This is a follow-up to last week’s post. Part two of a five-ish part series where I inundate you with banal details about my family’s summer vacation. You’re welcome.
Amsterdam was added to this year’s itinerary at the request of our 15 year old. He’d read The Diary of Anne Frank and wanted to visit the apartment from the book. In an effort to not totally throw Chris under the bus here, I’ll just say he was ambivalent about this choice, and questioned it repeatedly. Predictably, I responded with maturity beyond my years:
“We will go to Amsterdam because when your teenage son requests to visit a location based on something he’s read, and is excited about going, and you’re able to make it happen, and you have to connect there anyway because of flight schedules; YOU F^&*ING DO IT. This is not rocket surgery. This is sarcastic bitch momma parenting of teens 101.”
Did I mention travel planning can be a bit of a challenge?
Once we established an Amsterdam stopover was, indeed, a winning idea, I released my control freak tendencies just long enough to let Chris be in charge of booking accommodations. I was pretty sure we’d end up sharing a bedroom with the likes of Ted Bundy, and may or may not have suffered minor angina on a daily basis while checking airbnb and booking.com and reading ‘only 13% of listings are available for these dates.’ He did, as promised, book an apartment. It’s ideal location was only slightly marred when I found out the apartment was home to an adorbs little kitty. I don’t hate cats, but I don’t love them either. And they tend to turn Elise into an incessantly dripping snot faucet. And, though we were well stocked with epipens, she and I both managed to forget to bring zyrtec or an inhaler.
In addition to the cat, other fun aspects of this apartment include:
- waiting on the street for close an hour to be let in– super fun after an eight hour flight!
- being greeted by an ashtray full of cigarette butts
- the owner omitting the piece of information about the back door needing to be left open for adorbs kitty to be able to get to his litter box (and adorbs kitty subsequently defecating in the kitchen and urinating on the bed)
Let the record show that I’m being super bitchy here (I know it’s shocking). The apartment’s drawbacks were definitely compensated for by its cost. The cat was not mentioned in the airbnb listing, so I’m letting hubs off the hook for that and the smokey smell was pretty much gone once the guy got the unit cleaned. There was a pharmacy a few doors down (conveniently stocked with antihistamines), lots of good places to eat within walking distance, a fast food joint next door that sold milkshakes late into the evening and, most importantly, a coffee/pastry shop across the street. I’m still not a fan of that damn cat, though.
As reward for releasing my iron grip on the lodging situation, I declared myself entitled to book activities for our brief stay and announced everyone would love every minute of them or get punched in the throat.
At the suggestion of a friend who’d been recently, I booked a canal cruise with pizza for the evening of our arrival. I cannot recommend this highly enough if your family enjoys crabby and dysfunctional tendencies like mine. Scenery, pizza, and bottomless drinks are amazingly effective tools for smoothing rough edges of teenage kids and jet-lagged parents.
Unbeknownst to us when booking, our stay in Amsterdam coincided with their Pride celebration. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by feelings of love and acceptance and all of us being completely fucking ok; no matter who POTUS is. Look! A cluster of penis balloons! And a rainbow tram car! And Trump isn’t the President here! And the parade took place IN THE CANALS. Why, oh why, would I ever want to go home?
Also a pleasant surprise was The Heineken experience. This was not part of my flawlessly planned Amsterdam itinerary, but just so happened to be within a few blocks of our not altogether awful apartment. Chris decided we needed to do it. It didn’t require a lot of arm twisting on his part, because, beer. I don’t know that I’d call it a highlight, but I do think the pictures of my kids riding bikes (including Jerod’s action shot while dabbing) were worth the price of admission.
Our final day in Amsterdam was spent on a countryside bike tour. It was so splendid that I’d pretty much give up my right kidney if I could be back on that bike right this minute. Also worth it for the pictures of my kids, covering their faces and informing me I don’t have their consent to post them anywhere. Good one, kids. Good one. I OWN YOU (at least for now I do). We’ll talk about consent when you pay your own way. Or unload the dishwasher without being reminded 72 times. Or shower without being told.
This brings us to another abrupt ending to a post with too many words. The vacation diaries are admittedly disjointed and out of order, because I’m rebellious like that. In case you’re wondering about Anne Frank, stay tuned. It was an experience worthy of its own post.