and this is why you never travel w/ family, Vol. 1

Ah, the trip.  When Sex Therapist called me after my return her first question was “So, how was the trip?” And I was silent. Truth was and still is,  I have no idea how to answer.  Was it awesome? Parts of it were. Other parts, not so much. Did you have fun? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I’m going to get all the crap that went on during the trip out of the way now, so I can focus on the parts that were good.

As my tweets will show, prior to the trip MommaPithy and TioTiny were getting on my nerves a bit. I live in a  jr. 1-bedroom/studio basement apt. My bedroom doesn’t have a door, just curtains. The only real door  within the apt is the bathroom door and that is made of canvas. So in other words, no real privacy. Three people and one cat all in the same little area for 4 days. While they did adhere to my “no Fox News when I’m here” policy after the first night, I forgot toextend that to all types of mind-numbing Spanish game shows. Forget Hulu, 12 Corazones and Sabado Gigante is what will turn minds to mush. Painfully.

In the 4 days prior to our leaving I had at least 2 lectures regarding my weight and 3 regarding my “alcoholism.” Apparently ordering a margarita at lunch and having 2-3 glasses of wine that night means I cannot live without drinking and therefore am an addict.

Here’s the thing about my mom: on her own, yes she’s slightly annoying with her lectures and her opinions, but I can manage her. I tell her to drop whatever she’s yapping about and she will.  Add another family member or one of her friends and she becomes this hyper-sensitive creature pouncing on my every move.  My mom always says that she’s afraid to meet my friends b/c she thinks they will judge me b/c of her looks and her accent. I always tell her she’s crazy since if they were my friends they wouldn’t do that. And the peeps that aren’t really my friends do not want to find out whether or not I’m joking about the machete. (I’m not, btw) When my mom is w/ her peeps and me, it’s like she HAS to over-criticize everything as if to prove that she tried to raise me in the proper way and I’ve turned into this rebellious monster outside of her influence. Almost as if she’s ashamed of me for not being her little clone.

Add to this my uncle, who is a clone of my mother in every way, and you have a not so fun lead-up to the trip. My original plan for this trip was to go alone. If my friends came, great, but I was fine going alone.  My mom expressed interest in going, so I made it a mother/daughter trip. She was the one who had filled my head w/ stories os Spain, so I thought it fitting that we go together. And since combining my mother and my friends NEVER turns out well for me (more lectures on the bad influences I hang out with), I didn’t push matters w. my friends. Three weeks before we leave, my uncle invites himself on the trip and my mother, of course, has no issue w/ it. My uncle used to be fun (I hadn’t seen him in almost 4 years as part of my Florida boycott), sodespite my doubts, I didn’t fuss, not that it would have mattered anyway.

My uncle isn’t loaded, but he does have more money than my mother and I, so my mother thought he would be help out with things like dinners and such. We weren’t expecting to be our sugar daddy on the trip, but to be a little more generous when it came to splitting the bill. Boy, was she wrong, but more on that later.

It’s travel day. We drop off TioTiny since he has an earlier flight, come back and then cab to DCA. During check-in, we discover that our bags are overweight. Instead of checking a 3rd bag like I wanted (despite repeated reading the Continental Airlines luggage rules allowing for 2 bags per customer for European travelers, MommaPithy was convinced that we would be charged for the 3rd and 4th bags), we had tried to cram 3 people’s stuff into 2 bags. TioTiny didn’t check anything since he would be at the Barcelona airport for 3 hours waiting on us. He didn’t want to go to the hotel and wait b/c that would be a waste of cab fare.  So there we are at check-in yanking all the heavy, non-liquid stuff we could find. In the end, every pair of shoes we brought were shoved into our carry-on bags.

We get to our gate with a lengthy stretch of waiting ahead of us. MP is hungry so I situate her behind a large post (she thought I was trying to find a quiet place to sit) and go the bar/grill to order noms and a shot of something resembling a SoCo and lime shot. We wait and wait and wait. Finally, it’s close to our original boarding time 6.50 (our flight was to land at Newark at 8.19 and our next flight to Madrid was leaving at 10.45), so we move closer to the gate. Boarding time passes and there’s no announcement. Odd. I get up to check what’s going on and I see that our flight is now leaving at 7.15, and then 7.30. I queue up w/ the other passengers to make sure we’ll have time to make our connection when I see that the time has been changed AGAIN, this time to 8.10, 9 minutes before we were supposed to land. And still, no announcement from Continental Airlines.

Um, Cuntinental Airlines, can we have a word? It’s generally considered good customer service to inform your customers that their fucking flight has been delayed to the point that the departure time is what the arrival time would have been. Especially since a majority of the people on the flight had connections to make. It’s also wise to make yourannouncement during the first set of delays and not at 7.50. If the people lined up had not starting yelling at the inept asswipes that Cuntinental employed, I seriously doubt that there would have been any acknowledgement at all to the delay. Also, having the CORRECT gate information for people attempting to make their connecting flights, would be advised as to prevent little grey-haired 65-yr-old ladies runningaround trying to make their flights. Just a thought.

We made it to Barcelona fine, with the only issue in Barca being the horribly designed airport and complete lack of signage. We went to the wrong baggage claim, waiting in vain for our cases, giving directions to the correct claim, which required going thru security again, getting lost, asking for more directions, find the correct place only to not find our suitcases. They were in a little waiting room, waiting for us. We then went thru customs, again, and found TioTiny where he had been waiting for the past 4 1/2 hours. By now, I’m tired, sweaty, makeup worn off, cranky and really have to pee. First thing my uncle does? “Let’s taky a peekshure!!” I wanted to punch him in the throat.

Once settled at the hotel, we go across the street to a little shopping area that has restaurants for dinner. As a kid, we rarely ever went out to eat. Maybe once a year and that was b/c the pastor wanted to go. Now MommaPithy goes out a little more, but the only restaurant she goes to is Golden Corral. Quite the discerning palate, that one.  While I am no restaurant expert, I do know that following the seating host into the restaurant while shouting out what you want to order is generally not the best way to get service.

Nor is it polite to ask the waiter if the water is safe to drink. Regarding the water, the WonderTwins and I had a fight over whether or not the water was safe to drink. Considering that we weren’t in Colombia, none of my friends had said anything about the water and this was a v. modern city, I didn’t give drinking the water a second thought. First thing I did was chug a glass from the tap when we got into the room. The Twins, MommaPithy especially, were convinced that the water was bad and we had to ask. So at the table, TioTiny asked the waiter about the water; the words had barely left his lips when MP started admonishing him for asking such a stupid question. I wanted to punch them both in the throat. Repeatedly.

Then it was time to pay the bill. Again, clapping your hands and shouting at random servers that you want the “ticket” is not the best way to achieve what you want. Also? tipping less than 15% is not a good tip. I’m not sure what the rules are for tipping in Europe, but when in doubt go w. 20% has been my rule. The Twins didn’t like my rule v. much.  Cue up a lecture on spending money.

to be continued…(mostly b/c I have a lot to vent and I’m a wordy bitch)

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~ by pithycomments on June 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “and this is why you never travel w/ family, Vol. 1”

  1. This may be totally off, but I think that the tip is included in the bill in Europe. I can’t remember where I read that… But either way I’m with you. I’d much rather over tip than under tip!

    We got one receipt that looked like it said tip was included, but when we asked the waitress she said it meant tax was included. I forgot to research that before I left. Oh well!

  2. Yeah, the tipping rules in Europe are much different, if I remember correctly. I think it’s 10 percent. However, I definitely agree with you and Maxie!

    Also… You alcoholic. I saw your tweets after they left. “Now that the Wondertwins are gone, time for a bottle of wine.”

    it was a celebratory bottle! Just like the 2 bottles afterward

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