We leave for London in less than 48 hours. I have known about this trip for over a year now, but it's never really real until the clock is ticking away and there's lots of things left to do and I appear to be the only one in the house who is taking it seriously. My big issues getting ready for this trip have been the following:
1. It's too cold and rainy to go to the pool. What? This is Utah. I know. I wanted a day to bask in the sun before I hit cold and rainy GB. Oh well. It's better for the skin. You don't see Londoners with wrinkly, leathery skin. There' a reason for that: clouds. And maybe lack of outdoor pools. I'll take milky and creamy over leathery any day, but the sun still feels like good therapy to me. The kid's Seven Peaks passes are sitting here for Aunt Amy to use for her kids when she comes to stay because they expire before we get back. Have fun Greg and Matt!
2. Shoes. I have been on a quest to outfit the family with good walking shoes. This has involved multiple trips to multiple stores. I now know fully every store in this valley. Some I would have preferred not to ever know, but in a quest to find a "deal" I about killed myself and my family in the process.
Forcing teenagers to think about good-quality walking shoes has been a huge burden. Their idea of good walking shoes is flip flops, or white athletic shoes. OK, flip flops are against the study abroad rules for obvious reasons. But athletic shoes, for all I have read, just sort of brands a person as "HELLO, I AM AN AMERICAN TOURIST. I BET YOU DID NOT KNOW THAT. I WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT I AM FROM AMERICA, THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE, THE BEST COUNTRY ON THE WHOLE DANG PLANET. JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN'T. BET I FOOLED YOU. HEY, CAN YA TAKE MY PICTURE, DON'T FORGET TO GET MY SPIFFY NEW TENNIES IN THE SHOT!"
My girls aren't like that (sorry girls, just feeling a weeee bit of pressure right now!) But I finally got them sulking and teenagering into one store, and that was the best I could do. They got what they got, and if their feet hurt it ain't my fault. I tried my hardest and I really don't care if their feet hurt in London or in the future.
Yes, I am done with the shoes problem. Darren has yet to think about his own feet, and I'll be damn-waggled (geez, now I'm thinking up new ways to swear!) if I'm gonna tell him he needs new shoes when he clearly says he doesn't. Been down that road before, and that's a Pandora's box in which I will deadbolt.
3. Suitcases. Wow. We look like the Clampett's (as in Jethro, Jed, Granny and Ellie Mae) before they struck oil. Black gold, that is, Texas tea. I think it's one of the suitcases we purchased at a garage sale back in 1993 before we were on our way to Santiago, Chile, to do research about Chile's transition to democracy from authoritarian rule.
While Darren was busy interviewing former, aged members of Pinochet's Junta (team of power-hungry, memory-challenged government officials) I was sad, lonely and pregnant in a foreign country trying to entertain a very precocious two-year old without blowing my brains out. So, 16 years later we're going to London with the same puke-green hard sided suitcase that doesn't shut so well. I think we've used bungee cords or duct tape in the past.
How you get your things abroad is irrelevant, I know, but I just love to compare our stuff to the Clampett's. (Sp?) House, cars, children, pre-oil bank accounts, etc.
4.House. Aunt Amy and Uncle Adam. I love you to death, but because you are staying in my house with your four kids while I am gone I have had to deep clean it to death. To it's grave. Darren says it's "good for me" to deep clean, and that someone staying in our house is the only motivation I ever have for deep cleaning. Yes, it does feel good to have things really clean, it's just that the process of getting it that way sort of feels like I am walking on nails with my bare feet. Amy, It's OK if you are reading this, but I know you're probably not, because you don't tend to get on email that much, but if you are, I hope you enjoy my nice clean house.
5. Medication. Insurance companies suck. They just do. They make you jump through all kinds of hoops (the kind that have fire burning in them) to get a 90-day supply of medicine. Just when you think you've gone through the last hoop without burning anything, they tell you it's impossible. That I can get 30 days with insurance or 60 days if I pay for it out of pocket. But this is 90 days. Heck no, that's way too long, sorry Mrs. Hawkins, even though your doctor and nurse have both called us to explain what you need, we are still saying no, you can't have 90 days, not even if you drive to Salt Lake to pick it up, not even if you empty out your bank account, not even, not even. No and no. Policy, blah blah, no, sorry, policy, no, blah, blah. Oh yes, have a great time in Europe.
What I love the most is this: After they've told me "NO" five times, and they have me feeling pretty much like a pouting three-year old, they have the audacity (no, not the Audacity to Hope, that's too much) to ask if there is anything else they can help me with. I am much too nice to say," And you think you've helped me? How did telling me I can't have my medication help me?" But I sure thought it. And now I'm blogging about it so I feel marginally better.
Check back frequently over the next few months! I'm gonna be posting. Promise.
Pinky swear and cross my heart, hope to die.