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Tag Archives: vacation

Troubleshooting and chatting it up with Amy’s Dad

Dad’s in Florida. He’s in his condo by the ocean for two full months. He left at the beginning of January and has been there, therefore, for most of the month.

Dad is bored out of his skull.

His people don’t arrive until February (my aunt and uncle, his sister and brother-in-law, are arriving then, and his cousin is visiting then, and I think he’s going to visit another cousin then – yes, my entire family has become a flock of snowbirds) so Dad’s been hanging out at buffets and the American Legion (do NOT ask him if they’ve given him a fez; he’ll just yell “THEY DON’T WEAR FEZZES!”) and walking on the beach and getting scratchers at the 7-11 and – best of all – calling me up at all hours to tell me things. Or texting me. Or emailing me weird links, like “You should read this good site, do you know about this?” and it’s MSN.

Dad said he's not doing well on the scratchers this year, and therefore I will no longer have an inheritance. Oh, well, I wasn't betting on one, anyway.

Dad said he’s not doing well on the scratchers this year, and therefore I will no longer have an inheritance. Oh, well, I wasn’t betting on one, anyway.

So I thought you would enjoy a glimpse into the type of conversation Dad and I have been having lately. You like such things, right? Right.

Oh, a thing you need to know for this to make sense…

Dad bought a laptop so he could take advantage of the free wifi in the condo. Dad’s never had a laptop before. Or high-speed internet. It’s like Dad was released into a very big playground. Or the ocean. Without a lifevest. Or a map, to completely muddle this metaphor.

So, I had the day off today. I had car work to get done, which got done a lot sooner than planned (also, goodbye, savings! sniff), so I used the day to do all of my usual after-work errands like grocery shopping and laundry and such, so I don’t have to do them after work this week. I was PROACTIVE! And when I got home Dad sent me an email to call him RIGHT AWAY so I did. (Dad + boredom + high speed internet = lots of email, you guys.)

So of course I called him. It’s a day off. Lots of time to talk to Dad.

Me: Hey, old man. What’s up?
Dad: Stop calling me that.
Me: Fine. Howdy, young lady, what’s shakin’?
Dad: Not at all better.
Me: But funnier.
Dad: Not really. I have a computer question.
Me: I will answer that!
Dad: You broke my computer.
Me: That’s more an accusation than a question.
Dad: Remember you made me put that antivirus on here?
Me: Yes, so you didn’t get viruses and no one stole your identity.

Oh, Dad would HATE this.

Oh, Dad would HATE this.

Dad: It gave me a virus.
Me: The antivirus gave you a virus. No, I don’t think that’s how that works.
Dad: No! True story! Ever since I bought it, the computer keeps shutting down if I walk away for ten minutes.
Me: Huh. That’s weird. Did you change any settings?
Dad: What does that mean, settings. No. I put on this virusy virus thing.
Me: Well, go into the settings of Norton and see if one of them says “sleep settings” or “power saver” or something.
Dad: That is SMART. Where are Norton settings.
Me: I don’t know, I’ve never needed that. Click on Norton? It’s probably at the bottom of the screen or something.
Dad: It WAS! You’re good at this.
Me: Yeah, I’m totally an IT guru.
Dad: It says I need to sign into Norton.
Me: Sign into Norton, then.
Dad: It says I don’t know my password.
Me: Do you know your password?
Dad: No.
Me: Did you write down your password when you signed up?
Dad: I did but I wrote it down wrong.
Me: Well, that’s unhelpful.
Dad: There’s something to click if I forgot my password! Should I click that?
Me: Yep.
Dad: This is exciting.
Me: SO exciting.

Look at my excited face. LOOK AT IT!

Look at my excited face. LOOK AT IT!

Dad: I am resetting my password now.
Me: Maybe use the one you wrote down, then you already have it written down.
Dad: Man, you are really good.
Me: Yeah, I’ve got brains to spare.
Dad: SOMETHING IS WRONG! SOMETHING IS WRONG!
Me: Uh-oh. What’s wrong, jellybean.
Dad: It sent me a reset link and then I reset it and then it said it was wrong AGAIN.
Me: OK, well, there’s something wonky with Norton. Try again tomorrow.
Dad: That’s not a solution.
Me: Turn the computer on and off?
Dad: That is also not a solution.
Me: Oh, it surely is. Turning things on and off fixes more than you know.
Dad: I’m just going to give up now and go watch television and think about how terrible my life is.
Me: Do you want me to try to talk you through the computer settings and see if those somehow got screwed up?
Dad: No. I HAVE TO GO NOW.
Me: OK. Bye. Love you.
Dad: Grumble grumble grumble grump love you bye.

TWO MINUTES LATER!

THE PHONE RINGS!

Me: Yo, s’up, Pops.
Dad: I got into Norton.
Me: How’d you do that?
Dad: Don’t even know.
Me: Fair enough.
Dad: What do I do now?
Me: I don’t know. Let me ask the internet.
Dad: How does the internet know about my computer problems?
Me: Because the government’s watching you.
Dad: I KNEW IT!
Me: Foolish. Because other people often have the same problems you do, if you Google problems, they can help you.
Dad: But then the government knows you’re having a problem.
Me: *sigh* Yes, there’s always that. Oh, ok, here. Someone had the same problem. I’m going to talk you through how to fix this, ok?
Dad: STOP TALKING SO FAST.
Me: I wasn’t…ok. FIRST. CLICK. ON. NORTON.
Dad: Well, if you talk slow, I just feel stupid.

(Eventually I talked Dad through clicking some boxes and unclicking some other boxes and setting some things. This took a very, very long time. Pretend there’s a musical montage here, or something.)

Dad: Is this even going to work?
Me: I don’t know. I’m not there. Try going to your desktop and changing your power saver settings there, too.
Dad: What’s a desktop?
Me: Like, if you turn on the computer, before you open the internet. On my computer, it’s where I have that big picture of The Nephew scowling because I love his attitude.
Dad: I don’t have this on a desk, though, it’s on a table.
Me: NOT THAT KIND OF DESKTOP.
Dad: I found the control center. Is it there?
Me: I don’t know. Is it?
Dad: THIS IS SO HARD.
Me: It would be easier if you were HERE and I could SEE the computer, yes. Yes, it would.
Dad: Your brother just sent me gibberish email.
Me: What does that mean?
Dad: He sent me an email that said “IDK what a good price is.” What is IDK.
Me: I don’t know.
Dad: Should I look it up online? Did he make a mistake?
Me: Oh, this is like an old comedy routine. No. It MEANS I don’t know. IDK equals I don’t know.
Dad: Why didn’t he write I don’t know?
Me: It’s textspeak.
Dad: But it’s an email.
Me: Yeah. It’s a thing people do.
Dad: You should write a whole thing out and not confuse your father, is what I think.
Me: Write him back and say LOL.
Dad: I will not say LOL.
Me: Ooh, say YOLO.
Dad: I DO NOT SAY YOLO. Is my computer fixed?
Me: I guess you’ll see the next time you don’t use it for ten minutes in a row.
Dad: If Norton ruined my computer I’m going to call them up and yell at them.
Me: Oh, they’ll like that a lot, I think. You’ll be very popular.
Dad: Your governor hates me.
Me: What? Is this related to what we’ve been talking about at all? I think I have conversational whiplash.
Dad: No. Look up what your governor said now. He wants to kick me out of our state.
Me: Shush, I like our governor. He’s all gruff and cranky and passionate about things and I think if you make him mad he’d either punch you in an alley or shoot you in the face.

SO MAD!

SO MAD!

Dad: LOOK IT UP.
Me: Oh, so he said extreme conservatives don’t belong in New York State. Huh.
Dad: I’d like to have him come upstate and say that! WE WOULD TROMP HIM!
Me: I don’t know. He seems pretty badass. He might punch or shoot you. Or give you a really dirty look.
Dad: When he runs for president you’d vote for him.
Me: Is he the Democratic candicate in this scenario?
Dad: Well, duh.
Me: Then yes, I’ll vote for him.
Dad: Who are you. WHO ARE YOU. I am so disgusted.
Me: I am going to watch television now, and write a blog post. Are you good?
Dad: Yes. Don’t tell the internet where I live.
Me: I won’t.
Dad: Or put up photos of me.
Me: Nope. Won’t.
Dad: Or tell them what I like to say or do or wear.
Me: OK. Noted.
Dad: THAT IS HOW THEY GET YOU.
Me: Yes. I’m sure it is. Go play on the beach, bub.
Dad: I might call you later.
Me: OK. I might answer.
Dad: GOOD. You SHOULD answer! If I call you ALWAYS should!

Don’t worry, interwebs, Dad will have friends to play with soon. Only a few more days. I think he will manage to retain most of his mental stability with people to interact with. Hopefully, anyway. I mean…

Crap. Gotta go. Phone’s ringing.

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Counting all the (southern-fried) chickens

So, remember how a bit ago, ’round these here parts we were all “there are chickens, and the chickens cannot yet be counted, but the chickens can be counted SOON, maybe, if all goes according to plan, but, you know how to make God laugh, and that’s make a plan, so SHUSH, no counting of those chickens?” Well, maybe it wasn’t phrased exactly like that, but close. Who can remember, that was like two weeks ago, or something.

WELL. It is a MOST prestigious day. We can TOTALLY count the chickens today, people.

SEVEN! (Wait, is this a trick question?)

SEVEN! (Wait, is this a trick question?)

For a while now, it has been in the planning stages to make a VERY exciting trip in a southerly direction to visit someone near and dear to our hearts. Well, MY heart, anyway. If this person isn’t near and dear to YOUR heart, poo. POO, I SAY, ON YOU!

But life got in the way, and other trips and such, and when you just started your job, you can’t be all “Imma take like all the time off, yo, too bad if you guys wanted that week,” like, ALL the time, because that’s like frowned upon, or whatever. Also, sorry, but I’m not heading anywhere southerly of here in the summer. It’s hot enough here as it is. The only place I’m heading in the summer is up up up. Because otherwise I will probably combust.

So. Now we’re in the autumn season. (Well, technically we’re not, but as soon as September 1 hits, I call autumn, and too bad, calendar. Also, someone needs to tell the weather it’s autumn. It’s been in the 80s and 90s here with insane humidity for three days, and I’m EXHAUSTED. I am SPENT. AND, TODAY, it rained like it was the end of the world, and I got so wet it was like I bathed in my clothes, and I had to work the second half of the day dripping onto the carpet. Don’t even ask “where was your umbrella.” I HAD ONE. THE RAIN CAME AROUND IT.)

I found this on the Book of Faces. This was taken a couple of blocks from where I was on my lunch break today. WHAT THE HELL. Do I live in a rainforest? NO I DO NOT.

I found this on the Book of Faces. This was taken a couple of blocks from where I was on my lunch break today. WHAT THE HELL. Do I live in a rainforest? NO I DO NOT.

Am I off on a tangent again? Seems that way.

SO. As it is now the autumn of my discontent, I am free to head southerly. Like a Canadian goose.

HEADIN' ON SOUTH, YO!

HEADIN’ ON SOUTH, YO!

I said, “dearest Boss, can I have three extra days off for Columbus Day?” and Boss said, “Yep” and I said “YOU ARE THE BEST, YO! THANK YOU!” because I am very professional in work emails and always use etiquette like not using all-caps or slang. Luckily, she likes me and is ok with me expressing myself expressively. (Can you imagine if I’d done that at the last place? I’m pretty sure I’d have been caned in the backyard. Not in a sexy funtimes way, either.)

So, with that in mind, I checked out my options.

Flights? No. SUPER-EXPENSIVE. Four-hour round-trip flight, $400. So $50 an hour. That’s a lot of money. And also, although it was the quickest option, planes aren’t my fave. Like, they’re fine, if you HAVE to take one. But otherwise, avoid them. Because a., I always catch the flu after being on a plane, and b., motherfucking snakes. (Also crashes and terrorists and I’m afraid of that show with the thing on the wing and also, you saw Lost, right? I’d never survive on that island, never.)

ZOMG THE PLANE IN TWO PLACES, YOU GUYS!

ZOMG THE PLANE IN TWO PLACES, YOU GUYS!

Driving? Well, the drive was 9 hours. And my car is OK, but 9 hours is a lot, and I really don’t want to put THAT many miles on it. Plus I get crabby driving home to visit my parents. And that’s 3.5 hours away. Also gas is EXPENSIVE, you guys. And if I don’t put the middle-grade gas in my car, lately the engine light’s been going on? It’s a weird thing, I don’t know. I think it’s messing with me. My car’s a smart-ass.

The bus? Ha. Who are we kidding, I didn’t even research that shit. The bus is dead to me ever since it lost my luggage in grad school.

So. Amtrak. Whatcha got for me? What’s that? $160 round-trip, only a brief layover in New York City (oh, twist my arm, make me stop in my favorite city of ALL TIME), then a straight shot to where I’m going? Free wifi? Comfy seats? I can blog/read/etc. while the engineer takes care of everything for me?

Amtrak for the win, you guys.

(Plus I always feel like a fancy lady when I’m on a train. Like an olden-days fancy lady.)

So I had to wait til I got paid because I did some egregious spending with my last paycheck like PAYING THE RENT and BUYING GROCERIES. I know most people have credit cards, shush, I do not have such things.

But. TODAY. (Well, yesterday for you, since I AM WRITING TO YOU FROM THE PAST.) Today, I went online and BAM. Prices went up (of course they did, dammit) but not THAT much.

So…without further ado…

…over Columbus Day weekend, when we celebrate the FOUNDING of MERKA except it was ALREADY FOUNDED…

…I will be going to…

VIRGINIA!

And, you may ask, who exactly will I be shackin’ up with while I’m in Virginia?

IT IS THE LOVELY SJ!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I will be making the trek to Virginia to visit sj and her family. They will be putting up with me for DAYS. I am very excited about this, because a., I like adventures, and b., I AM VERY GOOD AT MAKING KIDDOS GIGGLE because I have no shame and totally do foolish things in order to make them laugh.

We will also do adventurous things, like talk our faces off and eat foods and at one point? THIS is going to happen…

WE ARE GOING TO THE ZOO AND THERE WILL BE GIRAFFES!!!!

(There will also be otters and penguins and leopards and tigers and cheetahs and lemurs! And will I take photos of myself making animal-faces? YES OF COURSE I WILL!!!)

But that’s not even the best of it, yo. Want more? Sure you do.

Guess who’s making a trip over to hang out with us and we are meeting her for the FIRST TIME?

IT IS HEATHER!

Seriously, right? Could this BE any more awesome?

Yep, actually, it COULD, because we are also meeting up with…

LAURA!

I know. Think about THAT for a minute. The combined awesome, it is STAGGERING.

(I cannot promise I will not have a panic attack because of ALL THESE THINGS but sj has promised I can have some alone time to breathe in a paper bag if I need to so it’s nice to know that option’s available, you know?)

THIS IS VERY EXCITING.

In ADDITION to this exciting news, I also had an email from one of my oldest friends that he’ll be in town on Sunday, and did I want to have lunch? I haven’t seen him in years. And YES, I want to have lunch. Seriously, how much awesomeness can I cram into the next month or so? IT IS INSANE. I do not deserve all this, do I?

It is now time for bed, because Laura will be here TOMORROW and I still have much to do and prepare and get ready and I am SO EXCITED HOW WILL I EVEN SLEEP. I may be missing for the next couple of days because SO MANY THINGS but I’ll come back with all the stories, don’t you even worry. Happy weekends if I don’t see you, Do something bold and exciting and grand, ok? You deserve it. *SMOOCH*

LOOK AT ALL THESE CHICKENS I’M COUNTING THEM ALLLLLLLLLL!


And now, the end is near

As I get older, I muse a lot on the mutability of time. (And a lot of other things. Do you find your thoughts wander onto these epic large thoughts as you age? I mean, assuming you’re aging. Maybe you’re 18 or something. If you are 18, I think I can tell you with some certainty that as you get older, you will start thinking about these things, like time, and death, and aging, and love, with this almost disturbing depth and breadth.)

I have been on vacation since last Friday at 3:30pm. A little over 8 days ago. I leave for home tomorrow morning sometime between 8-10am, depending on how late I sleep in. (I’d like to get home sooner rather than later, so the earlier I get on the road, the earlier I can get home and start unpacking and preparing for my life to start back up on Monday morning.)

A normal 8 days goes by at a normal pace. It feels like 8 days. (Sometimes it feels like more, depending on how tough the week is or how exhausted I am or various other things. You know how those weeks are. Those weeks that seem to last a million years and you can’t wait til they’re done.)

A week on vacation, however, seems to last about three days. I feel like I just got here. I can barely remember the days I’ve been on vacation because they zipped by TOO QUICKLY. They squished into one mega-day, and now that mega-day is finished, and I have to go back to the real world.

And the real world is fine; I’m not complaining about my life. It’s a very good life. I like my job, I don’t hate my part-time job, I adore my reviewing job. I love where I live and I love my home and I have wonderful friends. All’s well.

But vacation’s just so NICE, you know? You can stay up as late as you want and read all the books and take naps and spend serious time on writing and email and thoughts. I live a very zip-zip-zip real life where I am going every minute until I crash out in bed. It has been SO NICE to just slow down.

The same amount of time in my real life has compressed and squished and feels like just a couple of days. I know this happens to a lot of people on vacation. It’s not just me. It just sucker-punches me every time it does.

I am feeling bittersweet and end-of-vacationy. Please forgive.

So, because I need to finish loading the car tonight:

Goodbye, Helper Mule!

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Goodbye, my favorite nephew!

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(Side note: on our way back from the movies, my brother ran into the store to grab something to drink and left me in the car with The Nephew. I said, “I’ll stay here with you, kiddo!” He hesitated for a minute, then said “You’ll stay here. With your favorite nephew!” I call him that almost every time I see him. I almost always say, “Look who it is! My favorite nephew!” AND HE REMEMBERED! I love this kid more than life.)

Goodbye, strange, creepy, borderline racist clown pottery thingy I found at camp behind a bunch of things, and Mom said, “Good grief, Amy, you could have at least dusted that before you post it on the internet!”

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Goodbye, Morris the Moose who hangs over our camp fireplace!

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Goodbye beautiful full moon and gigantic campfires!

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Goodbye golden lion balls of Vermont!

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And goodbye, my most beloved fishhole!

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I should be home tomorrow early-afternoonish, and then it’s back to the daily grind of work and more work and theater reviews and hanging with Dumbcat back in his normal environment and being able to use my laptop again and sneaking in emails whenever I get a spare moment.

I will miss you, camp. Next year, let’s do it again, ok? And in the meantime, let’s start planning another adventure. Where shall we go next, I wonder?


A long-awaited meeting

Mom will be here soon for our fancy evening of dinner and a play, but I have HUGE NEWS!

It was a day we have ALL been waiting for. For about a year and a half!

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It was HELPER MULE DAY!

Today I went home to do some home-things. Home is about 45 minutes from here. You have to come down from the mountains and drive through a little town and then through a lot of nothing and THEN you are at my parents’ house.

First I got to spend some Nephew-time. He was playing with some Lego-like bricks and some trains and explained to me that Cranky the Train was so-named because he CRANKED things, not because he was annoyed. I told him I was Cranky the Amy, and he said, “NO, Aunt Amy!”

Then he had to go back to his dad’s house so they could run errands and The Nephew was all “NO NO NO I WANT TO PLAY!” and I hugged him and tickled him and kissed his little fists of fury and made him smile and they left and then Dad and I searched through the whole house for some things I was looking for and were ultimately successful (but not before a humorous misunderstanding where he thought a stuffed bear was a cat and was tearing a room apart looking for something under a bear when I was like, “DAD, I said it was in this box with the cat on the side?” and he was like “THIS IS A CAT!” and I was like, “Or a bear, but they’re both mammals, I suppose” and he was all “grumble grumble.”

Then we went to visit my grandmother. Grandmothers get tinier every time you see them. That is a very sad thing. We talked for a while and then it was time to visit Dad’s garden to see if the varmints ate it. They did not! Yay for no varmints!

THEN IT WAS HELPER MULE TIME!

On the way to Rooster’s house, Dad said, “You’d better not call that thing a Helper Mule, I think it’s just a mule. I don’t want you to hurt his feelings.” So the whole way I was all, “Hi sir, thank you for letting me visit your mule.” Dad was all, “What are you doing?” And I said “Practicing so I don’t say ‘HELPER MULE!!!’ in front of him and EMBARRASS YOU!” and Dad rolled his eyes.

At Rooster’s house, there are many animals. First, there was a happy red coonhound. He was not very old, and he didn’t understand that you were not supposed to jump or bite. (Not bite HARD. Just kind of a puppy mouthy bite. But I said “You stop that, happy red dog!” and he totally did. Animals like me. And it is mutual.)

There was also a pen of clucky chickens. They went “buck buck buck!” and the happy red dog bashed gleefully into the wire at them but couldn’t get to them and they rolled their chickeny eyes at him.

Then there was a pen with two beagle puppies in it! Well, I think more beagle tweens. They were a little older than puppies. One was lighter and had amber eyes and one was traditional dark black/white/tan. I was madly in love with them and they went “haroooo!” because that’s what beagles do. I petted them for a very long time through the wire and they licked my fingers most happily and pounced on each other and went “haroo! Haroo!” and I laughed and laughed. (Beagles are my first favorite type of dog ever, closely followed by pit bulls. We raised beagles growing up and I have the best memories of beagles.)

THEN IT WAS TIME TO GO TO THE BARN!

Rooster and Mrs. Rooster and Rooster’s grandson and some girl I didn’t know and Dad and I all went to the barn.

First in the barn, there was…

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BABY PIGS! WEE PIGLETS!

Rooster’s grandson caught one and it said “WEE WEE WEEEEE” and did not like that but that meant I got to pet it. It was bristly and scratchy and had little clacky hooves and when he put it down it ran away super-fast.

Then…what was on the other side of the barn?

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HELPER MULE!

His name is Chief!

At first, he was shy. Mrs. Rooster could touch him, but he was scared of me. “I will Helper Mule whisper you!” I thought at him furiously. “JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE!”

Rooster’s grandson let me feed Chief some hay. He ate the hay, but then backed off again. Then Mrs. Rooster let me feed him some carrots. He ate those carrots more crunchily. Then he realized maybe this new lady might be a food source and wasn’t so scared of me. THEN I got to feed him OATS, and, well, that cemented our growing friendship.

Rooster and Mrs. Rooster and Dad were talking about many things, and while they were being social, I spent much time with Helper Mule.

I took many photos. There was one of me with him, but Dad took it, and it is highly unflattering. It will stay lost to the ages.

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Then it was time to go home, and Rooster said I could come back ANY TIME, and also offered to sell me Helper Mule for only $8,000, or for free if I gave him my family’s top-secret Michigan sauce recipe. I declined because I didn’t want to get excommunicated from my family. (But I did want to own Helper Mule. We had made fast friends. And when I was leaving, he walked out of the barn-area and watched me go with sad mule-eyes.)

Also, Helper Mule was quite tall, and furry, and dusty, and his nose was soft, and his eyes were kind.

Dad said everyone at Rooster’s house isn’t always that happy, and I said, “do you think my irrepressible charm got to them?” and he said, “Yes, actually, I do” and I liked that.

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When I got home, I had to wash my hands a lot. Dad was all, “DON’T YOU TOUCH ANYTHING! YOU ARE FILTHY WITH MULE!”

It was a very successful day. And I totally whispered him. “Be good and be nice and don’t get in trouble, most wonderful Helper Mule,” I said to my new friend. “Someday I will come back to see you and we will have the best of times.”

And he wisely nodded his helpful head.

When I was whispering him, he said to tell ALL the internettians hello.

So HELLO FROM THE HELPER MULE NAMED CHIEF!

Happy rest-of-your-days, people! I have to go get pretty and wash the rest of the mule off me for a night of thee-ay-tah. Back tomorrow with MORE adventures!


I’m not dead. Just really relaxed. Promise.

Just wanted you to know I’m not dead. No, really. I’m not. I promise. I am not blogging from beyond the grave.

I have, however, managed to relax to the point of almost becoming boneless. Like a chicken finger. I don’t even want to get up to make or get food. I’m just that relaxed.

The past couple of days have consisted of reading (6 books and part of a seventh in 6 days); watching a LOT of television (I’m trying very hard to catch up on my television for the next season…it’s not going well, as I’m still watching episodes from March); spending inordinate amounts of time on elaborate manicures because I never get to do that in real life (it’s very hard to blog with wet nails, or any of the other millions of things I have to do at home); sleeping (not as much as planned, as I’m up all hours reading amazing books); and random other things like email and internetty things and actually some work things, because, surprisingly, life doesn’t end when you go on vacation. I KNOW! Shock! Awe!

I have many photos to share but this app is just the worst for that. Just the utter worst. I will make you a photo-laden post when I get back to the world.

Today, my brother and I went on a trip with The Nephew. We went to lunch (more Chinese buffet, which is my brother’s favorite…I think I will never want Chinese food again after this trip); the mall (so The Nephew could have some new toys at the learning toy store, which I heartily approve of; I also found some false mustaches, and was all “BROTHER BROTHER WE NEED THESE TO MAKE QUICK GETAWAYS” and he was all, “They are $4. Our heists will have to be more than $4.” I assured him they would be and he STILL didn’t buy them, HARRUMPH!); then to the movies.

Dad got free movie passes and concessions for buying tires (yeah, I don’t know, either) and The Nephew REALLY wanted to see Turbo. Turbo is a movie about a snail that, through the magic of cartoonery, ingests chemicals through a street-racing incident and, rather than dying, becomes super-fast so he can go like 225 miles per hour. He then runs afoul of a taco-truck proprietor who enrolls him in the Indy 500 to get publicity for his business. I think it’s probably totally based on a real story. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as an angry snail named Ripcord or something like that and some other people I’ve already forgotten. It was actually quite enjoyable and I laughed more than once and cannot confirm or deny that there might have been some tears near the end of the movie.

Halfway through, The Nephew snuck his little hand into mine and so my heart melted and I kissed him on his little crewcutted head. He also held my hand without being prompted every time we crossed a parking lot or walked anywhere and said “Aunt Amy, guess what?” a lot. (He also told me and my brother we were talking too much in the car. “You are making me TIRED!” he said. Heh. We did talk a lot. I don’t see my brother a lot. We have lots to say.)

Then it was time for a long drive home where we took the MOST prestigious photo below. Background: we took a little teeny-tiny back road to the town with the movie theater, where there are lots of lakes and camps and trees (it’s very pretty back there.) We saw the sign below on the way, and both IMMEDIATELY said “On the way back, we’re stopping to take photos with that.”

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We obviously then did. And called each other “fishholes” the rest of the day.

It’s a most excellent euphemism.

Tomorrow, Dad and I are taking a road trip to a top-secret location which I’m sure you will find out soon enough. There will be souvenir-purchasing. I’ve already discussed potential souvenirs with people, as getting the best gifts = my most favorite thing ever.

Time for more things like relaxing and reading and possibly drinking beverages. Oh, and remember how hot it was at home? It’s totally in the 50s here and I’m wearing a hoodie. And it’s supposed to get to the 40s tonight.

This is a very good vacation.


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