Twice a year in Seattle, I used to attend a week of really intense sessions that I would laughingly call “Nerd Camp”. My mom would call it “Tech Wreck” because by about Wednesday, I would just be cranky and suffering brain meltdown and over stimulation from networking, dinners and roaming around the convention center with 5000 other attendees. My mom could be counted on to send me text messages during that week. She would sent me messages like “Is your ass numb yet from sitting on those chairs?” and “Will you be unpleasant by the time you get home or will you leave it at TechWreck?” Those messages never failed to make me laugh. Every time I go to any kind of training event that involves sitting listening to speakers and watching demos, I still keep an eye on my phone waiting for a text message from my mom. Something suitably obnoxious that makes me choke back my laughter and act like I am just coughing. I am sitting at one of those events right now and the phone is unfortunately still and my ass is definitely numb from the sitting on the benches.
Beatrix and I made the commute this morning. It was a gorgeous ride. It is about 71 degrees today so this afternoon should be a great ride home. Of course, I knew I would have to be dressed appropriately today since we are throwing this technical event. We have showers at work, unisex. I knew from a coworker that I would have to bring my own towel. I was prepared to do that. I didn’t realize I also needed to bring my own soap. Although when I think about it, from the thrifty Dutch perspective, I can see that expecting people to bring their own soap makes sense. Kind of like how you pay for condiments here. Too bad I don’t collect hotel toiletries any more, they would be useful to keep in my locker. I will work something out.
I had a very calm weekend. On Saturday, we tried the bike again. This time I used the seat belt fasteners for the car to secure Henry and George to the side of the basket so they stayed put. We went to Frankendael Park which was another place that my mom played “I could live here” and where we had her memorial dinner last year at the Restaurant Merkelbach. Dogs are not allowed off leash at Frankendael except for in a restricted area. I thought I could sit under a tree and struggle through the Dutch paper while the boys played nicely with other dogs. Well, I didn’t get much of the paper read. Henry likes to help me mark my place by sitting exactly on the page I am reading. My scary dragon cat, Mikha, used to do this too. It was one of her delightful characteristics and I am pretty sure that she was whispering in Henry’s ear, instigating the habit. Kind of like how she sends Moortje messages from the great Cat beyond and gets him to run around the house at night talking. She passed Mother’s Day 2010 after an 18 year reign of terror. After an hour or so of trying to read the paper, I gave up and we got back on the bike.
Saturday was Rupert’s birthday. So, to pay tribute to his ability to eat fried food, I went to the FEBO (the snack automat) that sits very close to the Amstel river. Sitting on a bench overlooking the river, I toasted his birthday with a small order of fries. It has to be the nicest view for a fried food dinner in the city. There’s this ritual of doing the diagonal at FEBO which I would never try. It basically translates to eating one item from every window down the diagonal. I think this is on Rupert’s bucket list. And I expect that he will be able to do it.
Today is Joey Ramone’s birthday. He would have been 64 today if my math is correct. Wow. Still love the Ramones.
I’m sitting in the KLM lounge, waiting for the call to board. I can see the big 747 right in front of me and I am watching the loading process of cargo with an air of nostalgia. Seems so long ago that I too was a ramp rat. Loading the airplanes, running around with a set of light wands in the pockets of my coveralls, perfumed in Jet A (aka kerosene) and generally cussing up a storm and paying no attention to the state of my hair. Years later, I still don’t worry much about my hair, my sense of smell has recovered from the exposure to jet fuel and I still have a pair of my light wands in the storage closet.
Leaving here is a little bittersweet. I had to get out of the car before I lost my composure and cried on Rupert, Cedric and Meredith. We had a super dinner last night at The Chicago Dinner (slogan Meat free since 83) and spent the evening watching House Hunters International and creating stormy digestive clouds. Those are the things that we consider family bonding.
It will be good to be home. And I have 14 packs of tortillas with me. So, we are good until my next trip to the US in July. I can’t wait to hug the pets and to get on my bike. And to go back to shopping in tiny grocery stores. I had information overload in the pharmacy here and in the grocery stores. I have a new found appreciation of how BIG everything is in the US.
Anyway, I’ll write more in the next few days. The wedding survived us 😉 and we did okay with each other. I think Mom would have been proud because I remember her saying after Thanksgiving to the oncologist that all her kids had gotten along for the day and even if they were faking it, that just proved they could do it.