Category Archives: Misconceptions and Mishaps

My Fake British Accent Isn’t All Bad

So, I have another very good reason for quasi-abandoning my blog lately.

(Besides playing Santa AND holiday hostess this past week…)

The last few weeks, my laptop has been infected with a heinous virus and it’s called…


The power supply on his computer fizzled out or some such and now, he’s on my “evil Microsoft” laptop no less than every second of every day since.

Apparently, my Linux-loving hubby will and HAS set aside his lofty morals in the name of FAIL blog and/or Digg

With my family in town and only ONE working computer among us, I’ve been sharing my laptop with SIX Internet addicted people.

Last week, Mike called around town for the replacement part for his computer. Only one of the bi-zillion techie shops off Tottenham Court claimed to have it stock and even called back to double confirm the serial number.

Of course, when Mike arrived pick it up the next day, they didn’t have it. They never did. Apparently, the sales guy only PRETENDED to know what Mike was asking for…

Uhhh, I guess, they didn’t think he would actually show up for the exact item he specifically requested to be set aside…

Thank goodness Mike is a much better person than me. MUCH BETTER. If I had been the one to make the 45 minute commute in early morning rush hour to be there as soon as the store opened for business only to be denied, I would have been beyond “call security”…

Meanwhile, Avery and I were running late for his appointment with the asthma specialist. We’ve waited over THREE months for this appointment, ever since his first asthma attack  in August, and there was no way we were going to miss it.

I called the hospital to inform them that we may be a few minutes behind for our 9:05 appointment with Dr. S. The nurse or whoever answered said it was perfectly fine and just come in when we were ready.

We actually weren’t late at all, but it didn’t matter since Dr. S was NOT even there that day!

“What? Why were we not told this when we called earlier? I had specifically stated that we’re coming to see Dr. S? I even asked about him BY NAME,” I asked

After several rounds with the useless drones in the ironically named “patient services” department, their best explanation for the “mix up” was that I had only asked if it was okay to be late, NOT if the doctor was in today….

Oh, and they had moved our appointment to the day before when Dr. S was in, but didn’t bother to tell US about it. I guess I was supposed to just know that…Lovely!

Whether it’s dealing with National Healthcare or a total lack of  common sense customer service, I find myself  less and less tolerant of these daily frustrations as our departure date looms closer.

12 days and counting!

Sure, when I thought we’d be here for a while, I was willing to put up with it… slightly. Just another quirky adventure from our life in London — good for a blog post, great for a laugh… HA! HA! HA!

Obviously turning into a loud angry American doesn’t help matters. Apparently, my accent is hard to follow… or perhaps it’s the high-pitched, inaudible rants of frustration. Hmm…

What does seem to help, however,  is my fake British accent. Bust it out and only then do I finally get somewhere.

(That is, if you call rounds of NHS Twenty Questions “getting somewhere”…)

Yes. You read that correctly. Fake. British. Accent.

It’s not even a good one like… say, Gwyneth Paltrow’s. It’s more like… well, the puppets from  CBeebies’ “The Shiny Show“…

It was never even intended for public consumption, but one day it just came out during another (yet unblogged about ) incident with National Healthcare (there are lots of them) and it worked brilliantly in getting to a speedy resolution!

In fact, it even prompted some rare compassion.

“Oh my, I do understand. You poor dear. You must be so upset. Let’s get this sorted for you right away… will this afternoon work for you?”

For some reason, fake British accent works every single time. Strange, I know, but it makes me laugh so much that I totally  forget how much  angrier (and rantier) I would be otherwise.



Filed under Daily Life, Misconceptions and Mishaps, National Healthcare

Everyday Is Like A Game of Charades. One word. Four Letters.

With our upcoming return to the States, I’m up against a challenge…

We have certain household items that need to be sold. We don’t want to do without them until the very last minute, but that doesn’t leave much time to haggle.

Giving it all away is NOT an option.

This proves problematic when up against variables such a market saturation, demand, and other nifty things I learned in business school…

One afternoon, I popped into a pawn shop by our house to inquire how much the second-hand market could bare such items. After giving the clerk a quick description, I asked what he’d be able to offer for them… just a ballpark figure.

The clerk refused, insisting that I first bring in the items before we discuss pricing.

I quickly explained my situation– moving back to American right away, don’t have much time, need to know the best way to sell this stuff, I just live around the corner, blah, blah, blah.

They were still, “No. No. No.”

“Look,” I said, “I’m not going to hold you to the price. If I come back and you don’t think it’s worth the higher end, I won’t make a fuss. I just need a ballpark figure to work with… an idea of what this stuff is worth used.”

Then it dawned on me…

“Wait. Do you even know what I mean when I say ‘ballpark figure’?”

The clerk smiled meekly and shook his head.

“OH! I’m so sorry (thunk!) It’s just an American phrase. Ballparks are… Okay, nevermind. Look, again this is our situation… I just want to get your opinion on what you think these items are worth should I try to sell them.”

“So you want a range, like an estimate?”

“YES! Exactly. A RANGE! An ESTIMATE! Can you give me a range?”


(grumble, grumble)

By the way, there was a time in my life when I would have been absolutely appalled to be living so near to a pawn shop. Like… six months ago when I lived in the suburbs.

Oh, how city life has made me tough…


Filed under Misconceptions and Mishaps, Packing Up and Moving, Undiplomatic Behavior

La Vie en Rose

Loosely translated: “having a rosy outlook on life”… or so my two years of college French taught me.

My French professor believed that anyone could learn a language. It was just a matter of throwing yourself into it with wild abandon and allowing the little “drawers of your mind to open up”.

(Why do profs always say things like that?)

I made A’s all four semesters, but those drawers remained shut as we made our way through Paris this past weekend. I guess I’ve lost the wild abandon of my college days… Trust me. It’s okay.

So anyway… Yes, we spent a long weekend in Paris.


Just for the heck of it? Not quite. We decided to combine the obnoxious task of re-establishing our tourist visas with a romantic getaway in the world’s most romantic city with my romantic husband… and our toddler.

They said we had to leave the country and come back through immigration. No one specified where and for how long. What better way to stick it to the English than to break croissant with their historic arch-rivals, the French!* (Just KIDDING!)

I think that’s making the best of a bad situation, don’t you?

In other news, Mike accepted a job in Northern California. It’s still overseas and not London and not quite home, but we are so grateful nonetheless.

In spite of moving again, we are certainly excited about the next chapter in our crazy life.

La Vie en Rose!


* Okay, so I used to think that the English “animosity” towards the French was just an ridiculous stereotype. Then, one night I caught a short blurb about the French economy on the evening news.

Apparently, France hasn’t been as badly hit (relative the the UK, of course) by the credit crunch because of the way their banking is set up. The French government maintains different measures to keep its citizens from buying stuff they can’t really afford.

(Maybe a little socialism isn’t such a bad idea…)

When the cameras returned to the British news anchors in London, their only commentary on the story was, “Well, aren’t they smug?”


Filed under Misconceptions and Mishaps, Packing Up and Moving, Sightseeing, Travel, Undiplomatic Behavior

Blogging Under The Influence

Last night, I ran a brush through my hair, put on eyeliner and a shirt WITHOUT peanut butter stains, and headed into the city to attend my very first London Bloggers Meetup…

I was nervous about going, especially as I looked over the profiles of the other attendees…

Strategic Online… Director of Internet… PR Guru… Techie Wonder… Boring American Housewife Complaining about Londoners… Huh?!

Although my background is in online advertising and I have an MBA in Marketing, let’s face it… that all feels like a lifetime ago (even though it really wasn’t) and I totally didn’t bring my “A game” to London.

When I worked as an agency, I used to attend “networking events” all the time. I’d toss back a few cocktails, make some small talk, exchange contact info… Not a bad way to earn a paycheck and win the client.

I’m friendly, talkative, and fun. You’d think I’d be good that that sort of stuff, but really… I’m not. I would sometimes drink a little too much, maybe forget to bring my business cards, and inevitably say the wrong thing… only to sober up the next morning afternoon day and kick myself.

So walking into this event…for the first time… alone… as a foreigner in a new country… Yeah, nervous can’t begin to describe. Turns out, I had no reason to fret.

IT WAS FABULOUS… and there were so many interesting new people to meet.

I should first mention that the event was sponsored by Smirnoff and Splendid Communications, and held at the private company bar at Diageo Headquarters (maker of  some fine favorites such as Guinness, Tanqueray, and Captain Morgan… just to name a few).

…and as if that wasn’t FUN enough, they had mixologists (bartenders) create a signature cocktail for each guest based on their blog.

Curious what concoction they came up with for the “American Mom in London”?

Why, red, white, and blue with a touch of sweetness, of course. It was a mix of apples with a bit of tea (from my URL), vodka, blueberries, and maple syrup.

And why maple syrup, you ask?

Because… and I quote, “It’s what you Americans put on your pancakes, right Love?”

(It always goes back to the pancakes, man…)

Also, it turns out I brought my “A game” to London after all. As I was heading out, I said good-bye to a guy with whom I had chatted when I first arrived. He was, at that point in the evening, holding TWO drinks.

I made a comment about him having a drink in each hand, using an old college expression from the States.

He gave me such a (mock) scandalized look and told me to “never, ever say that again” as the other people who had overheard me fought to suppress giggles. He explained that what I just said was “umm… a bit of a dodgy term here”.

We had a laugh about it though, but on the bright side, I guess some things never change. Only now, it makes for great blog fodder.


Filed under Blogging, Foodie, Life In The States, Misconceptions and Mishaps, Undiplomatic Behavior

Getting Invovled. Too Involved.

So, I hear that there’s this really awesome-active and super-involved parents’ group in our area.

I’m on the mailing list.

I have the membership card.

I get the newsletters.

I have yet to attend an event….

The most I HAVE done is trade e-mails and phone calls with one of the organizers, who is just so friendly and nice, by the way.

As soon as she learned that I just moved here (and didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood), she  immediately invited me to coffee.

I was so excited! This could possibly be my first BRITISH friend. Maybe she could explain my oven to me… hmmm.

We met up last week while her daughter was in nursery school. Since I also haven’t bothered to find one for Avery, I had him in tow.

“No worries”, she chirped over e-mail. “I’m looking forward to meeting your son, too.”

I told you. So nice.

We talked for over two hours while Avery amused himself with his cars and trucks–ramming them into his sugary pastry bribe (If you sit still, you can have this ENTIRE massive, gooey, raisin-y sweetness all to yourself)… and occasionally tossing them across the table.

He was mostly well-behaved, except for drinking his milk and spitting it out INTO my coffee…

I know, Eww!

She seemed to take everything in stride. Having a toddler of her own, she was totally cool with it… I think, and we just continued with our conversation.

I learned that her husband also works in the film industry… just like Mike. In fact, he even works in computer graphics… just like Mike.

“Wait, what company did you say he works for… Whoa! No way!”… yep, just like Mike.

As soon as I got home, I called Mike and asked if he knew her husband. He did… Quite well, in fact.


I flipped out. I just had coffee with Mike’s boss’ wife and had no freakin’ clue!

I probably should have pieced it together based to some of the things she’d mentioned, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just so eager for her to like me, which I actually couldn’t get a read on.

I’ve since replayed the entire event in my head over and over and over again, each time sinking deeper and deeper into my personal shame cycle.

Avery was licking the cafe window*… in front of Mike’s boss’ wife!

Avery totally had a poopy diaper and I didn’t even notice… but what if Mike’s boss’s wife did?

At one point, I think I may have accidentally spit while I was talking to… Oh my  dear goodness! Mike’s boss’ wife!

What’s worse is I had suggested that me meet for dinner this weekend and I haven’t heard back from her. Now, chances are she’s busy. Understandable. It did take a few weeks for us to find a time to meet for coffee…

Or she could HATE ME.

I have always liked Mike’s co-workers (and their spouses) and I’m very supportive of  Mike’s career. I mean. OBVIOUSLY.  I will move halfway around the globe for him to pursue his passion and work with great people, but I maintain a very strict boundary between Mike’s professional life and me (i.e. his personal life) because…

1) I think it’s important that Mike have a realm unto himself and…

2) to avoid situations like this: “So, I hear that Pokey Von PokeyBee** is a total jerk… Wait, what did you say your name was again? Oh, he must mean the other Pokey Von PokeyBee. he he he.”

I don’t crash their Friday “pub night”, I don’t get into the details of the office politics, and I certainly don’t hang out with “the wives/partners”.

I think possibly spitting on Mike’s boss’ wife, regardless of how unintentional, crosses that line.

*Umm, I have no idea what Avery’s deal is with licking windows… in public, no less. It’s  his new “thing” and it’s GROSS.  I stop him every time, but to no avail. I just hope he gets over it soon.

** Made-up name and there are no jerks at Mike’s current company. I know, it’s amazing. An entire company of non-jerks. No wonder Mike likes working there so much and hopes to CONTINUE working there long after the movie wraps up this winter 😀 (hint, hint)


Filed under Family, Friendships, Misconceptions and Mishaps, Undiplomatic Behavior

Who’s Yo Daddy?

Coming home early Saturday evening, the Tube was quite crowded and Mike got separated from Avery and me in the car. Concerned, Avery kept craning his neck to find Mike past all of the other passengers.

When he finally spotted Mike in the distance, he pointed one tiny finger right into a crowd of young (presumably single) hipster dudes and in the loudest toddler shriek imaginable yells,


I cracked up, but the guys were… you know, totally cool with it and whatever…

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Filed under Family, Misconceptions and Mishaps, The Tube

Sassy Black Women: Made in America, Imported Elsewhere

Carlos Mencia did a segment a while back on sassy black women as only found in America. It was part of things he LOVES about America.

Well, I’m here to tell you that sassy black women exist… EVERYWHERE.

How do I know this?

Because there’s one yelling at someone VERY LOUDLY and with plenty of sass just below my window as I am writing this.

This isn’t actually unusual. We run into plenty of black women “expressing themselves” all of the time.

Mike stopped to help one lady with her bags out of the Underground last week. He came home late because she stopped to have a shouting match with the transport workers (for no apparent reason) while Mike was still holding her luggage…

Now that is SASSY.

I don’t mean to single out black women here, sassy or otherwise. It’s just that all the yelling outside is making me a little homesick.


Filed under Life In The States, Misconceptions and Mishaps