Last night I was "helping" Joe-Henry with his piano lessons. I put it in quotation marks because it's only my perspective. From his perspective, it's more like torture. I make him go back and try things again when he doesn't get the timing right. My note reading abilities are rusty (lucky for him), but DAMN I'm good with a beat.
We were about ten minutes in when we got to the part where he had to write a four measure song, so I was going to help him by getting the notes down in the book. I asked him a question about what the first note was, and this is what he did:
He turned very slowly to look at me, sighed, and said in a very patronizing tone"Mom that's not it, why don't you just let me do my work?"
Then he sadly shook his head. AND ROLLED HIS EYES.
Being the grown up that I am, I took it well. I raised my voice a couple octaves and curtly squeaked out "fine. I have lots of other things I can be doing. you can just finish this by yourself." Then I quickly walked off IN A HUFF and got the laundry.
He came to find me slamming wet clothes in the dryer and apologized for hurting my feelings, and I hugged him tight and said it was okay.
But somewhere my parents are nodding and smiling at the sweet feeling of payback.
So you heard (and saw) all about our trip - the highlights. There were many, many highlights. But you haven't yet heard the tale of How Charley Strained His Back and Started Mooing Like An Angry Angry Cow. There is also a lot of grunting and hissing.
It started in Edinburgh, our first day. We'd had a lovely time in Glasgow, spending an extra day there because it was so much fun. But Charley had been helping Joe-Henry with his backpack, because he's a great dad. He was carrying his own backpack, and taking the weight off of JH's so we could hike the several blocks to our hotel in Glasgow. Oh, and of course there's attempting to sleep on an airplane in seats with no leg room. Anyway, in the middle of the night our first night in Edinburgh, Charley had a back spasm. He didn't sleep well, but we didn't know it (how I'm not sure - we were all three sleeping in the same bed due to a lack of rooms at our hotel). He managed to get some ibuprofen in him, and we took a long tour (12 hours) of the Central Highlands that day and he did okay. It seemed to be getting better.
But then we had to travel home. And here is where it got nasty. Our flight out of London was an hour late, and we had an hour and a half layover in Philly. So basically we had an eight hour flight, where limited leg room was even more limited by the people in front of us who put their seats back the entire way for the whole flight. I hated them by the end of the flight. I would rattle their seats a lot when I had to get up to go to the bathroom.
We landed in Philly, and we were the last people off the plane. We were met at the end of a long hallway by people at a table who were yelling "if you have connecting flights in less than an hour COME HERE". So we did. They had hotel vouchers and meal vouchers and new boarding passes for a flight in the morning. "if you DON'T make your flight, you can use these. " But we were determined to make that flight. Never mind that we had to go through customs and security. Never mind that the security guy who was dealing with Charley was a very mean, tiny man of Foreign descent who wanted nothing more than to piss Charley off by making him go through every pocket of his utilikilt (of which there are many) and made JH go through THREE times and take his shoes off (getting shoes off and on my boy is not one of the easiest things on the planet) before we could pass through. Never mind that our gate was the equivalent of a mile away. Charley picked up his backpack AND Joe-Henry's and we all three sprinted (it must have been hysterical to see). Joe-Henry had one shoe on and was carrying the other, running his heart out. We got to the gate and the gate agent told us they had just. closed. the doors.
Sweaty. Pissed. Out of breath. I was taking over at this point because Charley didn't have any words at his disposal that didn't blow your hair back. I was doing my best polite but firm Lutheran Sunday School Teacher (Missouri Synod!!) to talk to the gate agent, and later the customer service gentleman who looked a bit afraid that Charley might come unglued and begin to rip some of those airport seats right out of the ground.
There was nothing to be done except catch our breath and go to the hotel and get Joe-Henry one of the coolest Philly's Jerseys we could find. But as we were walking past our gate, I noticed that it still had the Portland flight listed. It was at least 20 minutes past when we had tried to board - what was the hold up? The gate agent motioned us over and said they were still on the ground and having an issue with one of the bathrooms, we might be able to board after all!
So we did. We weren't seated together at first. Then we were. So we joined the very crowded passenger list and buckled up and waited for the plane to take off.
And then we waited a few more minutes.
The captain then came over the intercom and told us that we would all have to get off the plane because the problem with the bathroom couldn't be fixed and they were going to try to get us a new plane. At that point we gave up. We made sure we could board the plane the next morning and went over to the Hilton where they generously put us up and fed us and were nice to us, and we talked baseball with the waitstaff and then slept for 5 hours like the dead.
We came home and were catching up on sleep, we all went back to work and school and then in the middle of the night a few nights ago, Charley woke up with back spasms again. He's been to the chiropractor and the doctor, and has about a three hour window with the drugs where he doesn't sound like a dinosaur giving birth. We're hoping he can truly recover this weekend. He's gone through most of his sick time. He's worried about missing work. Joe-Henry cries every time he sees his Daddy in so much pain.
But still, even with all of that, we are still basking in the glow of the trip (although he basks better on drugs). And it was so, so worth it.
The people are the warmest, friendliest, truest people. And when they talk, you feel instantly as though you are hearing the language sung rather than spoken. I felt at home at once. And I even liked Haggis.
Here is a big, fat, juicy slideshow of our trip. I'm not kidding - it takes a while to watch, so if you have the time, lovely, if not be warned.