Saturday, June 5, 2021

Problemations


I woke this morning to the news that my British Airways flight to Florida has been cancelled AGAIN. I am seriously doubting whether I should even take this trip. As you may recall, I was originally scheduled to go on July 1. When that flight got cancelled, I rescheduled for July 5, and then learned that my stepmother -- one of the people I want to visit -- would be gone the entire time I was there. Now the July 5 flight is also off the table.

I'm daunted by all the requirements associated with travel. In addition to the regular misery that goes with even routine flying, I have to take a Covid-19 test once before boarding my flight to the states, once before boarding my flight back again, and twice upon my return to the UK -- in addition to quarantining for ten days. Even though I'm fully vaccinated! These tests are apparently expensive.

I had hoped that the testing requirements would be dropped by July but it looks like that's not going to happen, thanks to the India variant. I think I'm justified in traveling given my mom's age and health, but honestly, I don't think she's very aware of my absence. My brother has said all along that this visit would be more for me than for her.

I have several co-workers going to the states, so I know it can be done, but honestly -- I'm wondering if I should just sit this summer out. Then again, what if I wait and the pandemic ramps up again and I'm unable to go at all?

So many unknowns.


I dreamed last night that I found a box of discarded old stuff in someone's trash, including some antique medicine bottles, one of which said its contents would treat "all problemations." Anyone who's read this blog for any length of time knows it wouldn't be unusual for me to find stuff in the trash, but I laughed at my brain creating that word -- "problemations." I guess it wanted an old-fashioned-sounding term and that's what it came up with. Dreams (and brains) are very strange things.

I spent yesterday at work boxing and weeding more books. This library reorganization job is getting bigger and bigger -- we didn't really count on weeding so much, but we're getting nervous about not having enough space in our newly reduced quarters, so there's some pressure to discard what isn't being used. I'm back in the art section, which you may remember I already weeded earlier this school year.  There's still more that can go. We have a lot of very large, colorful but not very useful coffee table books about various artists or genres of art -- many of them donated to us over the years. I'm moving some of that stuff along. The artworks are all online anyway.

Dave and I watched "The King" on Netflix last night -- a movie about King Henry V starring Timothée Chalamet that's been in my queue for ages. It was really good, and a nice change of pace from the apocalyptic zombie and alien shows we've been watching lately!

(Photos: On our walk to work, a colorful shopfront -- Poundland is obviously the British equivalent of a Dollar Store -- and some large discarded photos that I think must have come from a shuttered yoga studio around the corner from our flat.)

44 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

From the online "Urban Dictionary":-
problemation
a blend of problem and solution.
an easily fixed problem, one that has a quick solution.

prawb-le-may-shun
Person 1: I have a problem! My computer won't turn on!
Person 2: No, that's just a problemation. It just needs to be plugged in!

Ursula said...

You think you've got problemations? Flying to the States? A few tests? HA! Try this one for size: Wild horses or the Devil herself (Prity Patel) wouldn't drag me out of the UK at the moment. Why? Because I don't count on being let back in. As a mere EU national minus a British passport, in the wake of Brexshite, I did apply for "settled status" earlier this year. Which was granted and means zilch. I have had dealings with the Home Office twice - the first time (about eleven years ago) it nearly ruined my life. A six months nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions. The second time they placed me as Turkish despite my passport in front of them - and who wants a Turk? It does take it out of you. How actual refugees cope without jumping off the White Cliffs of Dover I do not know.

Anyway, punchline - and this is so British - whilst granted settled status (so won't be deported) I do not have the paper to prove it. No shit, Steve. They actually told me that just because they sent me confirmation doesn't mean it's proof of my status. Que? Come again? I can see it now: There I am, at the border, coming back from my parents' funeral (surely they will die some time or so I hope) . . ., being refused re-entry. Of course, in theory, I don't care where I live except that the Angel lives, works and rocks in England. Luckily, by dint of dual nationality, he does have two passports. As long as he remembers to flash the right one - coming in or going out.

Thanks for letting me roam in your comment box, and good luck with your endeavours to visit where you originate from,
U

Frances said...

Your " Poundshop" looks like a local take on ' PoundLAND", which is a country wide, large chain of big shops. I was in our local one yesterday, but unusually for me, only bought one bottle of shampoo! I normally end up with a basket full! They now also have some items that are more expensive....£2, £4 £5, even more than that for some items. There was an interesting TV series a while ago about how they work. They buy up end of lines and over orders from other shops. All branded goods and well worth a visit!

Moving with Mitchell said...

If those were the actual yoga instructors, that studio would not now be shuttered. Will add The King to our watch list!

How frustrating that another travel plan has been stymied. I hope you can work out a solution that you'll be comfortable with.

My mother and aunt regularly stopped in "The 99-Cent Store" on their wanderings. And every week when my mother told me, she would finish the name of the store with "where everything is 99 cents ... or less." I used to mouth the words along with her.

e said...

It is a shame you cannot donate or find a home for those art books...I kind of thought travel would be delayed from there based on what I read...Sorry and I hope you get to see your mom soon.

Andrew said...

Because of currency differences we have AU$2 shops.
I was all for your library cull until I read art books. That is sad, but then as you say, works are all online, just not on glossy pages.
I really want the medicine that cures all problemations.
Re your travel, I wouldn't go. With such high vaccinations rates in England, hopefully countries will relax restrictions against you soon.
People misinterpret 'misery of flying' as fear of flying. I fully understand misery of flying. Can I catch a train to there?

Steve Reed said...

Oh, we do donate them. They go overseas, as I understand it, I believe to schools in India.

Steve Reed said...

Hmmmm...I don't think that's what my brain meant.

Edna B said...

It's really sad how your travel plans are being changed. Maybe you're right to wait till later. Hopefully, things will ease up more. I personally think that the tests should be free. Or at least paid for by the people demanding them. (airlines) I love the Dollar Stores. That's where I get all my puzzle books. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

Bob said...

Now that we have two pricks under our belts ... huh, that's sound as odd as I thought it would ... we are planning a cross-country trip to see my Dad in Oregon. I don't think we need to be tested, though, I think our proof of vaccination will be good enough ...as long as we don't see any rise in new cases.

It is a problemation ... a word I will be using this week to drive folks crazy!

Jeanie said...

"The King" is on my watchlist so thanks for the recommendation. I'm sorry about the travel. I'm hoping when I get to England next fall (2022) things will be easier. Not much point on a short holiday away if you have to quarantine for the whole of it. Definitely a problemation.

Ms. Moon said...

I wouldn't know whether to travel or not either. That is an awful lot to go through, especially if your mother won't even really register your visit. You do indeed need a potion to solve your problemation. I am quite impressed that you can read in your dreams. I cannot. In fact- sometimes I recognize I am dreaming because I can't.

Mary said...

Have heard that those tests cost around £170 to enter the UK. Have tentative plans to hop the Pond in mid-October, but all my reservations can be cancelled without penalty. Completed my both jabs by mid-March. Fingers crossed that the testing will not still be in place by then, but could deal with it, if necessary. Will cancel if the 10 day quarantine remains. Hope things work out for you.

Pixie said...

I want to visit Florida and my cousin but I'm still waiting. Waiting for my second shot and waiting for things to settle down more. It's a difficult decision because you want to see your mom and I can understand that. Hopefully things work out.

ellen abbott said...

It does seem more trouble than it's worth to travel by air. maybe things will have eased up by fall.

robin andrea said...

That's a tough decision to make about traveling to see your mom. I am surprised by all of the testing and a quarantine. When my mom had Alzheimers and we would travel to see her, she didn't always recognize me. Roger and I once walked into her room and she looked up and said, "Hi Rog, where's your wife?" I was right there standing next to him. But then she would sometimes look up and see me and smile in that "I love you so much"smile. My question would be how is your mom's health otherwise. If she is healthy, you can take some time to get there. If she is not well and in serious physical decline, you might want to go.

Margaret said...

Cancelled flights and traveling during Covid make normal arrangements SO much more problematic.

Sharon said...

Wow, I didn't know it was still that difficult to travel. My friend Julie just went to Iceland and yes, she did have to be tested but was only quarantined until the results came in, around 12 hours. She's scheduled to go to France in the fall so it will be interesting to see how that goes.
You really do have a tough decision about traveling to see your mom. Are any US Airlines flying back and forth? I wonder if that might be an option. Of course, I'm sure BA has your money now and getting it back is extremely difficult.
Regardless, it sounds like traveling to London this fall might be off the table for me too. Way too many uncertainties. And, I wanted so much to see that new clear swimming pool in south London! I've been hearing all about it for the last couple of days.

jenny_o said...

Your brain must have been busy trying to solve your awake-time problemations. I love that word. It just sounds nicer than "problems". And I just realized why it sounded familiar - it's like the word in the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations song: excitations! They could even be antonyms. lol

Allison said...

We've pretty much given up on any travel out of the US this year. Too much uncertainty. Plus there is the whole rental car thing, as in there aren't many available. So, I guess we are stuck here.

Sabine said...

We, that is the entire extended family on three continents, seem to check travel opportunities probably daily. One cousin was stuck in Singapore's Changi airport for an extra 72 hrs recently after a cleaner in the transit area had a positive test result.
Travel has become an adventure again.

Red said...

It's hard to discard library books. We keep thinking that there might be someone who would need the book. I picked up many of the books in our library that were discarded.

Debby said...

Problemations stem from problematic situations. Maybe your brain just looped the things together. I am married to a man who problem solves in his sleep. It's the most astounding thing. He'll be trying to work something out in his head and when he climbs into bed, his mind just keeps on working. He woke up just a couple months ago with a whole schematic for the duct work for a new heating system he was installing.

Steve Reed said...

That's pretty amazing! My nocturnal imagination seems much less concretely productive.

Steve Reed said...

Why don't you have a biometric ID card that proves you have indefinite leave to remain? That's what we have. Or is "indefinite leave" different from "settled status"?

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, dollar stores in the states are the same way. Used to be that everything cost a dollar, but now some things are a little more. I haven't been in a Poundland in ages -- not since we lived on Portobello Road, which was seven years ago.

Steve Reed said...

Ha! I love that your mom always made that little sales pitch for the shop!

Steve Reed said...

It's not others' restrictions that are the problem -- the USA, and particularly Florida, seem perfectly fine with me coming. It's getting back into Britain that's tricky! But I'll manage.

Steve Reed said...

Well, I suppose I'm the one insisting on traveling at this crazy time, so I have to tough it out and pay the price!

Steve Reed said...

I don't think you need proof of vaccination to travel within the USA, do you? (I'm taking "cross-country" to mean that you're driving, but if you're flying, I guess the airline might require it.)

Steve Reed said...

I really hope that by 2022 (which sounds positively futuristic) things will be better.

Steve Reed said...

It's funny -- I didn't even realize that's what I was doing, but I guess I must have been!

Steve Reed said...

I hope the rules will have relaxed by October, surely?! Apparently you can get around the full quarantine by taking an extra test at Day 5 upon your return -- or so I've been told -- but yeah, they're not cheap.

Steve Reed said...

If I didn't feel some sense of urgency I'd definitely wait too.

Steve Reed said...

It's a lot of trouble, for sure!

Steve Reed said...

Physically she's healthy, but she's 84, so that could change at any moment. I think it's possible that her faculties could continue to deteriorate, too, and we may get to a point where she doesn't recognize me -- and I'd like to see her again before that happens.

Steve Reed said...

I think I need to just suck it up and take a connecting flight, rather than trying to take the direct flight to Tampa (which evidently isn't reliably flying).

Steve Reed said...

BA code shares with American, so I believe I could take American flights. I'm going to sort it out today. The restrictions vary greatly by country. I think we can fly to Iceland without quarantines upon our return -- but not the USA.

Steve Reed said...

Oh, and thanks for the tip about the pool! I hadn't heard about that! Dave says it's gotten more press in the states than here!

Steve Reed said...

That's true! I wonder if Brian Wilson came up with "excitations" in his sleep?

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, the car situation is a nightmare. I can't believe how expensive they are.

Steve Reed said...

You just never know, do you? I suppose I should look at it in that way -- as an adventure. And after all, my schedule is flexible, since I'll be on summer break.

Steve Reed said...

I always thought libraries kept all their books, but honestly, stuff is coming and going all the time! It is an art to predict what will be needed in the future, and sometimes we get it wrong -- but in those rare cases we can usually obtain another copy easily enough.

Ursula said...

Yes, Steve, "indefinite leave" is different from "settled status".

Give the British a few decades once they have recovered from their self inflicted shock of being "sovereign" once more (minus the Empire) and they may find a solution. Or not.

It's on the top of my to-do-list how to solve this conundrum of proof. It might sound like a joke. Alas, it's not. I literally feel shackled, at times unnerved by this strange state of being in limbo (by which I don't mean the dance).

U