Friday, July 24, 2009

The elephant in the room is that the crap-gangville-strip is the famous Route 66. They should be embarrassed.

One evening of our trip, we go to a fantastic mexican restaurant. They make a margarita to end all margaritas. Normally I'm a frozen margarita girl because it needs to be frozen to cover up the nasty syrupy mess that most places serve. This one is excellent on the rocks, no salt necessary.

At one point, a woman comes over and says "Quieres mas? You have limonda o agua?" Now, as I have neither lemonade nor water, I pay no attention. (Or maybe it's because I'm nose-deep in my big-ass margarita glass.) Until I notice there's been no response.

"Uh, Alex," I say. "Do you want more lemonade?" "Oh. Sure." He passes his glass over, and I look curiously at Sam. "Why are we not responding to the waitress?" "Well I know I didn't get what she was asking." Huh. Over the years, I've tried to maintain some semblance of the remedial Spanish I took in high school. Paid off, I guess, as I barely notice the Spanish-English merging that she uses as she comes and goes from our table. I'm sure she's dumbing it down (Enlish-ing it up?) some, but I'm still understanding her perfectly. I'm proud of (read: full of) myself for my bad-ass bilingual-ness. Even from the bottom of my second delicious big-ass margarita.

And then we end up at Wendy's a few nights later. "Welcome-to-Wendy's-I'll-take-your-order-whenever-you're-ready-unless-of-course-you're-a-dumbass-gringo-in-which-case-you're-not-understanding-a-word-of-this-and-I-will-treat-you-like-crap," comes through the speaker. In Spanish. I assume. Because I? Don't speak a single word of Spanish. Apparently.

"Uhm... hi?... Can I... get two orders of nuggets?... And..." "Anything else?" she says. I'm sorry? Since when does "and" mean "I'm not in the middle of a sentence"? I know I'm slow here, but I'm thinking of how effed-up "nuggets de pollo" would sound. Eventually I finish and she gives us our total- I think?- and, we assume, asks us to pull up. Except I can't understand a word she says in English, either. I'm so flustered that I screw up the order and have to ask her to add on some junior bacon cheeseburgers at the window.

Now this is a personal insult. Right? It must be because the holy-bitch grows fangs. Sam hands over what I believe is way too much money, but it must not have been because we only get a dollar and change back. Huh. But then frostys come through the window (wee!), and then she yells at us. Something about nuggets de pollo? She shuts the window and Sam stares at me. "Pull up?" I say. It's really an odd sensation, the combination of fear, confusion, and growing pissed-off-ness. The woman is being heinous, but she's holding my nuggets de pollo hostage, y'all.

Eventually she comes out and- I am not kidding- throws the bags of food through the car window before dashing back into the restaurant. Thank god we got our frostys before we pulled up. And pissed-off wins the emotion battle that has been roiling within me. Heinous-holy-bitch is lucky because Sam is the one in the driver's seat and pulls away before I can go jump the woman.

It's not until we're almost back to the hotel eight miles on the other side of the crap-gangville-strip that we had to traverse (at ten-thirty at night) to get there (because of the lying-liar signs at the exit that said Wendy's was right here) that I found the receipt stapled to the bag. She had short-changed us by ten bucks. If I didn't live two thousand miles away? She and I would have words. Of course, we wouldn't be able to understand each other...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Look! A tufted titmouse on the bird feeder! (Yes, this is just that interesting.)

So. It was a long-ass trip. And I only posted once during it. And not at all since. I know. I'm not back in any kind of routine yet, and on top of that I won't be for a while to come. But I'm gonna try a little harder. Possibly.

The trip was great, but not exactly humorous. There's plenty of great pictures! To me. Everyone's seen other people's pictures of the Grand Canyon, so mine are probably just special to me... At some point maybe I'll share the bit where I refused to share my booze with Sam's aunt. Or another time when I didn't climb through the Wendy's drive-thru window and bitch-slap the woman inside. I'm particularly proud of that one.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And It's So Late Because Iowa Lies About Their Free Wi-Fi at Rest Stops

We're currently on the road, traveling across the country. As I'm writing this- writing, mind you, not uploading- we are in Iowa. Which, by the way, the conversation I just had with Sam went: "The hell, where are we? Illinois?" "Iowa! What the hell? Oh no, are you writing a blog entry?"

An hour ago, I was going to say that the most exciting thing that had happened so far in this trip was getting a suite at the motel, enabling us to actually shut a door between us and the kids. Now? Emily has conveniently topped that excitement with one of her own making.

We just stopped at the "Mississippi Valley Welcome Center". It had a view- ish- of Ol' Miss, a little shop full of that random crap you see in touristy places, a playground (thank you hay-zeus), and plenty of picnic tables.

We had our lunch and the kids went exploring down a path in the woods. Grampa carefully put the fear of poison ivy into their heads, and I followed up with a "Stay ON the path!", which was well bordered with (their) knee high undergrowth. It wasn't long before Emily was screaming. Now, I don't mean that arguing-screaming or attention-screaming. Fear-and-pain-screaming.

We tore down the path to find that they had strayed away from the path onto a fallen tree. Okay, but when I say fallen tree, I mean the top was touching the ground and the other end was still connected to the stump four feet off the ground, which is precisely where Emily had fallen off of it. And. Ready? Into three foot high nettles. That surrounded the entire tree. For yards and yards in every direction.

Luckily, Grampa was not dressed like me in a short dress and flip flops and could wade in and retrieve the now screaming-crying-snotting poor little girl. Turns out she is as allergic to nettles as I am. Blistery looking hives were appearing all over her.

I ran ahead to the parking lot and grabbed my first-aid kit, as did Grandma.

Grampa and I slathered her with every non-sting non-itch wash, cream, and roll-on that we could find. As prepared as I thought my first-aid kit was (it sure cost a helluva lot to build), I didn't have a single antihistamine, child or adult, but Grandma and Grampa went and bought some.

An hour later, she is nearly hive free. Emily asked why she had gotten covered on both arms and both legs but none had gotten on her face. She was as surprised as the rest of us. The girl has had two emergency room visits for facial injuries, not to mention she had killed a baby tooth and permanently marred an adult tooth years before it ever erupted. "Because, for once," I said to her, patting her back, "you actually protected your face."