Road trips are great. Homecomings are better.
La Familia Haggis has returned to HQ, and it feels good y'all.
What a trip! First of all, the thing we did last of all was attend GiGi's 90th Birthday party. Let me tell you a little bit about GiGi. GiGi rocks. GiGi was country when country wasn't cool. By which I mean that she took vitamins before they were invented, wore sunscreen when everyone else was coppertoning, never smoked even when everyone else did, owned businesses before the majority of women did so, and all around has been a woman before her time, every time. She loves her kids, her grandkids and her great-grandkids. She is a nudge in all the best ways. She knows from fun, she knows from good food, and she knows what you're up to even before you do. She's a one-of-a-kind lady. And damn if she doesn't look great to boot.
Happy Birthday, GiGi! Keep 'em comin'!
Before that we spent an awesome time in DC with family and friends...and our old dry cleaner. Let's call her Miss Lee. She was our neighborhood dry cleaner in DC. A lovely lady who had doted on Bambina from the day we brought her home. As you recall we left DC in a bit of rush, so we never got to stop in and say goodbye. I made sure to send her a holiday card (one of those obnoxious Here Are Photos Of My Kid cards. I don't apologize.) explaining that we had moved. She got the card but must not have totally understood what I wrote, because just a short while ago our good friends went in and their daughter saw Bambina's photo on the wall and said, "Hey, that's my friend!" Okay. For a year and a half, this poor lady has thought that she must have done something to make us not like her. Luckily, our friends filled her in and mentioned that we'd be in town, so after seeing my mom and sister and nieces, we HAD to see Miss Lee. She was so lovely to Bambina, and so sweet, so I just felt terrible that she'd thought we'd just dissed her. As you can imagine, Bambina has literally ZERO memory of sweet Miss Lee, being that she was 2 years old during their last encounter. So the reunion was more her trying to get to the playground across the street while Miss Lee tried in vain to hug her. So I did lots of Miss Lee hugging instead. Especially when she handed us two shirts and a tie that we'd forgotten in our drama to pick up...18 months ago.
While I visited Sister J (word!) one day (after it became clear that we could not put Bambina in the car for one more ride), BBDD and Bambina went to the National Zoo. Where they saw lots of animals. Tortoises in particular. One large tortoise on top of a smaller tortoise, to be specific. One large tortoise on top of a smaller tortoise, while moving back and forth, to be more specific. One large tortoise on top of a smaller tortoise, while moving back and forth, while making unholy grunting noises, to be mortifyingly specific. The BBDD tells the story better, being that he was there to explain that the larger tortoise was "keeping the smaller one warm," but you get my point at what my child unwittingly witnessed. Or, as the BBDD said, "I looked closer and hadn't realized that tortoises had those body parts. And certainly not so large."
We stayed with my Mum most of the time, but decided to do a couple of nights in a hotel just to give Bambina a real vacation time, like, woo hoo! Free continental breakfast! Oh dear god. This was a nice hotel, but I completely overestimated my ability, from a germophobic perspective, to sit on a toilet not my own. It was a completely fun time, but I would be lying if I said I didn't immediately launder everything that had touched anything in the hotel, as soon as we got back to my Mum's house. And you KNOW I didn't let even my shoes touch that comforter...
We stopped at a McDonalds on the drive home (go ahead and judge but my kid eats it and miraculously drinks milk as long as it's in that little bottle from McD's, so you can kiss my lilywhite!). Regardless, mad props to the BBDD, striking a blow for feminism everywhere. At the drive-thru when we ordered the Happy Meal, the lady asked, "Would you like a boy or a girl toy?" He and I looked at each other like, what? He asked, "What are the choices?" She replied, "Boy or Girl."
Him: "But what are the toys?"
Her: "Boy or girl toys."
Him: "Yes. But what are those toys? What are the choices of toys for boys or girls?"
Her: "Barbie for girls, Hot Wheels for boys."
Him: "We'll take the Hot Wheels."
Bambina has a Hot Wheels collection, a parking garage, and a bigfoot tire-shaped car caddy for all her vehicles. She, perhaps more than we, was irritated that they only offered cars to boys. I was so proud! Her final pronouncement: "That not nice!" We used the drive-thru situation to introduce the concept of "challenging the premise" (to not necessarily accept an either/or or a yes/no that someone else offers you), a lesson that will serve her well in life, but will absolutely ruin any chances of us maintaining any sort of discipline over the next decade...
So, we're home. I'd say, "Where the heart is," which is true. But little pieces of my heart are still in DC, Maryland and New Jersey. :)