Oh No, Not Again!

If anything can go wrong, it will.

Twitter GoodReads Profile Follow Oh No, Not Again! on WordPress.com

Home

I’ve been home for just over a month now.

I flew out of Omaha on December 4, and was meant to arrive in Newquay on December 5.   But, this is me, and well… world’s worst luck, right? (Except where it comes to Alex, obviously.)   I was expecting to have a four hour layover in Chicago, before boarding a connecting flight to Dublin.  Unfortunately for me, though, there was quite a lot of fog in Chicago, and they wouldn’t let us take off from Omaha until it cleared.   This is the part, out of the entire fiasco, that really gets to me:  Before ever leaving Omaha – where 10 minutes away I had cheap food, a nice comfy bed, etc, I asked repeatedly if it was realistic to expect that I would make my connecting flight in Chicago. I was told it wasn’t realistic to think so, no, but to “just give it 20 more minutes” anyway.  You know, rather than letting me re-book the flight, or try the next day when I was 10 minutes from my house, instead they expected me to just wait, however delayed we might be.  So, eventually they did start letting us board, and if we had boarded, and not been left sitting on the plane for another hour or so, I might, if I’d run, have made that connection. 

It was not to be.

My connection took off about 15 minutes before we’d landed.

So, now, I am many hours from the nice comfy bed in Omaha, and I have missed a connection.   And a pretty important one, because the ticketing agent was completely unable to find a way to get me to Dublin to make a connection to Newquay, at all.  After telling her a couple of times that if she could get me to Heathrow, I’d be able to get a train, and being ignored… finally she says that she can not find any way to get me to Dublin to connect to Newquay. (This confuses me, to be honest, I guess that flight from Dublin to Newquay is like a once in a lifetime occurrence?  Two Aer Lingus flights leave Dublin every day for Newquay, I know, I checked! So she must have meant there was nothing in a reasonable time frame.)   So, I again tell her that if she can get me to Heathrow, I can get a train, and finally she listens.   The only problem with this is, I can’t get a flight to Heathrow until the following day, so wee, I get to spend the night in O’Hare International Airport.  She was nice enough to give me a little bag with… um, shaving cream, shoe polish, and razors.  Yeah, none of that was actually helpful, to be honest! You don’t really need shoe polish for knock-off Chucks!  And, what was I going to shave, exactly? My legs? In the toilets?

Traveling on December 4, 2016, via Chicago was a huge mistake.  Some 20,000 people were delayed that day.  Shocking news, I’m sure, but winter in Chicago sucks! :)  I should count my blessings that I landed when I did, and was directed straight to the ticketing agent, because when I approached the front of the line, and looked back, there was a line winding itself down the concourse and back full of people, waiting to make arrangements for connecting flights to wherever the hell they were going.   One poor guy had somehow managed to be delayed by TWO DAYS!

The plan had been for me to arrive in Newquay because that’s not nearly so far from St Ives as Heathrow is – but so much for planning!  To attempt to look on the bright side, though, at least the route by train from there was familiar to me.  I’d done that before, so I can honestly say that the second time around it was not nearly so intimidating.  And, for what it’s worth, customs was a breeze, too.  I had a moment, a tiny moment, where I thought “Well, it’s taking me longer than we’d planned, but this will all turn out fine, anyway” and I was perfectly happy as I made my way from Heathrow to Paddington.  Perfectly content as I got on the train to Penzance.  The cheerfulness was short-lived, though.

I was meant to get off the train at St Erth where Alex was going to be waiting for me.  Again, I emphasize meant to!  The train did make its scheduled stop at St Erth, but I’ll be damned if the window on the door didn’t refuse to open so I could let myself off of said train!  I even asked for help, and that window just refused to open.  So, of course, my luck being what it is – the train left St Erth for Penzance with me still on it.  And then I get sarcastic texts from Alex informing me that he guesses that I’m just not getting off the train.  Yes, helpful, when one is already nearly in tears from yet another thing going wrong! He says, in his defense, that he thought I’d just fallen asleep on the train and was trying to wake me up.  I say, I love him, and I forgive him his ill-timed sarcasm.  I had some ill-timed sarcasm of my own, after all. It just wasn’t directed at Alex.  Instead, it was directed at the poor conductor who made the mistake of telling me, as I was explaining what had happened regarding my missed stop, that she needed to go, as she needed to “open the doors”.  I informed her that I’d have appreciated it if that had been done for me AT ST ERTH.  (She meant that she needed to unlock doors, but  poor choice of words at the time.)

To the credit of the conductor, and to Great Western Rail, despite my scathing sarcasm, she very kindly made sure I was sent back to St Erth at no charge.  There was also a very tall, lanky stranger who was kind enough to offer me the use of his mobile to reach Alex – although, that turned out to be unnecessary.  Suffice it to say that despite not being the conductor’s favorite person, she still made sure that not only did I get back to St Erth, but also that someone was contacted there to let Alex know what had happened.

A couple of things in my own defense, regarding the train fiasco, though.  1. I was not the only person to attempt to open that damned window.  Legitimately, it wouldn’t open! 2. Aside from the scathing sarcasm after the “I need to open the doors” comment, I wasn’t actually rude or anything to anyone!  But that part just could not be helped.  She deserved it for saying she needed to OPEN THE DOORS.  I realize that she didn’t know my circumstances but, after having spent the night sleeping on an airport bench, having an overnight trip turned into a two-day nightmare, being tired, hungry, and stressed, a little bit of grumpiness should be somewhat understandable.  I mean, she got grumpy over one bit of snark! (At least, that is according to Alex who overheard her shouting at the staff at St Erth.)  All right, I accept that she may very well have been having a shit day, too, but still… I slept on a bench at an airport! I was hauling this beast of a laptop around for two days, and it, by itself, is monstrously heavy! Then there’s the clothes, and everything else!  Hungry. Exhausted. Trapped on a train!

In the end, all of it was worth it. I’m home, now, with Alex, where I belong, and I’m happy.

 

Haven’t Written In A While: Here Goes.

I have always joked that perhaps I was never meant to be born an American; that my sense of humour was a little bit too dry and sarcastic; that I have always enjoyed a nice cup of tea a bit more than the average American.  I have not, however, usually found myself ashamed of being an American.  And then came the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November 2016.

On that day We, The People, of the United States elected Donald Trump as President.  I cast my vote, not for Trump, but even so in the end Trump won.  Hillary Clinton had the popular vote, but not the necessary 270 votes in the Electoral College.  So, it is what it is, and I am not writing to talk about how the Trump campaign succeeded or how the Clinton campaign failed, or even how third-party candidates are barely spoken about.

What shames me, what leaves me feeling embarrassed to be an American right now is that, although technically Clinton won the popular vote, and therefore that means that a majority of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump, it was a very narrow margin with which she won that popular vote.  And that means, nearly half of my fellow Americans supported a racist. A bigot. A misogynist.

I had thought that it couldn’t possibly be quite so many as all that.  Surely, not as many of half of us could find enough political worthiness in Donald Trump to excuse his shortcomings as a person.  And yet, half of us did.  

I am not saying that Clinton is a shining example of all that a human being should be.  Hell, at one point prior to the results of the Election, I quipped that I had cast my vote for Cthulhu, because why should I vote for a lesser evil, after all?  But I had thought that a lot more of us were better than this.  Better than to cast our votes for someone who would say that he could shoot someone and it wouldn’t cost him voters.  Better than to cast our votes for someone who would speak so shamefully of women, and excuse it as “locker-room talk”.  Better than to cast our votes for Donald Trump.   Clearly, I was wrong because just near half of us did exactly that.

America, I really hope you can get your shit together by 2020, because honestly, I am ashamed of you.

 

It’s Been Awhile

There has been a lot going on in my life, and in Alex‘s, since  last I wrote. Some of the reason that I haven’t written is because a fair bit of the things that have happened haven’t been the most pleasant of subjects.

I’m not sure where, exactly, to start.

My heart’s been in pieces, it feels, ever since I came back.  Naturally I miss Alex, but aside from that there’s been the issues with my mom.  Her mental state is perplexing, to put it mildly.  She is agitated, unhappy all the time.  She can’t remember anything.  There are physical issues, as well. No balance or coordination.  It’s all just so confusing, and no doctor seems able to find a reason for it.

And then there’s the other thing. The one I don’t want to talk about so much, but that comes to mind every. single. day.  The one that hurts at least as much as being separated from Alex again.

When something tragic happens to you, the people who love you usually rally around you, and try to comfort you, try to find the right things to say or do to help you through it, make you feel better.   It’s just that sometimes there is nothing that will make you feel better, except perhaps, time.

And then of course there’s also the well-meaning things that people say that are meant to be helpful and comforting, but which only hurt more and make you sadder, or even angry.  There have been more than a few well-meaning things said to me that only served to hurt and anger me in the past months.

I need time.  I guess.

 

LDR: The Struggle Is Real

… and Netflix is making that struggle just a little more difficult.

Alex and I try to find as many things that we can do together in the time we get to share. We play games (World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Mordheim: City of the Damned to name a few), we watch films and shows together.  Or at least, we have been.  And maybe, just maybe we’ve been circumventing some rules in order to do that.

There exist easy to use extensions and add-ons that will “trick” sites into thinking that you’re browsing from a location you’re not actually in.  So, I, for example, could use that to make it appear I’m browsing from the UK.  Or Alex could make it appear he was browsing from the US.  This has always allowed us to synchronise films and shows that we both enjoy and given us something to do together.

As of recently, though, Netflix has announced that they are cracking down on the types of add-ons and extensions that make appearing to be browsing from somewhere else simple.

As I mentioned already, Alex and I have been circumventing some rules, and I recognise that we don’t get to be righteously indignant about the forthcoming changes. It does make me a bit sad, though, that in a world where we could be so much more connected, where we could watch films and shows with loved ones far away it all boils down to greed and licensing fees.

It’s not limited to Netflix, either.  We used to watch old episodes of Ridiculousness together, also – they weren’t even the most current ones – but now MTV requires that you log in with your cable provider to do this.

Being in a long distance relationship is so very difficult, and to lose little things that made it a tiny bit more tolerable just sort of stinks.  That’s really all there is to it. It stinks.

I have never been much of a fan of television, though, and I own the films I love best, so I guess Netflix is saving me some money.

 

An English Thanksgiving

There is no “Thanksgiving Day” in England.

To be sure, there have traditionally been harvest festivals and celebrations there for thousands and thousands of years, and in saying that there’s no “Thanksgiving” in England, I assure you I’m not in any way trying to invalidate those observances.

But, the fourth Thursday in November in England is a Thursday much like any other Thursday.

Usually.

Realising that I was going to be far from my family on the fourth Thursday of November, Alex‘s mom, Kay, went to a great deal of trouble to surprise me with Thanksgiving dinner.   I probably should have been able to guess that something was up when Alex started dropping questions here and there about what Thanksgiving celebrations consisted of.   (A lot of food: turkey, potatoes, green bean casseroles, yams, stuffing, beets, pumpkin pies,  and of course the traditional Thanksgiving family brawl, the food coma, and [American] football.)

Dinner was lovely – I wish I had at least taken a picture of the pumpkin pie.  Kay really went all out on that pie – which, to be honest, is my favourite part of Thanksgiving.  We even had ham rather than the traditional turkey because, well, that’s the way we do it at my parents’ … none of us actually being big fans of turkey. There was no green bean casserole, and no stuffing, and no football on the television.   (But there was mead and four kinds of potatoes! I love potatoes.)

All of it was meant to make me feel less homesick, and like I wasn’t missing out on anything.

As much as I love my parents, and (most) of my extended family, not once did I ever feel homesick.  Not once did I feel like I was “missing out”.  Being with Alex is home, to me.  But now, I feel a little like some of his family has become my family, too.

 

14K Fridays: Week 6

  1. Being able to look back at things that annoyed you and laugh. Things like having my seat kicked by small children on every flight on the way to and from England makes me giggle now.  At the time, I was fairly sure someone was going to take note of the steam coming out of my ears. Today, I smile and remember that that’s just my kind of luck.
  2. Rainbows.
  3. How good it feels to know that you have supported a worthy cause. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t always have a lot of funds to spare, but I do love the way it feels when I do and can give a little to the charities I believe in.  And of course, even when you don’t have funds to spare, there are other ways to support your favourite charities.  I like to donate my hair to Locks of Love, for example, and your time is always a valuable commodity.
  4. Money you didn’t know you had. Reaching in to the pocket of your winter coat and finding a $20 bill that you’d forgotten about since last year, as an example.
  5. Knowing that someone loves you, no matter how irritated they might be with you in a given moment.
  6. Banana milkshakes! 
  7. Coming in from the cold.  I would honestly prefer to be a little too cold than a little too hot, but those first few moments when you come inside to a very warm house when you’re cold (and maybe wet) are lovely.
  8. The look of freshly fallen snow.  I do not like actually being out in the snow, but I think the world looks lovely covered in it.
  9. Travelling by train.  I really find this method of travel relaxing, particularly the lengthier journeys, provided the seats are comfortable.
  10. JELLY BABIES!  Being a fan of Doctor Who, I’d of course, heard of Jelly Babies, but it wasn’t until very recently that I got try them.  I love, love, love them. Especially the black ones.  Here in the States, the vast majority of candy that colour is licorice, of which I am not a fan.  I almost passed up the black Jelly Babies, until Alex told me that they’re black currant, not licorice.  His mistake.
A Rainbow Over Eden Project

A Rainbow Over Eden Project.
Two things to be happy about in one photo.

 

Back In The US

First, let me state for the record that I owe the poor ticket agent for the Heathrow Express an apology.  Their fares changed between the last time Alex had used their services, so he in fact, did not overcharge me. 

Second, I wish I was still in Cornwall.  Obviously it’s primarily because I wish I was still with Alex, but there’s also the beauty and charm of the place itself that I miss. It might be easier to overlook those things when it’s your every day, but I think it’s something I’ll never take for granted.

The trip back, though. Oh, let me tell you about the trip back…

Alex saw me off at the St. Erth train station, where I caught the sleeper to Paddington.  It was the hardest thing to get on that train and watch Alex waving goodbye from the platform.  Thinking about it right now even makes me cry, but I had a face full of tears and snot as the train pulled away.  Not a pretty sight, I’m sure, and people who were already on the train gave me such looks.  Sympathetic looks, to be sure, but it’s still not particularly fun to be sort of just stared at.  The trip to Paddington was largely uneventful, though, aside from my heart breaking into millions of tiny pieces.

I was disappointed to know that I didn’t have to go through customs to exit, as I desperately wanted to encounter the same grumpy early-morning agent and be slightly smug about the fact that I had  not been a drain on England’s economy in any way, having not worked a bit and only spending money, and that I was leaving as promised. Of course, it might be a bit of a blessing, though, as I was still crying by that time (you’d think a person would run out of tears) and she’d probably have just asked me what that was all about.

I boarded the plane at Heathrow on time, where we then sat for two hours because the right engine wouldn’t start.  Yes, that’s such a reassuring thing to have happen when you get on a giant tube that’s going to shoot you 36,000 feet into the air and carry you over the Atlantic.  However, it turned out – after two hours of just sitting – that the engine would in fact start just fine, as long as it was started “manually”, and we were deemed safe to fly, as long as someone filled out some paperwork about it.

My connecting flight at Chicago was meant to be caught after a layover of only nearly three hours, though, so when you factor in the time for everyone to collect their bags, get off the plane, and the time it would take to get to another gate, I knew before take-off that I wasn’t going to catch my connection.  I wasn’t a happy camper.  I left St. Erth just before 10 pm, arrived at Heathrow just before 6 am, for a flight that was due to take off at just before 9 am (but didn’t).  You can imagine by this time I was tired and cranky.

You know what, though? For all the little complaints I have about the travel time, having the back of my seat kicked over and over by small children (on every single flight), and all of it, I had the best three months of my life. All I want now is to turn around and go right back.

… oh, there’s photos.  And many  more stories. Give me time.

 

Observations

Firstly, clearly I have safely arrived in St. Ives. I have spent the past two weeks largely offline, because there’s nothing quite so fascinating as Alex, and were it not for the distance which is normally between us, I think I could be largely fine without the internet. In fact, most of our internet usage has been limited to binge-watching “Red Dwarf” on Netflix.

Secondly, I will get to the details of the travel itself at some point, but probably not until I am back in the United States. For now, I will just say that it was a pretty miserable experience.

Right now, I just want to babble about some of the things that I have observed thus far.  May not be nearly so entertaining for you, but this is all about me, anyway, right?

The British may not be quite so polite as the rest of the world thinks they are. Or perhaps it’s just customs agents who are there to deal with inbound visitors arriving at stupid o’clock in the morning.  Why am I crying? Well, it may be because I’m in a metric butt-load of pain, I haven’t slept for at least twenty-four hours, and I am 4,000 miles from home and you may or may not be allowing me entry into the country.  That just might be why I’m crying.

Oh, and Heathrow Express ticket agent… gee, thank you ever so much for not asking me any other difficult questions after my experience with customs, and for charging me more than twice as much as I needed to pay to get to Paddington Station.  That’s what I get for coming right out and saying that I was a hopelessly lost and tired American, I suppose.  Those famous British good manners may just be a thin veneer coating their sarcasm and/or disdain, that’s all I’m saying.

I have also learned that the British have their equivalents of the pervasive American “hon” or “honey”.  While I have yet to be called either of those things here in the U.K., I have many times been called “sweetheart” and “m’love”.  Thus far, only one person has called me “m’love”, but she did it four times in under a minute.

“I’m not your sweetheart, honey.”

“I’m not your honey, m’love.”

“I’m not your love, wench!”

Lastly, tourists are tourists. Even people from this country seem to lose their manners while on holiday here in St. Ives. They can’t recall how to share a narrow side-walk with other people and will merrily force you into the street rather than walk single file with their sweetheart or child for a step or two.  They will jump the queue in the shop or wherever, as if they suddenly forgot how it works.  I have it on good authority that this can’t be so. The British are all born knowing how to queue.

 

Dear Shannon

Hello. It’s me. Or that is to say, it’s you. An older, hopefully slightly wiser you. Me.

I want to talk to you about a few things that, from this end, are still on the horizon for you.

You’ve just had your heart broken by someone that you had put all of your time, energy, faith, and hope into. He let you down, and left you when you needed someone the most.

Be patient. It’s true what they say about good things coming to those who wait.

It’s okay that you feel heartbroken.  You’re allowed. I promise you, though, that it won’t always be that way. Soon, very soon, someone is going to come along who will help you understand why the relationship you’re lamenting the end of just didn’t work out.

It wasn’t meant to be.

There is something, someone, so much better for you about to come along. I promise.

He won’t live anywhere near you. In fact, he’ll be 4,132 miles away, and there will be times that the distance is so hard. Don’t give up.

You will get scared. You will because you will love him so much. You will worry that he won’t be able to handle the miles that separate you. You will worry that he will find someone nearby to take your place in his heart. You will lie awake at night and obsess over all the things that might happen, all the ways in which you might not be enough for him.

I wish you wouldn’t. And he will wish you wouldn’t, too.

Be brave. Be confident. When he tells you that he loves you, take him at his word, because as you will eventually see, he will never give you reason to doubt.

Don’t let jealousy or fear get the better of you. Understand that in his eyes, there is nothing and no one who could ever take your place. Nothing and no one who is “better” than you.

Take notice of how much you love him and how happy he makes you, and never take those things for granted. Never take it for granted that he knows how you think or feel about him, either. It may not seem like it, but he gets scared, too. Take the time to remind him, often, how much you love and appreciate him.

You will argue sometimes. It happens to all couples. Understand that in the same way that you still love him when you are upset and frustrated, he loves you, too. Don’t assume that he is going to give up on you because of an argument. Or two. Or ten. Don’t hold him accountable for the way you’ve been treated by others.  Don’t think that he will be just the same, because he is not.

Cherish every bit of time that you get to spend together. The time zone difference between the two of you will be hell. Six hours difference means that you will only get a few hours in any given day, particularly weekdays. Make the most of your time together.

Mostly, though, be brave. This one,  he’s The One. The one that you’re going to spend forever with. The one who is going to work just as hard as you will, right by your side, to make it work.

Remember that love is not just a thing that you feel, but something that you do. Keep falling in love with him every day. You will see, by his words and his actions, that he does the same for you.

 

14K Fridays: Week 5

I should be doing the laundry and at least starting to pack. Instead, I’m here expounding upon my own personal list of things to be happy about.  And waiting for Alex‘s lunch hour, because I’m really missing the sound of his voice. The laundry and the packing will wait… though not for long.

  1. The Sims You go ahead and judge me if you must, but I freaking love The Sims 3. I’ve been playing Sims forever, and TS3 is my favourite. TS4 can die in a fire, though. It’s more like The Sims 2.5 since they took away open neighbourhoods and CaSt. I refuse to move on to TS4 without CaSt, even if I could live without open neighbourhoods.
  2. Pumpkin Pie. If I would be just a little bit less lazy about it, I could have pumpkin pie all the time.  There are very few things that I know how to cook, or bake, but I can do scrumptious pumpkin pies.
  3. Halloween. I’m not that big on most holidays, to be honest, but I do enjoy Halloween. I’ve not dressed up for it in years, but I do love to see the costumes on the little trick-or-treaters who come by.  And, even though I’m  not actually much of a fan of horror films, I am looking forward to spending Halloween with Alex, and cuddling up with him to watch whatever scary stuff he chooses.  The scares are just good excuses to bury my face in his chest and snuggle up closer, right?
  4. Never completely growing up.  Of course we all have to grow up to some extent, and be responsible, productive members of society, right? But that doesn’t mean that it’s not still sometimes fun to sit on the porch steps and blow bubbles. 4 cups of water, ½ cup of dish soap, ⅓ cup of honey and a good bubble wand makes for some really awesome bubbles.
  5. Cupcakes! Aside from Alex, I don’t know very many people who don’t enjoy cake, at least now and then. Cupcakes are awesome because you get a whole cake all to yourself, without having to feel quite so much guilt as you would for eating, say, an entire sheet-cake.
  6. BLTs. Oh, how I love bacon. My mouth is watering right now, and I think I need to stop putting food on the list. I’m starving!
  7. The sound of my cat(s) purring.  Apparently I angered one of the cats, I’m not sure which, in the middle of the night last night. Kitty was apparently so ticked off that his or her yowling woke Alex.  Suffice it to say, I’m glad that both of them seem happy with me this morning.
  8. Making up after a fight.  I’m also thankful for little things like the way Alex never raises his voice at me on the rare occasions when we do argue, even when he’s asking me to please stop yelling.
  9. Little love notes written in sand.
  10. ’67 Ford Mustangs. Not the fastback.
 
1 2 3 6