Wednesday 29 July 2009. We may be driving to Canada tomorrow. Friends of ours relocated to Canada in June, and we threatened to go visit them at their summer home outside of Toronto. They called our bluff. Normally, a trip like this would have been well-planned months in advance. Instead, I was an idiot and left Asher’s passport renewal until it was too late. And even though I threw in handfuls of money to expedite the renewal application, I’m afraid I cut it too close. I have spent the day trying to find out what an American child with a British birth certificate needs to get back into the U.S.
3PM: Asher can travel with his British birth certificate and documentation that he was an American citizen born abroad. Actually he was born of two broads… I call our hosts to tell them the good news. While we’re on the phone, FedEx arrives with Asher’s passport. We’re definitely going to Canada tomorrow. EEK! Must do many loads of laundry, book a hotel for the pit stop in Niagara Falls, and make at least five lists to organize the packing. Boys clothes, D&G clothes (not Dolce & Gabbana sadly, Deborah & Gabriella), Items to have handy in the car, Electronics and their various cords and accessories, Admin/bills to pay before we go.
11:40PM final load of laundry dried bar one tank top that I absolutely must take with me or the entire trip is ruined, so I hang it in front of a fan until morning too precious to put in the dryer. Check weather forecast before going to sleep and discover that it’s supposed to be frickin’ cold in Toronto despite what our host told us. Surge of frantic energy leads to over-packing in case of arrival in frozen tundra.
Thursday 30 July. 4:30AM: Shower with my eyes glued shut. Pack dry tank top. Throw in yet another sweater for the anticipated summer snow storm.
6AM: We depart an hour later than planned but with everything we could possibly imagine loaded up in the mini-van. Today, I love the mini-van because it allows me to indulge in every fashion possibility. When we travel by air, I collect all the clothes and toiletries, and Gabriella packs. She is good at it. For this reason, I do not balk when she insists that I only bring 2 pairs of shoes-including the ones I’m wearing to travel-and regardless of the climate or occasion for which we are travelling. Cruel, isn’t she? What can I say? She’s the packing mistress, and what she does, she does so very well. But today, I am bringing THREE pairs of shoes including the ones I am wearing! I know, I’ve gone mad, and somebody should stop me.
We could have been those parents who packed arts & crafts and games and books and a myriad of other creative, mind-expanding activities for the boys. Instead, we packed every DVD we could find. Gabriella even downloaded television shows and audio books (a tip gleaned from Dana at Mombian) on to the video ipod so that Asher could watch/listen to his very own programming should Levi’s choices annoy him. She managed to find classic episodes of the Electric Company with Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman and a pre-pubescent Irene Cara.
Have you seen the new Electric Company? It’s unrecognizable to old folks like me, and its disregard for the original, ‘70s psychedelic format makes me grumpy.
The boys watch video after video. Levi could not be happier watching Cars for the 50th time and wrapping himself up in his blankets; Mimi and Blue.
Asher is initially excited by the prospect of his personal entertainment center but quickly becomes irritated by the fit of the headphones and opts for the communal video. It’s a little head thing. Headphones never fit properly. I know this to be true. I watch an episode of classic Electric Company, and I feel whole again. Serial DVDs, a couple of rest stops and the worst junk food imaginable, and we arrive in Niagara Falls at 12:30PM.
12:30PM: We are unable to check in until 3PM. We are exhausted and sweaty. 68 degrees, my ass! It’s hot!! Why are weather forecasts so very wrong? Cranky. Time to rally. We have no choice. Let’s go see Niagara Falls, family! And yes, we’re getting on a boat. Asher is not pleased at the prospect of abandoning terra firma for the raging seas. Gabriella is also less than thrilled. See entry explaining emotional scarring from her passage from Italy. Luckily, no one has the energy to veto what will certainly be a memory in the making. We board the Maid of the Mist and the view quickly becomes what I imagine utensils see from their basket throughout the heavy load cycle in the dishwasher. Luckily, we got a few good shots of the falls before we entered the eye of the tsunami.
We disembark. The boys are not sure of their mood after the carwash at sea. Nothing that a little ice cream followed by gaming & gambling won’t fix. Asher discovered “the game place” on The Midway during our short walk to the falls, and he couldn’t wait to get lost in the indoor city of flashing lights and useless prizes. He skipped around with his huge cup of tokens and begged to play every game. It was not a pretty sight when the last token was spent on the Shoot the Giant Spiders in the Safari Adventure.
Tired and over stimulated, we decide that dinner at the Rainforest Cafe would be a good idea. Someone should just call Child Services right now. We are clearly unfit to parent at this particular moment in time. Somehow, the boys manage to eat dinner while interrupted by the wild calls of the elephants and the bravado of the gorillas and the mock thunder storms. We, however, have had quite enough. Gabriella passed out at 8:45PM. Snoring. Don’t tell her that I told you that she occasionally snores…loudly. Deviated septum. Yeah, whatever. This Jew has heard that prognosis one too many times before all those girls got their noses done in high school for their 16th birthdays.
Tomorrow, before we head out to see our friends, we’re going to try to get married if paperwork and advanced planning doesn’t get in the way. We’d like to break a record for the most number of times a couple can commit to each other. Wedding in London, Domestic Partnership and Civil Union in New Jersey. It’s time to get married across the globe. Vamos a Espana por un otro matrimonio!