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Revisions and social life

The car is in a driveway and has already been properly appreciated by all family members, the new TV looks great and works great, and the new food processor performs its magical duties like crazy. Things are looking up.

Natasha, actually, demands a couple of corrections to the previous post.

The first has to do with the food processor, which she feels I described rather unenthusiastically. She put me in my place by throwing a Only a woman could truly appreciate it argument in my direction. We sort of progressed from beet root as a source of happiness to a food processor being one. You know, boys like their toys, and girls apparently do too…

Anyway, on its first day of service, working in different modes, the amazing machine facilitated preparation of liver patê, lemon marmalade and a special type of potato side. It was later followed by mushrooms, salads and more potatoes. As I often say, my participation in food preparation – and, therefore, enthusiasm – comes only at the moment of consumption, and I can tell you that everything tasted absolutely delectable! Hooray for the food processor!!

The second revisal is about negotiations for the car. I am famously disinclined to enter any type of bargaining, when I feel that the price is not outlandish to start with. It is a bit surprising that we got reasonably good deals on all of our cars in America – or, maybe, not surprising at all, considering that Natasha always accompanied me to such negotiating sessions. But normally, I will either say Deal! and be done with it or walk away and be done with it. No middle ground.

(As an aside, the intrepid traveller that I am, it is with some trepidation that I look forward to visiting a Turkish market one day).

So, when the trade-in price for our Vauxhall aligned with my expectations, I figured that I was ready to sign on the dotted line. Natasha would not be swayed so easily. She dismissed my laid-back attitude towards such an important deal and insisted that I recede into shadows for a couple of days. The result was quite some money off an already attractive price. The negotiator deserves her props!

After a couple of days of driving the X3, I am certainly starting to rediscover enjoyment of piloting a superior car. Comfort, feel, instrumentation, sound – truly, once you get behind the wheel of a luxury SUV, it is very hard to go back to anything but. Now, the anticipation of upcoming driving trips is even sweeter…

Well, enough about that. Let’s talk about social life.

Mine keeps blossoming, which makes Natasha jealous quite a bit. I have mentioned in the past that going out for drinks after work is a very common occasion in these environs. In addition, each organization holds social events at least quarterly, sometimes to celebrate achievements, sometimes to simply promote camaraderie. As I happen to work closely with several different groups, I get invited to these shindigs all the time.

On Thursday, the invitation was not formal. One of my friends at work was going to a post-product-lunch party with members of a trading desk, and she asked if I wanted to come. I figured a brief appearance and a free glass of beer are always fun. Three hours later, after several Erdingers, I found myself debating qualities of British vs American lifestyle with an energy trader, alternated with a lecture on the right spirit needed to be successful coming from the head of the desk. Being the only IT representative at the party, I eventually got blamed for all ills that befall the desk, the fact that I have nothing to do with their particular business notwithstanding. Good times!

On Friday, it was the turn of the technology group that “adopted” me to hold a scheduled event. A bunch of people simply got together and went bowling. The venue was Trocadero, a large multi-level arcades/casino complex situated right at the Picadilly Circus. I won both games within my group, but before anyone proclaims me a bowling prodigy, the other group had three people with better scores than mine. We also did some dodg’ems (aka bumper cars), which go up in difficulty proportionally to the amount of the beer consumed. Having had our fill of fun, we retired to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown around the block from Picadilly.

Next week, I am going to golf simulator games with my business partners on Tuesday, and to a quiz (think Что? Где? Когда?) with a technology support organization on Thursday. The latter, I have been told, is much more about beer than about answering some quiz questions…

And today, we had a social outing as a family. A Russian skating troupe, called Imperial Stars on Ice, was doing Swan Lake at the theater in Bromley. Beautifully done, inventive, excellent show, with many difficult elements found in pairs skating and very artistic dancers. Grand performance! If you come across it, we highly recommend that you go.

Natasha’s father has gone home today, but in the next few months, there will hardly be a week when we neither greet someone at our house nor go for a trip ourselves. Stay tuned.