getting settled: taking care of feet, computer space, transport & the hair disaster

Saturday, July 27:  First things first: I must get a pedicure.  I head out first thing this morning to take care of this essential piece of business. I have to explain to the Vietnamese ladies at Paradise Nails where I’ve been the last year, as I had to do last year when I was home and the year before.  I’m a regular there, but obviously not too regular in the last 3 years.

Then I head to the Apple Store at Reston Town Center to find out about getting more space on my hard drive.  All during my last months in Oman and my entire trip through Spain and Portugal, I’ve been receiving messages on my MacBook Pro:  Your startup disk is full!  I have been deleting files right and left, but I’ve now reached the point where I have nothing else I want to delete.

The Apple Store directs me to go to Micro Center in Fairfax, as they are the authorized service dealer.  Oh dear, here begins my driving to and fro in northern Virginia to do annoying errands!  To buy the new hard drive costs me $80 and to have them install it and clone all my stuff to the new hard drive will cost $150.  Already, my hard-earned money is flowing right out of my pocket into things I don’t want to buy!  But these are the necessities of life and the money must be spent.  There are so many other things I’d rather spend money on; this is certainly NOT one of them.

It will take them about 3 hours to do this process, so I’m without a computer for a while.  Throughout the rest of the day, I keep getting phone calls from Micro Center telling me it’s taking much longer than they anticipated; apparently there are a lot of pictures that are very slow to transfer over.  Surprise, surprise!  It turns out the computer will not be ready until tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Mike has gone on an 88 mile bike ride with his biking club and I am still trying to fight my way through the disaster in the basement.  This will keep me occupied for weeks, so it’s a good thing I don’t have to start work yet!

When Mike returns home, he does a bunch of research online about the list of cars I’ve told him I’d be interested in buying.  He wants me to buy a slightly used Toyota Corolla because he feels it would be the best value for the money.  I have told him I’d be interested in a Fiat, or a Toyota Matrix or Camry.  We already have a 1997 Toyota Camry and a 2004 Toyota Sienna, and so we head straight to Ourisman Toyota, where we meet the very laid back salesman, Kofi from Uganda.  I’m immediately attracted to a black Toyota Corolla; the new ones are so nice!  After test driving the Corolla, I think it’s perfect.  Especially with the new touch screens for audio and the Bluetooth! 🙂

We decide then and there to buy a brand new 2013 black Toyota Corolla. I’m never one to linger over car decisions; every time I’ve ever bought a car, I’ve just gone out in one fell swoop and bought one!  We take the money I got from the sale of my GMC Terrain in Oman and Mike contributes the same amount again, and we sit for hours buying the car.

my new Corolla
my new Corolla

As you can see, Mike is not very happy with the time it takes to do all of this, mainly because he hardly ate anything today after his 88-mile bike ride and is starving.

Mike at Ourisman Toyota
Mike at Ourisman Toyota

I drive the Corolla right off the lot.  We also bought, suckers that we are, the Environmental Protection Plan, which means I will need to bring back the car for treatment one day this week.

Sunday, July 28: Today, I must run more errands.  This seems to be the nature of my life in Virginia.  Oh how I remember this, and hate it.  I have to go pick up my computer, which is now cloned.  The only problem is that a product key is needed to activate Microsoft Office on the new hard drive.  I search the house high and low and can’t find the packaging for the Microsoft Office I bought in 2011, so now it looks like I will have to buy it again.  So irritating!

The rest of the day, I spend tackling the basement.  Unbelievable.  This clutter and disorganization is so annoying and claustrophobic after my nice clean and spare house in Oman.  Things are piling up in the garage right and left as I dispose of anything and everything in my path.  I figure anything I give to charity will benefit someone else, and any money we spent on this stuff is a sunk cost anyway.  I can’t debate or tell myself maybe we should keep this for a time when we might need it.  It simply has to go!  I’m on a rampage.

Tuesday, July 30:  Next thing, I must get my hair fixed.  It’s a mess.  I spent tons of money in Oman first getting a cut and highlights and low lights.  Six weeks later, I had it straightened; the chemicals from that process basically destroyed the original highlights and low lights and turned my hair yellow.  It was too late to do anything about it before I went on my holiday, so I had to live with it during my entire trip.  Today, to remedy the situation, I head to my trusty Diane T Salon in Vienna to get a decent cut and highlights and low lights again. I tell her to make the low lights darker and chunkier, instead of in fine strands like she usually does them.  She follows my instructions and I personally like the effect, but when I get home, Alex says, “Wow, nice hairdo.  You look like a zebra!”  What??  Oh my gosh!  Kids will say the darndest things, but I run into the bathroom and look in the mirror.  I guess he’s right, I slightly resemble a zebra. 🙂

Out in the front yard, I take a picture of Alex with my new car, and then he takes a picture of me, the zebra, with my new car.  Joy. 🙂

Alex with my new car
Alex with my new car
Zebra-lady with her new car
Zebra-lady with her new car

In the afternoon, I attend an iPhone class at the Verizon Wireless store, where I discover the thrilling things that I can now do on my new iPhone.  Welcome to the modern age!

the iPhone class
the iPhone class
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18 thoughts on “getting settled: taking care of feet, computer space, transport & the hair disaster

  1. Why didn’t you just get a big fat hard drive and move all the photos on there? That would not have cost so much! The transfer could have been done overnight while you slept at home and you would have saved all that money, no? Oh well, you know what you are doing. Hard drives here are so expensive! But at home they were pretty reasonable…. I loved your whiter hair, did not notice any yellowing before you left, but you look great either way. Mike does not look all that thrilled to have his photo taken! Don’t understand the biking obsession. It is HUGE in France and Switzerland, too, but I would rather walk! Could be because Lance Armstrong looks so much like my ex-husband I cannot look at a bike without being reminded of that. Ugh! Of course listen to me with an elliptical I have never used but had to have! So glad you are home safe, but I guess… the holiday of the last three years is well and truly over.

    1. I just wanted to do it and have it all on my computer and now the deed is done and I’m perfectly happy. You’re right; I don’t think Mike was very happy at having his picture taken, especially at that moment! Spending lots of money is certainly not his favorite thing to do; and I’m sure he would have preferred to be doing something else rather than sitting there for 3 hours! I don’t understand the biking obsession either, but he probably doesn’t understand my blogging obsession either! I’m really happy to be home, but yes, the holiday and the adventure is definitely over!

  2. I like your hair!
    Acclimating to life in the US again will probably be a bit of a challenge for awhile. And carving out your space, which you obviously left unprotected – silly you!

    1. Thanks, Carol! Glad you like my zebra hair! I guess I should have left my space under lock and key, but oh well, it’s getting sorted now and I’m starting to feel more settled. It definitely will be a challenge getting acclimated to the US again; it already is a challenge. I’ll have to write about that soon. 🙂

  3. I’m not sure why you had to buy a new car when you have two already, but I’m sure there must be a reason. Don’t you think that in the western world we are all far too materialistic? Oh, and I like the hair, but I liked it white too!

    1. Ah, well we have four people in our house and we each need a car. We live in a suburb that’s pretty rural, so you can’t go anywhere without a car. And we all go in different directions. We have 3 Toyotas: a 1997 Camry, a 2004 Sienna and now my Corolla, a 2013. My other son has a VW Jetta.

      1. He’s now in the process of driving that VW Jetta on a cross country trip and is starting today attending a holistic health coaching workshop in San Francisco. I guess his VW is holding up so far! 🙂

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