Little Hausfrau in the Netherlands...some Monday Musings

Ok, "little" meaning "short".  Because here's a fun fact:  People in Amsterdam are freakishly beautiful.  Tall, statuesque, willowy yet athletic,  with big white teethy smiles and a casual elegance that all the J.Crew in the world couldn't help me attain.  I can't quite put my finger on what it felt like to be a short, squat albino with hay-like hair strolling amongst these attractive giants.  Let's just say, if I ever go back there I will pack a more sleek wardrobe.  Yoga pants and sexually ambiguous fleece jackets do not cut the mustard in the Netherlands.  And scarves.  Everyone wears scarves with demure panache.  Even the grandparents.  

So here's the scoop:  John McCain took me on a dreamy whirlwind trip to Amsterdam.  We left on Thanksgiving morning, and let me tell you..I was a neurotic banshee up until the second the plane left the ground.  And for a little bit after that, too. 

Of course I was worried about the kids.  I was worried about the dog.  I was worried that this was too much, too soon.  I worried about pooping, of all things.  Yes, I just said "pooping".  Because I don't have any sort of boundaries, I will tell you all about my borderline-obsessive fretting about going number two.

Call it "Fear of Farting" if you will.  In fact, my homie Danielle and I had one of the funniest text exchanges about this very subject just prior to my departure.  You know how you can tell when someone is a good friend?  Like, a really good friend?  When they will take screen shots like this one:

And also, when they will humor your insane bowel movement fears.  Love you, Danielle!

Were you eating while reading this?  I'm sorry.  But no more poop talk, I promise. 

Like Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes are wont to say, I had the time of my life.  It was a SHORT trip (three days) but we packed a lot of sight-seeing and even more eating into those three days than I would have thought possible.  The sharing-of-the-room thing wasn't awkward (although the fact that I am more man than woman was woefully apparent...like when I came out of the bathroom at bedtime wearing a big t-shirt, my glasses and had my sleep mask wrapped around my head like a do-rag).  He's also very neat, very organized, which is a stark contrast to how I roll.  Kind of a Felix/Oscar thing going on there. 

I spent a lot of time thinking.  I thought about how funny life is, how it came to be that my broke ass was strolling through the streets of Amsterdam, eating in the yummiest restaurants and sleeping under a down comforter that surely cost more than all of my earthly possessions combined. 

I felt like an imposter, at first.  The mommy guilt played a big part in that.  I saw families on vacation, kids in tow, eating at restaurants and posing for pictures.  It caused a big pang in my heart, thinking about the fact that my kids have never, ever gone anywhere, and here I was drinking $15 dollar martinis and walking down charming cobblestone streets hand in hand with my fella like I hadn't a care in the world. I found myself starting to look at John McCain and thinking of all the reasons we shouldn't be together.  All of the reasons he shouldn't like me.

And then I decided to do something so many people have told me to do: 

I got over it.  I told the guilt and the shame and the negative stuff to take a walk.  This was a once in a lifetime trip, something that should be enjoyed and relished and LIVED.  So I did all that.  I enjoyed every second of it from that second forward.

We took a canal tour, at night, in a boat that was built in 1909.  We toured the house where Ann Frank and 7 other souls lived in hiding for 2 years (that place was rife with spirits...talk about an emotional morning).  We took turns down little alleyways and ate in tiny restaurants and got tipsy in the hotel bar (they filmed Oceans Twelve at the hotel, by the way).  We talked about us and our history and where we are now.  As each minute ticked away, I felt the walls around my heart start to fall down, brick by brick.

Funny how I had to travel 4,000 miles in order to see things clearly, huh?  This must be one of those "can't see the forest for the trees" deals.  Mayhap I had to get away from the craziness that is everyday life in order to appreciate what it feels like to have someone treat me like a queen. 

Here are some highlights of the trip, with fancy bullet points:

  • File this one under "It's A Small World After All":  One of Danielle's BFF's, who is a flight attendant, happened to be working on our flight to Amsterdam.  His name is Todd and when I introduced myself (I recognized him from pictures) he hooked us up real nice.  Todd doesn't know this yet but I am destined to be the Grace to his Will.  Or maybe the Karen to his Jack?  We shall see.  Thank you, Todd!
  • I was shocked to see that they have little televisions in every seat on the planes now!  Actual moving pictures, the talkies!  For a few minutes I was all "we are now a nation of ADD riddled toddlers who have to be electronically pacified in order to sit still for more than ten minutes" and then I got sucked into "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". And then "The Avengers" followed by "The Green Lantern". Little t.v.'s FTW!
  • Here is when I think I started to fall a little bit in love with my travel companion:  He's growing a beard/mustache thing for Movember.   Personally, I think it's hot, but apparently it's driving him insane.  We were discussing the facial hair and how long it will last, and after I pleaded with him to not shave it off, he said, "Well, the least you can do is change my blog name to Grizzly McCain."  
  • I almost got hit by a tall, attractive person on a bike.  Several times.  They bike EVERYWHERE there.  No wonder there wasn't a muffin top in sight.  Except for in the bathroom mirror at our hotel.  
  • I am now addicted to Stroopwafels.  Apparently they sell them at Trader Joe's.  I'm going to get some and eat all of them. 
  •  You know your trip is officially over, you know you are really and truly back home when you find yourself in the middle of a kid smackdown.  A smackdown that started over the big bag of miniature Toblerone candy bars I brought back as a souvenir for the angels.  Sometimes I feel like I am living with the cast of Little Orphan Annie.   
  • I have learned that when my kids miss me, they show it in varying ways.  One kid cried real tears when she and I finally saw each other, one was PISSED and let me know it, one played it cool but snuck (sneaked?) in a few extra hugs last night and one displayed a maturity and strength that I always knew was in him.  I missed them, with every fiber of my being..but I think this little break was good for all of us.  Even Big Daddy had to step up to the parenting plate, which apparently he did.  
  • And that's a good thing, because on the way home from Amsterdam, McCain started talking about a 2 week long trip around the world.  Details to follow.
And there you have it.  My trip of a lifetime, the condensed version.  I brought all of you there with me, sort of.  Several times I had to tell myself to stop narrating experiences, blog-style, in my head.  Did you know that they don't check for crazy at customs?  Mine got through just fine.

Happy Monday, friends. 


  1. A man that will treat you like a princess, takes you on fancy trips to another country, and is accepting the whole blog thing? Keeper!

    Im so glad you had a fun time, even if you were being a bit of a worry wart at times haha. My husband's also not shaving this month & even thought I was totally against the whole beard thing at first, it's totally grown on me. Very ruggedly hot. Except he's over it too now haha.

    1. Thanks Lin! Ruggedly hot is a very good descriptive term. Is Rusty shaving his off on December 1?

      Worry wart is a kind way of putting it, thank you :o)

  2. I've been waiting for this update-so very happy to hear you let the hang-ups temporarily go and had fun! I totally get this; once you leave your comfort zone-whether to the next state or country-the true perspective of a situation comes into focus. Traveling helps me tremendously with getting out of my head.

    Thank you so very much for this entertaining and good-news update.

    I'm going to turn The Sandwich on to this post. Bye!

    BTW, what is 'FTW' when you were talking about the little tvs? The only thing I could think of is 'f**k the world'.

    1. Thanks Gail! I guess I need to travel more..it really did put things into perspective.

      FTW, means "For the Win". I too, used to think it meant "Eff the World" and I couldn't figure out why people would say that all the time. Why eff the world? What did the world ever do to them?

      I had to ask my cool friend Leslie what it meant after I saw her use it in a facebook status. I've been waiting, patiently, to use it ever since.

      Thanks for reading!

    2. PS: what is The Sandwich? See, I don't know anything.

  3. My friend Nylce posts your blog on facebook every once in awhile and I love you!! So glad you had a wonderful time in Amsterdam.

    1. Hi Meg! Thank you so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment! I'm glad you're enjoying my crazy talk :o)


  4. Ah yes! Finally I can live vicariously again (I have no life)! Thanks for the travelogue, equal parts gorgeous and hilarious. And lemme tell ya -- the Dutch, according to actual science n' stuff, are THE tallest population of all the people in the world, so don't feel so bad! (Make sure to stop in a few Asian countries on your trip around the world, not only would that be awesome on its own, but the folks there will make you feel tall!)

    O, and grenee229, "FTW" means "For The Win" -- but I like your translation just as much. :)

    Cheers, --Salish

    1. Thanks Salish! Yes I think I joked about taking a trip to Japan in order to feel some Amazonian love. Dutch people are just so darn pretty.

      Thanks also for the translation for Grenee! I have been waiting to use FTW somewhere and just threw that in. Because basically, the whole trip was FTW. See, I can't use it right.

      Thanks, as always, for reading!

  5. When I introduced Reuben, as I do with everyone else, I said, "his name is Reuben, just like the sandwich".

  6. I was trying to be funny & elusive.

  7. You are so funny. Glad you had a great time!

    p.s.--i'm sorry if you've already posted this, but whatever happened with your daughter's dentist appt? I know you cancelled but was just wondering how your EX took the news when he found out.

    1. Sil..I didn't cancel it. I had no idea who he was taking him to see for the extraction. I called the dentist they normally see but they had no clue what I was talking about.

      I did send a very polite, civil email explaining to Big Daddy why this was not a good time and would he please cancel and reschedule. He refused.

      So..I did what had to be done: I decided to just let go of it. Charlie would be ok, I wasn't going away for a month or anything. I have a lot of friends here who could and would help out if needed. And since he's 18 now I am not on the hook for any unreimbursed expenses.

      I was, and still am, struggling with these sporadic parenting attempts made by him. I'm trying really hard to just let things be and go with the flow. Fighting him is too hard and in the end, only hurts me and the kids.

      I have a blog post brewing about it, of course, lol.

      Thank you for reading!!!!

  8. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! So happy for you!

    1. Thank you Traci! It was a blast. Hard to believe it actually happened, ha.

  9. Jenny! So happy you had a fabulous time & everything went fine on the homefront. You, my dear, are hysterical and soooo spot-on. Reading this made my day. Cheers to you and happy Friday~


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