Archive for July, 2003

Take me out to the ballgame…

July 30, 2003

Atlanta Braves vs Houston Astros

Last night we went to Turner Field to see the Braves play again. Free tickets because it was a Brighthouse outing! Yay!! AND we each got given an allowance when we got there. Sweet! I felt no qualms about spending $10 on a mushroom sarnie, (drew the line at $7 for a beer though!) and I think we came home in profit! Hoorah!

Muahahaha Atlanta stormed over those pesky Texans.

Was a much better game to watch this time, Gary Sheffield upped his number of home runs to 366 which pleased the chefs greatly. And the pitcher zapped a home run down the line just as Bill was commenting on his decent stats “considering he’s a pitcher an’all.”

I think the Braves fans were happy too, towards the 6th inning a Mexican wave started. It made it around the stadium four times before disintegrating into halfhearted waving.

The stadium seemed to kick off in the 9th inning when the Braves sent Smoltz out to pitch and closed the game with perfect tosses. Was all over very quickly with the Astros going nowhere fast.

So, I got to see the Coca-cola fireworks explode three times in one evening, once after each home run and then a final victory flourish. Wheee!

Much fun.

sorry, too hot for penguins

July 30, 2003

Dear Dr Hiram W Bugnastie,

Bill and I had a great day out at Zoo Atlanta on Saturday. We drove over there early Saturday afternoon, whoo, actually I drove! Go me! It was very busy and I had to drive around for a fair while before I found any parking. That was quite a challenge, particularly in the truck as getting into spaces can be rather tricky.

Ye gads it was hot. Bill made me wear a silly hat so I wouldn’t get a burnt scalp. Most amused he was and insisted on taking pictures of me wearing it for you so you could also appreciate the tasty look I have going.

We arrived at the gorillas enclosure just in time to catch them being fed a diet of various fruits. This was rather annoying as the viewing area was tiny and it was very difficult to see anything. I wish I’d worn my HUGE platforms so I could have had a better view of the silverbacks casually grabbing the fruit from the air as it was being tossed to them. Very entertaining indeed.

In the reptile house Bill was most skeptical and didn’t believe that many of the creatures in the tanks were actually real. We stood for ages trying to gauge whether a mothionless snake was alive or not and mildly argued about it. In the end I won when it suddenly had a rampant burst of energy and started boogying around it’s home looking for some action. Peering into most of the aquariums was like playing eyespy, had to really concentrate on spotting many of the reptilian expert undercover agents. Had enough of being in there after a while, too many squalling children and dim lighting was very headache inducing.

Scarily our nest of Black Widows has more impressive specimens than the one Zoo Atlanta has. Eeps.

Saw a very cool couple of birds in the aviary. I can’t remember what they were but they were making a huge nest up in the trees just above the viewing platform. They would fly down to the twiggy floot and root aruond for suitable sticks. One of the birds seemed a lot fussier than the other. He would scratch around, decide on some twigs, give them a good once over, pick them up in his beak to get a feel for them and then reject or select them. Upon approval he would then take to the sky, soaring over our heads in an arc, his burden looking rather precarious in his beak, and land with a screech on his nest. Where upon he scan his dwelling and carefully entwine his prize into the weave. Splendid job.

Zoo has a very nice bongo too.

Willie B was a gorilla that I guess marks a turning point for the zoo. He was named after a former mayor of Atlanta (same one the airport is named after too) and was a very unhappy gorilla when he was first caged at the zoo. He was kept all by himself in a horrid cage until the zoo sorted itself out and developed better habitat for it’s inmates. When he died in 2000 Willie B was apparently a much more content gorilla and happily surveyed his rainforest plot and watched over a harem of gorilla girlys. Awww. Now his offspring play rampant at the zoo, the institution is much more animal friendly and he has a scary life-size bronze sculpture dedicated to him sat outside the compound.

Actually, the first animal we saw looked rather miserable and made me feel sad. It was a seemingly bored red elephant (like Dorset, Georgia has red dirt) stuck out on his own in a not very exciting looking dustbowl with barely anywhere to go. Made me worry about what the rest of the zoo was going to be like. However the rest of the exhibits seemed to be much more settled and had more habitat looking areas. I hope they are planning to help that poor elephant out though.

We had intended to go to Grant Park and have a burrito for lunch but we spent so much time wandering around the zoo in the heat that we ended up feeling quite faint and had to stop for a Nathan’s Chicken Philly here instead. A most peculiar warm sandwich with chicken chunks and slavered in this very odd sickly cheese concoction. Not tasted anything quite like that before, but refreshed and feeling somewhat less weak and undernourished we were able to continue.

At the moment there is a Lego exhibition being held at the zoo. It was actually one of the deciding factors in our decision to visit, however of course we completely forget about this and were bemused to see people wandering around wearing yellow plastic construction hats. Finally we stumbled upon the Lego compound and all was revealed. They had little areas set up for kids where they could jump on in and build strange Lego things, complete all the challenges and they got Lego goodies. Cool. I want to be ickle again.

On display they had lots of Lego creations, some really rather cool. They were lots that were obviously those silly kits that Lego insist on producing now, but I think lots had been made by the kids as part of the various challenges and were just weirdness made out of the basic blocks available. Saw some groovy looking insects and other strange contraptions from some scary children’s imagination.

Whee, they have pandas too. Two of them. Both looking hot and bothered. One was sacked out and the other was stuffing his face with bamboo shoots. He had a very precise way of eating, he’d stuff his mouth with the leaves until he had a huge bundle coming out the side of his face. Then he’d grab them all together to form a tight wad, and wolf them down.

And, yes, sorry, no penguins. I think they would melt.

I think you would have found the zoo to be a fascinating source of vivid specimens, however I know your particular interest lies with the Alpine 11 Legged Butterfly and I’m afraid that Atlanta does not seem to be either a valued habitat for, or a good authority on those.

Tomorrow we are heading over to Chattanooga for a short break, maybe we will come across a wild relation of that species up in the mountains? Certainly we shall have the butterfly nets at the ready in case we are graced by a wondrous opportunity of snagging a rarity for you.

Kind Regards Sir,

Kay Downes

PS. If on your travels you find yourself in the Southern regions of the United Kingdom would you please be so kind as to pass on my love to my wonderful dadsy and mumsy. I’d be most grateful. Thank you.

One man and his dog

July 30, 2003


NVC panic and coming home.

July 30, 2003

Got a worried call from Bill yesterday morning, he had called the National Visa Centre on 603.334.0700 to find out whether or not they had received our files yet and see if we had been assigned a case number so that I can forward my Packet 3 documents to the London Embassy. Turns out the NVC had just received our petition that morning, but that the TSC had made a seemingly small, but important error with our records. They had entered my birthday incorrectly, putting a 5 instead of a 3 for the month.

Aaargh! *Big sinking feeling followed by a panic.*

We had to try to correct this asap to hopefully avoid any holdup. To do this they needed to see my birth certificate, which is sat all neatly organised in my lovely buff expanding file back home in my beautiful British bedroom.

Of course when I tried to call my parents to help us out the calling card didn’t work. Typical. I swear I had plenty of minutes left on that thing! Anyhow, Bill raced to get a new one and I managed to get hold of mumsy and dadsy. YAY! They managed to dig out my certificate, scan it in and mail it over to Bill mucho promptly. THANKYOU parents!! You’re the best.

Bill then faxed it over to the NVC with an explanation. Hopefully they’ll change it before the document makes its way to the consulate in London. Yikes. Didn’t need that.

Bill says “Gads, that was one of the more nerve wracking 30 minutes of this year.”

I also spent several hours yesterday trying to find a reasonable flight home in mid August. That just isn’t going to happen. Pants. I’m looking at a grand for a ticket here, but on the plus side we’re hoping that if I book a return for mid October I’ll be able to use it to get back to the States with my Visa in hand. Have to get a return anyway because I looked into getting a single and it’s disgusting, they cost more than a return. Unbelieveable.

Anyhow, we decided on a flight and I tried to book it (Tues 19th August -> Sunday 12th October). Of course, nothing goes to plan and I got all the way through to the payment form and was then told I can’t pay for the ticket using a UK credit card if my departure airport is in the States. They don’t allow 3rd party payments so Bill can’t sub me either. Drat. Phoned Delta and was in a holding queue with icky music doing my head for seemingly forever in the early hours of the morning until I simply gave up. Ugh, better go and see if I can sort this out now I suppose.

Course, that’s just getting back to London. I’ve no idea how I’m going to manage to get from Gatwick back to Tavistock upon arrival on the 20th. Bleargh. Oh well, one thing at a time…

Redneck Neighbours

July 26, 2003

Friday afternoon I sat on the front porch with Quince for a while. He loves it there and gets quite excited to be let out where he can guard his territory in doggyperson. I sat and sipped Cranberry juice and gave him a good brushing over with the shedding comb to make him more comfortable. Spread doggy hair all over the yard I did, looks like some strange sort of fungal growth.

Anyway, as I was sat there gently warming in the humidity, the redneck neighbours over the street came out to play. Sat and watched the 3 kids wreak havoc and the younger couple have a ciggie or three. Was most amused to watch the girl talk on her mobile, fawn up to her bloke, drag on her fag and then in a complete Southern drawl shout at the youngest kid Tommy for playing in the road. Never mind the fact that little Tommy’s idea of fun was to pick up the biggest rocks he could find and toss them at his sisters who were circling on their bicycles.

One of the girls, Nancy I think, got fed up with this behaviour and finally decided to retalliate. ‘Course as soon as she threw a bit of grit back at brother she got a whopping of a berating from the lady, who was still in conversation on the phone.


And today, we got back from the zoo and were just relaxing in front of the TV trying to cool down when the rednecks got some visitors. All of a sudden all we could hear was the thump thump thump of a stupidly loud car stereo system. Peeking out through the blinds you could see redneck neighbour drooling and attempting to groove to the rythmn while telling his mate how awesome he was.

Bill stormed out the house and shouted at them to turn the crap down, it was so loud they didn’t even hear him at first.

Bill was not at all impressed, “we ain’t gonna tolerate tha’ shit in our hood.”

A spider’s tale

July 22, 2003

Grifter asks, “speaking of bugs, hows the spidey?”
pinKaboo says, “spidey got massacred”
Grifter asks, “i thought you lost it?”
pinKaboo says, “sprayed and jumped on until it was smeary”
pinKaboo says, “except we’ve now found out she had kids, and there is probably a whole army there now”
Grifter exclaims, “the legacy continues!”
pinKaboo nods
pinKaboo exclaims, “aaargh!”
Grifter says, “kinda like freddy and jason – it just keeps going on and on and on…”
pinKaboo says, “ugh I hope not”
pinKaboo says, “we’re thinking of destroying the mailbox thingy now and erecting a different one without arachnid habitat”
Grifter smiles, “hmmm, sounds dodgy to me – sure there isn’t some law protecting spider habitats? :)”
pinKaboo exclaims, “better not be!”
Red Penguin calls the P.S.A.G. (Protective Services for Arachnids in Georgia)
pinKaboo exclaims, “nnnnoooooooo!!!!”
Grifter says, “i hear there’s a 6-month waiting list to get permission to destroy your spider’s habitat, subject to an exam of the habitat in question”
Red Penguin hears quite the same.
pinKaboo sobs
Grifter winks, “cheer up, in that time you can get to know the spiders, and who knows, you might become friends! ;)”
pinKaboo is not cheered up at all
Grifter shrugs, “there’s just no helping some people!”
Red Penguin nods.


July 22, 2003

Wanted to stay up so I could give mummy and daddy a quick ring in the morning to tell them the good news. Am currently experiencing an allergic reaction to something I ate and feel like Donald Duck at the moment though. Have had to take an antihistimine tablet which is likely to knock me out shortly I suspect. 20 more minutes until it reaches a reasonable hour in England (7am) when I think mum and dad might just be rousing ready for the day ahead, maybe I’ll make it yet.

Day 143

July 21, 2003

of waiting for our K1 fiance(e) petition to be adjudicated and OH MY GOD..

We’re approved!!!!

I just checked the online status about an hour ago, and nothing, still read “blah blah blah.” Was all grumpy and playing Towers when Bill came home. Huggled on the sofa when Tony rang and I could hear Bill shrieking from the other room.

Had to double check to make sure, but yes, there it is:

Application Type: I129F, PETITION FOR FIANCE(E)

Current Status:

This case has been approved. On July 21, 2003, an approval notice was mailed. If 14 days have passed and you have not received this notice, you may wish to verify or update your address. To update your address, please speak to an Immigration Information Officer during business hours.

Yikes!!! Looks like we have a wedding to plan!!

Now we’ve just got a few weeks for it to get through the National Visa Centre before it hits the London US Embassy. Then I get all my forms through (though I’ve got these sorted already), then a trip over to London and medical, interview and *fingers crossed* Visa awaits.

Whoo hoo!!

Eeeps, I feel funny.

East Atlanta Village

July 15, 2003

Shesh, just got back from walking Quincy over to East Atlanta Village so that I could use the Post Office (M+D – I got the solicitor’s letter yesterday and mailed it back to him today). It’s a tad warm and sunny out there. Borrowed one of Bill’s caps so that I wouldn’t get a burnt head.

Despite Bill’s clear directions I must have gone wrong somewhere on the way there because I didn’t end up on one of the streets he mentioned! Still, I did make it to Flat Shoals and wandered along there til I got to where I was supposed to be. Not quite sure where I went wrong though! I swear when I came back following the instructions in reverse there was a road which wasn’t there before! Just like Mr Ben’s Fancy Dress Shop it must have appeared from nowhere.

So, I made it to the shops after what seemed like quite a trek and decided to sit outside Joe’s and slurp a Frappacino to recover for a while. Was very glad that I thought to pack some water and a little bowl for Quincy because he needed it. Quince and I then strolled up to the Post Office, via Traders. He’s a great dog, I just tied his lead to a railing while I popped into the stores and he was as good as gold.

At the Post Office a lady wearing a white blouse that buttoned up at the back asked me to help her do her top back up again where a few buttons had come undone. She seemed very relieved and said that she’d been waiting for a friendly face to ask. ME?!!

The return leg seemed so much quicker, and not just because homeward journeys always do. I think the way I went was somewhat longer.

Back home again safely now. Checked the mail to find ANOTHER medical bill thanks to my trip to the ER. Now they want another $151 for the Doctor’s fees. Aaaargh. I’ve already sent off all my insurance documents relating to that too, and ticked the box that said “no, I wasn’t expecting any more bills” Feck, hope I can sort this out, and I hope my Travel Insurance will cover all these fees to start with. Dammit.

Wander Dawg

July 15, 2003

The ring of the phone woke me up from slumber this morning. I answered it blearily. A girl’s confused voice was on the other end, apologising for dialling the wrong number. But hang on. She was trying to get hold of Bill, so this was the right number. Okay, that threw me for a sec.

She then went on to say that Quince had got out and was roaming. A quick frantic glance around confirmed that Quincy was nowhere to be seen, oh heck.

He did this last night too, we got woken up around 4am by incessant barking. When Bill went to investigate and tell doggins to shush he was surprised to find Quince on the front step wailing to be let back in again. Very un-Quincy-like behaviour. We think he must be after that red dog over the road, drives him mad it does.

Anyhow, thankfully Meredith then confirmed that she had rounded Quincy up and would bring him back over to the house.


Okay, think I’m going to go take him out for walkies and try to get to a Post Office now, hopefully that will quench his adventure lust for today.