Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gerard's First Trip to Chile

Well, Gerard left Tuesday for his first trip to Chile. This is the first time he's left me for any longer than an all day trip since arriving in Germany. It's been two days so far (Gerard's parents arrive on the 18th) and we're surviving.... only barely, but we we're still here.

I had a second panic attack on my way home from taking Gerard to the airport Tuesday. I knew I probably shouldn't have agreed to take him to the airport and drive home. First off, I've never really driven at night here, and my night vision is not good to begin with. I've also only driven home from the airport once before, and that was with Gerard in the car to help navigate. Granted, we have a GPS, but it doesn't help you avoid missing the exit if you can't see the exit at night. And that's just what happened to me.

Gerard left the car and I started home. The GPS told me to stay right but go left, which I couldn't really understand until I realized there was a fork in the road- only I realized it too late. Okay, no problem. The GPS will just recalculate my route and tell me what to do next, right? It tells me to turn around and I see this roundabout so I figure I can do just that.... only I accidentally got off one turn shy of a complete 180 on the roundabout. Sigh... okay, GPS will surely recalculate AGAIN and tell me where to go. In the meantime, I've gotten off the roundabout (still somewhere in the airport) in an area where only buses and taxis are supposed to be. I drive slowly along this road that takes me to a parking lot. Everyone is giving me dirty looks because I am obviously not a taxi or bus. There is nowhere to park so I literally drive in circles trying to find the exit to get back on a road. I can not exit the way I came in because it was a one way road. I begin looking for other exit points, but as my stress level has started to increase my memory goes out the window. I literally cannot remember which signs mean "No Entry" or "One Way" and this means I can't figure out how to get out. Okay, I say... I'll just call Gerard's cell and confirm the signs with him. I keep second guessing myself, so I'll just get some confirmation. Then I realize that Gerard has left his cell phone for his folks, and he put another SIM card in his PDA, but I do not have that number programmed into my cell. So no way to get a hold of him. There is no place to park so I just circle. I'm terrified to go any direction for fear that I'll see headlights coming at me from the other direction. The GPS is of no help at this point because I'm now off the main road and it doesn't know where I *CAN* and *CAN'T* LEGALLY drive, so it just keeps telling me to turn left. I'm freaked out about having the kids in the car and now my heart is racing. At this point, I begin to panic. My heart literally feels like it's going to pop out of my chest and I feel dizzy. Now it's completely dark and I feel stranded. Sounds like a little thing, I'm sure, but now I'm in a full blown panic attack that I can't control.

After circling for five minutes, I see a taxi leave and I follow it, figuring the taxi will obviously head out the correct way. I drive until I hit a major road and the GPS kicks in again. I'm on the Autobahn (with no speed limit, by the way), it's dark as can be, and I'm white knuckle clutched to the wheel, hoping that I don't black out while driving and cause a wreck. Obviously, I made it home. I told Gerard about it and he said, "So don't you feel good that you did something that you were uncomfortable with and accomplished it?" My reply- "No, I am just grateful that I didn't pass out while driving and kill myself and our kids in the process." Lesson Learned- When I'm out of my comfort zone, listen to my inner voice and just know my limits. Yes, I want to overcome some of these obstacles, but I don't need to attempt these things for the first time, alone in the car with my kids.

So... before Gerard left I decided to try making chocolate zucchini brownies. Some of you will say, "Eww... sick" but zucchini bread is yummy, and when I saw a recipe for zucchini brownies I thought I'd give it a whirl. My intention was to sneak the zucchini in and offer the brownies to Gerard and Gerrit to see if they would eat them. I tasted them ahead of time and I thought they were yummy. They'd be excellent as a brownie sundae. Okay, so now some of you are probably saying what I did at first- "Isn't the "little" amount of zucchini you add going to be outweighed by the fact that it's a chocolate brownie? Aren't you defeating the purpose of eating a healthy vegetable if you have to put it in something unhealthy?" Ah, yes, a point well taken. However, seeing as how Gerard would eat the brownie, or cookie, or ice cream or whatever ANYWAY, I figure adding some sort of veggie has to improve the nutritional value at least a little bit, right? At any rate, Gerard saw my printed recipe before I had a chance to offer the brownies to him, so his attitude was already tainted. He ate about five bites, and although he admitted that he probably wouldn't know there was any zucchini in them, he also said he prefers a box mix over these. Rats! So... guess who ended up eating the ENTIRE lot of chocolate zucchini brownies? Hmm... in the end, probably not as healthy a move as I had intended.

Gerrit is always fussier when Gerard is away, and it's been tough getting both kids down at night. Gerrit wants to be cuddled and doesn't really want Willem around, and Willem wants to be held or screams bloody murder. Letting Willem scream means Gerrit won't go to sleep anyhow, which totally defeats the purpose. Ah well, things will get easier. I keep reminding myself of that.

Tonight I tried to do too many things at once. Put Gerrit in bath and put Willem in his little bathtub (outside of tub and in his clothes) so he could watch Gerrit, while I rushed to put fresh sheets on our bed. I had a feeling that what happened next might happen, but I was hoping it wouldn't. Thought Willem would be a bit entertained by his brother long enough for me to finish this- since he screams lately whenever he's awake and put down. I heard Willem fuss and cry (typical, so I didn't think too much of it). I could see both boys from my room and all looked fine so I figured he was just upset and wanted to be held. I returned to the bathroom to find that Gerrit had decided that since Willem was in his bath, he obviously needed one- so Gerrit had poured a cup full of water from his own bath into Willem's bath. Willem's pants were soaked and he was pissed. Obviously... I would be, too. Poor kid. I had to laugh, though. Alright, bad mommy moment, I know.
All fresh and clean
Sporting our fashionable robes

I have German tomorrow after a long holiday break. I don't really remember anything, so I think the class will be tough. Having said that, something slightly interesting happened yesterday. Gerard spoke with me shortly after arriving in Santiago and said, "You didn't teach me any Spanish before I came here." I was going to reply with the standard phrase everyone entering a foreign country should know how to say, "Where is the bathroom?" My intention was to say, "¿Dónde está el baño?" But what actually started to come out of my mouth was, "Wo ist die Toilette?" Hmm... even though it's a little thing, maybe that's progress after all.

And now... a short video clip for our dear friend, David Ciardi.


At January 14, 2008 at 4:29 PM , Blogger David said...

So I just noticed the Pittsburgh clip ... now that Seattle has lost as well, Gerard, Gerrit and I can all sulk together :-)


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