Black Beauty

Monday, May 20, 2013

Trip's Eve

Well, this is my last post prior to jumping on the big plane and flying over the big water.  It doesn't seem that it is ALREADY be time to leave for a trip of a lifetime.  But it is.  And I'm both satisfied with being prepared to leave and worried about leaving.

I'll start with the worried part--I have a fear of forgetting something very important.  What, I don't know (obviously, or I'd do it!).  It could be something I needed to do or something I should have packed.  I'm less worried about the packing part--they sell stuff wherever you go, so as long as I have enough money, I can buy it when I need it.  But if it was something I should have done, that's much more problematic once I leave.

I think this fear has roots in something that happened to me when I was a freshman in college.  At the end of the second semester, at exam time, they used to post on a piece of paper the date, time, and location for each course's final exam.  The student had to find the sheet of paper that contained each course they had taken and make a note of date, time, and location for the exam.  I did that, just as I had done at the end of the first semester.

When I showed up for my English exam, I found a vacant room.  Not a soul was there!  When I went back to look at the exam posting sheet, I had written down the wrong date for the exam.  It was given the day before!  Having an anxiety report, I went to find and found the professor to explain what had happened.  I was a fairly good student in English, so I had a B average--I wasn't trying to somehow flake out on the exam.  I just made a mistake when writing down the date.

When I explained what had happened to the professor, she said "Well, you just flunked.  You made zero on the exam and that pulled you down to an F for the course".  DAMN!  I knew I was in trouble, but had no idea that I was in that kind of trouble.  I sure didn't want to repeat a course that I was doing okay in.

So, I went to see the Dean of Students to see if he could somehow intervene.  I explained to him what had happened and asked for his help.  I remember Dean Kirk saying that he'd look into it and see what he could do.

Later that afternoon, I received a phone call from Dean Kirk, saying that the professor had agreed to give me the exam the next day.  I was soooo relieved to have a second chance!  I thanked him profusely and took the exam the next day.  I made a B in the course and didn't have to repeat it.

But every since then, when something important is happening where a specific time is involved, I relive that horrible moment when I realized I had missed the exam.  And I have a recurring nightmare related to that event fairly often.  That's why I worry about forgetting something that needs to be done.

I prepared a list and have amended it frequently to help me remember what to take.  It's now all on one sheet of paper, but it has two FULL columns of stuff.  Nearly all of it is in the bags (I'm actually writing this post over the weekend prior to leaving on Tuesday), and only a few items remain to be packed.

The new rolling duffel bag is about 80% full and about 3 pounds under the 50 pound limit.  And my carry-on bag is now going to be a backpack rather than a suitcase.  I decided that it would be nice to be able to carry stuff with me on the bike (extra gloves, water, camera, binoculars, etc) and wherever I go and that my backpack would be much easier to manage than trying to stuff it all in my pockets.  I have a little concern about it being okay (size-wise) to carry on the plane, so I may ride to the airport over the weekend and make sure it's okay.  Yes, I'm anal...   Hopefully my packing is nearly all done.

Week before last, I noted that I had a little sore spot on my gum beside one of my molars.  So, knowing that finding dental care in the UK might be difficult and time-consuming, I went to my dentist to see if I had a problem.  After 4 x-rays, he told me that it might be any of 3 different problems.  It could be a root canal that needed to be re-done (original about 20 years ago).  It could be a broken tooth where the roots split off.  Or it could be a gum infection, needing a visit to a periodontist.

He prescribed some heavy-duty antibiotic to knock down the infection and suggested that I see an endodontist first, to eliminate or prove the need to have the root canal done again. . I do that the day before leaving for London.  I'm not going to let him do anything that might cause it to flare up, but maybe he can tell if it's a root canal issue.  I took the original 7 days of antibiotic and it has knocked down the infection to the point that it's no longer sore.  I got two refills to take with me on the trip so if it flares up, I can take more antibiotic and stop the infection.  It's always something.....

I'm not taking a computer on this trip.  Instead, I'm taking my Xoom tablet.  It's smaller and a little tougher than the computer.  I can do almost anything on it that I can do with a computer, but there is one function that doesn't work smoothly.  It does not have an easy way to transfer pictures that were taken with my camera into the tablet.  I can make it work, but it's a cumbersome process.  I bought some connection stuff to make it easier, but don't think it will work.  Just a small aggravation...

One thing I haven't resolved is how much cash to take with me.  I've inquired and found that they do not accept US Dollars.  And it's a hassle to exchange dollars for Sterling Pounds (they don't do the Euro, either).  So, I'll take a little USD so I'll have some cash around the airports and use my ATM card to get cash at the machines in the UK.  I'll just pay the convenience fee and conversion fees and live with it.  I'll use my credit cards as much as possible.

My wonderful neighbors, Carl and Mae, are taking me to the airport.  I hate the check-in and security procedures, so not having the hassle of parking a car is a great help.  Thank you, Carl and Mae.  I always appreciate so much all you do for me.  I'll never be able to repay my neighbors for all they have done for me over the years, checking my mail, checking my house, and taking care of whatever needs attention while I'm away on my trips.  It's a huge benefit to have neighbors like them; I am truly blessed.

I did a test-pack of my bags today (Saturday).  After putting everything I need to take, the duffel bag weighs 46 pounds, 4 pounds shy of the limit.  The backpack weighs only 16 pounds, far shy of the 40 pound limit.  So, I am well underweight on the backpack, but it's pretty stuffed, with some big, but light things in it.  I should be okay checking the duffel bag and carrying the backpack.  My helmet ended up in the duffel bag, stuffed with riding gloves and stuff.

Well, it's truly trip's eve tonight.  I've packed, re-packed, and moved things until I'm done with the packing phase.  If it's not in a bag by now, it ain't going!  I'm sure they'll have whatever I might need over there.

My trip to the endodontist this morning went fine.  I didn't like the news he gave me, but as a friend says "It is what it is".  He took more x-rays as well as examined the pics taken by my regular dentist.  He decided to probe beside the tooth and the gum to see what he'd find.   After all of this (including numbing the side of my mouth, he decided that the root canal was probably okay.  But, he believes that one root of the tooth is split from the bottom towards the crown.  The x-rays found areas of bone loss beside the root and jawbone, which are usually indicative of bacterial pockets that cause the bone to recess away from the infection.  Ugh....  Bottom line, he recommended the tooth be removed and replaced with an implant.  Damn!!

So, when I return from the trip, I'll need to line up an appointment to have it yanked out and then do whatever they do to install an implant.  Sounds awful, but I don't have much of a choice.  He said I probably will not have any problems with it on the trip, but if I do, to take another round of antibiotic to knock the infection down again.

I guess it's time to publish this post; I've rambled enough.  Tomorrow at around 2pm, my neighbors will drop me off at the airport.  I'll go through security and then fly to Charlotte, where I'll meet up with Gary and Linda.  Two hours later, at 7pm, we'll leave for London.  Assuming all goes well, we'll land at 8am on Wednesday morning.  Hope I can sleep on the plane...

Bon voyage!


  1. Have a GREAT and safe trip!!

  2. Have a wonderful time and be safe : )

  3. Be safe and enjoy! You will do and see great things
    I love you and can't wait to hear all about your extraordinary time in the UK...:-)

  4. I hope you are having a wonderful time so far! Great to follow this amazing trip, almost feels like being there! Be safe and have lots of fun, take lots of pictures too (of course you will).