Monday, June 02, 2008

Transitions are hard, part 3

“Only he who can view his own past as an abortion sprung from compulsion and need can use it to full advantage in the present. For what one has lived is at best comparable to a beautiful statue which has had all its limbs knocked off in transit, and now yields nothing but the precious block out of which the image of one's future must be hewn.”
--Walter Benjamin

Before we get to gaufres...

and frites...

and Mannekin Pis...

Manakin Pis
...and the rest of Brussels, I wanted to step back a bit and amend my comments about the Magic Kingdom,lest I be seen as looking a gift mouse in the mouth.

Not only does the magic mouse make it easy to get to their hotel, but he also treats you well when you arrive. We were originally slated for a "garden view" room, which means "view of whatever shrubs and lawn your window happens to point at, and here's hoping it's not the hedge that screens off the dumpsters from public view."

When we arrived, however, the front desk clerk upgraded us to a room overlooking the lake, from which we could see the castle, train station, Tomorrowland, Space Mountain, and fireworks.

This was a nice aesthetic improvement and an entertainment bonus for 3B, who spent a fair amount of time on the balcony watching the boats go by. Although he wasn't up late enough to see the fireworks, that doesn't mean he didn't hear them. One morning he woke up and, remembering what he'd heard in the night as well as what he'd heard at Great Grammy's farm, reported that he'd heard the hunting guns go bang.

So, props to Mickey for the customer service.

On the flip side, how is it that on an eight-hour flight to Europe, I can get two meals, seven movies, and excellent service, while on a seven hour flight to California, I can barely get a half-empty sack of stale pretzels and a sideways glance from a flight attendant?

Once we arrived in Brussels, I worked during the days while Mama was in meetings, and then we went out at night. Although the days were like most other work days for me, the nights were nice and relaxing for me. However, it was a little like work for Mama, since we were hanging with her colleagues. Fortunately, however, they're full of diverse interests and fascinating stories, like smuggling health supplies into Nigeria, producing shows on KCRW and meeting Paul Simon, and growing up in a small town in the Philippines to become the Minister of Health.

On our last day there, Mama and I did wander Brussels together. It's a pretty city that's compact, so it was easy to walk to everything.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
As I strolled along I wondered as I often do when traveling why we don't live somewhere like Brussels, where we could overlook the EU Parliment building, rather than overlooking the mall of the doomed. Then I remembered that part of the reason it seems so nice is because I don't have to worry about laundry, cleaning, taking out the trash, walking the dog, and all of the other petty distracting nuisances of home.

And hey, while we're speaking of the dog, I'd like to give a shout out to Steve and Larry for putting up with Barky through most of our travels. The first day I was in NYC before the wedding, I got a voicemail from Steve that went something like this...
"Hey guy, I don't want you to worry or anything [obviously, Steve listened to my mother who always said, "Unless you're calling to say you're dead, start off with, 'I'm OK.'"], but I'm just wondering if Barky ever gets anxious when you guys are away. Like if he ever has digestive problems. [yeah, this is going nowhere good, and it's going there fast.] Because I think that he's just nervous, but when we got home from work, he had diarrhea and he had crapped in his crate [which is actually their crate with their bedding], and then he threw up, and it looks like he had kind of runny poops when he went in the yard too..."
I'll spare you the rest of the details from what must have been a two-minute message, but suffice it to say that Barky was not the ideal house guest for the first couple of days at Steve and Larry's. I, of course, called Steve back immediately and after apologizing profusely for Barky the Voiding Wonderdog, concurred that it was probably nerves, especially since Barky was now eating somewhat normally, and since he has a long history of being a head case.

I joke that Barky's a whackjob, and yes, it has been trying to figure out and deal with his neuroses, but they're all pretty much understandable if you ignore the old saw that dogs can't remember anything for very long. Barky was picked up as a stray, and was never adopted in his six months in a shelter, where dogs were killed after six months. That just can't be a good environment to live in.

Fortunately, the shelter turned him over to a beagle rescue league, where he languished for another several months in a foster home that, granted, had plenty of room to roam, but that was also full of bigger dogs. Even if Barky doesn't remember all of this, it's left an impression on his personality, much like getting smacked in the back of the head with a shovel would leave an impression on your skull.

Despite all of this, before Steve hung up, he promised to look after Barky any other time we wanted. I suggested that he might want to see what else Barky ruined in the next 10 days before making that promise. Steve insisted that it didn't matter, that they would take care of Barky whenever we wanted.

For the record, Barky also trashed their dog crate, bending all the bars out of shape in his efforts to escape.

Whoever said that blog friends aren't real friends is a moron.

And that's pretty much our May in three blog posts. Tomorrow, the final transition...coming home...

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  1. Barky is always welcome at case Hygiene. :)

  2. Anonymous12:11 PM

    3B is turning into a varsity traveler. I love it!

  3. Steve: I still think you're crazy for saying that, but you know I love the crazy. And hey...what are you doing in late July? late August?

    MD: We love it too, and we're hoping that 3B loves it as well.

  4. What a beautiful city. I love the slide show.