Month: October 2016

Drake Fire Blast

In an attempt to make me a safer driver, some man, who is probably a wizard, performed a kind of magic which caused my phone and my car to meld. I cannot explain how this works. What I know is that my phone should remain in my purse and at no time will I need to look at it while driving. Instead, I can speak to my car, and my desire will be done.

I always seem to remember important things while driving, so it was no surprise that I thought of a question I needed to ask Drake as I swerved in and out of traffic on the freeway. Remembering the instructions the wizard gave me, I pushed the button on my steering wheel that looks like a phone from the 1950’s and no phone in existence today, and said, “Call Drake.” The car, or my phone, I’ll never know which, responded by saying, “Calling Drake Fire Blast.” Drake Fire Blast did not answer the phone, which was good because I was so confused, and so excited, I could not have remembered my question.

Why did my car/phone think Drake’s last name was Fire Blast? Relying on the scientific method, I decided to repeat the experiment.

“Call Emery,” I said to the windshield after pushing the 50’s phone button.

“Calling Emery Glowing Star,” car/phone said.

I quickly hung up so Emery Glowing Star would not answer the phone while in school, and I mused over this change in my kid’s last names all the way home. I pulled my car into the garage and investigated. Then I remembered.

Once upon a long time ago, I got a smart phone. I punched in the phone numbers of my friends and family, but it all looked so boring compared to how I felt about these people. So, I carefully considered what to do, and decided to add an emoji after each name. I chose a few and erased them when they didn’t look right and chose different ones. Finally, I looked with satisfaction at the screen of my “favorites” and saw that the favorites-screen-shotpictures after the names looked right. It felt good.

So, my car/phone considers the emoji I selected seven years ago the last name.

“Call Makenna,” I said, excited to discover her last name.

“Calling Makenna Beating Heart,” I heard and quickly hung up.

“Call Josiah.”

“Calling Josiah Explosion.”

“Call Mike!”

“Calling Mike Hot Springs.”

Nailed it.

Italian Anniversary

“I found a restaurant on TripAdvisor that got amazing reviews and is walking distance from here,” Mike said as we pulled our nicest clothes out of our suitcase and began getting dressed for our anniversary dinner.

“I can’t believe we are in Italy for our 25th anniversary,” I said as I plugged my curling iron into the electrical converter in our hotel bathroom. “This seems like a dream.”

We stepped gingerly into the refrigerator sized elevator, and I fought off claustrophobia until we reached the bottom floor. The elevator door opened, and I breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed Mike’s hand as we began the romantic walk through the charming, seaside neighborhood. Our heads swiveled like the tourists we were as we took pictures of the castles hanging to the side of the cliff, go-cart sized cars, and narrow, cobbled alleyways that are older than our country.

“Um,” Mike said, hesitatingly, “I think this is the place,”

“No,” I said. “This is a concession stand or something.”

“I know, but I think it’s the place.”

“Check again.”

“Yes,” Mike said after consulting his phone, “this is the place.”

“Come,” said a man with a strong Italian accent. “Sit.” He moved some of the plastic chairs and made room for us directly next to the ocean. He handed us menus and we looked at them even though we couldn’t read a single word.

“We don’t really know if we are in the right place or what to order,” Mike told the waiter when he placed a jar of sparkling mineral water on the table.

“Yes, right place,” the waiter assured us. “My wife, she make all the pasta. You like very much.”

“Do you take Visa?” Mike asked looking in vain for any modern cash register or credit card machine.

“Visa? No,” the waiter shook his head. “But no problem. You pay tomorrow or next day.”

“We can’t read the menu,” I confessed. “Could you tell us what some of this says?”

“No worry. I bring,” he said over his shoulder as he walked away.

Ten minutes later he brought so much food to us that he produced a second table to hold it all. Skeptically, since I had no idea what we were about to eat, I took a few small bites. And then my mouth went on a flavor cruise that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

“I seriously didn’t know food could taste so good,” I told Mike as we sat at our two tables and watched the moon bounce from wave to wave.

We massacred some Italian words and mixed in a little charades as we tried to express our gratitude to the waiter and the cook on our way out of the concession stand.

“Do you want to walk along the water?” Mike asked.

“Yes, but first I want to lay down for about 10 minutes.”

“Is your stomach okay?”

“You know how it gets when I travel. I just need to lay down a bit and it will be better.”

After a short nap, I decided to trade my dress clothes for sweatpants and a t-shirt since I had been overdressed to eat at the best concession stand in the world.

“Is that a castle or a fortress,” Mike asked when I rejoined him.


“I don’t know,” I said looking where he pointed.

“Do you want to walk to it?”

“Yes, its stunning jutting out into the ocean like that,” I agreed. “Maybe its a museum.”

Castles look much closer than they really are, and by the time we arrived I was sweating and panting. We walked down a long flight of stairs, across a lighted walk way to the door. It was open and a steep flight of steps awaited us immediately inside the doorway. I took half a second to congratulate myself and my stomach for making it up the endless steps before a man said something very Italian and ushered me to a table. The panting and the magnificent view distracted me, so it took longer than it should have for my brain to realize that we were not at a museum but a restaurant. The fanciest restaurant I have ever been to.

“What should we do?” Mike frantically whispered to me.

“Sorbet!” a tuxedo-clad waiter announced and placed a picture worthy plate in front of each of us.

“One thing is for sure,” I answered. “We eat this.” What the waiter nonchalantly called sorbet, I call happiness in my mouth. So we sat in the open air on the top of a castle perched above the ocean and ordered the most amazing dessert on this planet. It was glorious. It was spectacular. It felt like a dream.

“One thing should be noted,” I said to Mike as we took one last look around us. “I dressed up for the concession stand and wore sweatpants to the castle.”

“Seems about right,” he nodded.

That is what 25 years will do to a couple.




Travel Trauma

“Aren’t you insanely tired?” Mike asked me as we ate lunch the day after we returned to Nebraska from Italy.looking-at-mike-in-italy

“No. Not at all,” I answered. “I don’t even think I have jet lag.”

By 4 PM I couldn’t talk in full sentences or walk in straight lines. I was dropping things, confusing people, and laughing when nothing was funny.

“I’m a mess,” I said. “I’m going to take a nap.”

“Okay,” Mike said. “I have to leave, but set the alarm on your phone so you don’t end up sleeping too long.”

“I will,” I told him as I walked into my bedroom and looked longingly at my bed. I spent half a nanosecond searching for my phone, but I couldn’t find it.

“Oh well,” I thought to myself. “I will set an alarm in my mind.”

Jet lag is real.

Mind alarms are not.