Monday, 12 April 2010

The Best Compliment I’ve Ever Gotten:

Wednesday evening we were eating dinner as usual. Lately I’ve been cooking meals using either chicken or hamburger (or mince as they call it here) because they are about the most inexpensive and dependable—as far as flavor is concerned—meats I’ve found so far. Wednesday was chicken. I was going to make it into a chicken curry which we both really love but I had made chili Tuesday for our dinner so two spicy dishes in a row might not have agreed with us so I just decided to make a simple fried chicken and mashed potatoes and corn dinner.

Now my Robbie isn’t one for compliments on the food. He usually just puts his head down and eats whatever you put in front of him. When we were first married it used to bother me that the best he could come up with was, “Nice.” Everything was “Nice.” I rarely heard him doing “yummy” noises and if he did it was the highest of praise.

So Wednesday, when he was finished and his plate was empty he looked up and said, “Have you ever had one of those meals where you don’t want it to end because you don’t want to stop eating? Well that was one of them!” Calmly, poetically and with a smile he gave me the best compliment I’ve ever had on my cooking. But that’s my Robbie all over: out of nowhere he’ll come up with something wonderful I can remember forever.

The latest good news is that the weather seems to have turned and we’re finally getting spring. I’m almost superstitious about saying that because the last time we thought that—last month—we ended up getting hit with a huge blizzard! So we’re quietly optimistic and hoping the weather will stick around for a while. We sat out in the sun Saturday and yesterday (Sunday) and now today there doesn’t look like there’s a cloud in the sky!

I do miss spring back home, though. We were watching (well Robbie was, I just hadn’t gotten out of the room yet) the Masters golf tournament last night and I saw all the beautiful azaleas and dogwoods. Boy do I miss the riot of color the azaleas make in Hampton Roads! And dogwoods, especially pink dogwoods, have always been my favorite harbinger of spring since my grandma had one in her side yard. So all of you who have those take a moment and really enjoy them for me!

Last Thursday was a big day for a homebound person such as I’ve become. We had to again go into Glasgow for biometrics all in pursuit (still) of my visa. For those of you who haven’t heard, last month I got a letter from the Border Agency telling me that my application had been refused—AGAIN—and this time it was because page 12 was missing. They sent back all my documents, passports and paperwork and included a new application form. The letter did say that if we applied again within 14 days the money we’ve already paid will roll over to the new application. So I filled out the new papers, put all the documents and passports in a mailer envelope and sent it off again on March 15th which happens to be Robbie’s birthday.

Oh, and of course, when we got the new application the first thing I checked was the offending “page 12”. All it was is the continuation of some information you have to fill out if you’re also applying with children (which I’m NOT) and the rest of the page is instructions for the upcoming section. So it really wouldn’t have hurt my application by not including any information they would need to have. We’re not sure why it was missing. Robbie filled out the latest application which was my second try so we don’t know if he just didn’t include it because it doesn’t apply or it got lost along the way. Nevertheless, whatever the applicability, as you can expect with most governmental bureaucracy, you have to dot all the “i”s and cross all the t’s so because it was missing the whole thing got kicked out of the system. Wouldn’t you love the job of counting all the pages of application forms?

So after I had sent in my third (at least I think it’s the third, it might be the fourth by now) try I got a letter telling me I had to go for my biometrics again in Glasgow. After calling two different numbers and being on hold for almost an hour I got confirmation from the Home Office that yes, I did have to go in again and do it all over. When the previous application was rejected and sent back to me all the information was purged from the system. I did, however, confirm with them that our fees would carry over although sometime in April the cost will go up so we might still be required to pay the difference. As you can imagine, Robbie was not happy to hear that last part.

Thursday April the 8th was the first time we could get an appointment to go in since the Easter holidays took up a big chunk of the start of the month. Over here most people get Good Friday and the Monday after Easter off and that made a really nice long weekend for Robbie and me (the weather was foul and we didn’t go anywhere and do much of anything but that was allright too). Thursdays is also the day I have to go to the clinic at the hospital to have my leg looked at and bandaged. My appointment time for the biometrics was 12:30—or you may as well say 12:00 because you’re supposed to get there a half an hour before—and my usual appointment for the clinic is 7:30pm. We also had planned, since we knew we were going to have to be out and about that we would stop at Asda (WalMart) to get the things we needed and Robbie could get the car filled up. They seem to have the cheapest petrol (gas) here.

Now you would think, since we’d been there once before, it would have been easier to get to the offices this time and we wouldn’t get lost. (If you haven’t read it you can read all about our getting lost in Glasgow in my previous blog entry) But nooo...we got lost once again!

We had our directions from last time and our map and I was determined this time to be navigator and get my husband going the right direction. We got off the motorway, got in the right lane, and actually got over the Clyde making the correct turns, which was further this time than last time. I said, more than once, reading the MapQuest directions, “Continue on Morrison St. until you turn right onto Harvie Road.” So what does my driver do? Turn right at the very next street! By this time I’m shouting, “Is this Harvie Road? Why are you in the right turn lane? You don’t know if this is the right road yet! Get over! Don’t turn here! Harvie! Harvie Road! No! Do not turn here!” His excuse was that he was in the turn lane but I had tried to get him to get over and even looked back and there was no traffic behind him that he couldn’t get over and not have to turn! Complete frustration and now we’re again lost because rather than immediately turn around or make some kind of a u-turn Robbie just continues on and on looking, I suppose for that perfect (??) turning place or that Harvie Road has somehow magically appeared in front of us. It doesn’t help that a lot of Glasgow streets in the center of town are one way so it makes going around the block difficult. Luckily my sense of direction kicked in and it would have helped it Robbie had listened to me!!

Don’t ask me how, but this time we again found our way back on to the map and found a way to get to where we were supposed to be. Robbie comforted himself with the statement that, “At least we weren’t lost as long as we were the last time” but it somehow didn’t make me feel any better. The most encouraging sign was when we found the Burger King we had lunch at the last time because we knew we weren’t too far away.

This is a link to a video of Glasgow and some of the sights we saw unwittingly:

If you go to the video you’ll also see a Part One that shows the Quay area later in the video. That’s where Burger King and a cinema and other restaurants are.

When I showed up at the gate and at the office everyone remembered me from the last time but I didn’t really want to go too much into why we were here—again—and they really didn’t ask again. I did have to apologize a couple of times because we were so late. By the time we got there it was nearly 1:00 so twice they couldn’t find my name on their current page and had to flip back to the previous one! Oops. It was all the same: metal detectors, baggage check, fingerprints not coming out (granny hands still), and picture as before.

When we got out of there we were starving and went back to the Quay where Burger King was because there were lots of other restaurants in the same complex. At first we had planned to go to Chiquito’s a Mexican chain but at the last minute we changed our minds and went over the Frankie and Benny’s which is called a “New York Italian Restaurant and Bar”. So, not bad Italian food and a decent burger and a sort of familiarity for me.

I won’t make this any longer by going into details about what we ordered or our shopping trip to Asda or my trip to the clinic. I will just say that things with my leg are still doing well and I’m actually starting to grow some skin again! Yay! And Thank God! Even though this is Monday and Robbie’s chess night which means he won’t be back until late this evening I can’t justify to myself sitting in my pajamas in front of the computer all day—it’s too nice out and I want to try to “catch a few rays” while I can!

1 comment:

  1. What a story! I hope your visa application finally goes through! It does look like the weather has finally changed, doesn't it?!