Friday, August 6, 2010

Day, The First

In an effort to meet all the needs of my friends who asked to please be packed into my suitcase for the Ireland trip, I'm going to write a trip play-by-play (sans banal conversation or bathroom trips unless very interesting). This is my effort of supreme love for you, my friend and reader, in the hopes that you will feel as enchanted and relaxed and amused by the events as I was and am.


Staying true to fashion, I packed my suitcase a mere handful of hours before we were to be at the airport. I had the kids' suitcases packed, I had their medicines and toiletries and peanut free snacks packed. I remembered their favorite stuffed animals and pillows and blankets. After all that packing, I could hardly keep from just throwing random clothing items into my own suitcase and calling it finished. After all, I mused, what need had I for fashion on this trip? I needed jeans and shoes and a shirt. If I wore it three times, wouldn't be the first time that Europe had met with a young dirty adult snapping pictures of everything in their path.
So we dropped the older girls with the first set of Amazing Friends Who Love Us and then, Austin, Isla and Your Favorite Blogger leisurely drove down the road to have a cup of frozen yogurt and head towards the airport.

But. I suddenly remembered that in my packing frenzy of I-don't-care-I'm-laissez-faire, I forgot socks. I hate socks. I have two whole drawers of all kinds of socks that are just waiting for me to sort them. When a kid needs socks, they go to the drawer and hope to get kid socks, as opposed to men's dress or women's athletic. They know better than to hope the socks will match. But ugh...socks. Still, I would need them for the closed-toe-shoe holiday this would be.

So. A quick run to Target to find socks. And bottles for Isla! Crap. I forget everything. Ok...I also might need A CAMERA BATTERY!

Suffice it to say that we went to four different stores and then made it to the airport with enough time to dazzle the Delta folk with Isla's cute face and get on an earlier flight. Huzzah! We would now have more time in the Atlanta airport to have dinner!

And they always do...the cranky powers that be that determine/ruin travelers' plans, told us that we now had to sit on a runway for one entire hour, in July, with no cool air. I did not lose my mind, but I did despair of the all natural deodorant that I now insist on wearing as it isn't linked to causing cancer. I'm happy with the no-cancer link. But in these moments of stress and heat and humidity and closeness to other humankind and the man in front of me who INSISTS on LEANING HIS CHAIR BACK even though the safety video clearly states that now is NOT THE TIME, I miss my good old anti-perspirant.

So, we finally took off, me saying prayers over and again that the plane wouldn't lose an engine and a wing or have a terrorist on board.

We landed in Atlanta, quickly made our way to the next gate, and then looked for food. It was past dinnertime, and our bellies had not been fed airplane pretzels. We walked happily up to one location, only to have one very rude, unhappy, and let's face it, ugly girl tell us that WE ARE CLOSED! and that WE AIN'T GOT NO FOOD LEFT FOR Y'ALL.

Repeat this three times and I'm wondering why anybody likes Atlanta.

Finally found the Prince of Atlanta, who served me some sort of spinach and broccoli concoction wrapped in bread. It tasted like heaven and I thought positive thoughts about him towards his general direction. I hope he gets a raise and then is the manager for all those other not nice people.

Woohoo! Time for Delta flight whatever (I try not to memorize the flight number as it makes me fear that I hear it on the news, saying that it has blown up) to Amsterdam! We got on board, got a lovely seat in a front row area (behind first class, but of course) and there was an EMPTY seat next to me! I knew it was going to be amazing. We would be able to put Isla between us and stretch out! Hurrah!

And then. The Dreaded Look. You know, when the person you see has realized that he/she has to sit next to you, and you are both unhappy about it?

There is some sort of cosmic force that passes between eyes in The Dreaded Look. You exchange your distaste of their person, you recognize that you will fight to the death for your share of the armrest, and you will steal their pretzels when they go to the restroom. The Dreaded Look is nearly fatal when a baby is involved. He took one look at my sweet, perfect Isla, and he turned and had the cheek to ask a stewardess to change his seat. It.Was.ON.

If I could stomach such a sight, I would have willed Isla to vomit on him. Instead, she smiled and laughed and cooed and even though everyone on the whole plane fell in love with her, he was impervious to her charms and I'm quite sure was carrying a bomb in his shoes.

The next seven hours (gross) passed with some sleep, zero crying from World's Most Perfect Baby, and some of the very worst airplane food I have ever looked at. I went without any food for seven plane hours, which everybody knows is 35 regular hours.

We arrived in Amsterdam! Confused, bedraggled, and ready for some tea, we scouted the area for breakfast. It was around 3pm.
Lucky for us, the lovely Dutch had fresh kiwi-strawberry juice, hot tea with real, non-scary milk from happy cows, and some sort of quiche/pasty hybrid. Austin just had coffee as he had opted for the scary airplane breakfast. And then he had to go to the bathroom. Airplane shouldn't be this way. Paying shouldn't have been hard. But we didn't have Euros yet, so I just handed her my debit card. And she pointed at the little machine. Which was allllll in Dutch.

I don't speak Dutch. T'was slightly humbling.

After our 'fast food' breakfast on real plates with real knives and glasses, we looked for a souvenir of our quasi-Amsterdam visit.

I'm going to dazzle you here with my complete honesty about my complete stupidity. I cringe before you, naked (not really) and ignorant.

I asked Austin (quietly, as I at least had the wisdom to know that I was dumb) why all the gift shops had, alongside the famous tulips and magnets referring to soft drug use, things that said, Holland. Hello? Amsterdam is in The Netherlands!

My spouse looked at me. Blinked. Looked again. Then a a smirky smile lit up his eyes. He explained that The Netherlands and Holland were one and the same. Damn my bad geography and ignorance. So glad I asked him quietly.

We bought an Amsterdam Starbucks mug, which I realize is a little cheesy and not really an authentic sort of souvenir. But it was better than the plastic wooden Holland clogs, and quite honestly, I like it.

We now had an hour to pass before getting on a plane to Dublin. Austin wanted to sit at the gate. I wanted to not sit. Ever.Again.

We compromised by not sitting while looking at the duty-free selections of nasty fish in a jar.

After giggling at pickled herring and drooling over Stroopindewaffles, we decided to go wait at the gate. But first....a picture MUST.

Austin obliged because I told him he had to OR ELSE. Yes, I felt kind of stupid holding painted wooden tulips and grinning madly while thinking of my sister. But it is a good picture, and that's why I have good vacation memories. Viva la embarrassing picture unless it involved nudity.

While waiting for our plane, I asked something about my lipstick. It is new, it is bright, and I kind of love it. Austin let me know that he didn't share my opinion. I told him that he might not like it because, at the moment, I happen to be wearing a black shirt and no other makeup. He laughed and said no...he doesn't like it because it is ugly.

I pouted a bit.
And then I applied more.

We get along in a rather grand way. And when we don't, I take pictures to punish him.

Technically, the day kept going. We flew to Dublin and then drove with our friend Paul Cullen to Galway (he gets lost all the time and I'm not sure why or how, but my sister suffers from a similar affliction so I just sigh and laugh) and with tea and toast we celebrated our arrival into Ireland. But I was zoning out big time and if you told me I married Holland's Prime Minister I would believe you. Jetlag, that specific stepsister of fatigue, is an odd beast.

So we consider this the end of my first day of vacation. Yes, it was spent traveling. But as you can see, it didn't go dully by.

Come back tomorrow to enjoy Day, The Second.


Jennifer said...

I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip. Thank you for being honest. It was great.

~gina said...

The lipstick is beautiful as is the person wearing it :-) Thank you for allowing me to live vicariously through your eloquent written word!

Lori Buck said...

Okay, I'm embarrassed that I'm just now reading about your lovely vacation, but I've been a little busy trying to figure out how to educate my children at home, so they won't turn out to be geographical idiots like me, and apparently like you as well ;)

My husband finds unending pleasure in my geographical ignorance. I have no idea what all those square states are in the middle of our country, and don't even get me started on Europe. And about those Netherlands and Holland and Dutch. Is it just me, or in England do they speak English, France-French, Italy-Italian, Germany-German. Where the heck do they speak Dutch and why can you call their country one name that sounds like one country, Holland, and another that sounds like a bunch of places, the Netherlands. Just sayin'... And honestly, I've probably screwed up that last part about the Dutch/Netherlands/Hollandish people.