Mark and I had a great time with Jeremy - Mark's older brother came for a few days this past week on his way to Switzerland - but I'm going to let Mark blog about that. More pressing is the fact that spring has sprung in Liverpool! Crocuses have popped out along Lark Lane and throughout Sefton Park, and we have daffodils straining to bloom out of their buds in our backyard/patio.
Awesome. But let me back up:
We spent Saturday doing laundry at the laundromat (ugh - I thought I'd left that behind in college, but nay), cleaning, getting cable installed, and getting library cards at our local library. It's tiny, so I wasn't expecting much - but it was breathtaking inside. I see myself spending many summer mornings coming in, picking out a book, then taking Miller down to the park to read and watch him run around and make friends.
The library looks like a small Tudor cottage from Aigburth Road, the closest main road to our little neighborhood. It has a small lawn and an unassuming plot - but inside are original windows facing toward Sefton Park, high ceilings and a narrow balcony circling the main room. The interior itself was completely refurbished a few years ago, but it's endured a lot in the past several decades. There's a photo display as you enter - black and white photos of patrons standing knee-deep in rubble as they wait to check out their books, and a gaping hole in the roof of the main room of the library, devastated by German bombs in WWII.
Now it's populated by gregarious older ladies proud to show off their state-of-the-art computer systems (I get to scan the books myself! And it doesn't even need to see the bar code!) and their collection - impressive, considering the library's small size. Absolutely adorable. I will post pictures next time we visit.
We also drove up to Bootle, on the north side of Liverpool, to finalize my plans to purchase a new (used) car. I've been driving a hired Ford Focus, but the hire was coming to an end and I needed to suck it up and go to a few dealerships. For those of you on the opposite end of teary phone calls and exasperated shouts (and possibly whines) during my last car purchasing adventure, then you know what Mark's been putting up with. I hate buying cars.
Let me make that clear: I loathe buying cars.
I like to know what I am talking about, I like to be an educated consumer, I like to look at a price tag and know immediately whether I'll take it or not.
I do not like walking into a dealership to be accosted by salesmen. Particularly salesmen who act and speak exactly as you expect salesmen to speak. I do not like trying to read up on cars and then looking at cars and realizing I am still at a complete loss. I do not like being pressured to make decisions. I do not like negotiating (my recent course notwithstanding) and I do not like it when I tell a salesman frankly what I am looking for and what I am willing to spend to have it promptly ignored.
Whew. Now that all that's out of my system: I have bought a used 2006 Ford Focus. Paperwork still to be finalized - but it looks like I will pick it up on March 2nd. This will be my first car to have six (six!) gears, reverse not included, and it is pretty snazzy looking, if I do say so myself. (Pics to come...)
Mark was an excellent fiance and accompanied my to this and many other car dealerships. I knew he'd rather be somewhere - anywhere - else (and who wouldn't?) but he sucked it up and came. Especially after I begged.
But secretly, let me admit something: even though I told him that I wanted him there for moral support, it was really that I just appreciate having him there. And this weekend, after everything had been finalized to the point that me going to the dealership was really just a formality and filling in paperwork, and it meant that he didn't go skateboarding in order to sip terrible coffee and pretend to make conversation with Peter across the desk, I didn't really need him there. But I still made him come.
I am not really adjusting to the whole sales/travel thing particularly well. I don't know if it's just that I've grown to depend on Mark like a crutch, or that we're really that disgustingly in love, but I hate leaving him. I hate leaving our home and our routines to spend nights away in an empty hotel room. I do little things to make it better: watch movies, take baths in extravagant bathrooms, read books late into the night... but the truth is, I'd rather be growing exasperated with his sighs and moans as I turn another page and keep the light on for a few more minutes than to roll over in bed and realize he isn't there.
(Well, in truth, some giant extravagant bathtubs do make me feel a little bit better...)
I'm sorry if that just made you throw up a little inside your mouth, but it's the truth. And all this weekend I was dreading going to the airport. Dreading packing, dreading all the time to myself. Because even though I'm lucky enough to meet lots of nice, interesting people when I travel, sales is pretty lonely.
The airport was everything I dreaded, but I arrived in Cork to sunshine and a beautiful spring day. Crocuses and even some daffodils bobbed along the side of the road as I made my way out of the airport and toward Carrigaline. I passed rolling hills patched like eathen quilts - shades of green and gold edged by hedge rows, and ancient stone walls, and the remains of castles and churches, overgrown by ivy in some cases, lovingly tended in others.
And I perked right up. I still missed Mark, but I started to enjoy the adventure a bit.