Guinness and God

After successfully travelling overseas for one week with children in tow, I’m not sure where to begin. All I can think about is: “Wow, we’re really doing it. And it’s not so bad.”

The 18 hours it took to get to Dublin, Ireland were not too painful. The kids were very excited to change into their PJs and sleep on the plane. They slept, but we did not, of course. Maybe two hours. But I’d rather be awake with them asleep than awake with the kids not sleeping. Once we got to our hotel room everyone fell asleep for a few hours and then we were awake at 1 am watching the Olympics for a few hours, and the slept until 1 pm! It’s been hard adjusting to the time change and I’m sure that by the time we finally do it will be time to go home and start all over.

We had a grand time in Dublin, as the Irish would say. Siig drank enough Guinness for the four of us. We met our requisite Irish drunk in a pub who took a liking to our family and kept trying to buy the kids coffee and Siig pints of Guinness and shots of whiskey, but for the life of him he could not remember the kids’ names and kept asking over and over again. He tried to convince Kaiden that he was the best skier in the world because he was fresh off a trip to the Austrian Alps, but I don’t think he realized he was talking to a family that lives in ski country and knows several Olympians. We finally had to ditch the guy.

My other favorite moment was on our train ride to the West coast to Gallway. The computerized announcement kept saying “Thank you for riding Neither Here Nor There,” or at least that’s what I heard. What a funny name for a train line! Doesn’t do much in the way of confidence that the train will arrive at the destination. OK, the name was really something like “Irish Train” in Gaelic, but “Neither Here Nor There” has a much nicer ring to it.

We have now been in Jerusalem for the past two days visiting my family, but the plane ride here was not uneventful. The minute we arrived at our gate in the Paris airport, I could tell we were in for trouble. If you have ever been to Israel, you know that Israelis are not the most polite bunch. They tend to push and shove to get what they want – maybe it’s all those centuries of being pushed around by others or the result of living in a small country with not enough elbow room (Israel is the size of Rhode Island). The line to board the plane was chaos, with families jostling to get in front of us and cutting in line. Do they think cutting will get them to the Holy Land any faster? It was so bad we actually got separated from the kids and no one would let them through. Luckily, they are small and were able to duck under everyone’s legs to catch up to us.

But really what took the cake was that we ended up sitting in the middle of a family of 12 – parents, six kids, and two sets of grandparents who basically thought they were on their own private airplane with no one else around. Sitting on the aisle seat, the kids would try to squeeze past me without so much as a word in my direction or an excuse me. And for some reason, our row became a bottle neck for the entire plane, with everyone stopping by my seat to chat and pass carts and swap children. The phrase ‘highly annoyed’ would not even come close to describing my feelings. Finally, I had an excuse to tell off the kids next to me in French when an older couple in front of us got so annoyed from the brats kicking their seats that they asked me to translate from English to French “Stop fucking kicking my seat or I’ll beat the living crap out of you.” Or something like that.

Of course, as usual, Siig got stopped in the Tel Aviv airport for no reason. He just looks suspicious in that cowboy hat and beard and with his overly cheery demeanor. We were just walking into the airport, not even at passport control yet, when a woman pulled Siig aside. “Passport, please.” I handed her our passports. “Why are you here?” To visit family, I told her. “What are their names?” I gave her my father’s name and stopped. Did she want me to list all the names of my 50 cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.? She seemed satisfied. “How long are you staying?” 8 days. She took one last look at Siig and let us go.

If any of you have ever been through airport security in Israel, you would understand how burly it is. My sister Julie – who is blond with a little ski-jump nose – and I were leaving for Israel once from the Frankfurt airport and Israeli security there wanted to know if why, if we were sisters, we didn’t look alike. Can you imagine TSA back in the States asking a question like that? Most of them would not even have the brains to notice something like that anyways. But you never, NEVER, fuck with Israeli security. Luckily, I have pounded this enough times through Siig’s head that he behaved himself in the airport, which goes against every bone in his rebellious body but he knows I wouldn’t bail him out of Israeli jail if he did something stupid.

Kaiden is also starting to wonder why there is so much “God” stuff everywhere. After us driving into him that we don’t believe all the “God stuff” the teachers at the Baptist after-school program he goes to tells him, he’s starting to question why now we are dragging him to a hundred churches and cathedrals in Ireland. And we haven’t even taken him yet to the Old City in Jerusalem. I think we have a budding atheist on our hands.

But before we visit the Wailing Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via de la Rosa and everywhere Jesus sat, peed or ate, we are going to the Biblical Zoo tomorrow. I think I’ll just blend the cultures of the two countries we are visiting and tell Kaiden: “For fuck’s sake, man, God is everywhere.”


Are you happy to see me, or is it just your yogurt?

I got hit on Thursday night. Mind you it was by a guy so drunk he was spilling his beer on my lap more than slipping me cheesy come-on lines. But all the same, someone tried to hit on me. This just doesn’t happen anymore. It kind of gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, ya know? Like “I still got it, damn it!”

Being married for almost seven years in a small town where everyone knows you and your husband, it’s very, very rare that a guy even looks twice at me. I also think there’s something about being married where you don’t send out those “I’m available” signals anymore, unless of course you are trying to become available.

The last time I got hit on was years ago. I was in the check-out line at the grocery store, innocently putting my items on the counter, when I hear the guy behind me say:

“Are you a fruit-on-the-bottom kind of girl, or a fruit-on-top?”

I was so shocked that I looked all around me to see if he was talking to another girl. But then I looked down at the conveyor belt – the Dannon fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts were indeed mine. Holy shit, this guy was actually throwing me a pick-up line. A super cheesy one, but still…It had been so long that I had no idea how to react. I was completely flustered. OK, flustered but flattered. The guy was obviously a tourist.

“Ummm, fruit on the bottom?” I replied hesitantly. Was that the right answer? Do you have any idea that I’m married with a kid at home?

I walked out of the store, yogurts in hand, with a big smile on my face.

This week, the guy wasn’t as smooth. I was at an Alice In Chains show at a Reno club (by the way, they were awesome!). I was pretty tired from standing all night so decided to rest my pregnant body upstairs on some chairs. I was minding my own business, checking out the chick in neon pink short-shorts and spiked heels (I’m sorry, but nothing says “fuck me” more than spiked heels), when some drunk-ass guy practically sits in my lap, spilling his beer in the process.

“Why aren’t you out there watching the show?” he slurs.

Again, I am momentarily taken aback. Is he talking to me? Since he is clearly invading my personal space and staring intently at my eyes, the answer is clear.

“Well, why aren’t you out there?”

“I came over to talk to you,” he says.

Obviously, he can’t see my blossoming belly since I am holding my coat in front of my lap. I fight the urge to say, “Nice try, dude, but did you know you are picking up on a 5-month pregnant lady whose husband is downstairs moshing?”

Instead, being the nice girl that I am (cough, cough), I try to let him down gently by clearly showing him that I’m not interested. “I’m resting,” I say, and turn away. After spilling his beverage a few more times on my knees, he finally gets the hint and walks away with his tail between his legs. The girl next to me and I exchange a look that says, “Oh geez, why do we have to put up with this stuff?”

But don’t feel too sorry for me. Nothing makes a pregnant lady’s day more than getting hit on by a guy, even if he is beer-goggling. It’s nice to feel beautiful and wanted, even if you are 10 lbs. heavier than usual.

But as my husband gently put it when I told him what had happened, “It must be your boobs. They’re huge.”

Maybe he’s right. It clearly wasn’t the yogurt this time.

Can you make those jeans a venti? And hold the whip cream

Lately I’ve been worried that I don’t have anything to write about. Nothing funny seemed to be happening in my life. There were a few minor things, like the night I woke up in a cold sweat because I dreamt I delivered twins. I don’t know which was worse, the fact that now I had four kids or that my husband named them Darren and Carmen without asking me my opinion.

And of course, my collared kitty has provided me with some comical material, but lately it’s been mostly her throwing up on the carpet and everyone in my family walking by it or over it until I clean it up. That’s really not that funny.

Thank god for public bathrooms. My kids + public toilets always = comedy.

Yesterday, while Siigo spent an hour in the Verizon store shopping for a Droid after becoming completely frustrated with his iphone (note to others: when AT&T tells you that you won’t get service in your area, you should probably believe them), me and the kids sat in a nearby Starbucks waiting for him. While I am no big fan of Starbucks, I have to admit the people watching was amazing. We were in Reno, after all. For those who are not familiar with the Biggest Little City, I can best describe it by saying it yearns to be like Las Vegas but is really more like some Podunk town in Oklahoma with a sprinkling of a cool street or two interspersed with trailer parks. The majority of customers in Starbucks were teens wearing skinny jeans with hoodies or leggings – either way, they were basically wearing tights and forgot to put a skirt on. I thought they looked ridiculous, a sure sign that I am getting old.

After my children consumed numerous cups of hot chocolate, water, chocolate milk, and vanilla milk – surprise! – they needed to use the bathroom. Kaiden proclaimed it was his turn first, and forbid us to go in the bathroom with him, but of course I had to promise him I would stand right outside the door. By this time, the teens in the tight clothing had started queuing up for the bathroom. I informed them they were in for a long haul and advised them to use the men’s restroom, but they declined. Fine, suit yourself, but you’re going to be waiting a long time. I’d hate to see you wet your pants and then try to peel those tight things off of you. Then again, that would definitely amuse me.

Fortunately, Kaiden only had to go number one, so he was done relatively quickly. Now it was Kaya’s turn. Of course, she had to poo, and of course, I had to stand right outside the door again, waiting. I entertained myself by watching one of the teenagers play pat-a-cake with a boy. I asked her again, “Are you sure you don’t want to use the men’s bathroom? This is going to take a while.” She said she was sure. I guess she was using this waiting time as an excuse to flirt. Maybe she also needed to come up with a game plan about how she was going to get her pants off to pee. I’m sure it took some heavy machinery to squeeze her into those things.

15 minutes passed. I was becoming anxious. I glance nervously at the teenagers. They seemed to be preoccupied by their hormones. Finally, after some heavy grunting coming from inside the restroom, Kaya yells out, “I’m done!” I walk in to find her with her hands up against the wall, like she’s waiting to be frisked by the police, except her pants are still around her ankles. This is my children’s self-imposed wiping position. I have my hand-cuffs ready in case she gets out of hand.

Finally, after I take a quick pee, our bathroom business is over. We walk through the door, and I turn to the waiting adolescents. “I think they keep the shoe-horns behind the sink.” The girl gave me a quizzical look, rolled her eyes, and went in the bathroom. One day she’ll learn that double caramel Machiattos with whip cream and skinny jeans don’t mix.