Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom. It was awesome but there are some issues that I would have loved to know about before I went. Here they are for your perusal:
Just because you have an electrical adapter, it does not mean that it will work with your appliances. I whipped out my American to UK adapter, only to fry my electric rollers and hair dryer. I was too frightened to use the adapter after that, so we bought two more adapters in England, one for my cellphone and one for my Apple laptop. I also bought some electric rollers in country. I threw my original curlers out once we got back because they were fried enough to not work anymore.
Your hotel may not have any air conditioning, depending on where you go. It was 90 degrees and humid in North Cornwall, which made for some uncomfortable nights. The management loaned us two fans but it was still rather warm for two Americans who are used to turning on the air conditioning at the drop of a hat or at a temperature rising above 70 degrees. Plan the time of year that you travel accordingly.
Hotels usually have hair dryers so you can leave yours at home, but they do not usually have Bibles so take yours if you want to do a Bible study while in country. Where are the Gideons when you need them?
The back roads in England are very narrow. Big cars do not do so well with very narrow roads, but the English are very considerate drivers. One of you will have to stop and wait if you are on a narrow lane and someone else is coming. Take turns. Trucks automatically win. If the pavement says “slow,” it really means “good luck with this one!” The word is usually painted on a road that is really only one lane but is pretending to be two.
The walls of the road (yes, they actually have 10 or 12 foot high walls on country roads) are vine-covered but they are hiding the fact that there is brick or stones underneath those vines. Don’t hit them.
If you get lost or are unsure of directions, the English are very happy to help, so ask them for assistance. Keep in mind that you may not understand what they are saying the first time around. Smile and be polite and ask them to repeat what they said.
Your car may not have a GPS, so you may wish to use your phone’s system to get where you are going because it will use your dialect.
The English love roundabouts. They use them a lot. The Twilight Zone of roundabouts was on our journey; it had five exits, each of which had its own five exit roundabout. We turned around and went somewhere else, in order to avoid it. If you see a sign that says “give way,” it means “yield.”
Some machines, like coin-operated washing machines, will only take new pound coins. The old pounds have a slightly different shape, so know which one you will need before converting all of your money to pounds in order to wash your clothes. Sometimes machines within a launderette (as they are called) will vary as to which coins they will accept, so ask the proprietor or read the signs above the machines.
Pounds are pretty easy to figure out, but the other coins might not be. I just gave up and treated a pound like a dollar (which it wasn’t) in order to have some sense of what I was paying for things. If you buy things in the airport, you can get a discount if you say you are flying outside the European Union. You may have to show your boarding pass to prove where you are going.
I hope you find my suggestions helpful. What tricks of traveling abroad have you used?
I noticed that a recent blog title (The Danger in Falling for an Elderly Person) was confusing, to say the least. What I meant to say is that elderly people have a lot of dangers, if they fall. What actually seemed indicated by my title was that you should not fall for someone who is elderly. Oops! My mistake!
So, let’s talk for a moment about falling in love with an elderly person. What do you have in store?
What you will have is companionship, not a bad thing. What you might not have is sex, which is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your point of view…..
What you will have is someone to talk to. What you might get is someone who never shuts up.
What you will have is someone to be there for you if you do fall. What you might get is someone who can’t pick you up (but who can call 911).
What you might have is someone you need to nurse. What you might get is someone you want to take care of, or not.
What you will have is someone who is available to check on you every day. What you might get is someone who doesn’t want to.
What you will have is a meal companion. What you might get is someone who complains about your cooking (“it’s not what my Annie used to make….”).
What you will have is someone to snuggle with at night. What you might get is someone who steals your share of the sheet.
So, I guess what I’m saying here is: marriage has its good sides and bad, and it really doesn’t matter how old you are. If you find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with (and not just a “place holder till the right one comes along”), go for it!
What ideas can you add to the ones I’ve suggested?
A friend of mine is going through some rough times. Her hubby is apparently cheating; he mistreats her at every turn. He now openly flirts with everything in a skirt, if the gal is young enough to be his daughter. When should she throw in the towel?
She is a Christian and does not believe in divorce. She took the vow to “love and cherish him” and to “hold him only to herself for as long as they both shall live.” She promised “for better, for worse,” not knowing that it would become mostly “worse.” When should she give up?
Marriage is a lifelong commitment, at least to her way of thinking. But what if only one person in the couple is committed these days? At what point in time should she let him go? When does she admit that “enough is enough?” I would value your comments on these questions of great importance, so that I can pass them along to her.
Yesterday afternoon, I was scheduled to take a flight from Florida to Baltimore. We got on the flight at 5 pm, with a scheduled departure of 5:30. [Sit down and fasten your seat belts.] Well, the departure time came around and we noticed that a technician had boarded our plane because of a seat belt that wouldn’t buckle and a tray table that was unwilling to get into “its full, upright, and locked position.”
The captain came on and told us there would be a “brief delay” while this situation was remedied. In the meantime, we couldn’t have much air conditioning (in Florida, on a hot day) because it would take too much fuel. After about 30 minutes of sweating, the techie left and we backed away from the gate. We thought that, once we were on the tarmac, the take off would be happening shortly. We were wrong.
The next announcement from the captain came a few minutes later. The airport in Baltimore was having weather problems and planes were backed up and in holding patterns all the way to the Carolinas. The good thing was, according to the Man Up Front, that we hadn’t taken off because he didn’t have enough fuel to circle that far away from where he planned on landing and he would have had to “divert the flight.” [Translation: He would have needed to take us somewhere no one on the flight wanted to go and leave us there!]
A collective groan arose from the passengers who then realized that a diversion would still have been better than running out of fuel at 35,000 feet. [Are you seeing a “we-don’t-have-much-fuel-for-this-flight-and-are-you-sure-you-really-want-to-go” theme here?] A few minutes went by and the captain came back on with “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but air traffic control at BWI has closed the runways so we have another 45 minute delay. On top of the other 45 minute delay. That means we will have 1 1/2 hours to wait and we will need to get more fuel” [I don’t think they refuel domestic commercial flights at 35,000 feet]. His plan was to turn back to the gate, where he promised to let us off the plane. Oops, some other plane was already in our former spot. That’s a no-go, folks.
Five minutes elapsed when he announced “Baltimore is open” – hold on, we’re next in line for takeoff!” [Wait a minute- what about the fuel?] We took off, with the pilot having promised to “fly slowly” so that he could avoid the backup of planes needing to land. [Wait a minute, WHAT ABOUT THE FUEL????]
With a Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of this tale of woe, we landed a couple of hours later…….only to find that all of the gates were full, so we had to park on the tarmac and wait for an empty gate…. and wait…….and wait….. for about 20 more minutes on a warm plane, unable to stand for the last 4 1/2 hours……..
As this story played out to its uncomfortable end, I turned to the man seated across the aisle and asked him if he’d ever seen The Twilight Zone. I informed him that this was the show enacted in real life. They let you on the plane, but they never let you off!
I would love to hear your tale of woe regarding air flight! What has happened to you in the attempt to go where your ticket permitted but the airlines or the weather seemed destined to prevent?
Have you ever known someone who claimed he or she would live to be 125? 150? How logical does that sound to you, really? While we all can wish, hoping doesn’t make it true.
One of my newly-single readers has just found out that her hubby’s claim that he would live that long did not come true for him. What can be done, at this point in time?
Well, hopefully, he hoped for the best but prepared for the worst and left her with a paid-off house, no bills, and loads of insurance money. If not, she needs to find a full time financial consultant, an attorney, and an accountant who can walk her what comes next. This is the financial team that I refer to in the first chapter of my first book. Even if he did leave her in the afore-mentioned, nearly-perfect state, she still needs to get some professional financial advice on how to maintain her lifestyle and prepare for her own eventual demise.
Some of the questions she should ask herself include: What do I do about my minor children? Who will care for them if something happens to me? Will I have to care for my elderly parents at some point in time? Do I have a special-needs child that will have to be provided for after my own health declines? Do I have someone reliable to maintain my house and car, or should I take classes and learn to fend for myself? These are not the only questions that will need to be answered; I cover these topics in my second book, which I am currently writing.
What questions do you have about becoming Suddenly Single that you would like to see covered on a future posting? I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about this transition time.
Here is an excerpt from my first book, Suddenly Single: A Practical Guide to Maintaining Your Household When Your Spouse is NLA:
Sometimes smoke detectors signal their displeasure by going off. This can mean several things: your house is on fire, your candles are burning down, or your home’s heating system is burning off dust because you just switched it from air conditioning to heat. It could also mean that dinner is ready. At my house, it is usually the latter. If you have not recently changed over from air conditioning to heat and you aren’t cooking or burning candles, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND CALL 911. [Note: It is good to have your HVAC system checked regularly; this can prevent the heart-stopping sound that occurs when your detector goes off unexpectedly.]
Candle safety is also vitally important. Many folks are changing to the fake-flame candles, but others still prefer to have an open flame. (I find that a candle can cover up the smell of burning meals; my hubby used to say that he could tell in advance what dinner would be like by the size of the candle burning when he got home from work. If the big one was going, he would offer to take me out to eat.) If you use old-fashioned candles, keep the wicks trimmed to ¼ inch, do not keep them burning more hours than their width in diameter, and never, ever leave them burning unattended.
When a smoke detector goes off due to burning food (but without a fire), there are several ways to stop the alarm. One is to wave paper near the detector, until the noise stops. Please note that you may also need to open the windows and doors and turn on a fan. You can also take the detector down and throw it in the yard (this is my sister-in-law’s preferred approach). Please resist the temptation to hit the detector with a hammer. While this may work short-term, the end result will be the sudden need to replace the now-destroyed detector. It will, however, solve your immediate problem.
Your significant other is no longer in your life, so many folks ask if they should return to the classroom to get a new degree, complete an unfinished one, or start on the way to a new career. The short answer on this is, “maybe.”
Let’s take a look at what you are up to and decide from there. Are you in a line of work where an additional degree (or an initial one) would help your career path? Have you been a stay-at-home mom (or dad) and you now need to renew your education in order to return to work after a few years’ absence? Are you simply looking for a way to increase your knowledge base? Does your old career bore you and you want to do something new? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then you might want to consider going back to school.
If you are in a job where an additional degree would not help, or you love what you do and want to keep doing exactly what you do now and a new degree wouldn’t help (or wouldn’t give you a good return on investment), then the answer might be “no.”
When I returned to school, it was the right decision for me at the time. Because I was an older individual, the money I put into the degrees I got (two undergraduate, one master’s, and a Ph.D.) might never be returned to me, but it was worthwhile to me because of the challenges and opportunities for growth that it presented. It was a great experience and really kept my mind active. I went back to school because I was providing transportation to my 15-year-old son who had been accepted into a college program. I had to be there anyway and had always wanted to get a degree, so I did. I stayed in college from 2001 to 2015, and now I teach at three colleges (so you could say that I’m still in college!). Was it worth it for me? YES!!!!
What about you? What are you considering doing about additional education? How did you reach that decision? I would love to hear from you!
In preparation for the writing of my new book, Suddenly Single for Married Couples: A Practical Guide to Hoping for the Best but Preparing for the Worst, I would love to know what you know now as an unexpectedly unmarried person that you wish you’d known before you became single.
What aspects of married versus single life do you wish your and your spouse had discussed before he or she was no longer in your life? Are there any tips you have for others who want to be more prepared for that stage of life? If I use your story in my new book, you will not be named as the source of the information, though I will thank you in my acknowledgement section of the book, so you can share your ideas without fear of being stalked by undesirables!
I look forward to hearing from you!
I am in the process of interviewing folks for my second book, which has the subtitle you see above. I recently interviewed a dear friend who told me very candidly about her new relationship with her elderly parents.
They are in chronic ill health and she is now responsible for paying their bills and watching over their care. She also helps support them because they did not make adequate plans for their financial future when they were younger. She admits that this has been a great strain, but she looks on it as a blessing that she can minister to them in such a way.
What kind of plans have you made for your elderly parents, if they are still alive? I would love to hear what you have in place for caring for those who cannot care for themselves any longer.
A new suddenly single friend asked me this morning “How do you rebuild?” She had been married for 24 years when her hubby unexpectedly asked her for a divorce. Her life has not been the same since.
She works more than one job and has temporarily had to put her goals of writing aside to work in retail so that she has some steady income available. She is looking for full time work, so that she can buy a house in which to raise her son. It hasn’t been easy.
How do you rebuild from this type of unplanned event? She never thought that her marriage would fail, yet it did. Perhaps the best place to start is with the realization that you are not alone. The Census Bureau says that last year there were over 800,000 divorces in America. This may be some small comfort, especially if you are now living in poverty (she isn’t, but the chances of it happening to a gal are not as unlikely as it may seem. Many women are left without the financial resources to support themselves following the end of their marriages).
Next, sit down with a qualified financial professional and see what he or she recommends you do. Look at your monetary assets and liabilities and try to get a handle on exactly where you stand, financially speaking.
If you have access to a support group, that would be a good place to vent over what has happened. You don’t want to become an emotional burden to your friends and family as you unload about what happened (though they do care and should be kept in the loop with regards to any big decisions you make), but you do need some safe place to share your inner turmoil.
Finally, take things one day at a time or one hour at a time or one minute at a time until you are able to put together your “new normal.” Life is going to be different, but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. Someone once told me, “You don’t want to spend the rest of your life married to someone who doesn’t want to be married to you.” Food for thought, my friends!