Tag Archives: travel

“My Bags Are Packed And I’m Ready To Go…”

girl-suitcases-young-woman-retro-style-old-31355831I’m sitting opposite Carolyn as she listens to a travel alert on her computer so she can scare the holy doody out of herself before she heads to Africa to work with Kuza, a fabulous organization that helps young people in Uganda attend college.  Apparently now there is just the slightest chance she could be riddled with bullet holes prior to the trip home.

Here’s what I love about Carolyn:  She is Lucy Ricardo.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating:  You say, “Hey, Carolyn, you want to–” and she is signed up, suited up and waiting with the car running before you’ve completed your sentence.  If no one has suggested an adventure in, oh, say the past seventy-two hours, she will surely come up with something.  It will be big.  It will be whacky.  It will require inoculations.

So when she heard about Kuza’s work in Uganda, she said to me, “I’m going to go to Uganda someday.”  She occasionally confuses the words “someday” and “tomorrow.”

She’s already taking medication to ward off malaria and rabid dysentery and has been inoculated for  yellow fever, red fever, pretty much every color of fever known to humankind.  She leaped first.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are best buds; it takes me an hour to decide whether to go to Bi-Mart.

I think about things.  A lot.  One might argue “too much,” but at least I am prepared.  Carolyn had no idea how to spell dysentery until I mentioned that I’d Googled it and that she could get it.  Now, I’m sitting across from her as she reads about it.  She’s turning a mite green, but that’s okay; she’s informed. 

I love being Carolyn’s friend.  She’s gets me into all sorts of situations I would never get into on my own.  She’s the reason I nearly got strangled in a Krav Maga class and almost got arrested in a NY subway.  I was with her when she stopped the car to try to break up a street fight in Woodburn.  I have seen her fly across the country to pick up a baby she didn’t know she was going to parent until only a day before, and I’ve watched her enroll her five kids in a school I told her about only that evening.  Split decisions that turn out beautifully are her gift.  So is steadfast friendship.  Should I have the need, I know she would fly to the ends of the earth to accompany me on whatever adventure I get into my head (after a suitable mental incubation period, of course).

She’ll be in Uganda eighteen days if the typhoid doesn’t get her.  I’m going to miss her.  I will have to go on some kind of adventure while she’s gone.  Oh, what the heck: Bi-Mart, here I come.

Safe journey, Carolyn.

–Wendy

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Wendy says good-bye to her 40’s…

Wish you were here!

This morning, I got a message from Chase on my cell phone:  Credit Fraud Alert!   Did you attempt to steal $160 on your credit card?  If yes, reply “yes”.  If no, please reply “no”.

Are they serious?  Why on earth would I admit to trying to steal money if I had stolen it?  Why on earth would I admit to trying to steal the money, if I hadn’t stolen it?

That’s what I call a lose/lose kind of question.

Because I am in Maui to celebrate the birth of my dear sister/friend, Wendy (yes, it’s that time of year again) I went to the store and bought a weeks worth of groceries and supplies, but neglected to tell my credit card company I was on the move.

Anyway, today is Wendy’s last day of being in her 40’s.  Tomorrow, she moves into her 50’s with the rest of us.  I’m just so sorry she isn’t here for the big party I throw for her every year.

Tomorrow, I’m going to announce my amazing gift to her so you’ll want to stay turned!

Aloha

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Birthdays, Marriage, Maui, Menopause, Motherhood, Travel

You idiot.

Where's the idiot?

     Do you ever fantasize about what a good time you are going to have on a road trip? I do.

     Oooo! It is going to be SO FUN to cram 9 people into an 8 passenger van and drive for HOURS!  We’ll play the license plate game!  We’ll sing camp songs and make s’mores!  We’ll take pictures!  The kids and the hubby!  And, if that’s not enough, let’s throw grandpa and grandma into the mix! Yep, yep, yep… Big fun.

I should have suspected that we were in trouble when I politely cautioned my husband to remember that my mother (tortoise) does not drive as fast as he does (roadrunner) and to keep her in his rearview because she does not know exactly where we are going.

“Oh.  Like I’m going to go speeding off and leave my mother-in-law in the dust,” he jeers.

You know, like I’m the idiot.  Funny, he didn’t seem as jazzed about this trip as I was.

And so, after five delightful hours in the mini-van, we make it to the magnificent Painted Hills.  It’s a bazillion degrees in the shade, but we gamely get out of the van and hike UP the mountain to the view-point.  I flirted with heat-stroke, but then I love living on the edge.

We took the required pics.  We admired the splendor.  We praised God because we are pious, godly people with thankful hearts.  We headed back to the van.  It was decided that this would be a good time to have Daughter # ONE drive, as she is accruing her 100 hours of permit driving before she gets her license.

She leaps behind the wheel of the van.  Hubby calls shotgun.  The kids all pile in behind her, with the exception of Daughter #2, poor kid.  She and I end up with grandma and grandpa in their car.  The car that has no map.  Because, hey, why should we need a map when we are following the husband who would not leave us?  Forsake us?  Without cell reception.

While they are all buckling up, I open the back of the van to get some water.  Did I mention we were in hell?  While I’m quenching my thirst, Daughter # ONE, in her teenage zeal, doesn’t know (or care) that the hatch is open as she starts the engine and stands on the gas.

I run after them as she tears out of the parking lot.  “THE HATCH IS OPEN!  THE HATCH IS OPEN!”  I’m waving my arms and jumping up
and down.  Several visiting families to the Painted Hills are amused at my antics (but, I must add sourly, don’t help).  Grandma leans on her horn.  Daughter jams on the breaks.  Hubby leaps out, slams the hatch and Daughter # ONE achieves warp speed before I can climb in with Grandma.

“Follow that car!” I shout.  Have I mentioned  Grandma (tortoise) is a cautious driver?  It is not until we arrive at the intersection that I realize the hubby and daughter are gone.  And, THEY.  HAVE. THE.  MAP. AND.  THE. WATER.

What ensues in our car was not pretty.  “Idiot!  Big, fat idiot!  How could I have married such an….idiot!?”  To my way of thinking, my husband—who, if you will remember, I did warn not to abandon Grandma—should be telling the kid to slow down and wait for us.  Grandma nobly reminded me that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes and that I should not be so hard on my husband.  I found this exceedingly annoying.

While we deliberate the route, Daughter # TWO tells us she has to go potty.   Grandma pulls over, lets us out at a rest area near the intersection.  She then speeds off to explore where Daughter # ONE and the IDIOT might have gone.

By the time Daughter # TWO and I are out of the bathroom, Grandma roars up in her car and is on the verge of divorce with Grandpa who is now—brace yourselves—an IDIOT!

Much arguing ensues.  MUCH.  ARGUING.  There were tears.  Recriminations.  Accusations. You’re an idiot!  No! YOU are the idiot!

And still, no Daughter # ONE or hubby.  Tempers continue to soar with the mercury.  There is no sign of the van.  We locate a tree and park under its shade and out of boredom, turn on each other.  Daughter # TWO is looking rather traumatized.  And I think, Wow, this is so freaking MUCH FUN!

And then, I start to laugh.  Super hard, convulsive laughter.  Painful, loud, tears-down-the-face-laughing. Must have been contagious
as everyone else joins in.  My father turns around and says to Daughter # TWO, “Honey, never get married.”

I wipe my eyes and tell her, “Nah, get married.  Just remember.  You’re an idiot.”

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, Cooking, Cussing, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Travel, Writing

Kids Say The Darnedest Things

I’m currently in sunny (scorching) Southern California, visiting my in-laws.  I always love this trip as my in-laws are fantastic people and they all live in one ginormous, bee-autiful home.  I don’t have to travel anywhere in order to see them all, a plus as I was never a California summer-lovin’ girl, even when I grew up here.  The other reason I love this trip:  I have adorable nieces.  This morning, the seven-year-old awoke early to hang out with me and we chatted about vacations.

Niece:  It’s hard to sleep on a plane.

Me:  Not enough leg room?

Niece:  Yeah.  When we flew to Florida there was an old man behind me, and he kept kicking my seat.

Me:  That must have been frustrating.

Niece:  Oh, it was!  He was old.  He should have known better.  And he did it the whole way to Florida.

Me:  Did you ask him nicely to stop?

Niece:  Yeah.  No.  I don’t know.  He never stopped.  He was old.  He should have known it was not right and it was not polite.

Me:  True.  But if he was old, maybe he didn’t realize he was doing it.

Niece:  Maybe.  He wasn’t so old old, though.  Maybe…at least eighteen or nineteen.  Yeah, maybe he was too old to know what he was doing.

She’s so wise, don’t you think?  It just proves nineteen is the new one hundred.
Wendy

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ROAD TRIP

Start spreading the news...I'm leavin' today...

Wendy and I are hitting the road.  It’s Manhattan or bust, baby.  We’ll be updating you all from the Big Apple, God willing, oy.  We’re taking the red-eye and should be boarding in a matter of hours.  Since both of us have a bit of anxiety when it comes to flying, we will be medicating, hence drooling on each other and snoring in each other’s ears.  I only hope we wake up in time to get off the plane and don’t end up in, you know, Aruba… or…

I’d better pack a swim suit.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, New York, Outdoor school, Writing

Haunted Hawaiian Vacation

    

Gasp!! It's a BRIGHTON!!

 Our last trip to Maui—see two blogs ago—was…well…for lack of a better word, haunted.  Haunted by bad luck.

The first thing to go wrong was that my wallet was stolen.  ON THE PLANE!  I used my credit card to buy a sandwich from the stewardess and I can only guess that my wallet fell to the floor, slid under the seat and was picked up by an unscrupulous Doo-doo Head  (excuse my French) upon landing.

This was horrible for me for several reasons.

Reason number one:  IT WAS A BRIGHTON WALLET!  $95!  Never mind that I found it (Brand-spanking NEW) at St. Vincent DePaul’s.  Yes!  It still had the original Brighton stickers and packing material!!  The good people at St. Vinnie’s didn’t know that it was worth far more than 2.99.  Yes!  What made it even better?  My mother was with me and it was SUPER SAVER SATURDAY FOR SENIORS!!  She scored a $95 Brighton for $1.50!  Wahooie!  Talk about a high!  This was better than that time when Geraldo Rivera nearly found something in Al Capone/Jimmy Hoffa/whoever’s safe!

Reason number two:  IT WAS FILLED WITH CASH

Reason number three:  IT HAD MY I.D.  Now how was I supposed to check in to the resort?  I wasn’t all that worried about not going home.  Sorry, honey.  Sorry kids.  Maui isn’t the worst place in the world to be stranded.  But…I was nobody!

Talk about a bummer.  Anyway, it all worked out—my fabulous husband Fed-Ex’d me a credit card and my passport.  But the other day, I was at Goodwill still mourning the loss of my wallet and sort of griping to God about it.  I do that.  Gripe to God.  “Lord, I know it’s probably not nice of me to ask You to smite the Doo-doo Head that stole my wallet.  But, could You maybe, replace my BRIGHTON wallet?  Did You get that?  I prefer Brighton…It’s not like I have $95 bucks to go out and replace it.  (Have I mentioned that I have yet to hit the NYT List, Lord?  What about that, Lord?)  Grumble, grumble, sigh.  I’m disgruntled and flipping through the wallet section at our brand new neighborhood Goodwill and suddenly the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck…

Just wait til I slather you with leather cleaner and silver polish!

What is this?  Why…IT’S A BRIGHTON WALLET!  For $3.99!! A little worn—but much less than the one I just lost, being that I’d loved on that wallet for several years—and Bigger than my last wallet!  This one (in its heyday) probably retailed for $120-150 smackeroos.  Oh, yeah. Thank you, Jesus!!  My husband is going to detail/clean it for me (although it’s in awesome shape).

I’ll relate the rest of our Maui misfortunes later.  For now, I’m off to do some more treasure hunting at Goodwill.

Aloha,

Carolyn

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Bathroom Humor, Part Duex-Duex

Planning a trip to Europe? Thank heavens you stumbled upon this blog! Before you go, you really need to consider a couple of handy tips my husband and I discovered that will help make your visit a more pleasant experience.

Take going to the bathroom for example. Did you know that you have to PAY for the privilege? Um hmm .50 Euros. That’s nearly a dollar American, down the toilet.

Unfortunately, we didn’t remember until we were in ‘crisis-mode’ so to speak.  Of course, we were waaay out of town, strolling through a picturesque German neighborhood, admiring the quaint architecture when my hubby felt a sudden need to find a McPoo. (Apparently, this is what European tourists call McDonalds, because its got free restrooms). I was miffed as his bowel functions were messing with my holiday but, since the matter seemed to be fairly pressing, we turned around and headed back toward town.

Whatever he was suffering from must have been contagious because I was also suddenly afflicted and we both picked up speed. Okay. Where is a McDonalds when you need one? There is one on every bleeping corner of the universe, unless you’re desperate. Luckily, there was a sign at the train station. W.C. (No, Wendy, this does not stand for Wendy and Carolyn, although at first I thought they’d heard of us over there. It stands for Water Closet).

Europeans have the audacity to keep these things locked until you have .50 Euro to plug into the door. Of course, we didn’t. I had a dollar. We hot-footed it over to a nearby bakery, waving our Euro and shouting “WC ! WC!” at the poor girl behind the counter. There was an elderly woman (a year or so older than me) at the counter, pointing at baked goods and jabbering in German. I don’t speakie the lingie, but clearly she couldn’t decide. And the girl behind the counter couldn’t open the register to make change, until she decided. My husband and I jogged in place while she deliberated. FOREVER. Sticky buns? Non-sticky buns. (I will refrain from the obvious pun). Finally, the elderly woman made her decision, the girl behind the counter flung our change at us and we were off to the WC.

There was only one open.

“Let’s share!” I screamed at my husband and we crowded into the WC (saved .50 Euro while we were at it, I might add). Luckily for us, the honeymoon was over decades ago. He let me go first (would George Clooney be so magnanimous, Wendy?) bless his heart. During his turn, I decided that I had to go again.

Eventually, there was an impatient knock at the door. “Occupied!” I strove to sound jaunty. There was some disgruntled talk outside the door. “Hurry,” I urged the hubby, during his second go round. “I think they think we’re in here…doing it!” “They wouldn’t if they could smell it,” he grunted.

Once we were both blessedly empty, we flung open the door and bolted. Behind us, more disgruntled (this time semi-nauseated) German talk. I’m nearly positive the words “Ugly American” were bandied about.

The British penny is sometimes referred to as a ‘p’. So, it may help to remember this handy saying: A ‘p’ to pee and two ‘p’ to poo.

Good luck, sojourner.

Carolyn

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Filed under Anxiety, Bathroom Humor, Geroge Clooney, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Travel, Weight Loss, Writing

Bathroom Humor

Okay, I admit it.  I had to get away from the stress of my love triangle with Wendy and George Clooney.  So, I went to Germany with the hubby.  Figured that was far enough away from the pain.  Imagine my surprise to find that they’d heard of Georgie in Germany.  Damn that man’s allure to the masses.  

Anyhow, this was my first time in a non-English speaking country.  I don’t count France, as they didn’t speak to me anyway.  Nor do I count Los Angeles, as I do habla un poco Espanol.  So, I was eager to learn the German lingo.  Fraternize with the natives.  I’m not exactly fluent in German, unless you count frantic hand signals and loud, impatient shouting in English, but I did manage to expand my vocabulary a tad.  They’ve got some funny stuff in Germany.   

I think my favorite is…   

Where?

 

I kept seeing this sign fly by as we zipped down the Audubon at about a thousand kilowatts (whatever) per hour.  And, when I wasn’t soiling myself at the sheer thrill of achieving warp speed in a Toyota, I was laughing my Aus off at the sign.  I mean, what was the purpose?  Should we pull over to enjoy the specified “area” to break wind?  Seemed inconvenient.  Not to mention crude.  It wasn’t until my last day that I discovered Ausfahrt means “Exit”.  My new favorite word.  I use it liberally now, when directing people to my house.   

BTW, George, I live just off the 2nd Ausfahrt in a town called Butteville.  Come On-a My House, baby.  

Carolyn

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