This weekend felt so, so… normal. I don’t know if it’s having been here for 8-ish weeks, our shipment arriving, having gone on a long-ish walk or what, but this wekend reminded me of normal life. Having done so much travelling, packing and settling, life has felt a little crazy and unsettled (in a good way) since mid-June.
Friday afternoon started out a little frustrating. I drove to Home Depot to buy shoe racks, and of course they only had one (I needed at least 2, and preferably another for the guest closet). I also stopped in Barnes & Noble to buy Mark the November issue of Q, which was featuring Noelly G. Of course, they didn’t have it yet. I drove back toward home to pick up Mark for our lunch date (our first lunch date since arriving in San Diego), and the journey took twice as long as usual due to traffic. We decided to go to the mall for lunch, because it was nearby and had several options. We both decided on trying the Mongolian Grill; the end product was good, but the ordering process was unpleasant due to nearby reconstruction work and terrible customer service. I know none of this is really worth complaining about, but having so many little irritants in immediate succession was annoying.
Thankfully, things picked up from there. We opted for a post-lunch Starbucks, which is a a novelty these days compared to our previous daily lunchtime Starbucks reading routine. To make the experience more indulgent, we had pumpkin spice lattes rather than our usual plain coffee. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so good. I can’t remember if we had pumpkin spice lattes in the UK – people don’t have the same autumnal (or if you’re my sister and me – annual) pumpkin love, but all the Christmas lattes (eggnog FTW) exist, so maybe I was just oblivious? Anyway, I had mine with whipped cream (and figured since I was getting non-fat milk, it all balanced out, right?), and it was literally like drinking liquid pumpkin pie. A good amount of flavor, not overpoweringly cinnamony, not sickly sweet. Just wonderful. Oh, and en route to Starbucks, the mall newsstand had the November Q. Hoorah!
Thanks to the pumpkin spice latte and a bit of cloud cover and cooler weather (which here means you wear cuffed ankle-length jeans, flip flops and a t-shirt), I felt cozy and autumnal. I decided to bask in the seasonal feeling and spend the afternoon reading – a hobby that has been sorely neglected lately.
When Mark got home, we headed to our other nearby Home Depot for more shoe racks. They had plenty, so we bought a couple more, stopped in Target for buy more hangers and came home to build our new closet organization system. Success! Tidiness has resumed; shoes are now neatly stacked rather than occupying half our closet floor space.
Saturday morning, we slept in – which, for us, means waking up around 8. I suggested donuts for breakfast, so I could introduce Mark to my favorite donut place and he could experience the American phenomenon of a sugary, high processed, fat laden breakfast. Not the healthiest start to the weekend, but it was yummy, and we really enjoyed sitting on the balcony, eating donuts, drinking coffee and reading. Full of caffeine and sugar, we went for a walk. Mark thought ‘autumn had started’ and that he ought to wear jeans and a hoodie. I at least talked him out of the hoodie; by the time we returned (when it was 75F) he regretted the jeans, too. We walked to our local Credit Union to open a savings account (their rates are better than Wells Fargo) and then to World Market. Unsurprisingly, the donuts didn’t keep us full for too long, so we shared Kung Pao shrimp and brown rice at Pick Up Stix before walking home. Even though our little 5 mile jaunt was much shorter than our usual walks in London (which were often 8-12 miles), it was a great to be doing one of our favorite shared activities. Also, San Diego’s hilly terrain made it a bit more challenging than the relatively flat walks we used to do. We almost invariably have our best conversations walking, and notice so much more than when we’re driving.
Saturday evening, we hung most of our artwork and frames. We agreed everything seemed too small to go where we originally planned it, so half the white frames we previously had above our sofa are now above the bed, the canvas we were going to put above the bed went on another wall, one of the other white frames went up in the guest bathroom, and the other 2, along with a variety of smaller frames went up in a ‘random’ collection near the door. We also hung the piece we bought for the kitchen. We still need something above the sofa and guest bed, but it feels so much more home-like and lived in now. I love it.
Sunday, we had a morning Skype date with Mark’s parents, went grocery shopping, grilled steak, I laid by the pool reading and catching some sun while Mark coded, then we did a ‘quick’ return (Bed, Bath & Beyond’s customer service seems to have gone steadily downhill, and the experience was long, drawn out and unfriendly), bought a new blender (the previous one, which we’d just returned, was too tall to sit out on our counter and a PITA to wash), and then went to the cinema to watch Dark Knight. The film was great and exceptionally well done, but I couldn’t help thinking about the poor people in Aurora 😦 I kept wondering how much of it they’d seen, at what point their lives changed forever, and feeling anxious looking at the emergency exit and tensing whenever anyone stood up. It’s another reminder how quickly life can change, how important it is to be true to yourself and your heart, and to tell the people you love how much they mean to you. The uneasiness I felt in the theater also made me feel lucky for the life I lead, which has been relatively trauma-free, especially in recent years.