Tuesday, February 11, 2014

taking gammy's advice...

...and saying nothing at all. my grandmother frequently reminded me to keep my mouth shut and i am certain she would want me to here as well (i'm sure she's cringing over what i've written in the past). as i can't bring myself to say anything nice about our return quite yet--this bitter cold has made me incapable of thinking about doing anything except running up and down our street screaming "GET ME OUT OF HERE! GET ME OUT OF HERE! GET ME OUT OF HERE!"--and my recent facebook posts consists solely of weather-related complaining (thank you for sticking with me if you are my friend there), until i can figure out something positive with which to occupy my thoughts i think i'll just stay silent for a bit. i have a bajillion photos to edit, anyway.

stay warm!

Monday, February 3, 2014

what a difference a day (or three) makes

welcome back, my lovelies! take a break from your daily grind of three-martini lunches, flitting from soirée to soirée, and dancing 'til dawn--pull up a butterfly chair, plop an umbrella in that beverage, and come see-and-be-seen at the allen family bermuda triangle. while i pop some canapes into the convecto-range, have a listen to a tale of our last 72 hours...

three days ago we were living in a sophisticated european capital, getting ourselves, our stuff, and our offspring onto our transatlantic flight back to the states to face our inevitable reality of living in the american midwest. we landed in 6 inches of snow, of course, fought our way through customs, and arrived at the united counter to find our flight cancelled. okay, fine. we weren't expecting it, but we weren't surprised--the weather has been crap all winter and this day was no exception, so we'll work on plan B. since it is a weather-related cancellation, united is not required to provide us with a hotel room or transportation to such, but they will look for another flight...only there are no other flights that day nor the next as so many flights have been cancelled. okay, fine. we'll work on plan C, finding a rental car company that has something on the lot that 1) we can rent one way to iowa and 2) is big enough to hold our six massive bags, four carry-ons, and us. this is not easy in a town that is running out of hotel rooms and has almost no flights going west.

amazingly, hertz did us a solid and provided us with a really high-mileage minivan...for $800. i tried to explain that we didn't actually wish to purchase the minivan, but the agent didn't laugh and i didn't want to push my luck any further than i already had. i've rented several cars one way to and from "the paris of the prairies" (yes, they call it that), and $800 is way off the mark--the agent then explained that the price was actually for a two-day rental, as the hertz counter in iowa city is closed on sunday and thus doesn't take returns. okay, bonus. as an aside, there was a man from sweden next to me at the hertz counter who was visiting the US and freaking out because he did not receive the cadillac escalade he had reserved, but instead had been rewarded with an "involuntary upgrade" to a large mercedes SUV that he did not want because, and i quote, "mercedes are everywhere in sweden...we know mercedes...but i asked for an escalade because we want the big american car...we reserved an escalade...there must be one somewhere...". we were "involuntarily driving" 200 miles on 6 inches of snow after a 10-hour flight, and i seriously wanted to punch him in the neck for being a dick but, again, i didn't want to push my luck. he's probably still there bitching about it. anyway we made it home, said goodbye to our housesitter, tried to hang out with a very confused brown dog, and went to bed at a reasonable time. we were home, i guess, but not very happy about it.

next day: unpacking. crying. being despondent and forlorn. hard. gus and astrid went sledding with one of gus' friends; rich went god knows where in the minivan--he took full advantage of that forced extra day rental and probably drove to cedar rapids just for the hell of it. he may have been doing donuts in the hospital parking lot because of the full-insurance coverage waiver. found out the car we actually own was completely dead, had to call a tow truck to jump the battery and go get it charged at the firestone, but ultimately all was well--it just took time. found out that many of our items weren't just broken but pulverized in transit, so i had a little more mourning to do. then, after the super bowl and a somewhat more subdued evening at home, i was awakened to the unmistakable distress call of a child being sick...gus came down with astrid's stomach flu, or the stockholm syndrome as i prefer to call it. the stockholm syndrome lasted all night. my poor man-child was super sick, and it was miserable for everyone. we all felt bad for him; he definitely felt bad. no one slept (except rich, of course...i'm a bit mad at him). i will say, to his credit, at least gus waited until he got home to get sick rather than being on the plane or in the car...as has happened before...

today, i bleached the house and threw away some formerly good bedding because i just can't do everything right now. i hit target with astrid to buy her school supplies because after the craziness of the past few days she is demanding to be enrolled in school by AT LEAST tomorrow morning. okay, fine. i steam cleaned gus' room and bathroom and the kitchen sink just for good measure (how smart was i to buy a steamer before we left?!) and gradually tried to reintroduce moisture to my cracked, bleach-beaten hands, then remembered there were traps i had to check in the basement...and while i was picking up my FIFTH mouse mummy, whilst shouting upstairs at rich, "I'M NOT PICKING UP ANY MORE MOUSE SHIT!!! COME AND DO THE REST OF THIS NOW!" that i couldn't help but sing in my head, "what a difference a day makes"...or rather three. how far the mighty have fallen!

i cringe at what the fourth day may bring.