Tuesday, 16 November 2010

It's been a long ole time...

My puter blew up. It has now been buried with full honours, but the new one has four times the memory, twice the disk space and cost less than half the full price of the old one. So, onwards and upwards, dodophobics.

But my, things have been happening! In the United States, Repuglicans have taken control of the House of Representatives because millions of Democrat voters, sick of the timidity of the Obama government, stayed at home rather than voting, and as a result have convinced themselves that everyone loves them. And their plan for power is to do absolutely nothing other than shut down the government of the country they profess to love, purely to try to ensure that Obama is able to get nothing done. They have nothing new to offer, nothing but the old, tried, tested and failed policies of giving as much as possible to the rich while preventing the poor from ever having anything. "Trickledown" has never worked before, but they still promote it as though it were a startling new idea that they've just this minute thought of. Americans will suffer for it. In the end, we all will.

And on the Cameron front, things are also moving on. On the small scale, I am finally rid of TalkTalk, the phone and broadband company which is totally unbeatable if price is the only criterion but which has frighteningly bad customer service. Within a week or so, I will have my broadband with Orange, who also supply my mobile phone service and whose customer service is (almost) beyond reproach; and within a week or two after that, I will also have my landline with them. The phone service will be about three pounds dearer but, as just over a year ago I had got so pissed off with TalkTalk's customer service that I switched my broadband to Sky (at a cost increase of first £10 and more recently £12.50 a month), I will actually save money. I'll also be getting half price Sky TV for the next six months for a total saving of £72. So I'm pretty happy.

Visawise, things have not been as great. I got together all the stuff that had been demanded and sent it off with guaranteed 48 hour delivery. Parcelforce promptly lost the lot. That caused us to miss our deadline and even though they had been told what had happened, the visa bods slapped us with another rejection and told us we will have to go to an appeal hearing in the UK (but no idea exactly where yet). We already have everything they told us we needed to get the visa, so we'll have no problem there, especially when we turn up with a sheaf of letters and affidavits promising support and pointing out that Susan's presence will if anything EARN the British state money. The hearing itself will cost the government quite a few pounds, which they could have saved by waiting a week or so before issuing their hasty decision. And of course, it puts the wedding date in more doubt; we may have to postpone it for a second time. None of this is going to stop us finally being together as husband and wife, but it is very irritating. It has already been almost seven months since we saw one another, and it's hurting.


I got a letter from the Inland Revenue recently (if you're American, you won't be remotely surprised to hear that this is the British equivalent of the IRS). It informed me that I had paid the wrong amount of income tax in 2008/09; uh oh. But reading on brings the discovery that in fact I had OVERpaid, because my employer at the time, Hilton International, had put the wrong tax code by my name and taken more than they should have throughout that tax year. In a separate envelope, they therefore also sent me a cheque for £1211.62, which will be put to very good use indeed. Once it clears I will be booking a flight to New York, where for the second year in a row I will be spending Christmas and New Year with Susan, her friends and family. New Year's Eve Susan and I will spend in the Sheraton Hotel at JFK Airport, my birthday celebration will be at an Italian place in Manhattan called Carmine's which I believe is quite famous but in any event sounds wonderful, and who knows WHAT we'll get up to for Valentine's Day, shortly after which I'll fly back to the UK a couple of months older and personally happy and sated. Of course, on 2nd January we will repeat last year's trick (or should that be this year's trick?) of getting up at 6am and taking a cab to The Blue Room to watch the Rangers-Celtic game complete with early morning beer.

We have plans to catch up on some of the things we missed last time. Ground Zero is top of that list, and the Stonewall Inn is not far behind it. We'll also catch the Olympic Diner and the very famous Sylvia's in Harlem, as well as at least one bus tour and at least one Broadway show (suggestions welcome). We'll get to see Susan's sister's new place in upstate New York, at a place called Highland Mills, and most importantly get to spend one hell of a lot of serious quality time together (how's THAT for a euphemism?). And at just over two months, it'll pretty much let us see what married life is going to be like.

Not too shabby, eh?

PS the spellchecker on this thing has just gone mad and highlighted words like "get", "which" and "taking". Most bizarre.