ‘The inspector has rang me – he says he is locked out?!’

‘Are you sure it was the inspector? – He is here outside and has been in and out of the front door several times for his tools so he certainly isn’t locked out, mind you he is a bit wet, he he he!!’

‘No it was the inspector’, demands hubby, ‘An Asian guy, says he is at the property but he is locked out?!’

‘Tell your hubby the inspectors fine’, said my Realtor, who went back to reading with the other Realtor.

Now I know my hubby – he must be serious – so I start to look out of the windows to see if I can see the inspector. Now remember, there is a monsoon occurring outside and  through the windows I find it impossible to spot him.

‘I’ll go and look for him’, I said and I put on my coat and decided to head for the garages as that is where he must have taken shelter and then some how got locked in? The two Realtors try to persuade me his ok, and ask ‘do I really want to go out in that weather!?’.

I ran across to the garages, but he wasn’t in there. Where could he be? I ran over to his car parked in the drive – maybe he has gone into his car and somehow it has locked with him inside…nope he wasn’t there either!

Now this property has a two acre back garden and set right in the middle is a 5′ x 5′ shed which houses the pump for the well. He couldn’t be, could he? Could he be locked in the well shed? Certainly not? So I ran, in a monsoon, in flipflops across an acre of land to the shed.

When I got there – I saw a broken stick being poked out from inside the shed through the gap in the door in a desperate bit to flip open the catch which had shut itself locked. I also heard the inspector quietly shouting ‘Help, will someone help me please!’ —oh dear!!!

I opened the shed door and out popped a rather embarrassed but relieved looking inspector. ‘It was the wind’, he said…yep of course it was.

Three hours later and the inspector had finished all his inspections. He is absolutely soaked with the rain, he has changed his shoes and socks twice (obviously experienced this weather before in his line of work having come prepared with extra shoes and socks), but his trousers are wet to the knees and what hair he has is stuck to his head…it’s a pitiful sight.

‘I will email my report to you either tonight or in the morning’, he said. ‘Great’, I replied and thanked him for continuing to do the inspection in such awful weather.

Well he just stands there doesn’t he and so I just stand there and we both look quizzingly at my Realtor …

‘Can I have cash or check please’, said the inspector. ‘Sorry, aren’t you going to send me an invoice with your report?’, I replied. After all that is the done thing in the UK. Only to be told that it is customary here for clients to pay their inspector on the day of inspection. Well I had to tell this poor soaked wet chap that I didn’t have that amount of cash on me and I still hadn’t received any check book from the bank. It was an extremely painful situation for the both of us.

Then we had a brain wave. We will drive to the nearest bank and ask them to write a cashiers check for me. Great idea. Now this property is in the wild west of Texas and the nearest bank turns out to be 11 miles away but hey ho! So the Realtor drives me while the inspector follows and in no time we are pulling up at the bank.  Only to find it is a bank holiday Monday and the bank is closed..you should have seen the inspectors face, not a happy chappy :-(.

But then I realised I have three bank cards on me. Its OK, I can withdraw from each using the ATM machine. ( I actually said the hole in the wall to which they looked at me in horror – think they thought I was going to create a hole in the bank wall to withdraw money from!!). The three of us walked across to the ATM only to find it showing a ‘Program update in process – this machine is not working today’!!!!!!  OMG…what a horrible day this poor chap is having.

Romance isn’t dead

Romance can’t be dead – well not in the US of A. Hubby and I have only been here 5 weeks and so far we have witnessed two public proposals. First, when we were on a Mississippi paddle steamer with friends in New Orleans. The captain handed the loud speaker to a chap who then proceeded to ask his partner to marry him – thankfully she said yes – and both passengers and crew cheered. I looked across at hubby with ‘Aww isn’t that sweet darling’ smile on my face, to which he replied with the ‘Enough to make you feel sick’ look and turned away. His such an old romantic my hubby..NOT.
 Then again this weekend when we went to visit the Renaissance Festival in Magnolia. The Renaissance Festival is the homage and re-enactment of medieval Britain. It is literally a full medieval English village on 35 acres of Texas land, weird eh?  We were watching a band playing songs of that time period with Lutes, Harps, Mandolins and Bagpipes when a young couple dressed in medieval costumes came and stood next to us watching the band (to be dress up isn’t unusually at the festival, in fact it was us that was in the minority standing their in our shorts and tee-shirts). When all of a sudden the young lad started to dance, just like you have seen in a Henry VIII movie. At first the girl looked horrified, then laughed, then blushed with embarrassment and become all shy. After a few minutes the young lad went down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage…and she said yes. The band quickly changed the song it was playing to the wedding march…don’t you just love it :-). Well everyone appeared to love it except hubby who muttered ‘OMG, common lets move on’. It is obviously his soft loving nature that I am attracted to! LOL