Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 7.110: Taking one for the team

Sometimes I have to eat out with business contacts.

Sometimes it's not such a bad thing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 7.109: And why not...?

When the dark clouds roll in and the kids are sucking seemingly everlasting lollipops after Sunday lunch, what do you do? Well, going to the beach is an option!

Surprisingly, given the low temperatures, removal of footwear was a fairly popular option:

And then, it turned into a real visit to the beach complete with sandcastle building:

and tidal pool investigations:

The sun even came out before we left.

It was almost enough to make us forget how cold it was.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 7.108: Scarborough Marsh

My run on Sunday morning took me across Scarborough Marsh on the Eastern Trail. It wasn't the most picturesque of days - overcast and a bit drizzly, but I still tried to capture the otherworldly nature of the place.

On the way back I was running faster and didn't want to stop to take more photos, but I saw several egrets and herons as well as a couple of other water birds on one of the pools. The white birds in particular are quite striking on a gloomy day on a dark marsh.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 7.107: Exile #2's Sunday Column #2

Exile #2 writes:

This week has been Spring Break, so no school for the kids. This has meant, of course, more of a two steps forward, one step back pattern of getting organised. Still, progress is still being made. We put some pictures up today and although flotsam keeps washing in, I can consistently see more than half of the kitchen island.

Highlights of the week:
  • Having a park around the corner to which the kids can walk unaided!
  • Walking to E5N1's school playground - all on sidewalks.
  • Joining one of the local libraries.
  • Getting the license plates changed on the van. It now sports a very handsome picture of a lobster plus the single word "lobster" in case you were in any doubt.
  • Getting Maine drivers licenses without - thank heavens - having to take another road test.
On a side note, can I just give a moment of appreciation to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles for:

  1. Providing comfy chairs in the waiting room instead of the pew-like fixtures I have encountered elsewhere and
  2. For making the whole process so darn pleasant. In the last few years, we have spent quite a bit of time in offices and embassies, fretting over whether we have the correct documentation to jump through the next of a series of hoops. In Maine, it all seems to happen without fuss and bother and with a nice dose of gentle good will.
  • Volunteering at an earth day event at a local preserve. Well, I say volunteering. We arrived ready to roll up our sleeves and pick up trash on the beach, only to find that it was a largely pristine stretch of sand and we were a bit superfluous. That's a good thing, of course, and it was a nice walk. We got to see where they have fenced off a section of beach in the hopes that Piping Plovers, which are endangered, will nest there. We also got to argue animatedly amongst ourselves about whether it should be pronounced plover-rhymes-with-clover as the locals seem to say it or plover-rhymes-with-cover as the adult Exiles insist on saying it. Both are fine according to the Internet in Exile #1's pocket but the junior Exiles are having none of it.
  • Final highlight of the week was getting to eat one of the curries that I have spent the last few months enviously watching Exile #1 enjoy via Skype. All that recent practice has definitely paid off. Yum!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 7.106: Fire house

We spent most of this rainy day at home - shelving a few half-made plans for outings and instead putting up some pictures and tidying the house some more.

The one visit we made was to an open day at a nearby fire department.  We watched a car being cut up, saw several brave souls and lots of their equipment and even witnessed a call to a real emergency.

All in all, a rather better education than watching the fire departments march in the Memorial Day parade!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 7.105: Disoriented

I got slightly lost on a run earlier this week. Not so that I didn't know where I was, but I was wrong about there being a way from where I was to where I wanted to go. Fortunately, I was able to refer to a map on my phone and plot a course home.

If I hadn't gone the 'wrong' way, I wouldn't have seen these views of an inlet on the river:

...not that I did see exactly those views - although I did take those photographs.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 7.104: Marginal Way

Here's a Throwback Thursday post, but I'm only throwing-back to last Saturday. After our trip to Mother's Beach and lunch, we continued down the coast to Ogunquit to walk part of the Marginal Way - a popular coastal path.

There were quite a few people around, it's easy to imagine how busy it might be at the height of the tourist season.

There were some nice waves - fun to photograph, fun to run away from!

Eventually I think all three of the kids got wet feet (at least) due to not moving fast enough when the occasional big wave came in.

We all had a very nice time, but only walked a section of the southernmost part of the path before turning around to head back to the car and then come north by the faster route!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 7.103: State plates

An important rite of passage for our vehicles today:

We're gradually getting through the list - driver's licenses next. It's almost as complicated as arriving from the UK!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 7.102: Easter Sunday fun

What with Exile #2's surprise Sunday column and then E5N1's unpredicted rite of passage yesterday, this is the first time I've had chance to say that we had a lovely afternoon with friends in Portland on Sunday - including an egg-hunt (for empty plastic eggs) which was fun for he kids and also for the adults who had fun both hiding the eggs and watching the hunt.

We also had excellent food and conversation and several hours just sped by.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 7.101: Last and also latest

E5N1 came into our room this morning to tell us his first tooth had come out, or as he later admitted - he had in fact pulled it out.

Although he had been expecting this to happen for some time, he was clearly a little concerned that he'd done something wrong.

We were never particularly good at keeping books of milestones - first words, first steps etc. but, thanks to the daily blog-post writing I have done since our arrival in the US, I know that he is 7 months later than Exile #3 and some 16 months later than Exile #4 reaching this milestone.

He was quite happy about it - all smiles in fact!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 7.100: Exile #2's Sunday Column #1

Exile #2 writes...

Well, that week (or so) went by in a flash. It seems only yesterday that the female Exiles cheered gratefully as we crossed the bridge into Maine and sighed with total relief as I pulled up outside Exile #1's temporary accommodation.

One very genial closing and a day of deliveries later, we were installed in our new house. Since then, it has been a week of putting things in their right place: pots and pans, plates and glasses, children...

It has also been a week of working out the quirks of our new existence. How does the communal mailbox system work? What does that yellow patch on the road signify? Why is our Internet connection more elusive than a will o' the wisp?

My most significant culture shock of the week, however, was trying to register with a doctor. Having experienced the UK system (you go to the nearest practice) and the system in our previous community where there were so many doctors you might find yourself being recruited, I was a little taken aback that the large practice in our town could not accommodate us, nor the one in the next town. Eventually I found one within reasonable driving distance willing to take us and was invited to book up annual physicals...for October. Am considering a new venture into family medicine... ;-)

With all this excitement behind us and a metropolis of empty boxes in the garage, we decided to treat ourselves to a day out yesterday. It is a moment of wonder when we step out of the car at the beach and realize that this is home now. Can't wait to explore more!

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 7.099: Mother's Beach

We managed to venture further than our work/school/boxes world today - a day out that started here:

at Mother's Beach in Kennebunk.  Where we punned on the already-a-pop-pun blog name, investigated some tidal pools, played on the rather fancy playground end generally enjoyed the fact that it wasn't too busy and there are no parking fees at this time of year!

From there, we drove through Kennebunkport and back and had a rather excellent lunch at Federal Jack's where I had a burger from a local farm from a seasonal menu and a glass of vanilla porter, Exile #2 had a lamb burger in a GF bun and the kids proclaimed their corn-dog, mac and cheese and fish and chips to be among the best they'd tasted.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 7.098: Heat and cold

For the second morning in a row I had to put my below-freezing running gear on this morning. For the second morning in a row, the room I did it in was not at a comfortable temperature.

(Unrelated picture from one of my last runs in Portland)

On Thursday, our bedroom was very cold when I woke up and I later discovered that the thermostat had been adjusted, so I readjusted it. By the time we went to bed Thursday night, our room was very warm and I was unable to convince myself the thermostat was now working at all. I ordered a replacement. It was still very warm when I got up to run this morning, and by the time I got back from work after the door had been closed for most of the day it was well into the 70's.

Even taking the thermostat off the wall did not stop the heating, but I have now found a manual valve to close which I hope will result in an overnight cool-down.  Whether the new thermostat, which should arrive tomorrow, will solve anything seems doubtful right now, but we can try!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 7.097: Throwback Thursday - recreation edition

On the day we bought our house in 2007, I blogged about it and posted this picture:

Exile #3 was showing off her bracelets and it seems Exile #4 just thought that posing on the deck involved awkward hand-positioning!

Yesterday I re-found my camera and as a result I can now reveal that we recreated this photo (from memory) on the deck of our new house on the day we closed its purchase:

and added this one for good measure:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 7.096: Seriously?!

It's the middle of April and waking up to snow on the ground (and the skylight) and by a half an hour later when I set out for my run, even on the road is not acceptable!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 7.095: First day of sc-hoo-ool

It was the first day of school for each of the young Exiles today. They are in three different schools so it was an interesting logistical challenge, but it will be easier now that they all know what they are doing with buses and classes etc.

I went back to work to discover I had a new engineer in my team and visitors from our corporate headquarters. It wasn't really a surprise, but I'd been a bit occupied with other things to give it much any thought over the last few days.

Finally, here are some pictures of one of E5N1's home-craft projects from before the move - just because!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 7.094: Watching the tide

In this case, the tide of packing boxes. Happily, it is going out (the pile in the garage is made up of empties), but like the ocean tide, asit recedes it's leaving behind a certain amount of detritus around the place.

We got the kids registered for school today, so they will probably all be at school tomorrow and it is back to work for me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 7.093: I ran to the beach

...and back. This was the view at the midpoint (9 miles from home):

I know I've been running by the ocean for months, but doing it from home puts things in a different league!  The rest of the day was spent with a trip to Portland for church and clearing out the apartment, and - of course - more sorting out in the house.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 7.092: Moved in

My instructions to the kids were pretty simple today: stay out of the way of the movers.

Exile #4 disappeared into her closet:

Exile #3 hung out under her desk:

and E5N1...

...let's just say he was more creative in his choices.

However, the day was a success. An exhausting success, and, following a little celebration:

We are all going to bed in our new home.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 7.091: We live here now!

We bought a house today in southern Maine!

Later, we had a quick trip to the beach for random running and sandcastle construction (I only photographed it after the incoming tide had started to demolish it).

Tomorrow, our worldly goods arrive and we get to actually move in to our new home, but for now, welcome to our new home in the blogosphere. Update your feed subscriptions and let's see where this takes us...or if you're new to us, check out the first 2646 days at Exiles in New York.