Sunday, August 24, 2014

Night owls
We told ourselves that we couldn't go to bed until after midnight last night so that we could get our jet lagged family back on track, and the city of Lucca was down with the plan. They rolled out an orange carpet down the length of our corte and put a loud band right underneath our window. In fact, there were crazy events all over the city and all of the stores were open until 2 AM for the event they called the White Night or La Notte Bianca. So at about 10 PM F and I took to the streets. T said she wanted to stay home and do homework. I'm pretty sure she just caught up on all the vlogs she follows on youtube, but for all I know she actually did some homework.

When you can't beat them, join them. This is what we could hear from our window (sorry about the mosquito screen):


This is what we saw. Or rather this is what F's ipod saw when he reached his arm up over the crowd. I was mostly too short to see much of anything, except for some cute boots that are on sale at one of my favorite shoe stores  . . .
Ballroom dancers going for the big dip . . .


Chess championships . .
This crazy game with people in bubbles that looks like a Big Brother HOH contest. What are you talking about? I don't watch that show!

Classical ballet . .
These little divas:
 
Line dancing!
Jet lagged love birds.
Um . . .
The Polka!
And the most popular of all. Unfortunately you can't see her almost naked body, but right under the arch is a pole dancer and about a thousand horny Italian guys.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

CSI Sleep Rotations
The trip back from Denver to New York did not go badly. Stephen drove us to Denver the night before and took us out for Indian food and ice cream and a quick tour of tattooed, hairy, intellectual and drunken hipsters in their natural, mountainous element. T got a huge cone of fluffernutter and salted butterscotch. F got brown bread and molasses and I got blueberry oreo. It was a sugar high that could last us until our next trip to America. You see, Meagan and Stephen used to live in Denver right before we arrived in Carbondale and their house which is still on the market is quirky and cool with a huge yard and with an extra house for guests, right on the property. I didn't  sleep that night because I'm a nervous flier, but that's neither here nor there.






The worst part of the travel day was that poor T got really patted down at the super high security (who knew?!) airport because we couldn't put her insulin pump through the x-ray machine without damaging it. The exam was so invasive that the female agent apologized profusely to her afterwards. At least the flight and the rest of it was fairly on time.  Of course, after all that, we were dreading going through the control point again in New York. But magically, the wheelchair pusher guy -- and yeah, her foot was totally healed, but we opted for the wheelchair pushers anyway because they are speedy quick and we didn't have official word yet that she was healed -- got us through to the next gate without having to go through security at all. We waited around for three hours and then got on the next flight.

 After the first hour I took a quarter of a sleeping pill and got very woozy and tired. At my most tired moment, T decided she had to go to the restroom and then the flight attendants  served the noisiest dinner service ever known to air travel.



 I had one more window of time in which to try to sleep after the dinner service, but T couldn't see that I was almost asleep and she needed help pushing her chair back. One second later she was bent over in two and very mad about it. I switched places with F so that he could be next to her and I took the aisle. Three seconds later my moment was gone forever and she was fast asleep on his lap. I then got to watch T sleep for the next four hours, interspersed with the comic musings of Dane Cook which were playing on the little screen on the back of the chair. F was nailed in place by his tailbone, so whenever I got bored,  I looked over to see what grimace face he was wearing for that hour of the flight.

The good part was that our bags were there when we arrived in Pisa and the team of people that I had written good reviews about were there to greet us, being all smiley and wondering what the heck had happened to our family because we looked so wrecked upon reentry. On the upside -- they were thrilled with the reviews, so now we have friends at the Pisa airport for life. 

Something weird happens when the Tuscan sun hits your eyes in the morning and we all then got to unpacking and cleaning and the next thing you know we hadn't slept for a full forty eight hours.
P.S. One day I will write this blog in prison for never attributing the images I steal from the internet, but with this little sleep . . .


The New York family left the house fairly clean. You could see that they had made an effort. Unfortunately, we came to discover that the beatles we had got ridden of before the trip had given birth in the bathroom before we left. So guess what -- Baby Beatles! F found the nest and got out the hot steam machine and sealed the wall of the shower with cement. Unfortunatley in his sleep deprived haze he left the bathroom door open while he did it, and sprayed the little guys all over the house. So last night I thought I could finally sleep in peace and woke up to see one of the baby buggers twitching at me in the corner of my bedroom.

Yeah, I wish.
The next night we slept for fourteen hours in a row. I woke up at three in the afternoon, just one hour before my new English student was due to arrive. She is a lovely girl who is the daughter of the coworker of my ex-fitness club client who works in a nearby shoe store. She has an oral exam in two weeks time. Unfortunately, while she has skills in the reading and writing department, her spoken English needs a lot of work. She is going to come to me five days a week!

So far the pattern is we sleep from like midnight to 4 AM and from 6 AM to 1 PM. Last nigt, after four years of waiting, we got invited to a dinner by our friends at Fattoria Colleverde. It was not an invitation we could turn down. We were in fine shape, as you can well imagine.

 BEFORE:

Who needs sleep??





























AFTER:

Knock - knock, T's not home.
CSI, I tell you.


(The Americans are a little weird, right?)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Goodbye America
Goodbye cappuccino flavored potato chips!


Goodbye rifle section at Walmart!

Goodbye people who walk their cats on leashes (to protect them from bears and coyote)!




Sunday, August 17, 2014

Date Night
We all decided that Meagan and Stephen should have a date night.

And then all this cuteness happened:
Viv and F playing nail salon. Flower striped dazzle sparkle was his favorite color for thumbs.

Juno went to sleep with no problems.

Nanny magic. 

Snuggling in.

Notice the adorable hair twirling action of Viv's fingers entwined in T's locks.


Vivi was an angel and yawned all the way through the first half of Mary Poppins and then fell asleep after a page or two of the story T was reading to her.

Mabel had a good cry and needed a diaper change. The three of us fought over what she needed: to be burped, more  milk, belly time, to go outside, to bounce -- and then when she pooped we just did what any sane person would do - hand her over to F.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DRIVING lesson
And no jokes, please; it was not for me.

As you know, I don't drive. My driving instructor gave me a driver's permit because he said I looked like his granddaugher. I had to promise him that I just wanted an ID that I could fit in my pocket when I went to bars so I could stop lugging my passport everywhere. I am probably the first driving student in history who had to pledge to never drive again. I almost killed six people during my practice exam. It is not exageration to say that I am driving phobic. A huge percentage of my nightmares involve myself being behind the wheel of a car that I can't control. I tried to conquer my fear again after T was born when I signed up for lessons in NYC. I was in one of those horrible auto school cars that bring out the worst in New Yorkers who see anyone who doesn't know what they're doing as an easy target. I know it has to do with control issues and blah blah blah. But I just don't like cars and my sense of spatial perception does not allow me to understand how big the car is and how much room I have to move in or how long it will take. So, as I always say: it is better for the world that I stay a passenger. That said, I would hate for T not to have the freedom and joy of being able to drive if she had to or (gasp) wanted to.

Obviously, when Stephen, whose spirit of adventure is alive and well (see swimming with parasites), gave T her first driving lesson, I hid under the bed.
Hot Springs
Today our wonderful friends

Meagan, Stephen, Vivienne & Mabel
 took us to, arguably, one of the most beautiful spots on earth - the hot springs at Avalanche Ranch.

La vista!
We checked in at a cute little shop where they explained that we would have three pools- warm, medium, and hot with a waterfall and a perfect view of the mountains.







They had these sleeper wagons for "glamping." Meagan asked me if I could imagine myself sleeping in one; and I kind of disuaded her ,saying, "It's like a tomb, but with bugs, right?" She just chuckled knowingly, as if to say, "Ah, those New Yorkers . . ."

No really, it's like a tomb, but with bugs.



We had a picnic.


Mabel napped like an angel in the body temperature soothing springs.



We swang on the ski lift.

It was delightful.


 We tried to take a family selfie . . .



Awww
We nailed it!


Best day ever!
 Mabel woke up in an awesome mood.




I love napping in hot springs, what?