Tag Archives: travel

The Lies We Tell

Butter Wouldn't Melt in his Mouth!

Butter Wouldn’t Melt in his Mouth!

The lies I told today when making a booking with the ‘pet friendly’ hotel today:

Them: “Is your dog a small dog?”

Me: “Well, you know he’s not teeny small, but he is a small-ish Labrador.”

(Lie #1. He weighs 40 kilos and he can easily put his paws on my shoulders when on his hind legs. He’s huge. In fact I’m not so sure he’s not part Great Dane or Mastiff.)

Them: “Oh, well we usually only accept small dogs. Is he very well behaved?”

Me: “Oh yes, he’s an angel, he is quiet as a mouse and doesn’t chew. He’s basically like a guide dog but we’re not blind.”

(Lie #2. He’s terribly behaved. He eats shoes like he’s on his last meal – prefers expensive designer brands –  He howls terribly if we leave him alone for more than a few hours because he’s used to me being with him all day (I work from home). If he were a guide dog the blind person wouldn’t last a day,he’s the most (happy) undisciplined dog I’ve ever met.)

Them: “And is he used to travelling with you and being left at the hotel if you go out?”

Me: “Oh yes, he’s a regular traveller, we travel with him all the time. He loves it and he’s just a part of the family, waits patiently for us to return when we’re out and gives the hotel and it’s patrons no trouble at all. All the places we’ve stayed love him.”

(Lie #3. He’s never been to a hotel with us before. It’s really hard to find pet friendly hotels in Australia (God Bless America – so much easier to find them there) and  because he’s such a pain in the ass to take places we leave him with my sister who he adores nearly as much as he loves shoes. Or as a last resort, in a kennel where he pines and has been known to attempt suicide. Really.)

The thing about him, he’s adorable. We’ve actually just signed him up to start stem cell therapy for his elbow displasiya and osteo-arthritis – ground breaking stuff in the animal world. He’s sweet and loving and funny….and not very well behaved.

All this for a last minute quick trip away, oh the lies! Blogging is my confessional.

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Faux Pas

5652724063_de2b6d2ee5_zI wasn’t sure I wanted to have a child when I was younger.

I spent my 20’s traveling, working, eating at great restaurants and generally enjoying life. I had a good job that paid well with a company car, laptop and phone. My personal expenses were almost zero. I lived in an apartment just steps from the beach, and I used my 4 weeks vacation a year to travel overseas as much as possible.

I ended up giving up the well-paying job and moving to Ireland and then England to travel, before finally settling in the USA with my (now) husband. It was so much fun! Living in and experiencing new countries and cultures should be a rite of passage for all 20-somethings. I met so many interesting people, visited so many fascinating places and wanted more and more of it. I wasn’t sure that kids and the kind of travel I envisioned for my life would mix very well…

Then my son came along. After a few years of misery (the kid was born 3 months early, spent 4 months in intensive care and never slept through the night until he was three years old due to a feeding disorder – so yes, I can honestly say it was often miserable), he became one of my primary reasons for a good laugh.

Kids are funny, they just are. Even better, most often they aren’t trying to elicit a response so their hilarity is even more endearing. Like when we were driving by a large cemetery in a city far from our town and the headstones could be viewed as far as the eye could see. The 8-year-old said:

“WOW, it looks like a whole lot of people have died…”

Yes it does son, yes it does.

images

However, the biggest laugh my husband has had of late can be attributed to me when talking about my son to his teacher during a school interview a few months back. About halfway through the interview all was going well with the teacher until I came out with the following;

“Sorry he hasn’t completed all of his homework over the past few weeks, we’ve just moved house and getting internet hooked up in this town is harder than scoring cocaine…he’ll get it finished as soon as we are back online.”

Yeah, I really said that. It sounded a lot better in my head than it did after it came out of my mouth and I saw the teachers response (she did not smile). I couldn’t see my husbands response, his head was already in his hands by the time I looked over at him.

The conversation in the car afterwards went something like this:

Hubby: ” I can’t believe you said that! It’s possibly the number one thing you should never say to your child’s teacher!”

Me: “Oh come on, she had to know I was kidding, I volunteer in class every week for Gods sake! Surely that buys me a little credibility? Surely I can get a pass based on my history of good works? It just explained the situation so well. We moved weeks ago, and the damn telco company still hasn’t been able to get our internet hooked up, it’s ridiculous!”

Hubby: “I’m sure she’s reporting us to DOCS.” (Dept. of Community Services)

Me: “Oh well then, judging by the copious quantity of cigarette-smoking parents towing bare-footed children behind them with snot running down their faces and coughs that sound like the death rattle in the middle of winter – along with the large display of grammatically incorrect cuss words spray painted on the bridge heading out of town, they seem largely useless at their jobs – so I suspect it will all turn out just fine.”

Kiddo (little voice from the back seat): “Why is cocaine so hard to get?”

Hubby and I (in unison): “Because its dangerous, don’t ever try it!”

Hubby has since announced I am banned from future interviews until he has time to redeem our family name.

With him on the job it could take decades.

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Dear Father.

My father is by nature a fun-loving person.

He was the one who short-sheeted my bed as a kid – so when I got in I couldn’t get my feet down to the bottom – the one who filled his left had with axle grease, hiding it as he put out his other hand offering a handshake. When I responded in kind, he grabbed me, pulled me close and rubbed the axle grease in my hair.

He would on occasion start a food fight at the table, flicking peas at us with his fork, much to my mothers exasperation.

I remember the time when we were traveling Europe on vacation and he spent a whole day with me in a pinball parlor – spending an exorbitant amount of money – for a day that by most mothers standards (including mine), would be considered a complete and utter waste of family time and finances.

Still, these are the moments kids remember, so perhaps they weren’t so wasteful after all.

These days he’s much more serious, he owns stores in the Sydney area and is always pouring over the books and dealing with some crisis or another and when he comes to visit it’s inevitably a whirlwind trip, because he has to get back to put out another theoretical fire back at base camp.

Until recently.

He and my mother recently left on a trip to Canada for 5 weeks. Australians get a minimum of 4 weeks paid vacation leave every year, so its pretty standard that if you accrue some leave, people will go overseas and stay for 4, 5 or even 6 weeks.

They’ve traveled the east coast of Canada visiting Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, over the border into Buffalo? (am I right here?), and by all accounts are having a ball. I have deduced that they are also very relaxed as I see signs of the man who once was.

I worked this out, primarily by this little stream of text messages my dad sent me. His messages are in white, mine in green (note the time he sent the first message).

This is what old people do when they relax, they go insane.

My question re: ‘The funny weed’ refers to what my parents call marijuana.

My husband finds it mildly amusing that my parents wont actually use the word marijuana (as though by using it, they may give it credence), so they call it ‘the funny weed.’

My sister and I just find it hugely irritating and tell ourselves that that’s what old people do, so we don’t think any less of them.

Here, the absurdity continues:

As you can see, I have a 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality.

I gave up in the end and decided to fight fire with fire, and it all pretty much went downhill from there.

And here is where it becomes painfully obvious whose child I am.


He never responded after that, I guess that one had him stumped.
After about a week I called my sister to see if she had heard anything from them – she hadn’t. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Have you heard from the olds?”

Her: “No, you?”

Me: “Not after those insane text messages, do you think they went crazy and performed some kind of suicide pact?”

Her: Nah, dad wouldn’t want to miss out on the Holiday business at the stores, they’d do it after the new year if they were going to.”

Me: “Do you think they’ve been eaten by a bear? Do they have bears in Canada or is it just moose? I think its moose – and they can be very violent – so can the beavers. Maybe they were attacked by a pack of rabid beavers?”

Her: “I’m headed to their house now, if I take (boyfriends) car I can beat you there and clean the place our before you arrive. There’s all that artwork and jewelry and stuff. Though mum wore all her most expensive jewelry and dad had on his nice watch too.”

Me: “Well if you clean out the house I’ll be going to collect the bodies, and I’ll pry it all from their cold, dead hands if I have to.”

Her: “We’ll flip for the jewels, OK?”

Me: “Seems fair.”

They called later that day. They’re fine.
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I’m A Tourist In My Own Country

I have lived for the last 10.5 years abroad. First I moved to Belfast, Ireland, then near Oxford in the UK, then stayed for a brief spell in London and Cambridge. Finally, the majority of my time was spent living in Colorado with my now-husband.

We have recently moved back to my home country of Australia, though one would never know it, I’m so inept at functioning here. My first issue is a frighteningly simple one. Walking. Yes, really.

In Australia, as far as I remembered people walked on the left. Moving people walkers, or escalators go up and down the left. Cars drive on the left. I am left handed for Gods sake! Left, left, left.

This seems so simple, take what I have been doing for the past 9 years and reverse it, but I am seemingly incapable of this simple task.  I start out OK, yet a few minutes into my walking I seem to be bumping into people or simply getting in their way…. I do a lot of dodging people and saying things like; “pardon me”, “I’m sorry” , “excuse me” and the ever cheery “my fault, whoops!” on my excursions out to the pavement.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. I was in the grocery store the other day and looking for some Tylenol (or Panadol as its known here). For the life of me I couldn’t find it and after a lot of frustration I started second guessing my knowledge of my country….’do they even carry Panadol in a grocery store in this country? Is it perhaps something that is only available in pharmacies here, like a prescription in the USA? Have been gone so long I’ve forgotten what the simple staples at the grocery store should be?? ‘

My quandary was finally solved when I took a deep breath and asked a lady with a baby (hoping that her brain cells were also fried and she wouldn’t judge me) “Excuse me, I cant seem to find the Panadol, I’m not from this country (lie!) so I wasn’t sure if they carry it in a grocery store here?”

Her look was total judgement as she pointed to the 15 foot long display of panadol-style tablets in the aisle I had just come from. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I realized that saying I wasn’t from this country probably doesn’t really come across as plausible when I say it with a perfect Australian accent. My bad.

My final and most humiliating example (yes it really does get worse) was this sad little display:

Uggs On The Beach...Really?

I wore Ugg Boots on the beach. I may as well have worn a sign over my head saying; “I have lived inland in a cold and wintry climate all my life and know nothing about beach etiquette, or common sense for that matter.”

Now in my own defense we live super close to the beach right now, so it wasn’t as though I was getting ready for a day at the beach and packed up my bag; ‘Sunglasses? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Towel? Check. Ugg Boots? …’

I literally was in shorts and just went down for a few minutes and the Uggs were closest to the door, but still.

To add to my defense, as soon as I stepped into calf-high sand and it started pouring into the top of my boot I realized my mistake and took them off. See? I’m not a complete idiot, despite what you’re thinking of me right now.

Walk To The Beach

Needless to say, top of my schedule today is to get to the local bookstore to find the book titled; “how to fit in like a local and not look like a complete moron in a newish country even though you spent 26 of your formative years here.”

I’m hoping they aren’t all out of that title.

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Travel (as only my family can do it).

LED elevator floor indicator

Image via Wikipedia

Just a few weeks ago, we moved from the USA to Australia. We left Texas and headed out for 10 days in our old home city of Denver, Colorado and then went on to California, Vegas and finally to our new home in Australia. Here is an entry from my travel journal to give you an example of how flawed our trip was:

August 2nd, 2010

We have 6 suitcases, 2 roller carry-ons, 2 backpacks, 1 handbag, 1 pillow pet, 1 pillow pet blanket, 1 regular “blankie”,  (OK we get the picture…) so I decided to go down to the lobby at our hotel and bring up a baggage cart to load it all onto before moving to the car.

As only my luck would have it, there were no carts available and so I got onto the elevator to go back to our third floor room to tell hubby that we would in fact have to drag this all down to the car ourselves.

I pushed “3” and “close doors” and the elevator begin its accent. And stopped, and went dark. I punched some buttons and nothing happened. I waited a few minutes for someone to figure out what had happened and deal with it. Nothing, just silence and more nothing. I feared momentarily that the rapture had happened and that I was going to die a slow hideous, death trapped in an elevator without even my cellphone to be able to check facebook. (Then I realized that with all the crap I have put up with lately, I’m going to be one of the first in line at the pearly gates, so that fear quickly dispelled.)

Finally, it dawned on me that this was bad, very bad. We were already pushing time to get our rental car returned and checked in, get the shuttle to the airport and deal with our huge amount of baggage and getting it all checked in to make our flight. Besides, it was hot in the elevator and I had worn jeans in preparation for a warm-but-not-overly-hot California day.  So I did what any self respecting, mature, calm person would do…. I banged on the elevator doors and shouted at the top of my lungs.

Finally, what I assumed to be a maintenance man called back to me and said he would try to get it fixed. He huffed and puffed for a while and then figured out he was not going to get the doors apart by force, so he called the fire brigade.

It was clear I was going to be here a while so I shouted to the handyman to call up to our room and tell my hubby where I was so he didn’t worry. I found out later no one ever did that, but in the meantime hubby had experienced the power outage in the room and after some time waiting for me, deduced on his own what may possibly have happened.

Not long after I heard a voice from up above me…”Mummy! Are you in there??” I shouted back that I was. “Mummy, are you OK?? I’m sorry you are stuck in an elevator, I wish I was in there with you so you weren’t alone”  (such love!)

Then came the ridicule….

Hubby: “Honey?”

Me: “YES….”(I knew where this was going)

Hubby: “OH. MY. GOD. This is so.…being tweeted and posted on my facebook wall right now.”

Me: “You’re a funny guy, you may want to think about the fact that we have 6 + bags on the 3rd floor of a hotel and no way to get them to the car but by brute force. In other words honey, you need to carry all 6 bags down 3 flights of stairs to the car by yourself and have it packed and ready as soon as I get out of here because we are now running late.”

Hubby: [expletive] Leaves to begin his workout for the day. At least the ridicule had ended (that is until later when I was in the car with him), meanwhile I hear the little voice from 3 floors above… “Mummy, are you OK? Do you need  a drink? Do you need to go potty? Are you scared? Is it dark??” ..Yes, no, no, no and yes.

Finally after what seemed like hours, I heard the sound of the fire engine sirens. At this point I was sitting on the floor of the elevator that only an hour ago I had glanced at and thought how dirty it looked. (My how things change!) The firemen arrive and ask the obvious “is anyone in there?” and “are you OK?” We’ll sure, I’m fine for a person that has been sitting in a hot, stuffy elevator alone in the dark in jeans for the past hour, just fabulous!

They worked on it for a while and finally figured out that they simply could not get the doors open. They then informed me that they would be ‘lowering’ the elevator manually to the bottom of the elevator shaft and that when this happened the doors should automatically open. Sounds great, no power, but you are going to manually lower it? How much do these things weigh? Like 5000 pounds? It seemed like a bad idea to me. (On the positive side, if something went terribly wrong then the fire department were already on hand.) Another 30 minutes or so of silence…

Really, I’m surprised. When you see things like this on TV, a crowd gathers, the firemen are constantly checking on the ‘victim’ and there is a lot of action and drama. Well! Not for me, they basically ignored me the whole time until I finally asked the time and commented that I had a flight to catch and at this moment was probably missing it.

Finally, the elevator was in the bottom of the shaft and the doors magically opened and 3 firemen peered into the darkness at me. One was gentlemanly enough (and cute!) to offer me his hand and help me from the floor. I thanked them for their help and made the comment that I think I would take the stairs to get back to the room if it was all the same to them. ( I think I’m a lot funnier than I really am in situations such as these.)

As I came up to the first floor there was a women there with 3 of those little yappy dogs….what are they called? Chiuauahs. She had them running loose but with long leashes on them and I was in such a rush as we were so late, they tangled in my legs as I was running to my room. I stood on one of them as I tried desperately to keep myself from tripping, and to get out of the tangles of leads. I don’t think she (or they) were giving off good vibes to me…It really was NOT my morning.

Hubby was still trying to load the car. We had to purchase an extra bag in Colorado so we had one more bag to get back to the airport than we arrived with. We had rented a Hyundai Elantra. This is not a large car. My poor son was dwarfed on every side by suitcases in the back seat as we pushed the speed limit to get to the airport.

What a start to the day, it was barely 11am I was hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, thirsty (having had no time to eat or drink) and had been traumatized by my elevator experience (I’m not a person that has issues at all with dark or small spaces, but combine them and add in the fact that you cant get out even if you want to and I have to say it felt a little freaky). As I write I’m a on the plane that was (mercifully) delayed.

We are saying goodbye to the Colorado Mountains and hello to the California seaside.  I really hope all my bad luck is out of the way and from here on in, its just a relaxing California  vacation..but as my hubby says, what would I have to blog about if everything was perfect?

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The Husband List

Kat, my new favorite blogger to stalk (poor Kat, this means a war and peace comment from me at least every few days… I do try and keep it concise, but…)

Anyway, she is doing an experiment of sorts, attempting to date 30 men in 3 months and blogging about her experiences. She is witty, amusing, thoughtful, open and manages to be eloquent while she does it all. Hat’s off to her! You can read her blog here.

While reading her blog it reminded me of my list from 9 years ago. That is, my list of ‘qualities I require in a husband.’ I came across this list while I was packing up my life to move to Australia. (That’s right, my husband, my son and I after 10 years in the USA have just weeks ago moved to my original ‘home’ of Australia – hence the ending of my last blog and the beginning of this new one)

So I found the list and mulled it over for a while. I wonder if there are many people who set goals in life, attain them, set more goals, attain them and so on. Looking back over my adult life and my achievements (or lack thereof), one would think I set goals only when on drunken binges and playing truth or dare. Moving on…

Here is the list in its entirety from 2002:

1. Must be financially secure

2. Must love kids (this from the woman who didn’t want kids – what was that even about?)

3. Must love animals

4. Must have a great sense of humor, specifically be able to laugh at himself (since I intend to do a lot of laughing at him also)

5. Love to travel

6. At least 6 feet tall

7. Must not be late for our first date.

8. Walk on the side of the road that is closest to the cars when we are out together, so if a tragedy occurs, it happens to his body, not mine.

9. Open doors always.

10. Have similar religious beliefs.

Here’s how I did when it came down to the wedding day:

1. He was able to pay for our then apartment rent, cars, electric, food and health insurance. DRAW

2. He never showed any aptitude towards kids but lo and behold he’s like the best father ever…people have actually stopped us in public and complemented him on his fathering. WIN

3. He does love animals.WIN

4. He thinks he’s much funnier than he is. I’m not sure if this qualifies as success or not, but he does allow me to ridicule him endlessly and has a pretty good sense of humor about it, so we’ll call this success. WIN

5. Like me, he was well-traveled. Europe, the UK and much of the US. Since we  have been married (8.5 years) we have only been to Mexico, US and Australia. Given that we lived in the US and my family lived in Australia, I consider this a whopping FAIL.

6. He’s 5′ 9 1/2″ though he claims he’s 5′ 10″ and I let him get away with it. FAIL

7. We met through my father (and he still claims he has yet to receive a dowry, while my husband maintains that taking me off his hands was the gift) and because I was living in Australia at the time we “chatted” on instant message and the phone. Our very first “date” was him picking me up from the airport. He was late. And short. FAIL

8. I suspect there are many, many times throughout our marriage when he has envisioned  pushing me in front of incoming traffic. FAIL

9. This one is laughable! Opens doors? Who? How? What? Why??? FAIL

10. He’s Jewish. I’m Christian. Enough said. FAIL

Do you all see the trend I have going here? By all accounts this marriage should be a complete failure. If this was a game of Win, Lose or Draw I would be walking off in shame right now.

The great thing about real life is that though your mind may be putting the car in reverse and holding the accelerator on the floor, the heart has grabbed on for dear life and just wont let go.

So bravo for us, bravo.

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