Parsnips! (2004-04-10 - 4:48 p.m.)

Today has been a very up and down kind of day. Actually, that could pretty much describe the week. I'll start with the funniest part, though, which happened just now and amused the heck out of me. One of the benefits of the new place is that it is a 5-minute walk from Tesco (two blocks or so). The Tesco is great: since it's out of the city centre it's cheaper, and since the neighborhood is strongly Indian and Asian, there is a huge selection of what would be considered in Canada very exotic ingredients indeed. Of course I'm delighted, and I'll be looking around for good curry recipes and so on since I have the ingredients close at hand. (And if you happen to have one, email it to me!)

So anyway, I was at Tesco stocking the kitchen and I got a bag of potatoes, completely missing the little sticker that told me that the purchase of it entitled me to 500 g free parsnips. I got to the checkout and was informed of my parsnip eligibility by the Caribbean-accented checkout lady. She seemed very determined that I not miss out on my free parsnips! At this point I was already trying not to snicker, since I actually find the word "parsnips" inherently funny (and worse with her accent). And she just kept repeating it! Finally I said fine, I'll take the free parsnips, and she sent a grocery boy for them. Only trouble was, I don't think he had any idea what a parsnip is.

So here I am, holding up a huge line of people waiting for my 500 g parsnips. And of course the worst part is I only have a very vague idea what a parsnip is myself! Don't believe I've ever cooked one in my life. I wouldn't know what to DO with 500 g parsnips if I had them... but by now the process had begun and there was no going back. Finally the grocery boy returned with a bag of loose parsnips, which was rejected by the grocery lady on the grounds that it was supposed to be a little package of parsnips, not just any old parsnip thrown into a bag.

By now the whole line was giggling as badly as me (thank heavens, as I'm sure they all just wanted to get home to their dinners!) I told the nice lady that I thought I could live without free parsnips, but she sent me to the customer service desk to see about getting a parsnip voucher. By this point I figured I'd put enough time into the damn parsnips that I should just see the thing through, so I went and asked. Another lengthy delay followed, and I was told that there were no packages of parsnips in the store but if they could find a voucher... Finally they did, and I am now the proud owner of a voucher for 55 p. worth of parsnips. Ah well.

Anyway, on to the rest of the day. It's been a bit of a comedy of errors, actually. The main trouble is that I seem to be flat broke. I shouldn't be: although I've pretty much drained my Cdn bank account to pay the bond on the flat, I should have 100 in my new English bank account that I put there when I first opened it. Trouble is the account is showing 0. So I had a look at the deposit slip, and the account they deposited the money to is NOT the account on the card I picked up on Tuesday. (I had to do things in this order as the bank card took a while to come in, but I deposited the money right away, ie. a month ago). Called NatWest (the bank) and after running down most of my mobile credit waiting on hold, I found out that there's nothing anyone can do till Tuesday as it's a Bank Holiday. argh. This kind of sucks, although luckily Steve sent me my credit card so I'm not as stuck as I might have been. And I'll get paid Friday (provided I have my account number sorted by then).

But it's a pain.

The other problem is the landlord, Steven. Steven is a Chinese guy who can't be much older than me (and is probably younger). He's still in university and doesn't have a clue. In fact, I'd be willing to wager that his parents own the place and are letting him rent it out for pocket money (he gives the impression of being spoilt rotten).

First of all he was very cavelier about giving me a receipt for my bond (4 weeks rent), finally agreeing to sign a piece of paper I wrote the amount on. Nothing official, though, which bothers me. Then the oven turned out to be broken although he assured me everything worked. And we couldn't work the washing machine (although it turned out later that we were just turning it on wrong, and Steven didn't know as his GIRLFRIEND DOES HIS FRIGGIN' LAUNDRY FOR HIM!)

Today was the worst, though. He was meant to bring over a lease contract for us. Instead, he brought a "Notice of Termination", apparently by accident. Did I mention he doesn't speak English too well? Apparently he just got it from somewhere and figured it looked official. It was unbelievable. He also had promised to bring a toaster oven if he couldn't fix the real oven (and I didn't really want him screwing with it, as it's gas). Instead, he bought a microwave oven. I had my work cut out for me explaining why we didn't need two microwave ovens, and what the difference was between a microwave oven and a toaster oven!

Anyway. We (Rob and I) sent him off and he came back a few hours later with an actual lease that he'd downloaded from the Internet somewhere. All the figures were in dollars, but I read it very carefully indeed (as you can imagine!) and scratched some things off and changed it to pounds and it was fine. I also did my own inventory of what condition the place was in, which he signed without looking at. This kind of thing is the reason why Tom, the English guy, is thinking he won't move in. Anyway, got it all sorted and later that day did in fact get a very nice countertop oven thing, so it's all good for the moment. And luckily for me, it meant Steven forgot to ask for my week's rent (just as well since the bank seems to have eaten it for the moment).

The other thing I did today was walked to work and back to see if it was possible. It is, and it's not a bad walk (although longish - took me 50 min there & probably 45 back). Still, if I can walk or take the bus I will save a lot on Tube fare. I think I will spend the extra on yoga! There's a place just down the road from me offering yoga lessons.

Bee is here visiting. It's a bit too bad she came just now - things are a little hectic and I'm pretty stressed out and broke. But she's happy just to have a free place to crash and it's good to see her. I used to think she was so quiet, but not really - think it just took her a while to warm up to me.

Ah well. Things are all right, even though I don't have a parsnip to my name...

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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