Friday, June 22, 2007

Travel and Tickets

Well, I am here safely in Deutschland. The flight wasn't too bad. Flying without children is so much easier!

Forgive any typos. German keyboards are different.

Despite 48 straight hours of no bed, I managed quite well. (Better than I am now managing a German keyboard, where the y and z are switched, and the shift, enter, and other support keys are all in odd locations.)

So, my huge reading audience, would you prefer one long post, or several different posts, one for each day? But these rhetorical questions waste time. Since I am paying €2,50 per hour at this charming Internet cafe, I should be about it, nicht war? (Rhetorical answer: "Ja, natürlich.")

I will do several different posts. That way I can get caught up a little bit at a time.

Tuesday morning (June 19th) was consumed with errands. We returned a post-hole digger, went to the library, deposited $79 worth of rolled coins at the bank--my spending money for trinkets, accumulated over several years in a special top-of-the-dresser treasure-chest savings fund--picked up a prescription, bought some snacks for the trip, and so forth.

I also bought a neck pouch--it looks slightly dorky, but less so than a fanny-pack, and is quite practical. It was marvelous to travel without worrying about it sliding off my shoulder, or me forgetting it on the plane, or being pick-pocketed. The no-hands part was particularly nice. I may never return to a regular purse.

Sadly and alas, however, I got a speeding ticket Tuesday. After 5 p.m. When I was leaving town the next day for a month. How, pray tell, am I supposed to pay a ticket from Germany?

Many things gall me about this unpleasant experience. One of them was that I had just pulled out of a parking lot and accelerated too hard. I had gone probably less than 1,000 feet at that speed. I noticed a cop car ahead of me, checked my speed, said "oops" and hit the brakes...and got pulled over. It was a female cop. So much for looking cute and innocent. I tried acting Mature and Responsible instead. "I hadn't realized how fast I was going!" I said. "Thank you for bringing it to my attention!" I'm afraid I was too stiff, though. This raises the question...what is the best psychological approach to get off with a warning? Carolyn suggested acting cute and bubbly. ("Hello, officer! How are you this charming evening?")

No doubt I deserve this, karmically speaking, but still it bugs me. The officer claimed I was going 51 in a 35 zone. She said, severly, "And I saw you hit the brakes so I think you -did- realize how fast you were going." Perhaps I should simply have eased off the gas and coasted by?

The book club went well Tuesday night. I felt like I had to stretch the questions a little since "The Blue Castle," though fun, is not steeped in literary symbolism.

I was up essentially all night Tuesday the 19th. I did lie down for perhaps 45 minutes and rest. Halfway through that, around 4:30 a.m., Danny woke up and wanted to be covered. I knew sleep deprivation was not the most auspicious way to begin a long journey, but at least I got packed and cleaned the kitchen so I will not return to a bug infestation.

We got to the airport in pretty good time. I did curbside check-in. Halfway through, I realized I only had large bills, not small ones for a tip. Thinking quickly, I grabbed a €2 coin from my wallet. I can imagine that the woman helping me assumed it was a quarter when I handed it to her. Hopefully she was pleasantly surprised later. Assuming it's not too much trouble for her to exchange, that is.

The boys were good on both flights. They even let me nap a bit. (Good boys! Yes!) I was worried about how Danny would handle take-off, but he did quite well. Naturally I had snacks and bought water and encouraged both boys to swallow a lot.

The biggest excitement came when I realized I had forgotten to print out Jon's directions about where to meet him. I love technology! I pulled out my cell phone and composed a text message. I couldn't send it in the air--I would have even though it was against the rules, but I had no service--and sent it as soon as I landed. One copy went to Jon's email address at work. I hadn't realized I could do that until I dug around a bit, but it worked! The other copy I sent to Mom. I intended to send it to her cell phone, but I got distracted and sent it to her home phone instead. I have no idea how it translated. Did an AI convert it into a robotic-sounding human voice? I'm curious. She got -something- because she called me back quickly looking for clarification. I can't blame her for being confused.

Anyway, I explained the situation to Mom who promptly sent a more detailed, explanatory message to Jon's work address. It was important to get it sent early since Jon would be leaving work around 11 a.m. my time.

The layover in Chicago O'Hare was surprisingly easy. Much, MUCH better than the last time I went to Germany. (In 2003, I remember vividly Jon and me racing from the end of one spoke, through the hub, and all the way down the spoke of another wing, pushing a cranky Eric-baby in the stroller, and carting -all- our luggage at the same time. We arrived, panting, to be told they had bumped us from the flight even though they hadn't finished boarding yet. But that is another tale of another time. Have I mentioned how much easier it is to do international travel without babies?) Anyway. The hardest part about that layover was that Eric was dancing -frantically- needing to use the bathroom and there was a long line. I didn't quite dare let him go to the men's room by himself. We made it, though, barely, and that was quite enough excitement. Danny just refused to go at all. For 8 hours. I cannot help but grudgingly admire his tenacity. The child is terrified of strange toilets...but at least he didn't have an accident! Does it count as him "owning" his own problem if he gives himself a bladder infection?

I think that's sufficient for now. Tomorrow I will try to get caught up on the flight over here.

For now, I go to excercise my German skills by pointing and grunting to show which sandwich I would like. (I would ask for it auf Deutsch if they would label the durn things.)

Have a charming day!

1 comment:

Mom said...

I've just read your first two posts. They're both delightful. I'm so glad you have arrived in Munich, had some sleep, and made your way to an internet cafe.

For your birthday present, would you like me to pay for renting two carseats in Utah? I want to help you get to the Salt Lake airport, whether I am still at Sister Hobson's right then or not. This way, I would be helping, but all of us would have more scheduling flexibility than if you were dependent on making a connection with me in order to return the Berry grandparents' property.

Of course you would still be able to visit relatives on whatever schedule works for you.