Hello again,

Sometimes your day doesn’t always go as planned…

Day 6

The next day was supposed to be a beach day but when we got up it was overcast. I was too tired to do the dishes last night so I started cleaning the kitchen. The landlord was to come by today around 11am for us to sign the lease so I needed to get the rest of by bags unpacked and get the house into a state of organization. It’s early and I can hear the town starting to wake up. Australia moves at a very different pace than America. A lot of businesses are still closed, celebrating the new year. We learned that JD may be told out of the blue that he has worked too many full weeks in a row and for him to take off and return next week without it reflecting on his leave time. Their Navy shuts down from December 11th to January 18th every year without it being a part of leave. They want us to travel and see their country. Our American contact here (Dallas) says he has worked very few actual 5 day work weeks. They want us to enjoy ourselves and relax. Frankly I don’t know how they get anything done but I guess they have it worked out somehow.

One thing that had sort of puzzled us was a shower curtain that was hanging in front of the bathroom windows that could be pulled out and pushed back. Since the windows are that wavy type glass that you can’t see thru but lets the light in, I didn’t think we needed it. Well just say hypothetically someone is naked in the bathroom. Lets just say that they wanted to let the warm breeze of the day come thru and keep the condensation down. Lets just say that someone’s neighbors thought it would be a great time to have coffee outdoors at the table that just so happens to be underneath our bathroom window. Trust me all of a sudden you realize why you need the curtain and so do your neighbors, who very quickly pick up their coffee and scurry back to their houses. If you can’t realize why you need something, use it anyway until the reason becomes apparent. Ok? Just sayin…

After a while I decided it was high time that some laundry was done. I haven’t located liquid soap in this town yet so I remember what happens if you don’t mix your water and powdered detergent prior to adding clothes. So I sprinkle an adequate amount in and then try to figure out this new machine. I push everything I believe I am supposed to and hit start. Nothing. I try setting it again but to no avail. I hear the cleaning lady working in a near by unit and ask her assistance. She shows me that my water had been cut off at the wall and to turn this and this. Presto! Its working. Roughly 30 mins later I am popping my wet clean clothes into the dryer and trying to decipher this machine. It has two settings of heat that are depicted by suns. I make sure that I want full sun and hit the button to start. Nothing. What the hell… So I grab the cleaning lady again and she trys it too. This time she can’t get it to work either and suggests that I use the unit where she is working. So I throw them in there and get back to my organization. About 15 mins later a family is moving into that unit so I sheepishly go over and pull the clothes out. They are still damp. Now what? I look outside and remember that we have clothes lines outside. Yes, I am going to use my childhood memories to use the old fashion solar dryer. By this time the sun had come out and was very bright. So I marched out there and hung my clothes up to dry. JD was not as impressed with me as I was, but I felt pretty good about the whole thing. The landlord came by and promised a new unit in a day or two. Later that day when I brought them in, all the clothes had that warm, soft smell of sunshine on them and I counted this experience as one of those little things in life that make me happy. My grandmother would be so proud.

Dallas had rung and asked if JD wanted to go with him to the APO box on the base. Since I didn’t have a military ID I couldn’t go but that didn’t bother me in the least. I was glad to do the shopping for dinner and wander around at my own pace. So I did. I walked up to the usual bread and meat stores. I chatted with the lady at the coffee store who ground my chosen Lebanese coffee and gave me a sample of coffee I cant spell or pronounce. Its begins with M and thats about all I can offer. I also purchased some herbal teas from her that she recommended and got JD a small chocolate that said “You are the best!” on it. Hey I figure I can’t stop being corny just because I left the US. I had looked up a salad recipe online for bok choy (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Yummy-Bok-Choy-Salad/Detail.aspx) and picked up the ingredients for that as well. I got some new flip flops, bubble bath, and one of the those golden cats that wave their arms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maneki_Neko). When in Rome right?

I got home and found that JD had already returned a few moments ahead of me. I put away the groceries and chopped up some garlic and green onions and mixed them with vinegar, salt and pepper. I poured this marinade on the steaks I had purchased and placed them in the refrigerator. JD had finished yet another book so we walked to the library. We didn’t have a copy of our lease so we couldn’t get a library card but they had some books for sale for $1 so we got a couple for him. Then on the way home we stopped at a thrift store and found three more. They were originally more expensive but the store was having a 50% off sale so left pretty please with ourselves.

We came home and enjoyed ourselves in the sun, reading and drinking cold water until we were hungry. We had these crazy birds that came to try to get some of JD’s bread. They were large black birds like crows with one being more a dark brown. They had large white patches on their wings and the brown one was squawking over and over, sounding like a fire alarm. I figured this one might be the female. The assumed male had taken the bread that JD had offered and she followed him around complaining that she didn’t have any (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hztd2Tc96Rw). Everything came out pretty good. I would like to do a little something different with the marinade perhaps tomorrow.

That night I took a long bubble bath and enjoyed the heat soaking into my muscles. I certainly didn’t need Calgon to take me away but it’s another small thing that life has to offer that makes me happy.

Stay classy America. See you next time.