Festive freeze

Today was a good day – another day in the office tidying the file, meeting up with people and catching up. I had a good chat with two of the three people who interviewed me initially and gave me the opportunity to come here, which was fantastic! A friend at work introduced a couple of us to some rather good Thai food which is nice and close to the office. And I realised that we are literally 5 minutes walk from Macy’s… Oh dear!

After work four of us headed to the Common for the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights – there was music, a dancing teddy bear, a vaguely creepy dancing snowman and reindeer, and some fireworks. The tree has been provided as a gift from Canada, so there were, rather randomly, Mounties involved, as well as a fantastic group including three drummers and a bagpiper. I honestly never thought I’d use the words “fantastic” and “bagpiper” in the same sentence…

Still, it was very impressive:

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From there I walked to the Prudential Centre, feeling rather a numpty for not buying earwarmers when I had the opportunity – on the list for Saturday!

After a very chilly bus-ride and walk home, I’m now writing this update on my brand spanking new iPad. It’s very clever, and, much like my phone, does a lot of things I can’t think of at the moment. But it has a lovely pink case, which is very exciting. Good grief I am such a girl…

Office Space

My cube is cool – having come from an office which, while lovely and open and with a desk with my name on it, was open plan, it is quite a novelty to have walls!  I have someone from the job I’ve been on for the past months in the cube opposite, and as I found out in a dull moment today, if I ball up a sheet of paper and throw carefully I can get it to land unexpectedly right on her keyboard.  Hours of entertainment!

 

After a day hanging out with people I haven’t seen for months, I’ve got an invitation to join some girls for the Christmas Light Switch-On at the Common tomorrow night, have stayed within my points allowance for the first time in about three months, and have got grand plans for personalising my office space with photos.  Now to find the US equivalent of Photobox – anyone know anywhere particularly good on that front?

Phew…

We are DONE.  Signed off, the accounts are filing either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.  Which is amazing.  I get to go to the office tomorrow, and was home before 7pm.  I didn’t quite know what to do with all my time…

 

… but I managed to make use of it, sorting out my NIC payment and checking out the bank account.  It looks like there’s something funny going on with a payment processing that shouldn’t be, but naturally everyone who could help me on the ‘vendor’ side is unavailable as the office is closed.  A call to be made first thing in the morning, I think – it’s a membership fee which I took out to save me money on my car insurance (it saved me over $2.5k, so it was well worth it) which appears to be processing for the second time…  I’m sure it’s a mistake, but I am following it up.

 

Today was a successful day for car-related purchases.  For just over $20, I have acquired the biggest ice scraper and snow brush combination I have ever seen (it’s over 2 feet long – they take winter VERY seriously over here), a can of de-icer and a map of roads in the USA.  The map is so I can plan trips later, which is easier with a proper map.  Plus I’m still not 100% convinced that my TomTom doesn’t lie to me sometimes, just to mix things up.

 

So, what all this means is that I should be posting some more exciting things from here on in – of course, I’m now off to read my book in my PJs like the hard core partier that I am…  But these things can’t be rushed.

Nearly there

We are almost done.  Filing is either tomorrow or Wednesday morning. Which means two things:

 

1.) I can start to plan things for weekends other than just those involving a public holiday;

2.) Getting home at 9pm will not feel like a vacation; and

3.) I get to go to the office and see my ‘cube’ for the very first time.  Apparently it is spacious.

 

I know, it’s three.  I’m an accountant, I never said I could add up.  Hang on…

Hmm…

… So I talked the talk in my last post, about getting back to being a good blogger again.  And then failed in a pretty epic fashion to follow up.  However, the hold-up was due to some pretty epic Thanksgiving eating and tourist exploring, so it was all in a good cause.

 

To prove the scope of the eating….

Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, parsnips, cranberry sauce, salad, candied yams, gravy and bread 🙂

Trifle – one of many desserts, including chocolate cream pie, pumpkin ice cream, pecan pie, lemon merangue pie and pumpkin roulade.

 

Impressive!

 

Following much food and wine (after which, I think, I updated this blog) it was operation tourist with Mrs G – Duck Tour, Prudential Centre viewing platform, and wandering through the Common, and down to Quincy Market – great fun!  We also saw Harvard, MIT, the Science Museum (awesome!) and did some impressive shopping (including the Apple Sale – iPad has now been aquired).  Plus we walked 38,000 steps yesterday (10 propoints, and apparently about 9 miles – sore feet doesn’t quite cover it…).

 

I’ve attached some photos below (there will be people photos to follow, but I need to get them vetted first) to show how Boston does Christmas preparation:

 

Next weekend it’s going to be Chrismtas shopping – I’m really excited about wrapping up warm and heading out into town to get my shopping sorted out, although I might do one day at the outlets to make sure I can get good deals – aat least some of it will be done in town, though, and it’s going to be great!

So…….

…. I am still alive.  Honestly.  Just because I appear to have dropped off the edge of the world doesn’t mean that I have, in fact, vanished.  I havI ade, however, worked about seven million hours in the past few weeks.  And that’s WITH the trip to Florida…

 

So I suppose I should do a general catch-up on things.   Here goes:

 

Florida – this was AMAZING!!  Seeing my family was absolutely fantastic, and I had such a lovely time – I will try to post some photos as soon as I can, but I haven’t got them on the computer yet so can’t do it as yet.  Needless to say, there was a ‘running across the airport’ moment when I arrived, and it was a real wrench to leave again.  I’ll write a bit more about it when I’m not so tired, but it was fantastic to see the sun again.

 

Car – when I got back from Florida my car was FINALLY available for pick-up.  A social security number makes all things possible, apparently…  I got a lift from a lovely girl at work, and finalised the paperwork (after a hysterical conversation with Geiko who were going to charge me $2k for SIX MONTHS for insurance, I managed to get the whole year for $1.4k with the AAA and prior UK driving history discounts – very proud moment) then went out to pick up the car.  I didn’t realise that they still make cars with wind-up windows, but it has air conditioning so it’s not such an issue.  The boot is HUGE, and for a Fiesta it seems, frankly, massive.  But i really like it – it’s fun to drive, and very nippy.  And has thus far done 360 miles on a tank.  For about $40 a fill-up, I’m not going to complain…

 

Work – as usual, this has been the biggest part of life.  Last Sunday we had a ‘fire drill’ on an area and I didn’t get home until 1.30am.  It was painful.  But we are getting there, and the biggest part of what we have to do is the tidying up, rather than anything additional (although we ARE still chasing some bits and pieces).  The thing that got me, was that I was telling a UK work story which had always previously ended with me saying how HORRIBLY late I was stuck at work – when I thought about it, I realised I’d left that night by 8pm.  It doesn’t really compare.  But I’m still very much enjoying it, and one of the visiting partners from the UK (free dinner in the North End – certainly encouraging further visits from UK partners!!) seemed rather stunned by my reaction to the hours and the work itself.  It’s been a very long slog, but I know I’ve learned a lot and feel much better prepared for whatever comes next.

 

Thanksgiving – is today.  Or ‘Turkey Day’.  I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NY on the TV, then drove to the airport to pick up Mrs G (who did very well and fought off her jet lag until 8pm – she is now snoozing).  We had a HUGE dinner at the house with my landlords and their extended family.  The kids are currently hyped up on sugar and shrieking in the lounge, while people watch the Pats game (Pats vs the NY team… not sure who, exactly, but I think that’s because I’m tired…).  Tomorrow we’re going to go and explore Boston, which will be brilliant – I’m so excited about showing someone my city!  I have to send one work e-mail (an accounts checklist which I didn’t complete yesterday owing to my landlady offering me a glass of wine and a ‘taste’ of something which appeared to be moonshine – I drank it and my face went completely numb for about ten minutes…) first thing, but then I’m free for the rest of the three days!  Fantastic!!

 

I will bulk out the details on Florida and other items, and attach car photos, in the next few days, but for now I’m signing off again.  Updates will get much more frequent from now on as the hours are more reasonable, so you won’t have to wonder where the heck I have got to – which will obviously be great for all of you who are still sticking with me, despite the long gap!  I hope you are all still there, and reading, and taking care of yourselves.

Snow!

I have to admit that I was, initially, very excited about the snow. Driving in it is less fun, however…  Still, I made it back, and driving through a “nor’eastern” is now checked off my to do list.  Not that it was there initially…

In 48 hours I’ll be at the airport. Just a magnificent thought!!

Chilly…

… does not adequately describe the cold tonight.  Winter is coming, and with it my PURPLE down-filled coat. I’m not sure which I’m more excited about.

Anyway, 74 work hours last week, and I’m on day 8 of consecutive work. And no, they cannot say I can”t go to Florida – thank goodness.  The countdown is really on now!

Hmmm

I make no apology for the next few days – it is probably unlikely that I am going to be able to update.  Today I found out that we have to have the work done by Friday.  As in THE WORK.  The deadline isn’t until the 19th, but with everything else that is yet to do, the audit work apparently needs to be out of our court and at least 1st stage reviewed by FRIDAY.  Good grief…  I have been trying to track everything and make sure it’s all getting done, but this is sooner than I expected.  So I will be working tomorrow.  Probably not a standard day (i.e. 7.45am to 10pm) but a short day (10am to 6pm-ish) and will be working long days all week to try and get this done.  BUT, once the work is set, I am going to Florida.  And leaving my laptop behind.  And relaxing.  A lot.

 

Mum and Dad, and Janey and Patrick are now all in Florida.  Jet lagged to hell, I have no doubt, but booked into the resort and ready to spend tomorrow by the pool.  I have to admit that I am more than a tad jealous.  And frustrated to have them all in the same country and be unable to see them for a week.  I can’t wait to see them.  I miss them so much, and I cannot WAIT to see them.  But I have the week from hell ahead of me, so need to keep my focus and just work through it.  At least it will take my mind of it, I guess…  I’ll be packing my summer gear tomorrow ready for next week (it’s not like I’m going to need it – November has already proved decidedly chilly, and apparently we have some snow heading our way later this week) and then just keeping my focus throughout.  And coming home to large glasses of wine, as promised by my rather lovely landlady…

 

Anyway, just got to get this done.  We’ll be filed by Thanksgiving, and if I can get everything done by Friday in terms of the bulk of the work, then I can properly relax.  So it’s actually a GOOD thing.  Just got to keep thinking that this is a GOOD thing.  Not an insane thing which is likely to lead to some kind of breakdown from too many hours…  Bets on how many hours I have worked by Friday?  I’m going to go over 70 for this week (I think I may have already with 6 days under my belt, but tomorrow will definitely push it over), but do you think I can make it there for the 5 days I am in Boston next week??  Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen…

Friday…

… loses it’s shine rather when it isn’t the start of the weekend.  Just a thought…

 

I am now the proud holder of a social security number – I have a document from the SS office in Boston which has it printed on it, and I am not letting it out of my sight!  I’ve contacted the car lease people to arrange pick-up (did so this morning) but didn’t hear back before the end of play today, so I guess it’ll have to be next week before I sort it.  It’s not ideal, since work is going to be nutty again, but I’ll just have to work around it to get the hire car dropped off, and my actual car picked up.  I sense it might involve some interesting use of lifts and taxis…

 

Anyway, another work day tomorrow.  But things feel a bit different now, because my parents arrived in the USA today.  Granted they’re down in Florida, but it feels very different to have them in the same country.  Not seeing anyone that I have known for longer than 9 weeks is odd.  I haven’t met with anyone I knew before I set foot here in August since that point, and it’s really odd.  It’s going to get very emotional when I fly down a week tomorrow, I think…  And as for coming home for Christmas – I think I’m going to need forcing back on the plane.  Not that I don’t love it out here – I absolutely do!  And the people I’ve met are amazing, and the things I’m doing are thing that I’ve always wanted to do, and am enjoying more than I thought possible.  It’s just life goes on at home and I’m missing it.  It’s really hard to get used to, is all.