So the last couple of days have been really crappy! We found out that someone has been using my debit card number to buy fuel in Florida. No way we could have done it from England! So we had to have the card deactivated so I have had no access to our checking account. This is the second time in less than a month that this has happened because before we went to Paris, we had to cancel our credit card for the same reasons and had to pay for the whole trip in cash. Anyway, we have money, but I'm broke because I can't use my card and because it's our US bank account, my checks are worthless here. So that has bummed me out.
Then I went in on Monday to have the annual inspection on my car (here it's called an M.O.T. but I'm not exactly sure what that stands for). Anyway, we knew about 2 months ago that we were going to need new front brakes so the guy told me what to order and we waited 2 months for them to arrive from the US. So I take the car for the M.O.T. and tell the guy that I have the new brakes, a new light bulb for the burned out headlight, and new spark plugs. I go back to pick up the car when the inspection is over and found out that the brakes didn't fail but I had a burned out headlight (didn't I tell you that already and handed you the replacement bulb!), my turn signal lights are the wrong color (so put a sticker over it like you did last year!), my fog lamp switch doesn't turn on(???), and my hand brake comes up to far. STUPID things, but I'm not allowed to drive my car until it's all fixed or I'm breaking the law! So I booked the car into the garage to have all the issues fixed including having the brakes changed. The earliest they can get me in is the 28th. 10 days without a car and no cash and no fresh groceries in the house (if I could only get to the base, I could use a different card!) and Shawn was on duty and wouldn't be home until the next day! GRRR! So I beg the guy to see if he could squeeze me in before the 28th and he said if I just leave the car there, he would try and do the work between other appointments. So that's what I did.
On Tuesday, the garage calls me to say that all of the M.O.T. repairs are all done but there was a problem with the breaks. Apparently I had the disks and shoes but not pads. I bought exactly what he told me I needed! He said he would try and find a match from parts that can be bought over here, but I'm not really confident that will happen so I'll have to wait 2 more months for a part to come from the states.
Anyway, here comes the silver lining... I have some great friends here! I was moaning to my friend Abi about it all and a half hour later her husband shows up at my door with some cash so I could at least get my kids food for breakfast the next morning and then the next day she brought her 2 boys over (same ages as Natalie and Robbie) to play and she brought lunch and ingredients to bake cookies (in the shape or Daleks, "EXTERMINATE"). It turned out to be a great day!
Then today, my friend Zoe came and picked up the kids and me and got us out of the house (in spite of the damp and cold weather). We had some hot chocolate and cookies over at her house while the kids played. Then when the rain stopped, we went to our other friends house, Phyllis and H (my kids love them so much and are like surrogate grandparents to them) and we all went down to Fistral Beach. In spite of the rain, there were still a lot of surfers in the water. I had thought I had made it clear that it was too cold for the kids to go in the water so I didn't even bring their swim suits or wet suits. We took some pails and spades though and thought it would be fun to play in the sand. The kids were dressed in jeans, raincoats and wellies (rain boots) and I figured they would enjoy the beach and be nice and comfortable. Well, the kids ended up TOTALLY drenched. Robbie decided that he was going into the sea all the way up to his waist and then fell over and got covered from head to toe, Natalie thought that looked like a whole load of fun and decided to try it out for herself. There was no going back and they both had the time of their lives. They've never had more fun at the beach! Then as we were trying to walk back to the house, Robbie had to go "swimming" in every tide pool on the way. He did NOT want to leave and we had to bribe the kids with ice cream to get them to leave. We got back to Phyllis and H's house and bathed the kids (thank goodness I had the foresight to bring spare clothes)!
Now here is the funniest part... Phyllis and H live just behind Phyllis' mother's house, they actually share a garden. Well Robbie was playing with the cat and all the adults were distracted and we noticed that Robbie wasn't anywhere to be found, so we all start looking for him, I go into the garden and start calling for him and go to the break in the wall where it leads into "Grandma's" garden just as Sister Vincent was bringing Robbie back over. Apparently he followed the cat and as the cat went through the cat flap, Robbie tried to follow. Sister Vincent (who is very elderly but incredibly sharp for her age) was in the kitchen and all she sees is a tiny little arm coming through the cat flap. She thought she was imagining things because she was unaware we were visiting. Then she heard Robbie calling for the cat and really trying in earnest to get through the cat flap! I am still laughing! I am just thankful he didn't run off too far and that it was Sister Vincent and not some crazy stranger.
Oh how I wish I had my camera today!