Friday, September 30, 2011

Airplane ride..

So what do ya do when you are stuck on a plane, in a tiny little seat for 12 hours? Of course! You take pictures of your monkey in compromising positions…

First the little simian drinks all of the vodka...

Then the cheeky little dude swipes my headphones! You just can NOT trust a monkey on an overseas flight!

For the better part of 3 hours we played word games. We ate. We drank. We watched movies. We watched TV shows. We made fun of our neighbors. We took pictures.
(I like to take that zit on my chin with me on all of my trips.)

Then we tried to sleep. We all put on our movie star sleep masks and closed our eyes while sitting straight up. I dozed off for a while and when I woke up I discovered that we were draped all over each other like a basket full of sleeping kittens. I wanted to move but I feared that if I were to even try to get up I would decimate this delicate human Jenga game. So I sat there letting my legs go numb trying to be nice and accommodate the rest of the gang. Then Bek woke up and flung everyone off of her and the rest of us all but flew out of our seats.

After sitting for over 12 hours we were very happy to get off of that plane. I couldn’t wait for Katie to see the London style taxi cabs so we all but ran through Heathrow Airport. Just before we got to the door we saw an ice cream machine. Bek stopped to see if the machine had Nobbily Bobbily ice creams and Tori noticed that when Bek got close to the machine animated head gear appeared on the front of the machine and sync-ed up to our heads. I am embarrassed to admit that we spent the next hour playing in front of the ice cream machine.


The weather outside was a slightly rainy, a bit chilly...a perfect autumn afternoon in London. We had to wait for a taxi that was big enough to fit all four of us and all of our luggage. In mere moments the charm of the chilly afternoon had worn off and it felt very good to get into a warm cab. Sadly we wound up riding in a van because the regulation taxis were not big enough to accommodate 4 of us and all of our luggage.

As usual the ride to downtown London was just like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. I will never get used to riding on the wrong side of the road. Every twist and turn in the road is exactly the opposite of what we are accustomed to so I would bob and weave one way and the car would go the other way. How I didn't crack my head on the side window is beyond me.

This year we were staying at The Dolphin House which was right on the Thames.(I'm sad to report that there was nothing "dolphin-y" about the place.) The woman who checked us in was a typical polite Londoner but I couldn't help but feel like we were the first party she'd ever assisted. It took us over an hour to get checked in! I was anxious to get our luggage up to our room and then set out to show Katie the sites of London.

Stay tuned for the next chapter... :)

P.S. I have no idea why Tori isn't in any of these pictures.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Europe Trip 2010

This trip across the pond was going to be different from any of my previous trips because this time my niece Katie was going with us. Katie is actually Tori’s husband’s brother’s daughter, but I have always referred to her as my niece. (Hi Katie!)

Before our trip was even set in stone Katie was perusing travel websites, (SOO unlike her Aunties!), trying to make sure that she was as prepared as possible for such a big trip. Most of the sites suggest the usual things such as electrical plug converters, the best places to exchange your money, special sightseeing attractions and the like but there was one site that had an odd suggestion that turned in to a very funny competition between the 4 of us. They suggested that travelers bring along condoms and use them as coin purses! (They were completely serious. Can you imagine buying a souvenir and whipping out a condom full of change!) They went on to say that condoms had a million and one practical uses for travelers but they didn’t go in to detail…so we made up our own lists. In the weeks before we left on our trip we must have texted each other 50 times apiece. And I could tell that this was something that was heavy on all of our minds because some of the texts would arrive at 3:00 in the morning. So…other than the obvious use for a condom…some of the uses that we came up with were: wind sock, emergency shoe lace, scrunchie, windshield wiper cozy, toothbrush holder, shoe liners to keep your feet dry in the event of wet weather~(Katie actually tested that one out!), balloon animals, stuffed animal shower caps, room décor, water balloon, pencil holder, soap carrier, luggage tag, finger gloves, ear rings, and on and on... (sorry if I offended any of my readers...I thought long and hard about including this part of the story and I just decided to go for it because at the time we thought it was so funny.(

To make this trip extra fun Katie and I decided that it would be fun if we all got each other gift bags to be opened when we got on the plane. The night before the trip we were all at Tori’s house packing and repacking and doing whatever we could to make our luggage lighter. (Our last trip to London resulted in a $70.00 charge because Bek’s suitcase was too heavy. Oddly, the charge was only given on the way to London…and not on the way back. Go figure.) We wound up exchanging our gift bags in the middle of the suitcase mess. Katie got everyone a decorated canvas bag and inside was lots of candy, a stuffed monkey, (I named my monkey Skeeter!), glitter pens, and condoms of various sizes and colors! Tori also got us canvas bags and inside was an airplane neck pillow, satin sleep mask and a cotton gauze scarf and a fleece blanket. She got me a custom made journal that had a picture of the 3 of us on it and it said, “Two Pendell’s and A Wyatt”. Bek got everyone cute pajama bottoms. This gift exchange was awesome and we will do it again the next time we travel.

On the way to the airport we all got our “dork packs” prepared. (For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog since our first trip to Europe..a “dork pack” is a document holder that hangs on a string around your neck. This handy dandy item looks sooooo dorky but it saves you from having to look for your passport, drivers license, plane ticket, etc.)They seriously make the trek through the airport much easier and I highly recommend them. It wasn’t until we got inside the airport that I realized that a cat had peed on my dork pack. (Welcome to my life.) So I threw my beloved pink dork pack away and bought a new one that cost me about 3 times what the pink one cost. There is no such thing as bargain shopping at LAX.

It is tradition between Tori and I to have a drink before we get on the plane. It calms us down yet makes us giddy and we love it when we are giddy. The problem with our plan to find a drink was that Bek wasn't 21 so she couldn't go in to a bar with us. Katie and Bek just went and sat by our departure gate and Tori and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find a bar with an open seat. We wound up at a bar inside of the Chili's restaurant. We ordered 2 dirty martinis...and it was a good thing we had alcohol in our system when we were handed our bill...$30.00!!!! Whatcha gonna do? (We learned a lesson for sure!)

This was our first trip to Europe sitting in Coach. Let me tell you…there’s nothing like riding in coach to remind you just how spectacular it is to be in Business class. We were in the very back of the plane but we got to get on first because I was still hobbling around from car accident related boo boos. We were lucky enough to get 4 seats in one row. We didn’t purchase our tickets at the same time and we were afraid that we would be sitting in different sections of the plane. The plane wasn’t even fully loaded when Rebekah says very loudly….”WHO DO I HAVE TO GIVE A LAP DANCE SO I CAN GET A SEAT IN BUSINESS?”

Thankfully there were no takers to the offer and before we knew it we were up in the air...

(Stay tuned for the next installment with pictures!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The last of the Mitsubishi accident story

Immediately after they towed my car away Tori took me straight to a 7-11 and bought me a diet Coke. I don’t know if it was because I had just watched my life pass before my eyes or what but this simple act of sisterly kindness just about moved me to tears. Everyone who knows me well knows that a Diet Coke can fix just about anything. I didn’t really want to spend the night alone so she took me to her house where I had a very fitful night of sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I relived the accident over and over. I would just finally get to sleep and I would gasp myself awake. When the morning came and I finally got out of bed I was astonished as to how sore I was. I knew I was going to be sore but I never dreamed that it would be as bad as it was. Even my corneas hurt. I hobbled out of the bedroom and made my way into the dining room. I took about 2 steps into the dining room and the next thing I knew I was doing the Fred Flintstone shuffle in midair. One of the kids had spilled water on the linoleum floor and just left it there and I slipped in it. Just as the car accident had seemed..this slip happened in slow motion. I saw myself being perpendicular to the ground and I knew it was really going to hurt when I landed. As I was on my way to the ground I reached out and tried to grab anything to break my fall and I connected with a baker’s rack that was fully loaded with dishes and large bottles of alcohol. Sadly the bakers rack didn’t break my fall but it did cause me to all but pull my arm out of the socket. Tori raced in and tried to help me up. She reached down to me and instead of her pulling me up I managed to pull her down on top of me. So there we both were..laying on the floor in a puddle of water. I took a quick assessment of my injuries and was pretty sure none of my bones were broken and then we sat there and laughed.
A few days after the accident the tow yard called me to let me know that I was racking up storage charges so I wound up signing my car over to them so that I wouldn’t continue to accrue charges. I was planning to give my car away once I got a new one but I can assure you I had no intentions of giving it away when I was still using it nor was I going to give it to a total stranger.
I continued to relive the accident 100’s of times a day. I can only imagine that this is the way the brain works through the details that I didn’t notice when the accident actually happened. During one of these episodes I finally had an epiphany. I couldn’t stop wondering what caused me to hit the other car…and then it dawned on me~~I was expecting her to move…and why was I expecting her to move??? Because the light was green. I have no idea why she was just sitting there or why it took me so long to realize that she wasn’t moving but I’m certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that the light was green. Sadly this realization came to me after the police report was written up and the accident was deemed 100% my fault. Mazeltov.

Onward and upward…I had a trip to Europe to plan…..