Friday, April 21, 2017

The First 100 days - What Trump Should Have Said

So we're coming up to the "First 100 days" of the Trump regime. It's a traditional benchmark where new Prezzies and their Administrations stand back, take stock and let the people know what they have achieved. It's a pretty big deal, especially if, like Trump, you've shot your mouth off about all the things you were going to do on DAY ONE, never mind in the first one hundred days. 

According to the CNN web site, the idea of the first one hundred day retrospective came from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who saw this period as essential to the re-building of momentum and optimism following the Great Depression. In his first one hundred days he helped pass 15 major pieces of legislation through Congress. 

Trump used to love the "first 100 day" concept, and way back in October 2016 (god, it seems like eons ago), he said "On November 8th (Election day), Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country, secure our communities and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you. And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government of, by and for the people. And importantly, we will make America great again. Believe me." He had a whole action plan on his web site too. 

Sadly, according to Salon magazine, "Trump's 100-day achievements have consisted of his signing of some orders, having his picture taken with people around a big table, instituting "law and order" through his Henchman (Attorney General) Jess Sessions - and failing to get even one major piece of legislation passed into law....According to the latest Gallop poll, he has the worst average approval rating (41%) during this period of any president in that poll's history, and by a margin of 14 points."

Trump however, is telling everyone "I don't think that there is a presidential period of time in the first 100 days where anyone has done nearly what we've been able to do." Sadly, even his mouthpiece, Fox News, can't quite back this up in its recount of his days in office. He may be signing a lot of Executive Orders, but they're usually directives to look into this and that. In true toddler-tantrum fashion though, he knows he's talking absolute gob-shite because this is his Tweet on the matter - 

So the action plan he had on his web site, and all the pronouncements about what he was going to achieve in a nano-second? Fuggeddaboutit. That 100 day benchmark? "Ridiculous". Possibly even SAD! 

He should have taken a leaf out of Obama's book and given himself some wiggle room with the words - "The first hundred days is (sic) going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference." 

Although that's a bit of a long sentence for Trump. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Repat Prep - Packing your Stuff Up

Second only to figuring out how to ship the mutt to the UK without having to take out a mortgage, is how and when to ship my stuff and actually, what stuff to ship. If at all.

The Ball & Chain is of the opinion that we should take nothing and buy everything once we get to the UK. This is not rocking my boat for a number of well thought-out reasons.

1. It means we'll have to go shopping as soon as we arrive and be "camping" in our rental house for a while. A friend has just ordered a sofa and it's apparently going to take 16 weeks to come!
2. It also means that, as well as trying to sell our house, I'll have to sell, donate or throw out most of our possessions.
3. The cost of shipping, while expensive, is not quite what it would cost to furnish and equip a four bedroom house.

So I think we'll be shipping some stuff, despite what His Nibbs says. The problem arises because we have only just put our house on the market and we have quite a few "showings" scheduled. In general, estate agents would prefer not to show an empty house, so the furniture stays for now. Besides, we need something to sit on and sleep in until we leave.

I could ship a few bits and pieces about 8 weeks before we are due in the UK so that we're not completely stranded when we get there. I know I won't thank myself on the day we arrive if there are dozens of boxes to unpack to find the corkscrew though. Wink.

Last time we moved, it took a day to load and unload between one house and the other. Everything came with us and the things we knew we would need on the first night, I took in the car. Given that it will take 6-10 weeks to ship things from the US to the UK, and an overnight flight for us, the logistics are slightly different. Even if we sell the house next week, the arrangement will be that we won't hand over possession till mid-July when we move. Typically in the US you "close" on the sale, the buyer takes possession of the house that day and you have to be out immediately. Most people who do this have another house to go to that same day, and all their stuff is already there. Not the case for us. I have a feeling we're going to have to find a dog-friendly hotel for the last few days which will be a bit weird.

My head is about to explode. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Repat Training - The Meet and Greet

One of the things many expats talk about is how the rules for meeting and greeting people vary from one country to another. Here in the American mid-west, everyone's into big hugs. You can meet someone for the first time and get a chest-crunching bear hug on leaving. There's even a National Hugging Day (January 21st) in the US, the stated purpose being "to help everyone show more emotion in public." Cause you know Americans are just too inhibited ;-)

Want to hear a gross hug story? Not too long ago I bumped into a guy I have know for years, although not very well. Never socialized with him or worked with him; just know him from being "around". He's not the most socially adept person either. In fact, it's a good day if I see him before he sees me. This time however, he caught me and came towards me with the arms outstretched. "Oh no", I thought. "Is he going to huge me? We barely know each other." But yes, he pulled me in for a hug. But missed. And the thick, grizzly hairs on his ears poked me in the eye! Yuck! And ouch!

Anyway, (she says, shuddering at the memory) I never quite know what to do in the UK these days as people are kissing a lot more than they ever used to, if memory serves. And then there's the question of how many kisses? Some of my friends do the two kiss thing and others just the one. (Thank goodness it's not France where I'd have to figure out if it might get to three.) Last year I was kissed my a male friend of a friend even though we'd never met, which threw me a little.

A few weeks ago I met up with a lady who is now back in the Chicago area but has recently lived in England and France. We had "met" online through friends of friends, and had communicated via e-mail, so when it came to actually meeting, I hadn't a clue what to do. Initially I put my hand out to shake but then morphed it into a small hug, joking about my predicament. She told me that if we'd been in Paris it would have been the two kissses. Sounds like they've got it sorted out.

I met another online friend last week in person, and we hugged, because when you chat online for the amount of time we already had, you feel as if you know each other. One thing I need to do however, is train the 13 year old. When introduced to this same friend, he almost knocked her over with a bear hug which came as quite a surprise to me and her. I'm not sure whether he thought she was an old friend he'd previously met or what was going on, but I gently told him later that it's probably better to wait until you know someone to do the big hug thing. Especially when you're now bigger than me and most of my friends!

So yeah. Another learning curve.

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