Thursday, July 22, 2010

Phone For Sale. Cheap.

GirlChild managed to shock herself in the head with the charging-end of the cordless phone today.   (It makes me laugh to write that.)  She cried and complained of tingling in her head that sort of came and went and we struggled with lamest-trip-to-the-ER vs. girl-has-seizures-for-life-because-we-did-nothing.

It was a tough call because GirlChild's appearance was homeless looking and you don't want to walk in with an obviously neglected child that got 120 volts to the head.  (I made up the volt number.  I don't know anything about electricity as shown by a previous post regarding batteries in canoes filled with water.)  We had experimented with purple hair dye last week and it's fading in places.  Her hair was also kinda dry and Bride-of-Frankenstein looking, but I'm not sure if that was from the phone or just because she hadn't brushed it.  Outfit:  high-energy orange t-shirt with sky blue capris.  Barefoot.  'Cause that's how we roll to the ER.

BabyCakes took her in regardless of appearance and told me the aftershocks wore off by the time they got to the end of the driveway.  Turned out to be THE lamest trip ever because they didn't even write anything on the dismissal papers.  Was sort of expecting, "keep away from hair dryers and bathtubs" or "replace phone."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Iceland H2O : Part 3

Prior to our trip, I checked out after reading about an old bloggy friend's experience with it.  I found a family that was willing to take in another family and we corresponded for a bit.  While she lives in Iceland with her Icelandic husband and her very Nordic children, Ko-leen is from Canada and completely snarky about lame Facebook updates which means I love her.  

AND...our two oldest kids could have been separated at birth.  Behold BoyChild and Kasper!  Identical hair, identical hand holds on the Nintendo DS, identical gravitational pull to the television.  The only real difference is that Kasper can speak Icelandic AND English which means we'll always be the lame Americans trying to pronouce 'Eyjafjallaj√∂kull'.

We didn't bunk down with them, but we met up a couple of times, the second time at WaterWorld in Keflavik so the kids could swim.  Iceland being what it is with all sorts of hot water underground is not wanting for heated swimming pools.  We swam every evening at a new pool and loved every minute of it.  But before swimming in all that awesomeness you have to bathe NAKED and clean yourself before going in.  And they mean it.   I stole this sign off the internet because I feared the wrath of 20 naked Icelanders if I were to have taken my camera into the locker room.  They inform you EXACTLY where they want to you wash before getting your funky body into their pool. 

The first time was intimidating until I saw some ladies that were fatter and saggier than I was.  After that, GirlChild and I embraced our nudity, soaped up (being sure to hit all the key points denoted in hot pink).  GirlChild didn't really need to embrace anything because she's already sorta comfortable with being naked.  Now while I was fine with the whole naked-in-front-of-Icelanders-that-I'll-never-see-again, Ko-leen and I had to work out a schedule so we didn't appear in the showers at the same time because we'd have to look each other in the eye for cake and coffee afterwards. 

The most eye-catching batch of hot water comes from a geo-thermal power plant and is known as the Blue Lagoon.  BoyChild's jaunt into the waters was pretty short.  He couldn't take the squishy bottom on his toes, but GirlChild took full advantage of its benefits by rubbing the mud all over to maintain her youthful 7-year-old appearance.

(Attn:  Iceland Shower Police - I never washed my feet...mwahahahha.....)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Icelandic Wild Life: Part 2

(It's getting too hard to fix the pic locations so forgive the messed up look of all this.)

We only met about five other groups of Americans on our trip. Iceland logs a lot more Europeans all of whom are packing mega cameras with foot-long zoom lenses. Regardless of the language barrier, BoyChild and GirlChild wormed their way into a soccer/football match to show off their skillz....*snort*....ok, well, the German family was REALLY nice and tolerant. Here they are having fun at about 10:30 pm. 24 hours of daylight is pretty damned cool, unless you're trying to sleep.


Sadly, Alice didn't bring a watch on the trip. A typical night's sleep with the sun streaming around the blackout curtains went like this:

Alice: What time is it?
Babycakes: Huh? Urgh....2:12.
Alice: Babycakes...what time is it?
Babycakes: *snore* Hunh? 4:25.
Alice: Wake up...what time is it?
Babycakes: Gnnnahhh...huh...5:05.
Alice: Oh.

We had a goal to get north of the Arctic Circle and had to fly a little 8-seater plane to get to the greater metropolitan area/island of Grimsey. It was hard to find our way through the maze-like concourses of their airport, but after stepping around the chainlink fence we made it to our tour guide, Katla.

We chose the driving option around the island since the wind could best be described as hurricane. And so Katla drove us around the tiny island pointing out the puffins, kittiwakes and terns and letting us tourist pose by the pole marking out the Arctic Circle.

The island is so tiny that Katla had a few problems turning us around on the single lane 'road' and Babycakes had to put his shoulder into freeing us from a depression. Go Babycakes! But don't push so hard that we back up over that cliff and become puffin fodder. And so we left Grimsey, saying goodbye to the 64 people who call it home and took off in our tiny plane taking out a few arctic terns with our propellor on take off. Whoops.


GirlChild: What was that?
Alice: Natural selection.

We headed south to visit the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon soon after. Who wants to be lounging by pool while sipping Mojitos when you could be decked out like a sherpa? How do you like that hat? You better like that hat. I paid enough for it.

The lagoon was pretty spectacular, even with the crazy wind having blown all the icebergs to one side. That iceberg was so blue it looked fake.

At one point, our guide Helga (her real name) who was decked out in a way that surpassed any lame high schooler trying to North Face their way to popularity, stood holding a chunk of 1000 year old ice in her bare hands for a good 10 minutes. I don't think I heard a word she said as I pondered how long I could hold a chunk of ice in frigid weather without dropping it which I would estimate to be 30 seconds. I'd be no good as a Jokulsarlon tour guide.

Part 3 to follow...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Snyrting in Iceland: Part 1

Alice, Babycakes, BoyChild and GirlChild have returned from the far north to report on "How We Spent Our Summer Vacation." Now, you can Google all the pictures of Iceland you want and see what we saw, but I'm here to share the stuff you don't see in National Geo.

Iceland suits those who are "rolling in dough" or folks like us who have saved every last cent by foregoing things like food and car payments. To spread the cash over twelve days, a lot of our dinners consisted of ham and cheese sandwiches and delicious little pastries called Kleifur. (The name of this pastry could be completely wrong since Alice's grasp of the Icelandic language was limited to Haagen Dasz and fake IKEA product names.) Needless to say, we all had some signifcant changes in our bowel movements which we didn't hesitate to discuss.

BoyChild: My poops are smaller.
Alice: I can't poop at all.
BabyCakes: I think my diarrhea has stopped.

And then we'd look for the nearest SNYRTING sign. Which made me laugh. Every time.

Every toilet had two mystical buttons to choose from. No two toilets were the same and I couldn't figure out if one button was for pee and one was for poo because when I flushed each they seemed the same and I was confused and I spent WAY too much time pondering this. GirlChild tried to set me straight about the buttons but I'm pretty sure she just made something up to get me away from the snyrting. Or is 'snyrting' a verb? Now I'm confused again. Haagen Dasz.

We rented a car and headed north from Reykjavik only to spot the ever elusive Giant Coca-Cola grazing in a field. I braked hard and swerved to avoid a collision with...nothing...there was nothing on the road. Not even a sheep. Maybe some rocks. There were lots of those in Iceland.

We didn't stop until we reached this little gem hidden in a town called Husavik. WOW. I think the phrase that comes to mind is "sandpaper my corneas." And if my kids don't know how baby whales get made by now, then they weren't looking at the big pointy thing sticking out from the wall and knocking my camera bag off my shoulder.
GirlChild took a few too many photos in there which I had to delete off her camera before Grandma learned that mice had penis bones. And before Grandma learned that GirlChild learned that mice had penis bones.
I'll leave you with BoyChild and Babycakes looking proud and manly next to some weiner rocks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day Billion and 3

I was about to hunker down in the WC for what I thought might be an extended period of time, when I realized I'd already exhausted the reading material on the side of the Lightdays box. I quickly fished around the bathroom until I found a book on the history of the Civil War nestled under some Q-Tips. I pondered, "WTF is that doing in here are where is my copy of Star with Brad Pitt on the front?"

I sighed heavily and resigned myself to the Civil War, written for 5th graders it seems.

Teaching math all day, I don't dabble into history books all that much, but I've always enjoyed it as long as I won't be tested on the material. The book proved interesting enough for me to continue reading it outside of the loo. And then it started to irritate me with passages like this:

Book: "As the South becomes desperate, Southern soldiers fight harder than ever. Do you remember when Cortes faced Montezuma in Mexico City?"

Alice: Ummm...sorta...

Book: "Do you remember that the Aztec leader would not surrender?"

Alice: No.

Book: "Do you remember what happened?"

Alice: No


Alice: WTF happened in Mexico City? Don't leave me hanging stupid book!
So now I have to Google stuff and find out my Civil War book is even lamer than I first thought because Cortes did NOT face Montezuma in Mexico City, because it wasn't even called Mexico City then. I'd leave you hanging like the book, but I'm not that cruel. It was called Tenochtitlan.
I had to Google Patrick Swayze after that because it's nearly impossible to read about the Civil War without thinking how Orry Main was pretty hot for a Civil War dude.
**Favorite Quote** (re: Grant, the Original Survivor)
"He was the kind of general who didn't worry much about military theories. He just outkilled and outlasted his enemy."