A little over a week ago, I posted about what was working well for us. Of course, there is always a flip side. So, today, I thought I’d focus on the things we’re finding a bit more challenging.
Two warnings: 1) Some of this might be TMI. Consider yourself warned. 2) Some of this might appear vain. It is what it is.
Showers — I already mentioned our challenge with the cords that turn on showers (Stratford-Upon-Avon). Actually, they turn on the heat for the showers, and we’ve now run into these a lot in both England and Ireland. Sidenote: Be carefully when pulling said cords. When they break off in Hubs’ hand, you’re basically doomed.
That has not been our only challenge with showers. Let’s start with temperature. Sometimes, if the system heating up the shower doesn’t work fast enough, you get a cold shower. Or an alternately hot and cold shower. Or one that adjusts temperature so rapidly with even the slightest turn of a knob that you pretty must fry yourself.
Or, maybe it is willing to give you hot water if that is what you desire. Can’t heat the water up fast enough? No problem. It will give you the water when it gets to the temperature you want. So, you get shampoo in your hair only to have the pressure reduced to a trickle at most which leaves you with a few options: 1) Attempt to get the shampoo out of your hair one strand at a time; 2) Turn the water to cold and deal with it; 3) Stand there shivering in the shower until the water is heated up enough that you get decent pressure…for about 30 seconds, and then you’re back to square one.
And of course we need to mention shower size. As in miniscule. Slide open the
cubicle shower doors, and squeeze yourself in. Wash yourself off (no washcloths, but we were prepared for that), but don’t plan on turning around at all as that isn’t possible in most cases. Wait a minute, ladies. Need to shave? Forget it. Underarms, maybe. Legs? Not an option. I have been known to step outside the shower, put a leg back in and shave that way. Awkward, but it gets the job done.
Hair — my good friend, Melony, asked me, “What are you going to do about your hair? I know I would have planned for a haircut on the very last day before I left.”
I’d already done that. Leaving June 20th? Color and cut scheduled for the 19th. And I even did one better — color and cut already scheduled for the day after our return.
But, in the meantime, I have to figure out at least one haircut during the trip. Hubs and JJ got haircuts in Dingle, Ireland. Easy when you’re a guy. Missa B doesn’t cut her hair. Even easier. Last week, as my hair fell in my face and all I could see was grey, I sent a message to a friend in the Netherlands and asked her if she and/or her mom had a place they trusted. She immediately sent back a message that they both had great people, and should she make me an appointment? I couldn’t say yes fast enough. So, I know I will get a good cut…in mid to late August. If you only see me wearing hats in photos for the next few weeks, you’ll know why.
Although I do have a secret. Right before we left the States, I searched Amazon for an easy color solution and found a brush-on grey coverage powder called WOW. Put the order on my Prime account, got the compact, tried it, and immediately ordered another one. So, I have two compacts with me, and I think I have the grey covered for the trip. (No pun intended. OK, fine, pun intended, and Hubs’ grandpa, our master pun maker, would be proud.)
Playgrounds — actually this has worked out great. The kids love them, and it gives us all a chance to relax. Except when I go to the store and leave Hubs in charge. Instead of watching the kids, he takes pictures of them.
She got herself a good bump on the head, but with a bit of ice from Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, Ireland (great food — highly recommend it!), she was fine.
Toilets — this has actually improved. Overall, we’ve been able to stop at regular intervals. We have only had a few issues.
One was when both Missa B and I needed a quick stop, and Hubs said, “Let’s wait until we get on the M1 and stop then.” I agreed. Except when we had been on the M1 for about 15 minutes, I saw a sign that said “Services — 45 kilometers.” Yep, nothing for 45 kilometers. And then we hit traffic. And didn’t move for 20 minutes. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it started to rain. We made it, but that rule I have always stuck to about putting toilet paper down on public toilet seats? Might have broken that one. Just saying.
And sometimes your mind plays tricks on you when a member of your party is desparate:
And then there was today. We are at a lovely B&B in Ireland, and we actually have our own apartment. Hubs was helping JJ with his hair in the bathtub (yes, I shaved), and sat down on the toilet seat. Which shattered into several pieces. Should be a nice conversation with the owner in the morning. I anticipated spending money on this trip, but not on toilet seats.
Clothes — We packed well. One carryon and one smallish backpack each. Enough clothes to get through the 4 1/2 months. Or so I thought. Here are the tragedies in the first 5 1/2 weeks:
- Missa B has 4 pairs of leggings/long pants. She already put a hole in one of them.
- Hubs has 3 shirts. Don’t even ask. I obviously didn’t ask, or else he would have had more. In the first 2 weeks, he ripped two of them. We have replaced them.
- JJ already outgrew a pair of shoes. Haven’t found a replacement because Ireland has been so darn cold that no one is selling sandals.
- I have 2 nicer short-sleeve shirts. In the first 3 weeks, both of them have ripped. They are thinner material and lacy and just can’t hack the traveling schedule. I can still wear them as they have not yet qualified as full-blown wardrobe malfunctions, but they aren’t going to fly as “nice” shirts anymore. Upside is they are from Nordstrom, and they have already told me via chat that I can just send them back in November and get my money back.
- I bought a pair of REALLY comfortable flats for the trip. Wore them a fair amount before we left the States. Turns out they are not so comfortable on cobblestones for 8 hours. So for the past 3.5 weeks, I have worn nothing but gym shoes (white ones — huge fashion faux-pas!) and look dorky. I also have been nursing a very sore Achilles tendon for that long as well. But I’ve learned some good stretches too!
- So far the only thing not yet damaged is underwear. Although someone in the family has had to to the commando thing once. Or twice.
Sorry. Sworn to secrecy.