Okay so PERHAPS telling mom to leave her door open all night was a BIT of a mistake.  Amalfi basically had a typhoon at 3am.

Those of you reading this who know me well know I’m a sketchy mess most of the time.  Although I like to consider myself brave, I can get nervous trying to anticipate when the microwave will beep. Well, I come by this honestly.  My mother is both the bravest woman I know, and Piglett. All rolled into one.  The other thing to note about my mom is that she listens to whatever she is told.  If Nicole and I told her that she needed to rob the Credit Union in a bunny suit while holding a carrot gun because it would help feed the orphan’s in Africa-she would promptly peal carrots and fluff her tail, all the while shouting “RICK! HURRY UP.”  So when I show up at her door this morning and see her big brown eyes red rimmed and “Karen style” sketched out, I know its been a rough night.

Mom explains that when the wind picked up in her room, she thought she had to leave the doors open as long as possible-because we told her too.  They woke to a tornado in their room, which knocked over a candle holder and smashed it on the floor, while banging the doors and shutters all night.  When she finally decided to get up and close the doors she thought she’d plug in her hair straightener and do her hair- only to blow a fuse after fire and smoke poured out of the wall.  Then she came out to find dad talking to his dentures and holding her nail file.

NOT off to a great first day in Amalfi.

In any case, we leave and go down to breakfast.  The hotel has the BEST spots for breakfast lunch and dinner.  On 3 diferent floors, all facing the beautiful coast line and Amalfi town.  And breakfast is just as good as dinner. Served buffet style, they have bacon, scrambled eggs and toast.  They even accommodate Nicole’s hard boiled egg massacre (6-8 all pealed and raped of their whites).  Dad, usually a big breakfast eater, only picks up a small scoop of scrambled eggs.  So I know something is wrong.  He explains that there is a sore spot in his mouth from his denture (this is normal…he only received this new lower implant denture the day before we left).  He is wondering if I can fix it for him.  I explain that being a treatment coordinator at a dental office, and being a Dentist, are vastly different things.  He is not satisfied with this answer.  He hands me a file and begs me.  Up to the room we go.  Dr. Power, Dr. Salyzyn-I’m sorry. And also, I deserve a raise.  I nervously begin to file away with a leopard printed nail file in the bathroom while everyone paces outside.  After 10 minutes of touch and go, I think both dad and the denture are going to make it.  Now to calm mom down…..

Not that Nicole and I have had the best morning either…. Chris is doing his usual- I’m here…But don’t expect me to do anything…  He gets up about 15 minutes before we have to leave- showers, asking me constantly where each item he needs is  (The answer is always IN YOUR KIT BAG)  and puts on the first thing in his suitcase.  Then looks at me and says- Aren’t you ready yet?  Meanwhile, I’ve been up for 3 hours repacking, packing day nap sacks, laying out my clothes, doing make up and hair, counting our cash to make sure we won’t starve, checking emails, blogging, and helping create world peace.  Settle down muppet number 2.   Nicole has also had a morning…..her and gary don’t seem to be talking when they come down and she explains that she did the same as I did last night while gary was having a leisurely nap.  She rearranged her suitcases (we make sure to pack for an international flight so that, instead of having a suit case separately for husband and wife, EACH suit case has a few outfits in them for each of us-so that if the suitcases get lost in transit we are not scrambling. Makes for very dissorginazed packing, but has saved us a time or two.)  So the first night of vacation, provided we have not internal flights, we rearrange things. Now putting all “his” clothes in one, and “her” clothes in the other, And just all around getting our bearings by unpacking and repacking. Just go with it.  SO, Nicole does this last night. It takes about an hour,  but feels so good to be organized.  She Gets up this morning and has a shower. Comes out and Gary is up and at em! Shocker! He’s usually in bed until she tells him she’s done in the bathroom.  But he proudly tells her that he got up and noticed everything in the suitcases was a mess-not at all in the order it was when they left home! , so while she was showering, he put everything back how it was.  Just to help her out.   She twitches a few times and says, Thank you honey.  But I think the last straw was when, while HE was showering, she took out all the items they would need for the day nap sack-extra warm clothes to take with them, camera and accessories, snacks, beers, glasses, etc…and set them on the bed to pack in Gary’s mule bag….only to find out that when Gary came out of the bath room he also put all of “that mess” back in the suitcases.  “Can you please keep things in order Nicole. This is getting exhausting.”.  That’s when things got a little tense.

So, YAY AMALFI! Anyway.  We got this…..

We leave for our driving tour of the coast today.  As we climb in the bus, gary tells us all we need a little music to start the day, and promptly puts on Abba-all set up and ready to go with a CD from home.  He and Chris Giggle uncontrollably.  Eye roll.  This stupid Abba obsession follows us everywhere.  Each time it happens I have a flash back to gary in a dress In Greece. Thankfully for him I didnt blog then.

We have rented a NINE person mini bus-Gary is an amazing driver as I mentioned.  SO off we go.  We will be driving to Naples and around the coast through Sorrento and Positano today.  We set out and within the first 10 minutes are squeezing through these Amalfi roads like pros.  Mom and dad are in the front so they have a great view-its a sunny and warm-but windy-day perfect for sight seeing.  They quickly find out that driving around amalfi is an adventure all on its own.  At least 3 times we have to reach out our windows and pull in our mirrors to avoid hitting other vehicles around turns.  I kid you not.  There are times when we meet huge tour busses around switchback turns that we then have to share the one car road with.  And backing up is not usually an option for either party as the roads are packed with cars behind and in front.  So each vehicle pulled their mirrors in.  We are EASILY able to touch the vehicles next to us. I feel like I could reach out and share food with the people in the passenger seats of the cars we are passing.

Its a beautiful drive.  The coast is so frozen in time-its like Dean Martin came to Amalfi and put a spell on it.  1950’s charm meets the ancient mountains at every turn.  Such a diferent Italy then the tourist hot spots of Tuscany and Venice.  Here, smoking doesn’t kill you-day drinking is fine, and lady’s still wear head scarfs and perfume while the men lounge in their speedos and take lunch at the beach to whistle at the beautiful lady’s.  This is Sinatra’s  Italy. The drive takes us about 3 hours and it is magnificent.  And a nice change in pace from the hectic travel day we had yesterday.

We are excited to introduce Gonzo and Camilla to the lunch riticual! On our way back to the hotel we stop at the “Florida Market”.  A nice little “find everything” market on the side of the mountain that we can easily see from our Hotel.  It is only open when the owners feel like it-and we’re in luck! Open and ready for business.  We buy olives, bread, tomatoes, pesto, hot pepper spread, olive oil, balsamic, prosciutto, 6 bottles of wine, potato chips and Pecorino cheese and lots of fruit.  It only comes to $53 Euro! I LOVE ITALY.  Then the trick is that we have to get all of this (about 6 grocery bags full) through the main lobby and up to our rooms without anyone seeing it all or hearing the 6 bottles clink.  They make it very clear that you are not to bring outside food in. But we’re rebels. And Nicole is cheap. So we pack all the groceries into our napsacks and purses- I think we make mom bring grapes in in her mouth hamster style- and we are good to go for an amazing lunch.  Sandwiches on the deck with a view of the world.  Mom and dad are in heaven.  And Dad’s teeth don’t need anymore filing…..yet.  He enjoys lunch and the heat of the day with us.  Its heaven.

Then its free time until about 7pm when we have to meet for dinner.  So we have about 4 hours to kill.  Mom and dad decide to nap and go for a walk…and Nicole, Gary and we decide to drink wine. For four hours.  We know its time to stop when Gary is tasked with opening the 4th bottle, and can’t understand why he can’t get it to open. He’s screwing the corker in FOREVER and pulling with all his might.  Won’t budge.  Then he realizes its a screw top-see pic above. I couldn’t make this stuff up.  Yup.  Might be time to bread load so we can actually walk to dinner.

After just a Little more filing of the denture…….(seriously, I’m so sorry Dr. Power) we head down to dinner.  Its nice to meet back up after a few hours alone.   Mom and dad had a nice walk and a great nap and we don’t remember what we did, but I’m pretty sure it was epic.  Dinner is the usual amazing. At an even better table With a great view thanks to a small tip to the waiter last night.  Veal and salads, wine and bread.  Sigh.

Great first day.  Off to Mom and Dads room for a group blog read, a rum and coke and some dessert chips (its the drover way).   We put Gonzo and Camilla to bed-assuring mom she is allowed to close her doors tonight if she wants.  Then off to the Hersey room for more Rum and coke and more dessert chips.

Until tomorrow 🙂