Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Moving week...

We are moving this week. In fact, we had our first night's stay in our new flat. I am only 5 minutes' walk from work!! YAH! I had to work shortly after we took possession of the flat, so I didn't get to have time to move things around. When I got home from work, Josh had moved things around very nicely. He had classical music playing for me and was out at the grocery store picking up some things to get us by. After I showered, Josh went down to the local chippy (just around the corner!) to bring back some dinner. He had a nice surprise for me for dessert. Ben and Jerry's!! It's so nice to have a freezer now. :)

Well, as we are busy packing and moving (and me working!), we will not have much internet access for the next week. We are already in the process of having internet set up at our new flat, so it SHOULD be on by the 4th. We would still love to hear from you! Drop us a line.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The best medicine

I tried to send this to some of you awhile back, but for some reason you all couldn't see it. I hope it works this time. Turn up your volume!


Thursday, August 24, 2006

And now, the tough part of my job...

We had a no-show today. One of the girls gave her notice and just decided not to show up. After calling all the stores in Edinburgh to find that every other store is short-staffed as well, I had to stay to cover. I had the priviledge of working 11 hours today. At least we had a trainee who could close with my manager, so he let me go home before closing.

People, if you work in a team setting and you don't like your job or your boss, don't do things that will shaft the rest of the team just because you are trying to "get back" at the boss or the company. Come on! Something like this has happened a couple of times recently and it really chaps my hide because the burden gets placed on innocent people.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Positive Feedback

We have had a pretty busy week at work. I have found it challenging, yet thrilling trying to balance my supervisory duties with serving customers and making sure everything gets done in my limited amount of time. I have enjoyed it and the days just fly by, though I have not been able to get any of the peripheral things done that I have been wanting to do.

I received a nice compliment from one of my baristas today. After a day of mad rushes she said, "You're doing a good job." I said, "Well, thank you! You, too!" (moral at our store is really low and I want to try to saturate people with encouragement). She laughed and said how she meant that I was doing good with my work as a supervisor, though I have only been in this roll for a week. That I was organised and considerate of the others (probably making sure they get their breaks in a timely manor, pitching in as much as I can, communicating, etc). That she enjoyed working with me. It really made my day! I had hoped to encourage the others in their good work and congratulate them on pulling through a busy or tough time. I hadn't really expected that on the other end. It was nice. :)

A Famous Person in Our Store

None of us knew it at the time, but a UK comedian was in our store today. There was no fuss for him. I served him at the till. He was on his mobile. He was rather abrupt and aloof. When he left some girls came in all in a fluster saying, "We saw him!" Who? One of our old supervisors said he comes in our store every year during festival and is rather rude. Oh, I guess I should tell you who he is. His name is Jimmy Carr. Supposedly we get a stream of famous people during festival, but I wouldn't even know them anyways.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I found this on Mt. Dew Musings

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heartWhich is why you're attracted to the romance of RomeStrolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in handAnd gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?
What City Do You Belong In?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Congratulations, Josh!

Josh turned in his dissertation today. Woo-hoo!! Yeah, Josh!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I am in a really stressful situation at work just now. It doesn't help that we are moving, too. Please pray. Pray for Josh's job hunt as well.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Praise God!

After months of searches and disappointments, we finally have a flat! The landlords are Christians. They bought the flat for their son when he was studying at New College and have always let it to students of New College. It is in a very nice neighborhood, but they are keeping the rent lower for the students. I will be close to my work and a grocery store (a large one!), 2 things I was really hoping for. It is still close to city centre (though up a series of steep inclines) incase Josh works there or if we should need to go to any of the shops there for any reason. We are very happy to be near the River Leith Walk and The Botanic Gardens.

Big disappointment about the flat: the kitchen is smaller than what we have now. For any of you that saw our kitchen, that might sound surprising! We only have about 3 feet of countertop, 2 cabinets on the wall, one row of 4 drawers, and 2 or 3 cupboards under the counter, and NO MIXER TAPS!! It is going to be very challenging doing dishes (my little kitchen in Chicago is sounding like a dream!). The good thing is that there is more space to work with throughout the flat. I am already planning some things to move around and create more storage for the kitchen and possibly more counterspace. You who know me know that I am the queen of small spaces and this place has more storage than we have ever had (it is a 2 bedroom!), so I can definately work with it.

Please pray for Josh as he begins looking for a job now. It could be tricky securing something before he actually has the extention for his visa, but maybe someone would be willing to hire him knowing that it is very likely he would be approved.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bomb plot

Is this news not as big in the States as it is here?


I can't imagine what it must be like to be flying (or trying to) right now.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mo' free tickets!

Just got some free tickets to see Three Mo' Tenors on Sunday! Woo-hoo!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You know you are living in 2006 when...

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your mobile phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
8. Leaving the house without your mobile phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.
11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

Just had to share. Someone just posted this on my forum. I hope it gave you a laugh. :)

Flat update

Well, we are waiting. I got a call this morning saying that one flat had already been taken *sigh* and that they couldn't get hold of the tenents in another flat to get permission to view it. I was say that the one was not available because it looked fantastic for a reasonable price. But that's ok because it still would have been an uphill walk from work (though not nearly as bad as now).

So, we saw two. One was at the top of our price range and, of course, that is the one we loved. It is nicer than anything we have ever had and had more storage than I would know what to do with. A BIG pantry, a good sized freezer (Costco, here I come!), a dishwasher (!!!!). Unfortunately, we do not meet with their income requirements as Josh is not employed full-time right now. It is a difficult time now as we are in transition and do not look good on paper. It is even more frustrating that we had excellent credit in the States, but none of that matters.

We should hear from them soon.

Is it tea weather already??

Well, there is no tea weather here, but I definately go through much more of it when it is cold. It is a particularly blustery day today and the temps have dropped since our 'heat wave' a week or two back. The wind just cuts through this building and despite my sweater and slippers, I am chilled. What month is this again?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pray hard!

Tomorrow we are looking at 4 flats through the same agency. We have high hopes that one of these will work! Unfortunately, 2 of them aren't available until 2 weeks after our lease ends here. We are doing everything we can to avoid that situation.

There has been a lot of frustration and let down in this flat hunt. Good flats get snatched up practically as soon as they are listed. We are at a disadvantage because we do not have a mobile to phone the agency's office to let them know we want the flat and we don't have a car to zip down to the agent if they take the first person with a deposit. The flat we are looking at tomorrow will go through an application process. Hopefully they will look past our disadvantage of not having much credit history here (though we have fantastic credit in the States, BIG frustration here!) and not yet having a full-time steady income (though our income would be enough to cover rent).

Monday, August 07, 2006

The customer is NOT always right...

Catriona at the till, me at bar...

Cat is dealing with customer #1 and her many requests. Customer #1 has 3 roudy kids in the store. One is literally screaming at the top of her lungs. There is a small line forming. Cat goes to get a pastry for cust #1 and while she is doing that she takes panini from cust #2 (a regular) and pops it on the grill. Cust #1 starts yelling at Cat saying that she was there first and she should be serving her first. Cat tries to reason with cust #1 (this is where I start to hear what is going on). Cust #1 continues to berate Cat saying she is taking too long and her kids are complaining (kid has been screaming at the top of her lungs since they walked in and mum has not even tried to quiet her). I am standing there dumbfounded and customer keeps looking angrily at me. Customer #2 has finally had enough and starts yelling at #1 and they go at it. Catriona is still nice as ever to customer, but since she is frazzled she starts making some mistakes, making customer angrier (I have been there many a times).

So I jump on till so Cat can take a breather. Instead she goes upstairs to bus. She says to irate customer that she hopes she is enjoying her time here. Customer says, "You completely ruined my day! I should not have even come here!"

Later, as customer is leaving, Cat helps her with her pram. Cust says sweetly, "I feel so much better after having my coffee."

I am so glad customer #2 jumped in to stand up for Cat. I was totally dumbfounded and did not know what to say. I feel utterly wretched for not backing Cat up, and I apologized to her for it. At least after thinking through it time and again I now know what I would do if this were to happen again, and it probably would not make the customer happy. There is no reason to abuse our staff.

Josh explained it well to me. He said that we are always in a service mode and we are trained to make the customers happy, that it takes us back when we start getting abused by a customer and we may not know how to handle it.

What I want to know is, WHERE DOES THIS LADY THINK SHE IS LIVING?!?! Does she get stellar service everywhere she goes? I would bet a large sum that she is not. The UK is notorious for poor customer service. And for her to come into Starbucks, where we do strive to provide good service, and to be such a witch just really ruffles my feathers!

Ok, another customer antecdote for today. I am at the till and a customer brings up a bottled water. I smile and say, "Just that for you?" Nothing wrong with saying that. We do it all the time. Just making sure the customer doesn't have anything else in mind that they want. The customer looked up at me in shock and horror and says "Yes!" As if I had just asked her if she was sure she was a female. Cat said she had to move so she didn't laugh in front of the customer. :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fringe Fest

About the Fringe:

"The Fringe story began in 1947, when the Edinburgh International Festival was launched. It was seen as a post-war initiative to re-unite Europe through culture, and was so successful that it inspired more performers than there was room for. Well aware that there would be a good crowd and focused press interest, six Scottish companies and two English decided to turn up uninvited and fend for themselves.We are now approaching the 60th Fringe and it's still young! It lives in the present, shifting and changing from year to year to accommodate all of the people who want to attend. Over the years, as the Fringe Organisation got bigger so did the programme. Companies began multiplying as soon as the Fringe got its own phone, and by the time the computers were installed over 30 years later, hundreds were coming."
I guess Fringe officially started today, but I could see the beginnings of it from Thursday. I got out today to take some snaps. I basically rushed up and down the Mile snapping away, so I didn't take much time to focus and frame. You photographers will hate me for missing such a great opportunity. I felt bad that I didn't have money for the people I was snapping shots of, but I will get back out there later. I am posting more pictures on flickr just now, so take a look.

Salsa Celtica!!

As I mentioned earlier, I got free tickets for Josh and I to see Salsa Celtica during the Jazz Festival. This group started playing in the pubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow. As you probably guessed, their music is an infusion of salsa and celtic music. Not a likely mix, but it sounds great! Here is the description of them from the festival magazine:
"...like a mix between a late night club in Havana and a traditional Saturday night Scottish village hall, Salsa Celtica's unique cocktail of steamy Cuban ceilidh is driven by the irresistible rhythm to get audiences on to the dance floor...infectious, energetic, exhuberant music- 'rhythms bordering on religious frenzy' (The List)."
I really enjoyed myself, but Josh didn't really get into the music. I thought it was fun and energetic, just as described. I wished so much that I knew salsa. Though they could have turned the sound down a notch. I am still recovering! I guess I'm just old. :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I passed!

I am now a supervisor! Though now I have 3 months 'practise' before I can get my raise. I made brownies for my coffee tasting, though I knew my DM would complain about them being fattening. It was easy and all I had time for.

Phew! I'm glad that's over with. I have been working so hard to get all of my books done. Yesterday I stayed late and felt like my brain was going to ooze out all over the floor from overload. I was feeling stressed with all of this and looking for a flat and working more. Tomorrow I am having the girls from work over, so I am preparing for that. One of the girls is wheat-free, so I have to see if I can make wheat-free cinnamon rolls. Should be fun. I wouldn't mind a little less wheat in my diet.

Flat hunting...ARRRRGH!!!

Stress, stress, stress. We saw a gorgeous flat yesterday but it slipped through our fingers. The way to snatch the flat up was to race to the agency's office clear on the other side of town. Well, we were viewing the flat with several others and they had cars and mobiles. I sent Josh down on the bus, but it was depressing knowing he probably wouldn't make it in time. Since then we have seen flats that cost more and get you less. Very depressing. We have an agent now who is calling us when there is a flat available in our price range and area, but I feel really bad when he comes out to show us a flat and we don't want it. Especially since we told him we are having a hard time finding something. I guess we are just being picky. But it is not just us. Everyone says it is highly competative. Flats get snatched up before we even get a chance to view them. We passed one up today that was in the perfect location: next to the river, close to work. But we passed it up because it just didn't 'feel' right. Part of it is that it cost more than the fabulous new flat we saw yesterday. Can you imagine paying nearly $1400/mo including utilities and tax for about 500 sq ft?? That is what we are looking at? Now you are going to ask "Why on earth do you insist on living THERE!?" Well, the price actually isn't so bad in pounds, though it is still a bit much for us. I just like to say that for shock value. :)

A friend on my forum felt bad about our disadvantages while looking for a flat and she is going to give me a mobile! I am so excited! This should make it a bit easier to make calls and try to snag something up.

Well, festival is kicking in. The tourist are rolling in and I could hear the tattoo tonight. At least I think it was the tattoo, but I thought is started tomorrow. It is going to be madness around here for the next month.