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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

I Need My Peeps, Argues One Get-Up-and-Go Blogger

BH_VirtualCon_Hero_2_0Hello, my name is Alexandra, and I am an overdependent doo-doo head.  Some of my blogs are about how I can’t live with my family, and this is one about how I can’t live without them.  Yes, they often bug and irritate me, but, I need my peeps.

My family, particularly my husband and oldest son, pamper me.  They pump my gas.  They set up apps for me.  They generally won’t let me do too much on my own, I believe out of their evident concern that I may take over the world, yes, even half a world away.What-To-Pack-For-A-Blog-Conference-Like-BlogHer-Blissdom-TypeA

Recently, there was no little controversy with articles written by the Wall Street Journal and BlogHer principals.  Women, argued WSJ, particularly female bloggers, had far too much fun at their annual conventions.

Wow, I’m not at all of the mindset that, if men “do it”, women should, too.  Whatever “it” is.  Like have fun while away from their families, depending on what, exactly, is their dereliction of duties, and what, exactly, is their fun.

I mean, get a life.

Perhaps I should say for the record that I have never attended a blogging convention.  I mean, what would I say about this well-honed niche that I’ve branded?  “Hi, how are you?  Me?  I write about inane and important subjects bloggersranging from terrorism, to bad hair days, to archaeology, to our cute-as-all-get-out-Scotties, to spirituality, to adoption, to high-school sports, to raccoons living in our attic….”

Bloggers are not bored people, primarily women, with nothing better to do than stay home and write about what they had for breakfast.

Well, maybe a number are.  I might not move in the right circles, because I am not some high-tech geekette chained to my computer at home, children wailing around me.MidEast

At least the first part is correct.

Yes, I’m back in the Middle East, and I actually spread my business trips very, very thin, just like the nonexistent butter on my bread.  Used to be a time when I’d get-up-and-go every couple of months if not more frequently, and the rest of the time my husband and I would be here, there, and everywhere, 71213-421x279-Car_keys_with_carstwo dynamic air warriors flying about four times a week.

So here I am, feeling sorry for myself, during what has been, so far, quite a miraculous trip, country-hopping.  I have not died, self-destructed, nor lost important things, despite opportunities to the contrary.  I have learned to Skype using different electronics from my last time.  I found free parking relatively nearby (these things are very, very relative in foreign settings) to where I am staying.  However, prior to that:

My carry-on suitcase broke.  No, not one of the new ones I wrote about, but an older one which I felt was lighter.  And I’m tellin’ ya, if the handle and wheels totally fall off, it will be very light indeed….41uoJ7VXVHL._SX190_CR0,0,190,246_

Then the rental car company said my debit card was no good to use to rent.

“Um, we checked and rechecked with your company before I left the U.S.” I informed them.  “You can use a debit card as a credit card.”

“That’s in the U.S., you called our company in the U.S.,” they said.

“Yesss, asking about how your company works in THIS location.”

“But they don’t know.”

“Then you shouldn’t use the same company name.  Who else would I call?”

imagesAs one of the highest “grades” of customers, I should have walked out the airport door, seen my name flashing in lights, gotten into the car, and driven.

Not here.

Eventually, they called their company, and my bank issuing the debit card, and probably local heads of state, and learned that all was indeed well, but not before I walked back and forth, terminal to parking garage, and back to inside-terminal office, and back to outside parking garage, and back to terminal, more times than I care to think about.  And tried to call Benedetto, who was obviously-oblivious and sound asleep, and for once in his life, did not have his mobile glued to his hand.

“Aliright, listen, there were not announcements in the newspaper, heralding my arrival?” I finally joked, imagining epcp_0801_01_z+smart_fortwo+side_viewthat there were hidden cameras, when they let the bomb drop, telling me now that my “class” of car was not yet onsite, but would need to be brought from a distance 20-30 minutes away.

No.  No.  No.

“You knew I was coming, I have a reservation in the computer, we’ve been through all of this nonsense, and now I have to sit and wait for a car?”

I did not regal them with how long it had been since I had bathed or slept.  I was sleep-deprived, food-deprived, and shower-deprived, and needed to be on my way.

2014-Volkswagen-GolfThey offered me a bigger car, an automatic, at a much-higher price.  Not to mention the larger size not being good for close-quarters parking, and the amount of gas it would guzzle in a foreign setting where one teaspoon of fuel cost about $500 a sip.

“How about we downgrade, and I get a reduction?  Will it hold my big suitcase, and does it have air conditioning?”

“Sure, sure,” they agreed, knowing little about what they were talking about, but we did somehow squeeze that imagessucker into the “trunk”, although now I couldn’t see through the postage-sized back window which was obscured.

Which led to me exiting the terminal yet again, my little suitcase now somehow falling off of my cart piled high, me not noticing it, and then noticing it and semi-screaming like a wild woman, ‘WHERE IS MY LITTLE SUITCASE?” and having to run, yet again, to the terminal, only to discover the bag sitting by its lonesome near a moving sidewalk.

Absolutely and utterly miraculous. This held my laptop, various cameras, etc., the big ticket items that had to be KEPT WITH ME.

Which if I had my peeps, yes, even the most obnoxious ones at times, they still would probably say, “Mama, have you not noticed that your big nose has just fallen off of your face?” and run to retrieve it for me.  That’s what family does.

imagesI then drove around and around the indoor-garage lot of all rental car companies, spying different “Exit” signs, not realizing that only one was for-real.  Kind of like their elevators and signs from the terminals, stating that all rentals were on “C”, but then inside the elevator it said rental cars on “Level I”.  Or vice-versa.  Too tired to remember.

After waving to the garage guys several times, in other tongues, “Hello, me again,” I hit the highway.  That’s when the sounds started.  It sounded as though the front hood of the little lime car was going to fly straight up.  Such a rumbling and bumbling as I’ve never heard before.

I realized that I didn’t know how to open the hood of the car beyond probably pressing or squeezing something in8161585228_a2dd71c85a_z the front, but I wouldn’t really feel safe attempting that on the side of a fast-moving highway in a foreign country, even if I did know how.  I scanned the horizon for helpful-looking police, but it was not to be.  The sound eventually settled down somewhat (these things like sounds are also relative) and I kept moving forward.

Found my apartment on a one-way street where there were also no visible street numbers, at least from the street.  Discovered my landlord walking out to the local trash bin and she, dear soul that she was, helped me to open the car hood, buy a parking ticket from an automatic kiosk that wouldn’t accept my perfectly-acceptable cash coins, carry the bags up multitudinous stone steps (she had her peep, a guy cleaning the apartment, do it for us), and tried out Skype with me, both on my phone and on my computer.

euro-plugI then hiked to an appliance store and bought a small, foreign hairdryer, although she had one, I figured it was time to buy my girls one of their own for any trips abroad.  It was also part of my investigations into whether I looked suspicious, or whether nobody here wanted any of my money.  I bought one at an inflated price, but good enough for a land where most people drip-dry and don’t really need hairdryers, hence their high import tariff. 

Later in the afternoon, locating the free parking with the landlord’s help, up and down one winding street after another on one-way streets in a neighborhood with which I am not familiar, that will be my lime-mobile’s resting place for a day or two until I need to drive significant distances, I walked again up and down hilly terrain in the hot sun to the grocery store.  Wanting to buy a six-pack of small water bottles, I opted for two plastic bottles, which I could refill and refrigerate myself, along with an 8-pack of no-fat yogurt, and some crusty bread rolls, cans of veggies, a bag of baby carrots, and a box of no-fat milk.  I lugged it over and hill and dale myself, my arm breaking, when I really needed peeps. 

Then I went out to eat a quick bite, now that I had food at home(!), and decided to Skype my peeps after I took a d9189d3621ba8a27d66670118d59e898much-needed shower.  I gave them a tour of my apartment.  They all looked well-scrubbed and happy, children, dogs, and all.  Apparently, my absence does good things for them.

I miss my peeps, for reasons both good and devious.  They said that the dogs have been moping around and while they wouldn’t be of much self-serving service to moi, I miss them, too.

So much for wild women on business travel.

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