As anyone who read my story last week already knows, I am currently making preparations to move to New York with my Labrador, Bailey, and finally, after ten years, live full time with my New Yorker husband. Or not.
Although Bailey and I have been doing very well crossing things off of our "To Do" list, it hasn't been all plain sailing. This week I took him for blood tests to check that the rabies shot he had six weeks ago had worked. It has, so Bailey is set to go and will not have to spend six months in quarantine upon our return to Blighty. Indeed the only one foaming at the mouth as we left the veterinary surgery was me. It is costing an absolute fortune to get Bailey NY-ready.
Meanwhile, things aren't going as smoothly with my husband. This week we had an argument regarding Valentine's Day. I have to admit I'm a bit tetchy about the move and, as any of you girls out there will understand, needed a bit of extra reassurance in that department.
Valentine's weekend seemed to me to be the perfect time for him to express how much he loves me and reassure me how wonderful everything will be as soon as I land at JFK. This is what I needed to hear. Us girls are just nutty that way.
So, when my New Yorker started on about how ridiculous Valentine's Day is, nothing more than a way for big card companies to make large amounts of dough at our expense, I must admit I was upset, even though I secretly agree. Still, I needed some sort of sign that he realizes what a big step this is for me.
After all, I am about to leave my home country, where it rains 24/7; a majority of the food is mysteriously tasteless; and everyone stands on line without complaint, often never really knowing what they're standing on line for. So, it's a big sacrifice. The least he could do was show his appreciation, and Valentine's weekend would be the perfect time to do it.
So, after a bit of shouting on both sides and then some prolonged silences, we hung up. I looked at Bailey. He looked at me.
"The hell with him," I said as I headed to the kitchen to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea, which is what all Brits do in a crisis.
It wasn't helping that Bailey already has a Valentine card from his girlfriend, Ruby the cocker spaniel. It was kind of rubbing salt into the wound, to be perfectly honest.
Anyway, my advice to anyone in a long-distance relationship is, arguing with your partner on the telephone is to be avoided at all costs. You can't kiss and make up, and it's expensive. All those silences add up, only to reappear months later in the form of an astronomical phone bill -- by which time you've forgotten what the hell you were arguing about in the first place.
Over my cup of tea, I decided to swot up a bit on the royal wedding. I may be working as a freelance producer covering the festivities for a couple of the American TV shows. More importantly, I need to be prepared to handle my Greenwich Village neighbors when I get there.
I have to say that for the most part being a Brit in New York is a great deal of fun. I seem to get away with murder simply because of my English accent. However, during my last trip my accent proved to be a real pain for the first time, and it was all Kate and William's fault.
As soon as I opened my mouth someone asked me about the upcoming royal wedding. Although I was a bit of an authority on Princess Diana (having shot hundreds of stories about her for television shows around the world), I've been slightly distracted and therefore not up to speed on the ins and outs of the wedding.
Last time I was in the Big Apple, several New Yorkers looked positively put out when I didn't know which designer Kate has chosen to make her wedding gown and was unable to solve the mystery of William's rapidly receding hair line. Clearly these people seem to think I'm popping into the palace for a chat on a daily basis. Anyway, I'm making up for it now and will be armed with information by the time my plane touches down.
Then the phone rang again, and it was more bad news. Unbeknownst to us there is a no pets policy in our New York apartment building. My husband informed me (somewhat coldly, I noted) that he has appealed and that I needed to fill in the extensive questionnaire about Bailey and his habits and email it back to the Board for consideration. My kids' applications to college had fewer questions on them than this thing.
By the time I'd finished, I'd portrayed Bailey as a mute (well, non-barking) canine genius who would only add class to the building. I must admit I did a bit of name-dropping, mentioning his grandparents were Royal Dog Show champions and the like.
Feeling a little downhearted about the way the day was progressing, Bailey and I took a walk around the Hampton Court Palace gardens to clear our heads. It's a quite spectacular building where Henry VIII lived with his various wives before transporting them up the River Thames to the Tower of London where they were brutally decapitated. But this fact only brought me back to thoughts of my Valentine-hating husband.
That night I didn't call him. He didn't call me. It was a stand-off, all right. I must admit I had a few tears before calling my girlfriend Carol the following morning to lament the loss of love and romance.
"Do you remember the days when not just one but numerous cards would arrive through the letter box?" I asked Carol.
"The envelopes had things like S.W.A.L.K (Sealed With A Loving Kiss) written on the back and instead of a name inside just a question mark."
Carol has been married to the same man for 27 years. We both let out a long sigh for those days long gone.
And then, just as I hung up the phone, there was a loud knock on my front door. Bailey jumped up at the window to take a look. I opened the door, and there he was. My New Yorker.
"Happy Valentine's!" he said as he swept me off my feet.
Now that's romance. No card required.
Kim Carillo is a TV producer, photographer, and freelance journalist who divides her time between London and New York.