1. So Nicole has been on a work tour for 2 weeks.  Which has left me to wrangle Gonzo and Camilla-side note-this is what I will be calling my parents from now on.  Rick-Gonzo- NO idea of his limitations- ready to rocket out of something at all times, can annoy you with questions like its his job,  big nose, and can’t quite remember where he is or what he’s supposed to be doing. Enter my mother-Camilla-his most cherished of Chickens. (Even if he can’t quite remember which one she is most of the time).  So yes, I have to pack for myself and Gonzo and Camilla also.  Throw in an impromptu heart issue hospital stay for Camilla, a whole denture fiasco for Gonzo and a Dog that can SENSE travel and instantly fake an ailment-and you have a whole new level of Muppet Show.

Anyway, everyone is packed (with everything they own i swear) and Nicole and Gary get home just in time to meet us for our noon departure.  After 2 wardrobe changes for me, we leave (I HATE it when Nicole looks cuter then me.)  Now, I’m a nervous wreck.  Mom has congestive heart failure….and it MAY not be the best idea for her to fly to Europe.  But we’re doing it anyway…..life’s short.  I think we have eveything covered.  AND, as I mentioned in my first blog, this is all dad’s fault.

Security is fine, expect for when the gate attendant asks dad if he packed his bag himself.  We all hold our breath.  I feel like saying, “lady, if he’d packed his bag himself all he’d have is polydent, a denture case, denture cleaning tablets, a denture brush, a video about implant dentures on his ipad, his bible- and a list of places his dentures could be (his pocket, Truro, Summit Dentistry, Karen’s pocket…) AND NO FREAKING DENTURES. So NO. He did NOT pack his own bag.”  But he answers yes. Thank God. And off we go to our plane.

Montreal is our stop over and goes fine. And the flight to Rome is perfect! I have made it my goal to make mom get up and walk every 2 hours for a few minutes. I know it will be annoying, but I developed a blood clot coming back from China, so I’m super sensitive about making sure she doesn’t get one. And she can’t wear the compressions socks with her heart condition. So I’m going to be all super daughter and make sure my mother is taken care of.  Because I’m the good daughter. I’m just sweet like that.  So we get on the plane, I take an Ativan because engines start up and freak me out, and I fall asleep for 8 hours.  Daughter fail number one.  I DID breifly wake up 2 hours in and make her walk around. And Chris woke her up for walk # 2.  And she woke herself up for #3.  So relax! She’ll be fine.

Dad still has his teeth.  I will keep you updated on their progress….oh wait…maybe I didn’t blog about the teeth yet…let me explain.  Dad’s teeth are a whole thing.  He has dentures-for the past year.  And he loses them like he’s in the denture loss Olympics.  Like hes writing the “dr. Suss has dentures” children’s book. He’s lost them in his pants. They’ve fallen out during rants. He’s lost them in the car. He’s lost them near and far. He’s left them at restaurants.  He’s lost them in our back yard-only for Chris to find them while mowing…and the most epic of all-Once he got home from a trip to Newfoundland and realized they dropped out of the car in Truro  while we were switching drivers (an hour and half drive from our home)….he drove back up there and picked them up in the parking lot of the movie theatre we stopped in.  SO yes, there will be denture check in’s as we go.  Nicole and I have come up with a system We yell, “denture check”, and Dad chomps his teeth together in his mouth loud enough for us to hear.  It’s effective, AND we cry laughing everytime.  Win, win.

SO, we all get to Italy in one piece! And everyone is ready to GO.  We stop for our rental van and hit the road. Driving to Amalfi.  We are old pro’s, so we have snacks on hand, and only need to stop for the occasional beer – for passengers only of course.  Gary is driving-and last time we did this drive after a long flight we got to our hotel in Amalfi and Gary informed us he’d slept most of the drive. (Yes. He was the driver). So we decide this time to stop for a break half way there (its about a 4 hour drive).  We stop at a gas station rest stop- and the girls go in while the boys rest.  And away we go again.

We hit Naples (driving around the famous Vesuvius) and then on to Amalfi at about 2pm and make our way to our hotel. Familiar ground for us, but I think Gonzo and Camilla are in a little culture shock-not from the people-but the driving.  The driving in Amalfi is like Costco.  I’m not sure how else to describe it.  Its like there’s a 2 for one sale on Toilet Paper at Costco and they only have 100 packages, and all of Halifax is out of TP and just had Mexican.  I”m not sure what everyone here is in such a rush to get to, but they are GETTIN THERE.  And throw in the fact that these roads are made approximately the width of a horse drawn carriage….but have nothing but huge tour busses and fast Italian cars on them, and Gonzo’s teeth are pretty much hiding themselves.  Crazy.  But Muppet #1 (Gary) is AMAZING as our driver.  He drives our 9 seater Fiat bus with no trouble at all-all while Nicole and I scream and giggle and cry laughing-you know- the usual. So here’s to Gary! Our new hero.

We get to our hotel – The Grand Excelsior Amalfi- and up to our usual rooms.  Mom and Dad are of course given the best room- and huge beautiful king room with a million dollar view- and the other four muppets take 2 side by side rooms just a few doors down.  That way we can party late into the night while the rents go to bed early……

Dinner is served in the Hotel restaurant overlooking Amalfi town.  Pictures mom and dad have seen over and over again in our travel updates, and always dreamed they’d see-and now are.  Mom says that it feels very surreal to be here.  Like most travel experiences, I’m betting it won’t hit her until she’s home-and has her “OMG I WAS THERE” moment. Nicole and I are going to do our best to remind her to feel it now.

Dad meanwhile says ‘Who’s Pregnant?” Every time his waiter says “prego”- something Italians say CONSTANTLY.  Its like the Italian version of “yess by” for you Newfoundlanders.  Its a whole thing.  But he still has his teeth, and he still knows which one of us is Camilla, so we havn’t overwhelmed him too much yet.

We have veal and tagliatelle and Panacotta for dinner. Accompanied by our favorite, Sam Marco wine.  Then we put the rents to bed.  ITs been a long day for Gonzo and Camilla.  We take a few pics of their first night in Italy, full moon over the balcony. And then we instruct them to leave their balcony doors open wide and enjoy the italian night while they sleep.  And we go off to party.

Or not.  As I mentioned in the China blog, the first night of vacation for me is ROUGH.  Like I’m Sir Edmond Hilary and I’m just coming down to base camp after 16 hard days on Everest.  With a bunch of muppets. That have never climbed before.  I am OUT. DROP THE MIKE. O. U. T.  All i remember is pouring a glass of wine, and waking up as Gary and Chris tuck me into bed.  I don’t know where Nicole is, but Gary is very cuddly! Kidding. I think.  The whole night is a blur.  Tomorrow we are set to explore this coast line.  Jet lag is hard (although after China it seems like a walk in the park)- and so I hope that Mom and Dad sleep well.

Until tomorrow!