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January, 2011:

Twenty-Four Hour Notice

Me: Hello? Yes. I have an appt. today at 11:00 a.m. that I need to cancel. My kid woke up with the flu.
Scheduling Person: Your name, please?
Me: Jodie.
SP: What day is the appointment?
Me: Um. Today – 11:00 a.m.
SP: I’ve cancelled it. By the way, you know we have a 24-hour cancellation requirement. Next time we’d appreciate 24-hours notice.
Me: I understand that, but my kid woke up, got ready for school, and threw up all over. Really nothing I could do about it.
SP: I understand, but just keep it in mind for next time.

Seriously? Hell – wouldn’t we ALL like 24-hour notice before our kids throw up all over the place? Then I could reschedule a volunteer for my daughter’s classroom, let my office know that I won’t be in for the meeting that morning, cancel my lunch date, call the school attendance office, email my kid’s teacher, and get a bucket in front of my kid . . . all before I even consider calling the doc’s office to cancel a stupid appointment.

Dumbass.

Still Here

So I spent an entire day walking around Turin, and I can’t wait to post about that . . . and I got home in the standard 22 hours it takes to get to Colorado from Turin :-) And my bags were the first ones off the plane (woo hoo!). But as it turns out . . . life continued here while I was gone 😉 I’m still in charge of Little League registration, which is in full swing. I’m still the leader for Princess’ Brownie troop. We’re still remodeling our laundry room/mud room. Duma still wants to be walked. Tonks still wants to taunt Spy. The kids still want to eat. And I still have to work at a project that did not get a badly needed extension.

The couple days it took me to get over the jet lag were fun. I am now fully recovered and back in the swing of things! Planning to go through my camera and catch up on all my stuff this weekend . . . unless, of course, we decide to head to Breckenridge to board and check out the snow sculptures on Sunday :-)

Italy Day 6 – The Italians

Our Italian hosts invited us to join them for dinner Thursday night . . . and who were we to decline such an invitation! We got directions to meet them at a restaurant downtown at 8:00 p.m. HAHAHAHA!! We left the hotel at 7:50 and still beat them there by 30 minutes 😉 There was a wonderful big long table set up for us . . . and more people came, so we added more tables until the table was literally extending from one wall to the other. The people who were on one side of the table were stuck – no way to get out. We offered all kinds of solutions when more people kept coming, but none were satisfactory – apparently everyone MUST sit at the same table J

I was at the end of the table with the Italians, specifically Julio, Lucresia, and Monica . . . what a HOOT! Monica and Lucresia are learning English . . . when they are together, they speak English so they can practice. They kept telling me over and over how grateful they were that I was sitting near them so they could practice “Real English” instead of book English. Then there was Julio (Jool – e –oh) – he made my trip just by being so Italian. He’s a small guy with a giant personality. He’s loud, boisterous, and nobody can sit in his wing span zone of terror or you’ll get knocked out when he’s talking – especially when he gets excited. He spoke no English, but apparently that didn’t matter . . . we kept talking anyway J

So for the food – lather, rinse, repeat from the previous days; however, even though this was my third large Italian meal, I have not have the same thing twice – except for the Limoncello! Our hosts had ordered the meal ahead of time . . . wine of course, then the appetizers (6 different ones), then the yummylicious ravioli (different flavor), then the beef and potatoes, then the dessert (5 different ones to try!), then the variety of after dinner “shots” to cleanse our palets, then the coffee.

About half way through the meal, I knocked over my champagne glass (oh ya – we had that, too) . . . Julio stood up and clapped as did everyone else . . . then anyone who could reach dabbed their finger in the spilled champagne and put some behind each year. They told me it was good luck to dab wine that is spilled on the table behind your ears J I don’t know that I believe that, but it was fun!

Time from sit down to stand up? 3.5 hours. Eating here is such an event! We had a blast with our hosts – them learning English while we learned some Italian and had someone to tell us the real names of the food we were eating, which was nice for a change J

Back to the hotel around 1230 a.m. . . . with a couple hours of work to do. UGH! I made it, though . . . getting up wasn’t really easy, but we did give ourselves a break and say we didn’t have to show up until our simulator time of 9:00 a.m. rather than our typical prebrief time of 8:00 a.m. Amazing how much that one hour helps – the morning after a late night at the end of a long week.

I am SOOOOO looking forward to Saturday morning . . . while everyone else is up and out early to catch their flights (430 a.m. cabs!), I’ll be sleeping cozy in my bed for with the Do Not Disturb sign on my door!

Italy Day 5 – ,80 Euro

Another long, exhausting day at work . . . but fun in the simulator :-) We got tons of stuff done . . . and I had tons of stuff to do, but needed to get out of the hotel . . . so when the National Guard guys invited me to join them for dinner downtown, I said yes. We were going to leave the hotel at 630 to catch the metro, but ended drinking a glass of wine in the hotel lobby with my coworkers, then walking across the parking lot to the place with cheap yummy beer . . . people just kept coming. We didn’t leave until 800 . . . not a big deal until you realize it’ll take at least 40 minutes to get to dinner, dinner NEVER takes less than 2 hours, and the metro closes at 1000.

So off we went in a hurry, with a hand drawn map in my pocket. The minute we sat down on the train, we all looked at each other . . . one guy said “hmmm . . . how long does it take to get there?” I said “Last stop – about 10 minutes.” Another guy says “Good, cuz I really gotta pee!”

We all agreed that yes, there would most definitely be a bathroom in the metro station, at the end of the line, right?! Um, no. We got out and tried to find on – no luck. So we headed out with our map in search of the restaurant, thinking we’d just walk really fast to get there. About 1 block into our walk, we turned into the main train station that takes people all over Europe . . . surely there MUST be a bathroom in there! The signs for the servici led us to a dead end hallway near platform 1, so I went into a store and asked, in my best Italian, where the bathroom was. In her most beautiful and polite voice she told me the correct way to ask where the bathroom was and then told me it was at platform 20. You have GOT to be kidding me!

So off we all go in search of platform 20. We get there. We see a hallway with servici signs at the end. We’re all pretty much sprinting. Then we come to a screeching halt! Gates. Turnstiles. But not the kind you can sneak through. They have plastic “doors” in front of them that won’t open until . . . you pay 80 cents in Euro into the machine! You have GOT to be friggin’ kidding me! So I grab all the change I have in my pocket and try to find ,80 Euro . . . I’ve got 2 Euro coins, and 1 Euro coins (you have to have the right change), and the rest added up to . . . ,75 Euro. I may or may not have sworn. All the guys had gone to the change machine to get change . . . they heard me curse like a sailor, and after briefly, but loudly, laughing and pointing at me, one of them tossed ,5 Euro at me.

Can I tell you how pissed (literally I guess) I would’ve been had I not “made” it on time? In downtown Turin? With 5 Guard guys to never let me live it down?

So off we went with a hand drawn map from one of our Italian hosts – to a place he said is a 20 minute walk from the metro.

Ya – what (pause for dramatic effect) EVER! We passed a landmark he’d written on the paper, so we kept going. 15 minutes later, we felt we were indeed not in the right place, so I asked someone “Via Roma?” – the road we were looking for. He pointed us in the right direction . . . and all the guys agreed amongst themselves that they would NEVER let anyone know that the one woman had to stop and ask for directions. Internet – I’m letting you all know that the one woman stopped and asked for directions :-)

So about 10 more minutes into our walk, one of the guys turns to me and says “I sure hope we get there soon . . . I’ve gotta pee again!” Died laughing of course – I was feeling the same way.

We started getting closer (according to our map) and it was hilarious how everyone started looking down the alleys to see if they were empty . . . and how everyone started walking just a little faster every block, hoping we might get there a little sooner . . . wherever “there” actually was!

We finally found the restaurant . . . and we incredibly rude Americans asked for a table of 5 and promptly asked to use the bathroom :-)

So 1 hour later we’d finally arrived at dinner . . . and OH was it totally worth the wait! They brought us this yummy glass of pink/red stuff to start . . . tastes like watered down Hot 100. Then we ordered wine, and water. And they brought us some absolutely yummylishous bread and we ate and laughed and ate and talked and ate and laughed. Then she finally came to take our order. I ordered an appetizer of bread with olive oil and tomatoes and stuff with one of the guys, then ordered this yummy pasta dish and some swordfish.

In Italy, you get everything one item at a time. So we got our appetizers . . . and we all shared . . . and it was awesome. Then, when the LAST crumb was gone, she brought the next course . . . the pasta. Oh. My. Gawd! It was so good . . . seriously – who knew little shell pastas covered in red sauce could be so friggin’ awesome! I didn’t want to eat all of mine because I knew I still had swordfish coming. So I ate about 1/3 of it – and got a GINORMOUS sneer when I told her I was finished. Then the swordfish came . . . this HUMONSTROUS plate covered with a GINORMOUS (Internet, I hereby declare humonstrous to be larger than ginormous) filet of swordfish – covered with mussels. Yum. E.

Of course we had to have lemoncello again (blah!) and espresso (at 1030 p.m.) before they’d bring us our check . . . and seriously – there was the tiniest bit of lemoncello in the little carafe . . . she kept walking by the table and glancing at us. I finally split the rest of the lemoncello with one of the guys. The minute it was gone, she brought the check.

Of course it was too late for the metro, so we got a cab . . . surprisingly, this teeny tiny little car had a 3rd row seat they could put up!

Aside: I paused while writing this post because our hosts had planned dinner for us. I left at 7:00 p.m. I JUST got back to my hotel room . . . it’s 1:00 a.m. What did we do? Had dinner with 25 Italians . . . and oh was it fun! Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

So one of the guys sat back there while the rest of us piled up front and held on for the ride of our lives back to the hotel. Back in the room around midnight to get a little work done before bed.

I must say that I LOVE the food and I have great company . . . but the lateness of it all is KILLING me. Or maybe it’s not he lateness, but the earliness 😉

Anyhoo – more to come on awesome dinner with the most Italian real-life Italian I’ve ever met and 20 of his coworkers . . . but now, it’s time for bed! A whoppin’ 5 hours of sleep awaits me before I head to the sim for SIX HOURS on Friday!

Ciao!

Italy Day 4 – The Cherry Surprise

Up earlier today to get started early. Somehow, we convinced the Italians to let us in the building and conference room at 8:00 a.m. – which was not easy because they start late here, and leave on time! We’re all in the groove of our project and the goals we need to achieve this week, so we’re dialed in to the task at hand.

Our first day in the simulator was fun! Not real exciting – it’s not a full motion simulator – but fun. It’s neat to see how they make all the stuff work – and break – on purpose. I parked myself on the floor in the way back with my laptop so I could record everything that happened. The floor was much more comfortable than the desk I could’ve used . . . but 3 hours on the floor is definitely enough! Friday we have to be in here for 6 hours . . . I may have to figure out a different set up by then J

After work, I went on my own for dinner. Didn’t want another sit-down meal (too much to do), so I walked to the market, hoping to find something to make a sandwich with. Turns out, I didn’t . . . or maybe I just didn’t want to stand in line to buy it. So I headed back to the hotel and decided to stop at some of the little stores I saw on the way that looked like they had something edible. The first stop was a deli-type place. I took inventory of the employees and other customers and nobody spoke English – or at least they didn’t admit it – so the lady came over to the glass hot holder thingy and I pointed at what I wanted. Turns out it was a calzone – so different looking from other calzones I’ve had that I didn’t even know! It was yummy – filled with all kinds of good stuff – the only one of which I can identify is the red sauce J After that, I was lured into a candy shop where I again pointed at a couple things I wanted after confirming nobody knew English (I had figured out how to say “I don’t speak Italian” and ask “Do you speak English?”). I got one thing that was obviously a frosting thingy inbetween two cookit thingies . . . yummola! The other thing I chose was a solid milk chocolate ball . . . or was it! I thought it was, until I bit into it and was surprised by a cherry taking a bath in some kind of strong alcohol – WOW! Surprise – yummy – but surprise! Just a little something to add to ANOTHER glass of red wine I drank as I sat in my room working for the rest of the evening.

Italy Day 3 – Indian Pizza

On Monday, I woke up before my alarm, which made me happy. Always easier to get up when you wake up on your own rather than the alarm waking you up. After the whirlwind travel day(s), this was our first work day. We all met in the lobby and walked the 15 minutes to the plant . . . seriously, nothing better than a nice brisk walk on a chilly morning when you can see your breath. I would love to be able to walk to work every day – but I’m so not willing to give up my house and yard and SPACE!

After getting through all the security and leaving my driver’s license with them (I figure I can get home without my driver’s license but not without my passport, which is what they wanted me to leave), we started our work day. It’s going about as well as I expected – no surprises. But it is weird to not have internet access in the building (too secure to allow us access). At 1230, our guide led us to the cafeteria where we were treated to lunch, along with everyone else who works here – seriously, everyone. Since it’s an airplane manufacturing plant, that’s a LOT of people! Huge place. Good cafeteria, but still cafeteria food J

Back to work and finished the day with the walk back to the hotel.

We all had tons of work to do, but we accepted an invitation to a pizzeria from the same guy who took us downtown the night before. He said we were going to an “Indian Pizzeria” so naturally, we all thought Indian-dot pizzeria. Turns out it was Indian-feather pizzeria! I must say, it was HILARIOUS! They were trying to be all authentic Native American with all of their décor and even the menu cover, but what they got was fake commercial Native American . . . so we had to giggle :-) I wish I’d brought my camera with . . . but believe it or not, I hadn’t.

We were informed that each person was expected to order their own pizza – we were like ya, whatever, totally can’t eat that much food. But we ordered and each received a ginormous dinner plate with an entire pizza on it (I got prouschetto and some other stuff I couldn’t read).

Um, we each ate our own entire pizza. It was that good – and the thin crust really does help to not fill you up like American pizza (at least that’s what I’m telling myself) J

About the time we were leaving at 8:30 p.m., the place just started to fill up. Italians eat late – really late in my book, but oh how I love HOW Italians eat. It’s an affair – and usually a family affair with lots of talking and laughing and hand gestures – and lots of food. It’s always an event – there is no “running out for a quick bite” here – at least not that we’ve been able to find yet.

Back to the hotel to call the kiddos and get work done. Worked until midnight before I logged off. Gotta be ready for the simulator on Tuesday!

Italy Day 2 – The Dinner

After we all got settled and unpacked after our long travel day, the entire group met in the lobby of the hotel for a little meet and greet before breaking off and heading out for dinner. One of the lead guys had been here a few times, so my coworkers, one other guy, and myself took the metro downtown. We enjoyed walking around and seeing all the EXPENSIVE shops and really old buildings despite the cold. When it was finally 7:30 p.m. and restaurants started to open, we were ready! Our guide took us to his favorite place where we got to experience Italian food at its best. The 5 of us sat down at a table that had some food waiting for us.

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The stuff shown above is what was on the table when we sat down. I wish I’d taken a photo later when the table was filled with plates of food!

We started eating appetizers . . . and they brought appetizers . . . and we ate more appetizers . . . and they brought more appetizers . . . and we refilled our wine glasses . . . and they brought more appetizers . . . and we ate more appetizers and drank more wine.

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That’s a picture of my FIRST round of appetizers.

Raise your hand if you knew pizza was an appetizer.

When we had made a significant dent in the TWENTY PLUS plates of appetizers (no, I’m not kidding) that consisted of anchovies, pizza, veal, veggies, salads, bread sticks, tuna, and a bunch of other things that I ate and loved but have no idea what they are, the waiter asked what we’d like for our main dish J HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! We decided we’d each like to try a few different pastas. The waiter was awesome! He brought us each a plate with some penne, ravioli, and risotto on it – and they were even normal sized sample portions! Have I ever told you I don’t like ravioli? Well I guess I’ve never had REAL ravioli – OMG it was AWESOME! As were the other two pastas.

We were all joking how full we were as we continued to stuff our faces and how we were going to save ourselves for dessert. So the waiter came back when we had all finished our pasta (if you don’t finish, they don’t come back). He asked what kind of meat we wanted for our 2nd main dish. We all said “Oh nothing, thanks” as we shook our heads No. But one of the guys said “Ya know what, I’d like to try just a LITTLE of the veal.” So they brought each of us all a plate of veal, which we all ate and loved! Of course, our wine glasses continued to be bottomless. And the dessert cart came . . . and oh my what a dessert cart it was! Tiramisu, chocolate cake, death balls of yummy goodness (none of us know what they are, but they were some kind of cake covered in some kind of chocolatey mousse thing), chocolate flan type thing, some funky looking pears, and all kinds of other yummy goodness. They gave us whatever we wanted, and we all ended up just splitting it and trying a ton of it. At this point, We. Were. Done.

But Wait! The Italians disagreed! There was more! The after dinner clean your palet and knock you onto the floor drinks had not been brought. They all chose the harsh brandy type shooter thing that tasted like a mix of gasoline and moonshine going down. I chose the Limone . . . thought it would be safer. HOLY CRAP was I wrong! It was the thickest sweetest drink ever . . . came cold like Rumplemints and I also got a frosted glass for it, just in case the frost-covered bottle taken out of the freezer and set in front of me on the table wasn’t doing its job. One tiny sip and I could feel the alcohol coursing through my veins. And of course, you’re not done until you finish it, so I convinced one of the guys to take half of mine so we could finally get home – we’d been up FOREVER that day with all the travelling we’d done. We were ready to head back to the hotel . . . but wait! The Italians didn’t think so! You can’t possibly leave without your ESPRESSO – at 9:30 p.m. So they all (I actually said no to this one – didn’t want to be wired and tired!) got their cappuccino, espresso, etc. and slammed them down so we could get our check. 2 ½ hours after we sat down, we got our bill (ouch, but totally worth it). Headed back to the metro in even colder foggier weather, not that any of us could feel the cold anyway.

1030 – in bed . . . a mere 36 hours after I began my journey J

Italy Day 1 – Travel

Longest travel day ever! I got to DEN at 0530 and arrived at the airport in Torino at 1230 local (0430 DEN time). We were SO lucky we got to fly business/envoy class. On the flight to Philadelphia, we got a choice of an omelette or fruit and yogurt. I chose the fruit and yogurt, expecting typical airplane food. OMG was I wrong! I got freshly sliced honeydew, cantaloup, strawberries on the stem, and grapes along with a giant bowl of yummy yogurt and granola on the side. Yummy!

Had a looooong layover in Philadelphia – 4 hours. My coworker from DEN who travelled with me was going to meet up with his brother who happened to be at the Philly airport as well and I was going to meet up with the coworker from Alabama who’s also on the trip. I was talking to my coworker on the phone to see where he was while I followed my other coworker through the terminal. He met his brother and I turned around to go to the gate my other coworker was at. Realized I’d taken 2 STEPS into the unsecured area . . . so I had to go back through security – grrrrrr! 2 friggin’ steps! I just wanted to plead with the woman at the checkpoint “You saw me just step through – can I PLEASE just go back!” But she didn’t look very agreeable, so I got in line behind 4 other people. Four – remember 4 people in front of me. TWENTY MINUTES later I made it through the checkpoint. I just have to say, you can pick out the travellers and the non-travellers in about 2 seconds at the security line.

Finally found my coworker, hung out, chatted, and decided to get a drink and a salad. Totally didn’t need the salad had we known what the meal on the flight to Frankfurt was going to be! Heck – I would’ve been way excited just to have the comfy completely adjustable electric chairs! I had more room than I needed, even when I laid the chair all the way out to sleep.

The food was actually amazing! They just kept bringing more and more . . . started off with memosa while we waited for the plane to load. After we got going, they served us wine or whatever else we wanted and kept walking around with bottles to refill our glasses. Then for the meal, we got an appetizer of smoked salmon on a bed of lettuce and a plate of breads/cheeses/meats. For our entrée, we got to choose from 3 dishes – I can only remember 2 because those were the only ones I was contemplating – beef with twice-baked potato or pasta with mushrooms and other yummy stuff. I chose the pasta and it was AWESOME – seriously yummy – who knew airplane food was capable of that! After the main course, they brought around the dessert cart – yes, an actual dessert cart on the airplane. There was chocolate raspberry mouse, some kind of cake, and a plate of pedafores. I chose the pedafores – yummola!

After the meal, I pulled my TV out of the arm rest and watched The Social Network since I hadn’t seen it. After that, I decided to actually sleep for a while – seems that right after I fell asleep, they came over the PA and said “Good Morning! Please prepare for landing at Frankfurt airport.” Um, what? Seriously the fastest 7-hour flight ever.

After getting our passports checked out by the customs guys who were completely incapable of even pretending to smile, we got to hang out at an uncomfortable table for a while as we waited for the flight to board. The boarding was interesting to say the least . . . we got on a big bus and they drove us out on the tarmac to the plane, where we had to walk up the steps to get in. No biggie, except I hadn’t done that in a cold-weather climate in winter before!

Our flight from Frankfurt to Turin was great as well – very short 1 hour and 10 minutes, but they still managed to serve us an awesome breakfast of pruschetto, cheese, fruit, and yogurt – and of course a croissant, which was filled with awesome apricot jam. Seriously – if I’d been able to ration all the food we got on our flights, easily could’ve eaten for 3 days. So basically, all we did was sit and eat the whole time J

I must throw in here that the flight to Frankfurt to Turin was AMAZING! We had a perfectly clear day and flying over the Alps was breathtaking. I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I see big mountains every day at home . . . but the Alps appear so suddenly and are so rugged – it’s just amazing – unexplainable really. alps01

Here are some photos, although they’re kind of like looking at photos of the Grand Canyon – there is no way you can get anywhere near an accurate idea of awesomeness of it all in a photo.

 

They are so rugged – and sudden. It’s like prairie then these huge pointy awesome mountains. All I could do was stare.

Our landing in Turin was quite exciting. The valley was really foggy – seriously foggy over the entire area.

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The white stuff on the left? Fog in the valley. The valley is where Turin is. The pilot said we’d have to circle in a holding pattern for a little while until the fog lifted. Seriously – you think THIS is going to LIFT while we circle?

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The circling was actually pretty cool! We got to see the beautiful castle on the hill (wish I knew how to get to it to actually see it!) and then the Alps as we circled – there really are worse things.

After a few times around, I saw a plane below us go in for landing and disappear in the heavy fog . . .

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. . . so we were next. We followed them in and just before the plane got to the fog, our pilot gunned it and pulled up on a go around. Must say I’ve never been on a plane that did that before – quite exciting. So we go around again and they line up for the approach . . . we hit the fog and can’t see ANYTHING. Suddenly, we were on the runway – no, we could not SEE the runway – it was THAT foggy. The pilots put on all the breaks they could muster – I’m pretty sure if they had an anchor they would’ve thrown that out, too! But we stopped in time, we made the turn, and we didn’t crash – all kinds of happy about that. The pilot guys I’m with as well as a couple other pilots on the plane had the discussion about whether or a not a plane that size had the equipment to land in fog with such a low ceiling and so thick that you couldn’t see more than 20 yards. In the end, they all decided “we just go lucky.” Um, nice!!!

So we’re in Turin! Out of the 12 people in our group, 3 people’s luggage didn’t make it. 1 guy STILL doesn’t have his, and the other 2 got theirs late last night. Totally sucks to have to wear the same clothes again that you just wore for 24 hours of travel time.

The cab ride to the hotel – exciting as well. The three of us Americans squished ourselves into the back seat of the teeny tiny cab like sardines, which turned out to be a good thing! Holy crap they drive crazy here . . . and not just the taxi drivers. Talk about impatient . . . and the cars are so tiny – but at least all the cars are tiny, so if you did get in an accident, there wouldn’t be that much people damage.

We finally got in our rooms and unpacked around 2:00 p.m., Italy time (6:00 a.m. back home). I totally didn’t want to nap because I wanted to sleep at night, so I headed out for a walk. Really just wanted a bottle of water . . . impossible. Everything is closed on Sunday – everything! Good thing we had all that food J I walked about 3 miles down many streets before I found a “Bar” (snack place that serves soda, coffee, and snacks as well as beer and alcohol) that was open. I used my phrasebook to ask for a bottle of water, which obviously failed miserably – I didn’t know they had fizzy and natural – when they said “fizzy” I thought they meant what kind of pop I wanted. So I just said “a Coke por favore” – they didn’t get that either. Luckily, a customer at a table had a Coke, so I pointed to the goofy shaped tall skinny can and said “un por favore.” The guy behind the counter said “Ahhhhh Coca COLA – Si.” I did then notice that the can does not say Coke anywhere on it – only Coca Cola. Lesson learned J I also noticed that Diet Coke is not Diet Coke . . . it is Coca Cola Light – note to self.

Back to the hotel to drink my CAFFEINE and take a short nap before meeting with EVERYONE in the lobby for a meet and greet and to go to dinner.

Dinner – oh dinner . . . that deserves an entire post itself since this whole even has really spanned two calendar days J

Meet Spy

After months of saving, shopping for the perfect cage setup, waiting for us to be done with holiday travel, and waiting for Hubby to be home for a couple weeks, we got Spy!

We went to the pet store and Dude and Princess immediately knew which one they wanted – the one on the wheel. Thankfully they both agreed on the same one without discussion! So Dude found a sales lady and we brought this home…

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Surprisingly, neither Tonks or Duma cared that we had a box with a little rodent in it . . . they went about their usual napping (Tonks) and rolling around on the floor making weird noises (Duma) while Hubby put Spy in her new home.

Spy was quite happy to get out of that box and immediately started exploring her cage. She kept going to the corners – I’m sure she just wanted out, not caring that there was a cat and a giant dog out there waiting to eat her!

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I must admit, she really is a cute little baby hamster J

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The kids can’t handle her for a couple days until she gets a little settled. Then they get to sit in an empty bathtub (drain closed of course) and let Spy run around on them and get used to them.

They were quite bummed that she wouldn’t go up her tubes and run around . . . she spent most of her time sitting in her food bowl and burrowing underneath the bedding in the bottom of her cage, making a nice little bed at the bottom of the tube that leads to the rest of her cage setup. We were all quite bummed she wouldn’t go up the tube and explore, but I’m sure the kids will have lots of stories to tell me when I call today J

We can never forget our first 4-legged child . . . she finally wandered over and started to explore the box Spy came home in.

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It took her about 5 seconds to determine that 1) there was no rodent in the box anymore and 2) she does not particularly like the tiny pellets of hamster food they had put in there for Spy.

I can’t wait until Spy starts running around in her tubes and can get in the ball and check out the rest of the living room – even more so, I can’t wait to see what Tonks and Duma do when that happens!

I. Can’t. Wait!

After working today, and taking the kiddos to the pet store to buy Spy, and getting Spy home and settled, I get to begin my FIRST EVER journey oversees! My plane leaves for Italy tomorrow at 0700 local time, so I’m staying at a hotel near the airport so I don’t have to get up quite as early – and they let me park my Jeep there for free for the 9 days I’ll be gone. I got my stuff, including work clothes and play clothes, in 2 carry-on sized bags . . . I thought that was quite impressive :-) Why 2 carry-ons rather than one large bag? One has 2 days worth of stuff in it – I’ll actually carry it on with me in case they lose my luggage. The other one I will check for the journey.

January 15th 0700 departure takes me to Philadelphia . . . Philadelphia to Frankfurt . . . Frankfurt to Turin . . . arriving January 16th at 10:00 a.m. Turin time :-)

I’d hoped to make my first oversees trip with Hubby to play, but I guess I’ll take a free trip to Italy if it’s thrown at me.

Now to figure out how to actually think about work today instead of the fun stuff that happens afterwards!