Do You Know My Neighbor’s Friend’s Cousin’s Sister’s Nephew?

Have you ever traveled outside your country and met someone who asks you where you are from? Usually it is some guy who says, “My Neighbor’s Friend’s Cousin’s Sister’s Nephew lives in Alaska, do you happen to know them?” I always ask their name then politely answer, “No, I don’t think we’ve met. I don’t get out much!” In case you didn’t know, Canada is a large country. Oh you knew that? Well then, Canada has a smallish population about 32 million. Slightly less than the population of California, which sits at 36 million. The chances of me traveling to Belgium and meeting a family member of someone I know is slim to none. Or is it?

The last time we chatted about my travels to Europe was here, before that it was here.  This is the story about the time I went to Bruges.

The entire cast of the Muppet Show was slightly rested and full of chocolate by the time we reached Bruges. This was a place that my Mom dreamed of going. I am THRILLED she thought it was worthy of sharing it with my clan. We arrived after lunch and drove the streets looking for somewhere to park the caravan. Keep in mind, the streets were built at a time where donkey’s ruled the earth by pulling carts. The Urban planners in those days did not share the foresight that today’s planners have. They may have envisioned Oxen pulling carts, but never the Jules Vern version of a caravan.

Dad had the good fortune of negotiating the narrow streets with the cast of Muppets in the back. He found a spot and carefully just stopped where he felt like it and went to find the pay station deserted us. There was a knock on the door, and Honey answered it in the most polite possible way for a Canadian. The Police Officer said in a less than Canadian manner, “Can’t park here! MOVE!” Then his eyes caught the glitter of a Canadian pin on my Honey’s lapel. The Officer’s demeanor changed and he smiled, “Canadian?”

“YES!”, we all cheered the way only Muppets do. If you have ever met my Honey, the you know he has the gift of gab and can make friends with ANYONE. The two struck up a conversation and chatted about the trip, flight, cost of living, plight of the Tiger, parking, and then the question came… Where are you from because I have family in Sherwood Park. You know the sound a needle makes on a vinyl record as it stops? That was the sound in the caravan. The Muppets stopped the boomerang fish from flying, muzzled the chickens, and even Waldorf and Stadler eased up on the wisecracks.

THE MAN SAID SHERWOOD PARK!

Sherwood Park is a tiny little place east of Edmonton. The entire Muppet Cast, except Honey, was FROM Sherwood Park! What are the chances? SHERWOOD PARK! Suddenly, he was family, we became home sick and no…we didn’t know the brother, but it didn’t matter. We now had a friend and allies who would show us the way to parking! His directions were exemplary. We found caravan parking. We were now able to go out and explore Bruges, sample the best Belgium Waffles dripping in chocolate, eat frits and mayo, indulge in rich creamy coffee and enjoy the wonderful city of Bruges. The swans were beautiful, the Architecture was stunning, the cruise on the canal was enchanting. All because we knew a guy who had a brother that was the neighbor of the sister of someone we didn’t know.

If you ever get to Bruges, ask if you could speak to the Police Officer whose brother is a neighbor of the sister of someone the Edmonton Tourist doesn’t know, and say Hi!

It’s Time to Get Things Started, It’s Time to Light the Lights…

The Muppet Show
Image via Wikipedia

I have come to the conclusion that my life has become a series of Muppet Show moments, and I am Kermit the Frog trying to orchestrate all the zany characters of my life. This morning as I left for work… I need to back up to the night before.

Last night no, I need to back up further. Several nights ago I bought some anti-nausea medication for my upcoming trip. On extended flights I can become quite ill, mostly because of the recycled air in the airplane cabin. The anti-nausea meds work quite well for both Chatter Box and I, and has the added benefit of blissful unconscious sleep. My honey, in his infinite wisdom decided to try an anti-nausea meds last night to see if it would have any adverse effects on him. In the morning, he had errands to run because of the last minute detail planning I have done. We talked about the plans the night before, but before I left for work there was a “WAIT! What do I need to do?”  He made a list the night before but he was very groggy and didn’t seem to understand a thing I was saying.

Years before when we took our eldest child at the ripe old age of 7 months to Australia. This meant 27 hours of airports and airtime. I don’t recommend it with a 7 month old but hind sight is 20/20. I was quite ill on the way down under. For the trip back I decided to take an anti-nausea med in Hawaii for the last leg of the trip. I took it in the hotel. After that I do not remember a thing until my parents picked us up in Edmonton. I do not remember changing planes in Vancouver. Nothing, that part of my history is a total blank. My poor Honey dragged me, 3 pieces of luggage, 2 carry-on, a baby AND me through 3 airports. Needless to say, I was not the favorite person on that trip.

So Karma came to visit me this morning and she wasn’t very kind. I talked to my honey 3 times about the list and left for work, stopping to treat myself to a Cafe Latte. By the time I got to work, I learned that all our money that we had been saving and converting into Euros was ( insert foreboding music here) was GONE! Well, isn’t that just craptastic! The first thing out of his mouth was, where did you put it? Excuse me? I wasn’t planning this trip, yes it was hard for me but I let others take the reins. I listed several possibilities of where the money could be. We have since learned that Honey is a squirrel. Money here, money left in this place, and money other there! Back and forth went text messages and emails and a few phone calls. Work was stressful enough. Clients had called me names, and not very flattering names. So I was dealing with this and putting out fires at home. Happily my partner was back, so we were at full complement. Work moved along at a fairly smooth rate. By lunch time, I had received email from my mother telling me about some details in Europe. She explained things to me in such a way that I needed to reassure her that her bossy daughter would be there soon and together we would rule the world! Well, our portion of it anyways. I explained to her about the Muppet Show Shenanigans that had happened earlier in the morning. I could feel her laugh from around the world. The good news is our money was not lost, squirreled away. All the money is found and orders have been given in regards to packing.

I am feeling better about things because I let Bossy Boots out of the box. I am going to let her come with me, clearly she will be needed. She packed the “Just in Case” bag and is thrilled at the opportunity to go to Europe. Even if it is with the Muppets.

Here are two videos for you to watch while I am gone. Hopefully they will remind you of me. It’s okay if you miss me,because I will miss you too!