Sunday, June 13, 2010


Statue on a timeout at the wedding reception.

“He is truly wise who gains wisdom from another’s mishap.”

- Publilius Syrus

Not everything in Ireland and Paris went smoothly. I remembered to pack everything, no luggage lost, the weather cooperated, and my children behaved better than I’d hoped, especially since we walked constantly everyday and stayed up late every night. That said; there were a few mishaps.

Our seats weren't together for our flight from Boston to Dublin. My daughter and I took the two seats together in one row, while my husband and son were going to sit apart in the next row. A raucous crew of friends was visiting Dublin for a golf trip. They shifted so my husband and son could sit together. The drinking buddies kept it up during the flight.

At some point, the man next to my son and my son fell asleep. They wound up leaning on one another. Near the end of the flight, the man awoke and kissed my son on the top of my head. Realizing it wasn’t his own child; he made a sheepish smile to my surprised kid.

My daughter brought a few items to play with, while my son only brought his Nintendo. She packed Kelly Dolls and Playmobil people. My son and daughter saved up more than twenty dollars before the trip, so they could buy souvenirs, and my daughter also planned to buy more toys. We found a toy store in Dublin. My son bought a couple Lego Mini figures that came in a wrapper so the contents were unknown. I dubbed these “Russian Roulette Legos”. My daughter bought two Playmobil sets.

A couple of days later, we went to the post-wedding brunch. My daughter and a girl her age happily played with the Playmobil figures in the living room. At some point, one of the horses became wedged behind the radiator. The playmate kept saying, “She lost it and now she can’t get a new one.” (I guess that’s the rule at her house.) After several people attempted to retrieve the toy, my husband was finally able to save it by using a bamboo stick.

That night we ate dinner at a pub. When we returned to the hotel, we realized my daughter’s toy bag was missing. (And yes, the same bag holding the horse we spent 30-minutes trying to fish out of the radiator.) I called the restaurant, but they couldn’t find it. Thank goodness my daughter’s Nintendo wasn’t in the bag.

The next day, while I met the Irish bloggers, my husband returned to the restaurant, but couldn’t find the bag. He took my daughter to the toy store to buy new figures, with the understanding that whatever she spent would come out of future allowance. I bit complained when I saw the majority of her purchases were Lego sets. More pieces to lose!

That night, we took a taxi to Dublin Airport. As soon as we checked in, I noticed we were near a MAC counter that had a limited-edition blush I’d coveted, which would be duty-free! My husband took the kids so I’d have a few minutes to shop. The salesperson asked for my boarding pass to buy it, so I spent several minutes looking for my husband, who had the boarding passes. When he finally came back, I got the boarding pass, and he told me to meet them at the gate. I was only going to take a minute to pay, but I assumed he was annoyed (even though it wasn’t my fault) so I let them go without me.

When I looked at the boarding pass, the number of the gate was hard to read because part of it printed in the perforation. (Did I mention when I’m under stress I make all the wrong choices?) I found a list of flights. The flight number didn’t match, but I saw a gate and made my way over. I got there, but it was empty. I walked back up the stairs and looked again. I tried asking a few people, but nobody viewing the screen spoke English. (Where were all the employees right when I needed them?) I went back down, but it was still empty. What time was it? I began to panic. After running back upstairs, I found someone who said I was probably in the wrong place, and he told me to head down another hall.

I RAN. I checked that screen and found the correct flight. Then I headed towards the gate. Soon it became apparent it was a L O N G C O R R I D O R. Did I mention I hate running? I had no choice because it was late. By the time I arrived, most of the plane had boarded. When I reached them, I began tearing up. My poor son, who gets nervous about being late or in the wrong place, was full of anxiety. Soon, I was blubbering. So embarrassing.

When we landed, it was LATE. We took the train into Paris, getting off at the Les Halles stop. My husband (who says I’m embellishing and denies this was his idea. He’s in denial.) suggested we walk so the kids could see a little of Paris. Foreshadow. The long escalator was broken and reeked of urine, so we hefted our bags up many steps while trying to hold our breath. When we got outside, it had rained and was misty. It was after 10:00 pm, we were all tired trying to read signs and coordinate it with a map. One by one, we had a meltdown.

Schlepping our bags down the Rue de Rivoli seemed to take forever. By the time we reached the hotel, it was nearly 11:00 pm.

Speaking of urine, we decided to take a leisurely stroll by the Seine River, which had been so romantic the last time my husband and I strolled. Apparently, we chose the stretch where people sleep overnight and use the area to take care of certain needs. All needs, apparently. We ran back up the next set of steps. My daughter and husband mimicked the idea of the Fancy Nancy books, saying, "The fancy word for poop is feces."

My sister requested a specific Le Roche Posay sunscreen they don’t sell in The States. I almost bought it in Dublin but worried the longer I had it, the more likely something would happen to the bottle. Why I worried, I have no idea. French company, I’ll buy it in Paris. Small problem, all the bottles in Paris were in three languages, none of them English. I found an employee who spoke a little English and said; yes this particular bottle was the one for oily skin. I had to take her word for it.

Me in Paris, before make up and coffee.

Our return flight to Boston had a five-hour layover in Montreal. We sat at our gate an hour before boarding. It was about 1 am Paris time at that point. Everyone crashed. My husband fell asleep while children quietly read and lounged:

About thirty-minutes before boarding, I gazed down at my daughter propped against my arm, and realized she’d fallen asleep. When it was time to board, my husband carried my napping daughter. I belted her in. We flew. She slept. We landed. She lost a shoe as my husband carried her off the plane, but the flight attendant retrieved it. My daughter woke up at the baggage area unaware we’d been on a plane.

We called our friend, who was kind enough to drive to the airport and take us home. Thanks, Corey!


  1. I enjoyed hearing about our trip so much! And at least it was your son the man kissed on top of the head and not your husband!

    P.S. You look lovely in Paris!!!

  2. As exciting and beautiful as the journey is, oh there's no place like home, is there?

  3. it sounds like a wonderful trip. A few things go wrong with every family vacation. It sounds like a wonderful trip though! I'm so glad you didn't miss your flight. :)

  4. I'm glad you can laugh at them this quickly. Some of those mishaps would have been causing resentment for weeks in my family :)

    I've done that far too often with plastic toys though. I won't admit to how old I was the last time...!

  5. Things always go wrong on vacations! But my worst fear is being late for the gate and missing the plane! Phew! Thank goodness you made it in time. I'd be a blubbering mess as well if that happened to me.

    I guess it's all a part of the wonderful experience of traveling!

  6. @ Bossy Betty, if the man had kissed my husband that would have been a sight. Thanks for the compliment.

    @ Joanne, it is nice to be home, but I could've used a few more days in Paris.

    @ Lani, my husband said if I'd take much longer, he would've had them page me.

    @ Hampshireflyer, I'd rather laugh than resent or it would be too much like my childhood.

  7. It may not have been a perfect vacation, but it's something to laugh about! And now I really want to play with Legos again... it's been many years, but I used to love my Lego skatepark.

  8. I don't think it's possible to have a vacation without a few mishaps (or meltdowns). But no matter how well they go, there's nothing like getting back home :)

  9. @ Aubrie, it's good to know I'm not alone in blubbering when the occasion calls for it!

    @ Amanda, one of my son's Russian Roulette Legos wound up being a skateboarder. Come to my house - we have millions of pieces.

    @ Jaydee, mishap and meltdown-wise, we got off easy.

  10. Sounds like a great trip ... besides the fancy word for poop ;)

    You suit Paris :)

  11. Oh dear!! It still sounded like you had such fun!! And lots of running!! LOL!! And losing bits of lego all over ireland!

    Oh you poor poor poor thing when you panicked and couldn't find the boarding gate - my goodness I was scared for you! Of course you burst out crying - I'd be bawling so loud they'd have to bump me up to first class to shut me up! Seriously!

    WELL DONE you and your beautiful hubby and your beautiful son and beautiful daughter!!! You all stuck together and pulled through and had fun and adventures. Yay!

    And I love the pics of your family dozing in the shadows.

    Take care

  12. Hi, I saw your post on Aubrie's blog and love what you wrote, so I thought I would stop by. I couldn't stop grinning the whole time I was reading this. Oooohhhh, I would not be able to deal!!! Bless your heart...I'm glad all of you made it home-together, and at the same time! Nice meeting you!

  13. What fun and chaos in Paris! No trip is complete without some mishaps! I'm glad that your husband and son were able to sit next to one another!

    Wonderful pictures! Loved them!

  14. @ Clutterbug, I reprimanded my husband while trying not to laugh.

    I love Paris.

    @ Old Kitty, I should've cried louder so I could've gotten bumped up. Then I could've had a break from the kids for an hour!

    I'm glad we all made it back in one piece.

    @ The Words Crafter, thanks for visiting. This post is probably more interesting than my normal trip posts.

    Jen, it was a surprise when we were checking in and found out we weren't sitting together! I'm glad my son and husband were able to sit next to one another too.

  15. I'm tired just reading about your trip.

  16. Oh the stress! But I have to say I really like the three photos of your family lounging around, they have a beautiful monochromed stillness, would make a wonderful triptich!

  17. Wow - sounds amazing and full of the usual bizarre twists and turns that make trips memorable. :)

  18. I would have been a nervous wreck if it had been me that couldn't find the boarding gate. Hooray that you held yourself together and got where you needed to be! Travelling places where they don't speak English makes me so nervous!

  19. Millions? The kid in me thinks that sounds fun. :D

  20. @ Al, it was tiring, but fun.

    @ Words A Day, I'm glad you like the pictures.

    @ Jemi, a lot of strange things happened. I think I had a story or two I left out.

    @ Susan Fields, I was a nervous wreck, and then kicking myself because why couldn't I figure out a gate on my own?

    @ Amanda, I kid you not. What do you want to play? Star Wars? Harry Potter? Belville? Space? Knights? It's many sets collected over many years.

  21. Theresa, lovely diary of your trip.
    If you every lose lego in Ireland again, email me, we have a house full of it.
    Beautiful photos, worth framing.
    You nearly miss a flight because of Mac makeup, are you sure you are not my twin?
    Lovely piece.

  22. Brigid, good to know where I can find spare Legos.

    When we walked the Champs-Élysées, I went into the huge Sephora store. I could've spent hours in there. That one even sold Bobbi Brown and MAC, which the ones in America don't do.

  23. This sounds like our trip to Europe!

    I have just found your blog so am going to have to go back and read some of your older posts to catch up!

    Best wishes,

  24. Natasha, thank you. I'm glad you found my blog.

  25. Your experience running to the gate and trying to find the gate remind me of running away from or to something in nightmares.

  26. Dispite the mishaps, I hope you remember the trip fondly. Love the pics and the man kissing your child's head.


  27. Oh, I'm sorry you almost didn't find your plane with your family! That would have freaked me out too. That's funny how everyone kept losing things, but at least you were able to find most of them. :)

  28. @ Sheila, it was like a nightmare!

    @ Helen Ginger, we all had a great time on the trip.

    @ Neurotic Workaholic, my daughter is NOTORIOUS for losing things. But I'm the one who lost my family, which is worse.

  29. Sounds like you had a really great time - but I bet it feels wonderful to be home. My own son is flying to the UK with his British grandmother this month, and he's got the requisite Nintendo DS to take with him, too. Thanks for sharing this slice of family traveling life!!

  30. Whew! Glad you're all back safe and sound.

    I love the Irishman and his sweet kiss! So cute.

    Traveling with kids is madness. This is my mantra, and I'm sticking to it.

    (Kudos to you for bravery!)

  31. Wow. It seems like your kids are pretty chill travelers!

  32. Are you on Buren's Columns at the Palais Royal? I think it's a rather nice photos, actually! But I feel your photo pain, as you know...

    Travelling can be SO tiring - and Les Halles is the worst of the worst when it comes to Métros! I feel your pain - it *so* reeks of urine!

  33. Trips can be draining, but fun as well. Just reading this makes my head spin, but I would've loved to be there as well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  34. @ Zoe S. Courtman, these Nintendos are handy, aren't they? My kids mostly used them on the plane. We kept them walking the rest of the time!

    @ Susan Kaye Quinn, your comment made me laugh. It's not like being alone, but I have to say, my kids were really good. They walked with nary a complaint, ate new foods, and did it all with enthusiasm. And they hardly fought. It was practically a miracle.

    @ Rebecca, my children were complimented for their behavior by the flight attendant at the end of the trip from Dublin to Paris.

  35. @ Talli Roland, those are the Buren's Columns at the Palais Royal. I got my shot sitting on a column for both trips.

    @ Sandy Shin, most of the trip was lovely, but there have to be those moments...

  36. Vacations... they're fun, but there's still nothing better than home! :)

  37. @ Kimberly, I've had a quite a few comments of "There's no place like home." That may be true, but I could've used more time in Paris!

    @ Julie, thanks. I missed my blogging friends too!

  38. You look chic and french (and lovely, sans make-up) in your Paris picture.

    I'm glad you had fun, but sorry about the stinky feces. Ew. (Paris is stinky, like all big cities: au de urine and la poppy) The meltdown parts make for funny memories later. (..."remember that time..." stories) and are part of family bonding moments.

    I hope we get to see more pictures! :)

    Glad you're home safe.

  39. No trip is ever perfect, but it sounds like yours was well worth it. I think the mishaps sometimes make it more memorable.

  40. Whew! Welcome back. I got nervous that you weren't going to make your flight. But, most importantly, you got the limited edition blush, right?

  41. Sounds like a great trip, despite few mishaps. I can't imagine how you felt when you thought you might miss your flight, oh my goodness, I would have cried too!

  42. @ Lola, thanks. I'll post more pictures soon.

    These kinds of moments do make good stories (and blog posts). Could've done without the urine, but the same thing happens in Manhattan.

    @Vicki, I agree, mishaps make trips more memorable.

    @ Miss Periods, there's no greater tragedy than missing a MAC limited edition blush.

    @ Olive, that corridor went on FOREVER. It was many minutes before I even made it to the first set of gates. Horrible!

  43. That sounded like a great trip except for some things. The man kissing your son made me laugh out loud. I wonder what he was thinking when he realized his mistake... LOL

  44. @ Mr. Stupid, I thought you'd like this post. The kisser was probably thinking he was still drunk!

  45. You know, this is sounding a lot more like my vision of Paris. : 7

    Ha! Buren's columns (that you're sitting on in the first pic)! In high-school, for the end of year exam, I did a performance piece using his concept of 87mm. It involved greasepaint and juggling.

  46. @ Alesa, your ensemble sound perfect for Buren's columns.

    I'm glad I've given you a more authentic Paris.

  47. How stressful at the airport! I've been there, running to catch a boarding plane and it's the worst feeling!

    I'm so glad that you had such a great trip and only a few mishaps:)

    Btw, you look beautiful in the photo from Paris.

  48. @ Kathleen, I thought tired and pale, but decent. Thank you for the compliment.