May 2, 2022

Getting there is half the fun, NOT - Europe, part 1 *plus a prom pic

Prom was Saturday night. I took this picture outside my folks' house. They live down the street from the golf course clubhouse that was used for photos, sadly monsoon/tornado happened during the photo time, so it was all inside.

She hated her hair. Paid to have someone do it, but found it too formal, wedding-ish. It was tough for her to break out of her I'M CASUAL DAMN IT mode and stick with her I DON'T FOLLOW THE CROWD persona. Curly and I insisted that her hair looked perfect for prom. 


Coach and I left for Europe on March 22nd. Sheesh - that seems like forever ago. I had lists and lists of things the kids needed to do, what they should eat, who they needed to drive, when they needed to babysit, what they were expected to clean. 

As I made the lists, I reviewed it with the appropriate children. 

Me:  Mini, you're gonna drive Reg to practice on Tuesday and Lad can pick him up. On Sunday when you drive him, it is the closer practice location - not the far away place. Are you listening?

Mini:  (waves hand, while looking at phone) Yeah, whatever. Just write it on the schedule.

Intelligent readers, you know how this ends, don't you? 

At the airport before we EVEN.GOT.ON.THE.PLANE, some dramatic text messages were exchanged. Mini was melting down. She and Lad were disagreeing about who was driving Reg, or something. I got involved. Mini got snippy. Lad got downright offended. It was ugly. I looked at Coach and asked him:  SHOULD WE JUST STAY HOME?

Mini texted to clarify her  "I'M ALREADY DOING ENOUGH", it wasn't directed at me, it was directed at Reg. Well. I told her to not direct that nonsense at anyone because I sure do a hell of a lot for HER. Step up, do your thing, and zip it. 


Before we boarded the plane, I asked if they'd be serving a GF meal. I saw no place on the reservation to request a GF meal. An employee assured me it would be GF. 

When we boarded, I asked a flight attendant the same question. She looked alarmed. If I hadn't requested a GF meal, they wouldn't have anything for me. I wanted to run back into the terminal and buy myself some dinner. This was the 2nd moment when I considered cancelling the trip and going home. 

While we were in flight, the very kind flight attendants raced around to find me food. It wasn't their fault that the airline makes requesting a special meal at the time of booking about as easy as getting a live person to answer a call on FAREBOOM (site we booked thru). 

Please cheese and fruit do not cause my
 gut to behave as if I've overloaded
 on cheese and fruit. 

First they brought me cheese and fruit. I'd packed cheese in my bag in a small cooler and had already eaten my fill of fruit for the day, but I scarfed it down fearing I might not eat again for 11 hours. I crossed my fingers that an abundance of fruit and cheese might not leave me with an abundant bathroom issue while in flight. 

Next they brought me a beautiful plate of beef, veggies, and potatoes. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The woman held out the hot plate, and before I could grab it she gently jerked it away from my outstretched hand, telling me she couldn't be sure if the beef gravy was GF. 

Inserting my finger knuckle in my mouth and biting hard, I whimpered *internally. Before she walked away, she asked in her German accent:  CAN YOU PUT A BITE IN YOUR MOUTH AND TELL US IF IT HAS GLUTEN ON IT? 

Well, shucks. That is one super power that I SO FLIPPING WISH I HAD. 

Next they returned with a dinner of fish. Gross - that was in internal thought, my outside face radiated happiness, and thanked them from the bottom of my heart. Then I inhaled the fish before I could think about it. 

If I continue to be this detailed in my trip-sharing, you will be reading posts about my 8 days away until Halloween. Bullet points it is:

* I slept very little on the flight. Maybe a total of 2 hours? Combo of being uncomfortable and smelling my own morning breath in my mask. 

The flight updates were spoken in German and then again in English. They were long winded the first time around, so twice? I was like HEY, I'M TRYING TO WATCH A MOVIE HERE.

* When the guy asked if I wanted a drink, I asked it if there was a charge. There wasn't. Let's go! I decided to drink whatever they offered me in hopes that I'd just pass out. Coach's eyebrows shot way up to his hairline when I flagged the guy down and hollered, I'LL HAVE ANOTHER GLASS OF WINE, PLEASE. 

* After landing, we went to Ed's dorm (SO GREAT TO SEE HIM) and napped collapsed into a coma on his double bed while he went to class. He'd given us an itinerary. I woke up 2 hours later and nudged Coach:  WE'RE BEHIND SCHEDULE!

* We could now get into our airbnb. We took a cab. The driver dropped us off a street over from our place, but didn't mention that. We walked up and down that street with our luggage looking for a door that resembled the door in the photo I had for about 45 minutes. Paramount to torture. Eventually we found our place, dumped our stuff, changed clothes, and raced off to see St. Stephen's Basilica which was steps from our airbnb. Awesome location. 


* Ed admitted that he'd texted his siblings:  I'M ABOUT TO LEAD OUR OLD AND CLUELESS PARENTS AROUND BUDAPEST. This was not an understatement. 

The parliament building in Budapest.
So beautiful.
 We took a tour the next morning
while Ed was in class. Incredible. 
* We had dinner at a tiny place. The two guys enjoyed something authentic and delish from the menu (the theme of the week), and I convinced the waiter to make me a plain piece of chicken and maybe I had a vegetable? The waiter felt bad that I couldn't eat my first 8 requests, so he gave me a glass of wine on the house. 

* Ed bought tickets in advance for us to go on a boat tour at night to see the city lights. I was sleep deprived and had finished a glass of wine. Good thing there was a boat to blame for my swaying. I fell asleep sitting up at our table several times, which I'm pretty sure Ed took photos of. 

* Musicians entertained the passengers. They eventually came to each table and played something from the visitor's home country. We asked if he could do something Irish vs Yankee Doodle, or whatever. I could listen to the above video all day long. 

Can you name the tune in the video? What music would you have requested? Do you sleep on international flights? Do you ever laugh at the tiny portions served on a plane, or is that just a Shenanigan thing? Not gonna lie, we have some big appetites. 


Nicole Boyhouse said...

That's a beautiful photo in Budapest! I have heard it's gorgeous there.

Mini's dress is lovely and the first thing I thought was that her hair looked great! Sorry she didn't like it but it is perfect with that dress!

Nicole said...

Whoops, that first comment is from me, I don't know why it's linked to my son's account. Sorry!

Kate said...

I just want to say that I would read a blog post from you every day and not get bored in the slightest. You have a gift and I am grateful you share it with us.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Danny Boy and it was AMAZING to hear!

The photo of the Parliament building is amazing.

Your food issues are a big issue. I would be so anxious to travel; I'm glad you were able to eat something on the plane.

I think Mini's hair looks amazing and I believe that is the dress that I chose for her. No? 😳

Jenny in WV said...

A beautiful rendition of Danny Boy! I'm looking forward to more pictures and stories of your trip to Europe!

I think it is really hard to know what you want for a formal event hair-do (I certainly didn't when I went to dances in school), but Mini's hair looked fabulous!

Pat Birnie said...

It must have been so stressful getting all those texts from your kids, before you even boarded the plane!! Loved your response to Mini - Our kids have no concept of how much we do for them do they? Beautiful music, beautiful pics. (I also panic when I'm not sure about my next meal, so I get it)

Anonymous said...

Oh, man. I actually can tell if something is wheat free or not with one bite because I'm gf due to a wheat allergy, and the way it manifests is itching/swelling on contact. You know what would not enhance an international flight? Hours upon hours of an itchy mouth interior. I wouldn't chance it.

I'm sufficiently paranoid about allergy-free food supply problems that I carry protein bars, oatmeal, and a spoon for travel. There have been several trips where the chaos of the day pushed me into running on protein bars and water for a day. And a couple where the oatmeal was a next-morning save. I remember one trip where there were plane issues and they didn't call off the flight until 1 a.m.. They bumped us to a 6 a.m. outbound the next day. Nothing was open that night, nor at 4 a.m. the next morning. In-room coffee maker+ oatmeal + spoon = not being desperately hungry for the 6 hours of airport and flight time.

Kari said...

Her prom dress and hair is so lovely.

I can't imagine having food concerns while traveling overseas. It was stressing ME out.

The parliament building was so pretty. I can't wait to see more pictures.

Ernie said...

Nicole - It is so beautiful there. Ed thinks it is going to become very popular with tourists. He wants to buy property and run an Airbnb. He's that confident.

I thought her hair looked great too. She isn't a fancy gal, and I tried to tell her to be sure to stop the woman if she felt it was going in the wrong direction. She said she couldn't see it until it was over. I think once she arrived with her friends she felt better, because of course everyone liked it. Prom with a daughter - different than prom with sons.

I knew who you were. ;)

Ernie said...

Kate - Such high praise so early in the morning, what a wonderful way to start my day! Thank you very much for the compliment. I sincerely appreciate that. I read it aloud to Coach. If you read the previous stories, then you probably realize - I would quit my day job in a heart beat if writing here or anywhere paid decent enough money. And if it did, I'd for sure write everyday. Alas, the tots in my care require too much attention.

Ernie said...

Suz - Ding, ding, ding. Winner, winner chicken dinner. Yes, Danny Boy. It was beautiful.

The parliament building is an awesome structure both inside and out. Walking distance from our Airbnb. No Google maps needed, praise the lord.

The food thing is really annoying. Between all the walking and the limited food, I think I might have shed a few pounds. Not to worry, home in my kitchen with options galore, it is all back on. I would love to visit Italy, but the main food source being pasta makes me nervous. I told Coach and Ed that I was going to become a travel guide writer, exclusively writing for those with eating needs that are not exactly mainstream.

Her hair did look amazing. She looked so great. She's had a case of the snippy talk of late and those of us who are on the receiving end are fed up with it. I do think you chose the green dress, as did the majority. It was more pricey than any of the others, but no where near ridiculous.

Ernie said...

Jenny - It was a beautiful rendition of Danny Boy, right? We have a winner over here too, (motions to the behind the scenes people to hand you your make believe prize). I have so many photos. I did bring a small digital camera in addition to my phone. I haven't yet figured out how to get the photos off of the small digital camera. I don't use it often. Hmmm. Still, plenty of photos to share.

She told me AFTER she had her hair done that her bestie told her UP-DOS ARE DICEY. Well, her bestie is much more aware of fashion and trends and that would've been good to know the day before when we were debating which hair style to choose. I think she relaxed after awhile. showing up with everyone else having fancy hair probably helped.

Ernie said...

Pat - It was so frustrating to get those texts. Her WELL, I MEANT THAT FOR REG held no water. He can't drive. This is what I asked you to do. Suck it up, buttercup. I do a lot for you, so it is just what is expected. She was in a mood before we left. She and Lad butt heads on the regular, so I was anxious about leaving them in the same house to begin with. There is, of course, more to the story. *sigh* (I have to remember all of the phone calls and upsetting ordeals - nothing major but certainly not as smooth sailing as I'd hoped).

I throw all kinds of food in my car if I'm going to be gone for an hour or two, so this trip really was a struggle to maintain my sanity while worrying what I would eat next.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - Yikes. I didn't think that was a thing, but knowing that it is, I'm glad that isn't part of my problem. I did get gluten a few weeks ago and it set me back. It was an incredibly tiny amount, but it ruined my day. Fuzzy head. Inability to sleep. Ick.

Like you, I carry as much with me as possible. Europe was a different animal. I cannot survive on bars and small snacks alone. Oh boy, no one wants to be with me when I get hangry.

Ernie said...

Kari - I thought she looked great, but knowing she is the anti-dressy type I worried that she'd feel this way after getting her hair done. It wasn't cheap either.

I have so many amazing photos, which is good because I'm already forgetting everything we saw and did.

Traveling while uncertain if you are entering a GF dessert is not a thing I recommend.

Kara said...

The dress and hair are beautiful!
I am very jealous of the trip.

The snippy talk- that's "soiling the nest" and it is really typical behavior towards the end of senior year/going off to college (we may have this going on in our house and may have sought some professional help about it). Excitement and anxiety all manifesting at once.

Charlie said...

Mini looks amazing, sorry she didn’t like her hair, but to me it looks fab. I agree with the small portions on the plane, always very disappointing, so you need some of that free wine to get you over it! Lovely picture of Budapest. It’s an exciting place and brilliant that your son is getting this experience

Ernie said...

Kara - Thanks, I do think she looked beautiful. I think she accepted the hair, but I wondered if that was going to end just as it did - disappointing. For a girl who has never had anyone do her hair, I suspect the expectations were a tad high. The trip was very cool. I'm guessing that we are going to have other kids study abroad and I am crossing my fingers that we can get over to visit wherever they land. Otherwise I don't think Coach will ever agree to travel. I have no problem traveling with a girlfriend either.

SOILING THE NEST - omg - why am I just now learning about this term? She has really been unpleasant lately. I remember the boys having some similar issues. Lad in particular, especially the summer before he transferred. It took me until we dropped him off to realize that he was anxious about changing schools ALL SUMMER. Maybe she is feeling all the feels. Plus she is about to take AP exams, like several of them. I sure hope she settles down soon.

Ernie said...

Charlie - I agree. I did offer to take her hair down after it was done and hair sprayed in place and then try to redo it. I'm SO flipping glad she didn't take me up on that offer. She accused me of not liking it, since I'd offered . . I was like NO, I LIKE IT, BUT I'M TRYING TO HELP SO THAT YOU LIKE IT. Can you imagine if I tried to fix it 30 minutes before pictures? I'd have a whole 9 posts to share that nightmare.

Flying is so uncomfortable to begin with, add a mask and an empty stomach and yes - free wine is the answer. I am thrilled that Ed was able to study abroad. So many of his friends opted not to because they were feeling like they'd already missed so much time on campus. They missed the boat on this. Campus is same ole, same ole.

Beth Cotell said...

Mini's hair is beautiful and that dress is perfection! I hope she had a great time!

Ally Bean said...

I like the hairstyle with the dress. It was prom perfect.

I don't drink alcohol on flights. It goes straight to my head-- and makes me feel queasy.

I cannot imagine what it was like to be wandering around a different country now. It seems fanatical to me, yet there you were.

Ernie said...

Beth - Thank you so much. I thought she looked amazing too. I think she came around with the hair. It might've been a shock to her system to have an actual 'do.'

Ernie said...

Ally - I like that sentiment PROM PERFECT. Well said.

I don't know that I've ever had alcohol on a flight before. I was hoping it would knock me out. That was not the case.

It was amazing. It made me wonder how on earth my brother, Pat, and I traveled around Europe in the early 90s WITHOUT A PHONE, or INTERNET, or GOOGLE MAPS. It's a mystery now.

Bibliomama said...

The pictures and music are beautiful, and yeah, Curly's wrong, her hair was perfect.
I get terrible jet lag, and the first day anywhere I'm always a nightmare - I mean, I keep it mostly to myself now that I've figured out that for one day I regret ever leaving home and all I want is for the time to pass until I can return, and then I'm usually fine.
"Old and clueless parents", love it.

Ernie said...

Ali - I agree, the hair was great. I think she sees it that way in retrospect. Wasn't that music so pretty? If only I'd had a pillow with me, I could've gotten quite comfortable on that boat listening to the music. I dread jet lag. It is so exciting to be somewhere new and yet, so yucky to feel so blurry in the head.