Vacation with a 9 year old

Vacation with a 9 year-old is an oxymoron, because vacation implies relaxation.   So, let’s call it a trip to the beach.

There are high points and low, low points.  I would like to think that we are both having growth spurts — he is maturing and I am becoming a more patient parent.

Elements of salvation:

  1. sunny days,
  2. a house with a pool,
  3. a steep driveway (awesome for scootering WITH HELMET and various other protective gear),
  4. wi-fi (that was an unexpected bonus),
  5. evening TV (Scooby-Doo mysteries), and
  6. wine.

Did I mention wine?  G-d’s elixir.



Our [rental] house is a very, very fine house.  Wait for it . . .  yes!  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Except it has a buffalo skull and a shot gun over the fireplace.  A gun?  a GUN?  A GUN?  Omigod, that thing could kill a person!!!

More about this later, but first:

Thursday was a crazy day.  I kept thinking this sounds like a movie, “A Boy, His Friends, Their Dogs, A Cousin and Assorted Adults”.  Our dear friends and their kids and their two chihuahuas were still without power after Hurricane.  5 DAYS.  Camping out at home cannot be that much fun even if you are outdoorsy people like they are.  (And if you are an indoorsy person like me, a minute in suburbia is too much contact with nature.)

We told our friends to pack up everything in the car and come over.  We were happy to have them.  If their power hadn’t come on while they were over on Thursday, we insisted that they would stay with us through the weekend.

We helped unload the car when they arrived.  In came the ice chest that they have been schlepping around with their perishables, as well as non-perishables that no Jew could live without: garlic, onions and antacids.  They stopped off at a farmer’s market, so when they walked in, one said in way so reminiscent of my grandparents, “we brought such a sweet melon, we should eat it right away!!”  And the stuff kept coming:  the beds for the dogs, the beach and swim gear. . . It was amazing.  It reminded me of when my family used to pack up to go to our weekend house, and my father would look at all of the stuff and say, “we could travel to Europe for six months with less!”

Once the unpacking was complete, I offered alcohol, homemade potato salad (delicious, really), or whatever else would make the adults calm and happy.  They just wanted to turn on and off the lights and keep flushing the toilets.  After five days, this woooosh sound is apparently as soothing as waves at the beach.

Then our nephew and sister-in-law came over.  Three young boys in one house for a “play date”.  Three boys looking longingly at the rifle.  Testosterone on full display.

Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy,  “It’s for show”.  “It doesn’t fire.”  “It is ORNAMENTAL.”

That’s what these boys hear from an overabundance of mothers and an absence of fathers.  Do they believe us?  They better, else the rifle will be the least of their worries.  The boys know this but can’t help but focus on the real rifle that we say is ornamental.  Let me take a moment to reflect on the little sleep I have gotten knowing there is a gun in the house. I need another vacation in a Quaker commune to make up for this.

Power was restored in our friends’ house, so we packed EVERYTHING back into the car.  What a monumental task.  It jogged another memory of my Dad’s also telling the doormen of our apartment building that we weren’t really going away only for a weekend; we were actually moving out west to start a farm but since we don’t know anything about farming, we needed to bring a year’s worth of food.

Friday was a relaxing day.  SNOBFOB (see prior blogs about the Alternate View) invited us over for dinner at her house in the area.  What a fabulous, relaxing evening.  SOS (our son, source of sanity) thinks SNOBFOB is awesome and loved looking at the moon and stars from her deck.  He also loved that SNOBFOB let him explore the house.  And a specially made cheeseburger, potato chips and vanilla ice cream just made a little boy soooo happy.  “E-Mom, I like your friends.”  “Thanks, buddy.”  “We can go back tomorrow if you like.”  “Buddy, we have to wait for an invitation first.”  “But [SNOBFOB] said we could come over any time!!”  “Dude, we are going to bask in the glow of having been good guests for a little while.”  “Mommy, what is E-Mom talking about?”

Saturday, another chill out day.  The pool.  The beach.  The pool.  Rest hour after lunch.  The pool.

We had our nephew, POB’s (partner of blogger’s) sister and POB’s father over for dinner.  Again, three little boys over, although the 84 year-old one was slow moving and just wanted to watch the Mets game.  The two boys played in the pool before dinner. And we played basketball in the driveway.  So much fun.  POB got it on tape and she promised me that there is no footage of my slightly thickening waistline.

It was a lovely day.  The COB (colleague of blogger) sent me a message on Facebook making sure I knew that a pile of stuff awaited me upon my return.  The COB was being funny and I got the humor.  Still, I logged off Facebook.

Today is our last full day here. . . .

Another day, another blogcation opportunity

Our staycation ended today.  We drove out east to the beach.  Lovely house with pool and most all of the amenities.

Not our style, but POB (partner of blogger) pronounced the kitchen “remarkably ungross” and the bathrooms “spotless”.  For those of my college friends reading this, POB said even a certain person who lives in Newburyport (NFOB) would cook in this kitchen without blow-torching it first.  Some of you may feel the need to come out and see the vacation house that even NFOB would like.  We will take pictures of the sinks, oven, refrigerator and toilets so you can wait until the reunion photo collage.

SOS (source of sanity) could barely hold back from jumping into the pool.  The delay of unpacking his bathing suit was almost more than he could bear.  “Can’t I skinny dip?”  (What is with boys and swimming in the nude?)  Pressing back against the tide of the generation of instant gratification, we made sure that he took the time to find his bathing suit.  Parenting is in the details.  Ok, parenting is in the nagging about the details.

The pool has a slide which SOS pronounced “awesome”.  Hours of enjoyment ensued.  (Tomorrow, his cousin and some other of his friends in the area are coming over to play and have dinner.)

Later, we took a walk along the beach.  Just beautiful.

Now, I am pretending to know how to grill.  Take-out anyone?


We are heading out tomorrow for vacation.  So, today, was the last day of staycation.  It was a gorgeous day in New York City today.  After POB (partner of blogger) came back from the gym, I got ready for my run and 2 hours of mindlessness.

As I left POB and SOS (our son, source of sanity), they were fighting over the TV remote control, because POB wanted to watch the rest of Phineas and Ferb (Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s embarrassing high school tape and the importance of the aglet — ok, you had to see it) and SOS wanted to watch something about swamp monsters.  Ah, a typical day in Paradise.

I only run because it is quick and easy (I stop shortly after starting).  And, clearly, I don’t run very far.  And running doesn’t accurately portray that which I do, which is a lazy, and somewhat resentful stumble. To the casual observer, I might be late for an appointment and haplessly jogging, all the while looking over my shoulder to see if a cab were coming.

But my knees and my back hurt, even from this pathetic display at athleticism.  So, a few weeks ago, I went to the Super Runners Shop and bought these crazy slipper-like sneakers that are supposed to make me run toe-heel, toe-heel, toe-heel.  Apparently, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe is bad for aging knees and backs.

So I tried toe-heel and for a while (ok, three minutes) I felt great — I was using my calf muscles and I got into a toe-heel, toe-heel, toe-heel groove.  Actually, I couldn’t figure out about the heel thing.  So I was doing toe toe toe toe toe toe toe.  My ankles hurt and what do you do with your heel?

These shoe-slippers of Mercury (or Hermes, depending on your preferred mythology) were just a waste of money, although my calves have some definition (if you use a magnifying glass).  Ok, so these were for super runners.  I need shoes for stupid runners.

I went back to the shop wearing my fab footwear and asked for something with some cushion and a little less emphasis on what hits the ground first.  If I am running fast, the balls of my feet hit first.  If I am jog-running, who the hell really knows.

So I have new running (ok, schlepping) shoes.  The least offensive color combination was white and hot pink.  And that required me to pay more (of course).  But I figure the pink will be an important feminine counterpoint to my accidentally severe haircut (IFOB (Italian friend of blogger), I will never let you live this down).

(Janet Napolitano (US Secretary of Something), I hope you are reading this.  You need an emergency hair style consult.) 

Then I napped and, since we had a rental car, we were off to the BIG Fairway on 125th Street, where you could spend the gross domestic product of a third world nation on what we term “essentials”.  And we were stocking up for the beach in case supplies were still short in Hurricane affected areas.

Stores that big scare me and I was getting a little unhinged as POB was discussing the pros and cons of a new blend with the coffee guy.  Also, POB is a comparison shopper.  Even in the Cold Room (the room where the temperature is below 40 degrees so that fewer refrigeration units are necessary).  I am in a t-shirt and we are shivering and POB wants to compare the prices of various organic yogurts.  REALLY?  REALLY?  REALLY?  Is this vacation or is this hell?  Would I rather be checking my work email in the warmth than comparing biotic statistics and price of yogurt in a subzero room?  At this point, I am thinking that a run even in my toe toe toe toe toe toe shoes from hell seems like an inviting activity.

I guess the point is (do I ever have a point and does that matter?) that tomorrow we start a vacation.  And we are all really glad about it.

Vacation Day 2

I got my haircut at 9am.  I was still a little foggy so I forgot to say, “Mary, just a trim this time.”  She gave me a beautiful, feminine haircut; it is just that it is short and I have gray hair and I think I look a little, shall we say, dyke-y.  Her haircuts grow in beautifully, so as long as POB (partner of blogger) is ok with it, I am ok with it.  It just means I have to be more vigilant about lipstick and less willing to do errands in my gym clothes.

It was a beautiful day.  I started to run, then walk, then run along the Hudson from Charles Street back up to the upper Upper West Side.  I meandered some, too.  What a gorgeous day.  Hard to believe a Hurricane was bearing down on us.  I walked into Duane Reade on my way home and bought two gallons of water.  No long lines; lots of water.  It was 12:30pm.

POB and SOS (our son, source of sanity) came home from the beach (thank G-d) and we had lunch and POB went for her hair appointment (for the importance of this, see prior blogs).  SOS and I go to Duane Reade to pick up more water.  No more water.  It is 2pm.

In that 90 minutes, New Yorker started to panic.

We have supplies.  I checked.  We are pretty much set for a short term problem.

Later, we have dinner out, since I know we will have cabin fever during the hurricane.  POB went to the store for produce and SOS and I went to RiteAid for some more candles, etc.  The line is insane.  New Yorkers really started to believe in Hurricane Irene.

We passed a bodega and sandwich place and we walked in.  Plenty of gallon jugs of water.  No lines.  We got four gallons.  We passed a wine store.  We got four gallons of wine, also (just joking).

Ahead of the Irene, local governments shut down harbors and establishments along the waterways.  I got a call from the bride of Saturday’s wedding, saying that her venue was shut down and that she was getting married in two hours.  I was still so happy for her.  She is now married to the man she loves and that is really all that counts.

Oh, yeah, checking my blackberry?  Not so much.

Vacation Day 1

Actually, vacation started last night (we like to keep to a Hebrew calendar and start holidays at sundown).

POB (partner of blogger) and our son (now known as our collective Source of Sanity, SOS) are already out of town on our family vacation (too long of a back story).

I was really, really tired.  I wanted to disconnect and decompress, so I watched a Phineas and Ferb marathon (courtesy of our DVR).  The riff the writers did on the Mexican-Jewish Festival at the local Jewish Center was hysterical.  Also as funny was the skit about Phineas and Ferb as detectives out of the Maltese Falcon, Dragnet and then CSI:Miami.  I know, I know, it is a cartoon for kids, but it is far superior to most things on TV.  Still, it would be hard to watch it if you didn’t have a kid.  And you need to watch a few to get into the groove.  But I digress.

I spoke with POB and SOS and then got into my jammies.  It was 9pm.

I slept until 10am this morning.  I was tooo lazy to make fresh coffee, so I drank cold coffee from the fridge.  I waited until 10:30 to look at my blackberry. I thought that was pretty damn healthy for someone with my level of neurosis.

I alternated between Phineas and Ferb and Bloomberg on the Markets, as I read the paper.  The paper and the markets were depressing and P&F was over.  I dragged myself to the gym.  It was about 11:15am.  It was already raining but I went on a short run just to get my adrenaline going.

First words of the day, spoken to the barista at Le Pain Quotidien on Broadway: “Iced double espresso, please.” Aaaah, VACATION.

I don’t use an iPod anymore at the gym.  I feel a little to isolated when I do that.  Unfortunately, today, the shows on the TV monitors featured the hunt for Qaddafi, Hurricane Irene and Warren Buffett.  Ok, not relaxing.  So, I try to focus on other things.  Not so much going on at the gym on a random Thursday morning, so my attention drifts back to the TVs.  Somehow I think this relaxation thing should be easier.

I leave for a nap.  This vacation thing is starting to work.

I have stress dreams about forgetting to go to classes and having to read everything on the syllabus in one night.  Ok, so I checked my blackberry and sent some emails.  Ok, my love-hate with vacation is more volatile than the stock markets.

So, vacation is not a cold turkey kind of experience.  I need to eeeeeeeeeaaase into it.

I go back to the gym (I was raised to be an over-achiever) and lift weights and, in my best yoga position, breathe in good oxygen and expel bad humors.

All this does is make me hyperventilate. “Why,” you ask?  HOW CAN YOU ASK WHY? Don’t you read the paper, watch the markets and look at the Hurricane warnings?

Of course, I can’t really relax.  POB and SOS are staying at her father’s beach house with her sister and our nephew.  Right in the path of Hurricane Irene.  As is the house we are renting next week.

POB and I have a wedding to go to on Saturday evening in Westchester.  The original plan was for POB to leave SOS with my sister-in-law and nephew on Friday and we would pick him up once we settled into our beach house rental on Sunday.

I am ready to call it Hurricane Irene a disaster that requires us to change our plans.  I want my family, and my sister-in-law and nephew to come back to NYC and stay until the storm passes.

The problem of course is that people don’t believe the media anymore because media hypes everything for ratings.  Like the boy who cried wolf.  But, I don’t care.  I am willing to be wrong on this because there is no victory in being right.  And I will just rant against corporate-controlled media in a blog entry.  Win-win situation.

Of course, when I went shopping, I didn’t really stock up on much, except some expensive tap water labeled as natural spring water and lychee fruit, which are refreshing and a pain to eat.  I guess I am not a good natural disaster shopper. That’s why POB needs to come back.  She knows what to do.

Ok, maybe this vacation thing gets more relaxing once you get into a groove and natural disasters are out of the way.  So far, I think it would be more relaxing to be at work . . . .


Life unscripted

TLP (our son the little prince) was cuddling with me one morning a few days ago and he was staring at the swaying branches of a tree outside our window.

Whatcha thinkin’ buddy?

The summer just flew by.   Time goes really fast.

I think, my 9 year-old son has an old soul.

And, of course, I felt a song coming on .  .  . Joni Mitchell .  .  . ♫And the seasons they go ’round and ’round —–♫ I am interrupted.

Ohhhh, Eeeee-Mom, please, not that song agaaaaaain??!!

Ok, so I think, he has a old, yet non-mushball, soul.  Also he knows I start to weep at: ♫Now the boy moves 10 times ’round the seasons . . . .♫  And it is only 7:30am and before my second cup of coffee.  An intervention is necessary.

Well,” he continued, “at least we are going on vacation next week.”

Ok, now he is back to being a spoiled NYC kid.

Buddy, YOU have been on vacation since you were born.  You are just changing locations for a couple of weeks to keep Mommy and me company while WE are on vacation.”

Thank Goodness he morped back into a regular kid.  If he hadn’t broken my sentimental downward spiral, I would have arrived at the office, grabbed my assistant’s box of tissues, put in a DVD of family photos and disintegrated into a puddle.

Thanks, bud, for keeping it real.

Our Trip to Philly

The six of us set out yesterday morning for the City of Brotherly Love:  POB (partner of blogger), TLP (our son, the little prince), SOB (sister of blogger), HOSOB (husband of SOB), DOB (Dad of Blogger and SOB) and me. Three generations. One car.  Four sets of directions.

DOB sat up front will me.  HOSOB and SOB took row two.  POB and TLP were in the third row, practically a full block away from me in the driver’s seat.  In fact, the car was so huge, that I entered New Jersey and Pennsylvania a solid two seconds before they did.  I was surprised the car didn’t take diesel and we didn’t have to park with the trucks at rest stops.

As soon as DOB got settled, he offered me some hard candy.  You know, the kind that old Jewish ladies carry in their pocketbooks for decades and old Jewish men have in every pocket of every jacket they own.  Those candies.  I make it a point not to eat anything that I think may be older than 9 year-old TLP.  I declined.  SOB, ever the intrepid one, said yes.  She took one for the rest of us, because she knew DOB wouldn’t stop offering until someone said yes.

DOB read every sign out loud from the Lincoln Tunnel to Elizabeth, New Jersey.  But he didn’t sing.  And SOB was counting on having him sing to see just how crazy I would get.  SOB finally asked DOB, “Dad, doesn’t that sign remind you of a song?  Like, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again?'”  SOB was soooooooo trying to win our bet about how quickly, how much and what DOB would sing.  Of course, that kind of cheating is only allowed when I do it.

Soon after Elizabeth, New Jersey, there was a multi-generational bathroom emergency.  So we stopped at a rest stop that was named for someone whom I am sure would be horrified if he/she were still alive.  As SOB and I walked into the women’s room, our faces already had the scared-and-disgusted-look in anticipation of what we might see in the stalls. We caught sight of each other and laughed but we didn’t have the camera to record.  Our looks were not in vain.  Nasty.  Nasty.  Nasty.  POB yelled out a helpful, “Use your hamstring muscles, girls!!!”

As I left the bathroom, I noticed the medical waste dispenser with a sign that said, “For your sharps”.  I made SOB go back in with a camera and take a picture.  When she sends it to me, I will post it.  SOB is a doctor and always optimistic: “it must be for insulin”.  Really, SOB?  You run an ICU in an urban hospital.  Are you kidding me?  If only the needles were for insulin . . . . We beat it out of there.

We were soon back on the road with traffic, narrow lanes and fellow travelers seeking to go 70 mph in work zones.  Of our four sets of directions, two were written, and two were saved on handheld electronic devices.  No GPS with the automated voice.  No map.  Still we had six or seven different opinions on the way forward.  TLP (the only child) offered constructive critical questions, like: “Emom, are both hands on the wheel?”  “Did you signal long enough to practice safe driving?”  “Are we there yet?”

Rules:  Always have a diversion for your child.  Always have a bona fide map.  iPhones and blackberry screens are tooooo small and, with two sets of directions, there is no agreement on the correct exit until after we have passed it.  In fact, even when we were within one block of the hotel, no one could make out the directions, and ended up back on the highway and in a traffic jam. One hour later, we got to the hotel.  And all the time TLP is asking, “did we get lost?”  AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaargh.

When we arrived, I had to go to the gym, sit outside for a bit and then nap.  No sightseeing.  I knew I couldn’t sit outside the old Custom House anymore when men dressed in Revolutionary Era clothes tried to show kids how to hold fake bayonets and march like militiamen.  I met SOB and DOB as we were all on our way back to the hotel.  DOB couldn’t really handle that much sightseeing. His stamina and physical stature have declined markedly this last year.  Still, I think he enjoyed the trip.

DOB doesn’t hear very well and therefore can’t follow conversations so closely anymore.  And over dinner, the restaurant music included “The Girl from Ipanema”, and HOSOB and I were trying to remember the woman who sang the original with Jobim.  DOB didn’t remember the song, so he just started singing something else that he knew, “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess.  But The Girl from Ipanema was still playing overhead.  HOSOB started singing a combo of “When Johnny Comes Marching With the Girl From Ipanema . . .” .  Then TLP abandoned singing  the Louie Armstrong part of the duet with DOB, and chimed in with “La Cucharacha”.  (Not sure why.)

The rest of us started to lose our minds a little.  SOB and I took pictures of each other’s exasperated, disbelieving looks.  POB retreated to a happy place in her head where her family was not re-enacting a scene from a psychiatric ward.

As we were walking back to the hotel, everyone was amiable and quiet.  TLP was holding DOB’s handing, HOSOB was holding SOB’s hand and I was holding POB’s hand. Unwilling to let a wound heal, I started to sing the “Ants Go Marching Two by Two, Hurrah, Hurrah,” to see if I could get a rise out of SOB.  She was engaging in willful deafness.

This morning we went to the Franklin Institute, which is worth a return visit.  It took us a few tries to leave Philadelphia and at least one electronic device conked out after the second escape attempt.  We went a little too far on 295 North (or East, whatever), and had to stop for food and directions at the Frying Skillet, a real trucker stop in Bordentown, New Jersey.  Everyone looked at our posse of three women, a child, middle-aged guy and nonagenarian, who were tattoo-less and looked every bit like effete New York liberals that we are.  (What kind of lettuce is in your house salad?  Just what’s been out on the salad bar that looks like wilted spinach?  Hmmmm.  Pork, bacon and burgers are the house specialties? I guess I’ll have a grilled burger.  Oh, ok, pan-fried in a skillet is fine.)

On the way back, TLP and DOB had quite a sing-along.  I wanted to press an eject button but I was the driver.

We powered through and all were safely deposited at their doors, happy to have had an adventure and even happier to be home. Safe and sound and exhausted.

Home, Sweet Home

It is good to be home after a trip.  The usual routine seems less rut-like and more welcoming.  G-d is in the details.

I started uploading our pictures.  I had to laugh at the fake gladiator resting against the wall of the Colosseum talking on a cell phone.  Now that is time-warp whiplash.  Or the picture of TLP (our son, the little prince) under pictures of John Paul II and Benedict — I asked TLP to stand there, because as Jewish mothers, he is the closest we come to G-d’s representative on earth.  Of course, we stumbled upon the Italian national headquarters of the Hare Krishna and so we had to take a picture.  My favorite is the picture of the priestly vestments store.  Very pricey.  Who knew that poor priests had such style and flair.  Must be an Italian thing.

Speaking of which, there are 4 times the number of men’s clothing stores than women’s clothing stores.  Or so it seemed.  The men are beautifully dressed, except for the shoes.  Surprising, but true.  Also, the saleswomen in shops insisted that I try sizes 8 or 10 even though I am at most a 4 or 6.  What was that about?? I know I was dressed for comfort and looked dressed-down, but really??  Were they punishing me for being a fashion disaster in the country that makes fashion?  I guess so.  I think they were telling me that even a potato sack (which is how the clothes fit me) would look better than my outfit (it really wasn’t so bad — jeans, suede jacket, sneakers).

Anyway, Sunday night family dinner chez nous and it was wonderful to have everyone over.  A recently re-discovered cousin now joins us periodically.  He is a bird nerd, like TLP and HOSOB (husband of sister of blogger).  Everyone else’s eyes glaze over when they talk about rose-ringed something and a hooded other-thing.  But it is great to expand the family table.  Everyone talked with Italian accents for the first hour in honor of our homecoming.

Anyway, it is good to be home.  I need to plan the next trip.

The Travel Gods Must be Crazy

The travel gods are mercurial sorts.  I should have made a few sacrifices at the Pantheon before we left.

So we arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare, which came in handy because the security people needed to go through all of our luggage and examine POB’s (partner’s of blogger) cosmetics.   We looked like terrorists, indeed.

We arrived at the gate with an hour to spare, because we really wanted to get home and because TLP (our son, the little prince) loves watching planes take off and land.  At the gate, we found out that the flight was delayed for 2 hours.  No explanation.  Really?  Really?  Wasn’t the ride to Rome punishment enough?  No, apparently.  It was two hours delayed but we weren’t boarding for FOUR hours.  La dolce vita it seems to apply to airports and air traffic.  Everyone takes a midday break.

Still it is too early to call DOB (Dad of blogger) to let him know we are late.  He worries until we call that we have touched down safely.  We always thought that it was Mom who obsessed about our safety.  It turns out, Dad was right there with her, worrying. (I called him as soon as we were on the cab line at the airport and he was so happy.)

There were 65 Catholic school girls on our flight.  Hazard of going to Rome, I guess.  They all had to board together and have all of their documents together.  Ok that would have been comical if we weren’t tired of waiting to get home.  Also seeing Brother Joseph, in his robe and rope tie regalia, lose his temper a little.  I did notice his saying the rosary a lot — although, being Jewish, I really have no idea what he was doing but I can venture a guess.

As we passed through the gate attendant, a woman said to me, “I have to check your bag.”

I responded, “It is carry-on.”

“I don’t understand what you say, but I MUST check your bag.”

We are NOT checking luggage!” I say.  I am pissed.  We have been waiting too long and I am going to throw on the floor anyone’s stuff that is in our overhead bins.

After this Abbott and Costello stand-off, someone comes over and says “for security reasons, she must check.  random check.”

OOOoooooooooooooooh.  I was pleasant and accommodating after that, but she really gave me a thorough pat-down, although as I am told not as enhanced as in the US.  Although she did really get high up on the inside of my legs.  About the only thing she didn’t do was feel my breasts.

We had the seats at the back of the plane.  Row 42.  (Damn, this recession.)  Any further back, we would be sitting in the flight attendants’ laps.  At least, TLP had easy access to the bathrooms.  AND, we were not in the middle of the 65 school girls, although I had to tell one to stop taking pictures of another passenger as he slept.  She kept trying to talk to him and he kept in his ear phones.  She didn’t take a hint.  A future stalker.  The whole experience felt like high school recess.

After 10 hours on the plane (way too long) we winded our way to immigration.  We came to the officer together.  I said we are coming together, because we are a family.

You are a family?”  He asked.


Who are the parents?”  So much for the laws of certain states recognizing gay unions and adoption.

“We are,” POB and I said together.

Who is the child?”

We both point to TLP. (The only one it could be.)

The officer says, “Are these your parents?”

TLP nodded.   He looked at us again.  Seconds seemed like minutes.

“Welcome home.”

Phew.  We were so tired that I feared that neither POB or I would have the coping mechanisms to deal with this situation had it gone differently.

We got up at 7am (Rome time) and it was 2am the next day (Rome time) by the time we got home. Fresh Direct was waiting because POB placed the order from Rome so we would have food.  For once I wish she weren’t so efficient and forward-looking.

TLP was fabulous but he did say more than once that he is never flying again.

Life is good when you go to sleep in your own bed.

The trip was fabulous.  Click this link for the travel company.  I just hope you all have better air travel karma.