Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Commitment Issues!

I was told that once I came to America I would never want to leave. Companies expect their ex-pats to want to stay, certainly to extend their time here and be resistant to a move. It is the lifestyle America affords: Bigger house, bigger car and bigger teeth! I lack commitment. My home was big enough for my family in the UK, my car was nice enough and I like the fact that my teeth don’t double up as glow sticks in the dark!
I’m not sure if it is the commitment or enthusiasm I lack but I am resistant to any real assimilation!
My son is desperate to fit in here. To do so fully there are certain things he must have or do:

1)     He must have an allergy.  He asks me almost daily what he is allergic to and is so disappointed when I remind him that he isn’t allergic to anything! He came close to getting his wish today! I got a call from the school nurse. He had complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. He had been running in 28ºC weather and not had water. I didn’t feel compelled to take him to ER! They are a bit over zealous here. They would have been performing open heart surgery as soon as they got hold of my medical insurance card! As it happened we had a trip to the doctors arranged. A final written warning that if I didn’t get my children vaccinated against hepatitis A, they would be excluded from school compelled me to find a doctor, just 6 months after moving. They didn’t need Hep A in North Carolina. In fact, according to the internet, it is a vaccine usually given only to people travelling to third world countries with low standards of hygiene ,druggies, homosexuals …and Texans! I think it is because of their proximity to Mexico or the Republican fear of all of the above that makes it compulsory in Texas. They certainly don’t travel anywhere! The Doctor justified its necessity because ‘Americans like oysters’. He was Chinese. I think he was politely saying they eat shit! Before getting the jab I asked the Doctor to check him. He listened to his chest, asked me if he had asthma (to which I said NO) and prescribed a spray for him to use! I politely declined! He was so poorly, my son came home and jumped fully clothed into a freezing pool! He hasn’t got a nut allergy! He is a nut! I foiled his opportunity to queue at the nurse’s office for whatever drug each kiddie is plied with to feel special! I can’t commit!

2)     He must be on the swim team. Every neighbourhood in Azalea Lane has a swim team linked to the community pool. In theory it is a great way to get children swimming more and competitively. My son swims like a dolphin! Literally – he swims below water, surfacing for air. He has no technique other than natural ability. He would benefit from swim team. In reality swim team is 6 weeks of hell… for me! A swim practice every night (different times for different ages so I could be there for hours with two of them), a swim meet every week where they race against another club (but everyone is a winner) that goes on til the early hours of the morning to fit all the races in. The Moms have to be time keepers and pizza fetchers. I cant commit

3)     He must participate in an American sport. Read swim team and replace week days with whole weekends, often in different counties 100’s of miles away for matches and games (where scores are not shared for fear of upsetting the losing team! Everyone’s a winner). The thought of having to ever sit though another moment of baseball fills me with dark thoughts of self harm. I cant commit!

4)     He must embrace all school projects like his life depended upon them! Schools set big homeworks that require an immense amount of parental involvement and expense. My daughter’s science project took me ages and unlike all other mothers I didn’t actually do it all! I made her do the experiment and all the work was in her own words. I just helped with the art work. We experimented on dropping eggs out of the upstairs window with various protective wrappers. My son thought it was just an egg throw and proceeded to chuck eggs onto the garage roof. The stains are still there! The cat was photographed inspecting a cracked egg. She (me) labelled her ‘the adjudicator’. My daughter’s teacher asked her what one was. I do hope she was testing her and not puzzled herself. We went to the Science Fayre. I was really chuffed when I saw my daughter had got ‘first prize’ till I realised about a third had got the same! Everyone’s a winner! The greater the parental involvement, the greater the ranking. Those kids who had done everything themselves got third prize! I asked one boy with first prize what his very complicated graphs demonstrated. He said ‘I don’t know, my mom didn’t tell me’. The over all winner was suitably nerdy looking. While other kids had washed stained socks in different detergents or grown sees, he had carried out rocket science. He was sat by himself on the ‘peanut free table’ They use it at lunch for the ‘allergy’ kids…no nuts there! Will my son ever make it to the nut free table for his contribution to science or through medical malady? I can’t commit!

5)     He must go to church because kids are so busy all week doing a ridiculous number of clubs, sports, activities and extra tutoring they don’t have time for friends. They have to go to church so that they have a friend in Jesus! I can’t commit!

With such a lack of commitment we are fast approaching the time when we have to make some decisions about what we do next if we do not stay here. Visas expire! This time next year we could be back in the UK. I might have to find a job and go back to work. We could be asked to go somewhere cold!
Lying on the sun lounger next to the pool in glorious sunshine reflecting on this I suddenly can’t remember what it is I am having difficulty committing to. I know I have a busy week ahead …swim meet, collect anti-histamines from drive through pharmacy on the way to next game, oh and I have a really exciting robot project to work on…We are blessed! Thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bacon Joint!

I have been pondering what to do when I return to England and I think I know what it is. I want to run this pitch by you before I run it by the banks. If you wish to invest in the venture feel free to send me money – but don’t expect freebies.

A restaurant totally devoted to BACON! Trust me! Bacon is the new black!
Why? Everybody loves bacon, even vegetarians. Bacon is the food of the Gods…well, the Western gods at least!
Little did the Two Ronnies know when they did a silly parody of an ice-cream parlour where the customer confuses ice-cream flavours with potato crisp flavours that they were on to something. It took Heston Blumenthal to take up the mantle and transform smoky bacon ice-cream from a joke to a reality. If making ice-cream out of bacon infused milk makes him a culinary genius America is the gastronomical capital of the world! Admittedly it has been done in America already with Denny’s leading the way with ‘baconalia’ but I think the UK is ready for the import! Using the American take on Heston Blooming-mental’s concepts I have come up with some signature dishes, more ‘Fat F**K’ than ‘Fat Duck’.

Please note: all dishes are made with American bacon – think, crispy, fatty and smoked!

Bacon choc ice:
Inspired by Burger king’s Bacon Sundae which I thought looked a bit silly with two crispy rashers sticking out of the top of chocolate ice cream. Paying lip service really!
This will be layers of dreamy Bacon ice cream followed by bacon crumbles, sandwiched between two wafers and dipped in chocolate, topped with a sprinkling of bacon dust.

Bacon Smoothie
Inspired by Jack-in-the box (burger chain) bacon milkshake which could be heavily criticised for being made with bacon ‘flavoured’ syrup and containing no actual bacon, this ‘healthy option’ smoothie will combine a pound of real crispy bacon with a banana, fat free yogurt, a pinch of nutmeg and honey for a yum-a-licious breakfast treat of snack.

Bacon Triple burger kebab on a stick
Paula Deen (famous celebrity 'southern belle' cook here in the USA) made the donut burger famous, especially following her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (the one fat people get).
I say if you are gonna do it, do it with bells on. This will be Paula’s burger and bacon, with fried egg slapped on, sandwiched between a sugar glazed donut with a twist. It with be held together on a kebab stick, dipped in batter and deep fried then smothered with gravy, cheese and bacon crumbles for the perfect topping.

Other ideas:

Bacon donut – a regular donut smothered in bacon crumbles
Bacon Taco: a taco shell made out of bacon and filled with …urm… bacon …and so on! Possibilities are endless!

All dishes will be nut free! Any nuts in the restaurant will be replaced with bacon crumbles!

Baconaise will be on every table. Baconaise is a bacon flavoured spread, used to ensure everything that isn’t bacon tastes like bacon!

Sides: All meals will be served with a side order of Lipitor
Lipitor is possibly America’s leading brand of atorvastatin, taken to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Décor will not be tacky and pig inspired! I’m thinking ‘Little house on the Prairie’: all red and white Gingham. Twee! 
90% of what we taste is odour (I really don’t want to dwell on that thought given the things I’ve smelled!) and who can resist the smell of bacon? I’m hoping Yankee Candle will com on board with little bacon scented candles and big extractor fans blowing bacon smells into the street to lure in baconardos!

I am so excited about this bacon venture either I had a pre-emptive embolism or my heart just skipped a beat! Where’s the Lipitor!

if the link below doesn't work try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv8yEMRDe_w or search 'Paula Deen's heart attack' on Youtube!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don’t Get Out Much?!*

For one night only:

Don’t Get Out Much?!*
Not sure if this title is a question, a description or a warning

Brit 1
Brit 2
Hubby 1
Hubby 2
Fat old American (FOA): Know-it-all  Norman, Older, Bore
Young skinny American (YSA): Tall, Weird, American Twenty-something, Camp As Christmas

: smoke filled ‘British’ bar (silly paraphernalia on the walls, depicting an American vision of England), band playing too loudly.
Two British women standing talking, when two American men approach

FOA: Gee Girls; do you like the smell of my cologne? Thrusts wrist into faces of the two women They give it to you in the bathroom
Brit 1: gagging No! You smell like an old lady.
FOA: …like lavender and mints?
Brit 1: No. Like Wee!
Brit 2: You smell Gay! You are clearly in touch with your feminine side in your pink shirt!
FOA: Really? Smoothes hands over pink shirt covering huge wok like belly
YSA: Thrusts forward like an ostrich Y’all from London. Ahh kin tell.
Brit 1: Genius!
YSA: Ah been to London town. The girls loved me in London. Why d’ya think that was?
Brit 2: I really can’t imagine why
YSA: do you think it was ma accent?
Brit 1: No!
YSA: Girls love ma accent in London (gives a thumbs up sign to FOA to indicate it is going well)
Brit 2: Where are you from?
YSA: Ahs from Kentucky
Brit 2: Ahh! Have you got many cousins? Isn’t Kentucky where you marry your cousins?
YSA: Looks confused on many levels. Why are those two guys staring at us? points over to 2 men standing just to the left They’re not your BOYFRIENDS are they?
Brit 1: Oh, those two men? They aren’t our boyfriends. YSA looks relieved ...for a moment They are our husbands!

FOA: goes over to Hubby 1 and 2 with outstretched hand Hi, my names Ed Winchester. Do you play Golf?
Hubby 2: No, no!… I’m still sexually active
FOA and Hubby 1 & 2 break off and chat

YSA: still marveling that we have husbands Just how old is you?
Brit 2: to Brit 1 rolling eyes He thinks I’m a MILF Brit 1 shakes head
Brit 2: eyes widen in shock He thinks I’m a Cougar?!
Brit 1: Nooooo! You’re not quite old enough… and besides, cougars are very glamorous!
YSA: Is your husband gonna be, like, mad at me?
Brit 2: No… It is ok. I’ve got a hall pass
YSA: Really? Great! What’s a Hall Pass?

Inane chatter and loud music ensues Fade out

Hubby 2: approaches I’m leaving. The Fat  Old American is boring us to death.
Brit 2: I’ll get rid of him.  to FOA I think American football is shit and pointless!
Mortally wounded, FOA leaves stage left
Hubby 2: I’m still going. I have had six pints and they won’t me serve anymore because they want you to get home safely. Bar policy! You stay if you want.
Brit 2: No! I’ll come home with you
YSA: whining But you have a Hall Pass! He tries to lean in…possibly to snog I thought you said you had a Hall Pass
Brit 2: looking horrified and I thought you said you didn’t know what a Hall Pass was! It was a joke! Besides, even if I had a Hall PassYSA is already walking off towards a table of women where FOA has seated himself
YSA: calls across bar as the 4 Brits leave You have lead me on! Jezebel! Ma cousins would never do that! When they gits a Hall Pass they make dang sure they use it!

* A true story (virtually word for word with the exception of 2 or 3 lines!)