Ready, set, time for the next adventure with the grandkids

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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“Oh no, he’s not 11 already,” I say to my husband as he searches for his glasses. I’m pacing the floor and wringing my hands at the news, wondering why the grandkids keep aging while I stay young and vibrant. (Yes, really!) I poof my hair, sniff and lift my chest with the back of my hands in confirmation. He stands. It begins.

What once use to take a single person, now takes two to do all the planning. We both head for the office to our respective computers.

“Where do you think he’ll want to go?” I ask. “When are we going to go? Can we try summer for a change? Do we need to get shots? “

He sits down at his machine. Then he speaks. One word. “Scotland.”

Whatever possessed us to take our first grandson to Europe, I’ll never know. He was 10 and 10 was too young. Yikes, what a mistake! Wasn’t sure he was going to make it back to the United States with us. We hid but couldn’t shake him. However, like most old people, my husband’s memory faded. (My memory is still good. I’m young and vibrant, remember?) We thought we’d try again and took a granddaughter but moved the age to 11. She was a dream. So 11 is the age. Oh, we don’t do this alone, silly people out there. Are you nuts? Our children aren’t that confident that we’ll return with their pride and joy. One responsible adult that can read the train schedule goes with us.

“Not Portugal or Italy? We’ve never been to Italy,” I say.

“And that would be because we don’t speak Italian, dear,” he says looking through his favorites to find his travel folder.

“I see,” I ponder. “Where’s your sense of adventure?” I put my hands on my hips.

“It left after we went to Ireland during that freak snow storm. Something they hadn’t seen in 80 years!” He huffed.

I remember that. Thought we would never get out of that plane. We just kept circling around the little island until the pilot decided we were running out of gas. We landed in Dublin. We walked out of the terminal and there is was – The Problem. Oh my, it was beautiful. Huge snowflakes we licked from the sky as we waited in line for hours to get a taxi to our hotel. Trucks, cars and people stranded in queue. Brr.

I shiver at the thought. Oh well, that was then and this is now. Hard to remember such beauty in 100-degree Texas heat.

Sighing, I look over my shoulder at my partner who is in his final warm-up stage. I hear his new computer sing while mine is still struggling to recognize that someone has touched its keys. The more experienced planner lifts his shoulders up and down, rolling them front to back, then one at a time like he’s getting ready to swim the 100-meter fly. He stretches his arms out to do some side bends, interlaces his fingers turning them inside out over the keyboard, rolls his head around and takes a deep breath, hold, hold, hold, and then out slowly through pursed lips, sailing two sheets of paper off his desk, clearing his brain of cobwebs. Oh brother.

At some mysterious signal, we start the search for the best price on air travel. I have a slight advantage in that I do know how to type with more than two fingers. He has the advantage of his favorites and an incredible memory plus receipts.

“I found one,” I yell, looking for the buzzer.

“Is it a nonstop?” he questions without looking up. “Is it an airline we’ve ever heard of?”

Spoil sport. I keep looking. “How about this one?” I hear him pecking away.

“Does it fly out of Dallas?” Shoot.

“Here we go,” he says, pointing to his find. Click, click, click (sound effects). “Passports,” the surgeon holds out his hand. This will take some time as he phones our son to get the exact spelling of his name. Really? We’ve know the kid since birth. And because our grandson is a junior, I expect the names are similar if not exactly the same. Yep, I was right. He hangs up.

“Calendar,” he’s talking to himself because the computer has already recorded the dates.

“Is that a question?” I ask, looking over his shoulder.

BOOM! Booked.

From a magic drawer somewhere in that desk comes the Britrail schedule from the last trip we took to Scotland. He unfolds it from its years of confinement. Then sliding the folded manuscript back and forth over the edge of the desk, it straightens out and lays flat.

“When was THAT printed?” I ask.

“It’s a bit old, but,” he assures me, “the Brits don’t change, rearrange or update like we Americans. Look at the queen! She’s still there.” Good point.

He thumbs through the pages with little stubby man fingers scrolling down each line carefully. He finds the site on the internet and begins to reserve our tickets He taps our L-E-E. Phew that was a toughie. I’m still hopeful my old computer will change screens.

We move on to hostels, hotels, bed and breakfasts or people that we might be related to. OK, scratch the people. We don’t know anyone over there.

The first three trips to Scotland, we stayed at Mrs. Doubtfire and her husband’s B&B. We could have counted them as acquaintances except they got tired of the cold and moved to Cyprus. This information we got from someone on the street as we stood at their door trying to get in. They are such friendly and helpful people. We stayed across the street.

“Our hostel is still there,” he sounds amazed.

“Are you sure we can stay there after the kids turned the community shower knobs too far and we couldn’t turn them off?” I make a note: shower shoes. “Or was that the one that dribbled water and kept turning itself off?”

“So is that it? Are you finished bragging?” I comment, turning my computer off since it’s still searching for airline tickets.

He just smiles and so do I.

Another adventure into the wilderness, through the ancient castles, up and down the cobbled roadways, over the drawbridge, and around the towering turrets we are ready to go. Now where did I put my passport?

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