I just found a cookie in our oven

I just found a cookie in our oven.

Well, it was a cookie once, or since it’s a UK oven, maybe it was a biscuit.  Either way, by the time I found it, it was a cookie-shaped lump of carbon.

You might not think it terribly odd for a cookie to go rogue – make a daring escape off the back of the baking tray and land in the back of the oven.  Out of the proverbial pan and into the, um, convection wind tunnel.

In general I’d agree with you.  What makes this ex-cookie interesting is that we haven’t made cookies in the 5 months we’ve lived here.

We use the oven pretty frequently, and it’s never smelled like burning cookie, so I guess this cookie was missed in the so-called professional deep clean of the kitchen before we took residence.

The cookie discovery was prompted by an inventory of our cooking supplies in advance of (American) Thanksgiving.  We’re going to attempt to feed 9 people out of an oven the size of a shoe box and a 24” wide four element cook top.

To be fair, the kitchen fixtures in our flat are fairly “bog standard” – and in many London flats they’re all you could squeeze in.  But our kitchen is actually surprisingly large.  It’s (much) bigger than the kitchen in our Seattle townhouse, and actually larger than the kitchen in our previous house, in the Seattle suburbs.  So I figure the kitchen has standard fittings because it’s a rental, and the owner has little incentive to spend money on nice things their tenants are unlikely to take care of.

So normal fixtures, but still, 9 people…

It promises to be entertaining.

Once Thanksgiving is in the rear view, we’ll start to figure out Christmas.  This will be the first year since 2012 (our first year in Luxembourg) that we’ve been “home” for Christmas, since then we’ve been in Europe for markets and spent the holiday with good friends (and incredibly accommodating hosts) in south east London.  This year my sister, brother-in-law and niece are coming to London.  High on the list of questions will be “how does one get a Christmas Tree home on the tube?”

Stay tuned.

But for now, to all the American recipients of this message, here’s wishing you a very happy thanksgiving.


You can’t go home again, but I guess you can do laundry there…

As I type I’m sitting on a flight back from Atlanta to London.  I was in Seattle last week for business, then took a side-trip to Florida to visit my parents “on the way” back.  It was a good visit, and I’m glad we could arrange it.  

We kept our townhouse in Seattle.  Partially because we weren’t sure when we were going to move, which complicated the logistics of renting it out, and partially because I planned to be back in Seattle regularly, and my employer prides itself on being frugal (read; frustratingly cheap) and I figured our place would be more comfortable than any Seattle hotel offered in its place.

So when I landed in Seattle last Sunday I took a Lyft to “our place,” let myself in, and stood there in the doorway for a few minutes – trying to put a name on my confusion.

“The cats aren’t here to meet me at the door, that’s probably it.”

That wasn’t it.

“It’s cold in here – and too quiet – that must be it.”

Nope, still not right.

I latched the door – irritated that I couldn’t put my finger on the wrong – grabbed my phone, turned off the cameras and vacation mode on the thermostat, before bringing my bag upstairs.
I unpacked a bit, and my sister and brother-in-law arrived – visiting with them made me forget about the whole damn thing.

For a while.

For a while.

The rest of the week was early starts, late returns, stolen moments with missed friends, and each time a feeling of not-quite-right-ness when letting myself in.

I don’t remember feeling the same when I was back a few months ago.  Maybe I won’t feel it when I’m back early next year.  We’ll see.

But sitting on the plane, knowing I should try to get some sleep but not feeling ready, I can’t help but think about it.

It was still our place.  It felt familiar.  It had a bunch of our stuff in. It had a washer and dryer that can wash and dry clothes in a reasonable amount of time (a rant for another time).  But it wasn’t home.

Dawnise was missing.  The cats didn’t greet me at the door.  It felt like “our other place.”  I suppose it’s like going to a vacation house – but having never had a vacation house, I can’t really say.

So I’m on my way back to London – where the cats will undoubtedly berate me for the couple days they’ve spent alone* – remembering the feeling, first had when we were living in Luxembourg, of not quite knowing where home is.  It’s not our place, and the stuff in it is new and not all ours… Never the less, its home.

At least for now.

 * Dawnise, amusingly, arrived in a different part of Florida yesterday to join good friends at Disneyworld on their ‘farewell to ‘merica’ tour and won’t be back until the weekend.