Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Spreekt u engels?

Jon and I are headed to Amsterdam very early tomorrow morning. Right now Jon is driving Chuck to Grandma’s house where he will be hand fed popcorn and scratched behind the ears with large T-bone steaks. Any time we leave Chuck with Grandma we put together a package of everything he needs including small Ziploc bags containing the exact amount of one meal per bag. We do this because otherwise Grandma would continue scooping food into his bowl until he showed signs that he was full and that would only be when he was dead.

This afternoon we’re driving Leta over to my father’s house where she will stay a few nights until the Avon World Sales Leader returns from her week at work in Los Angeles. My father has been living here for several months, but he and Leta haven’t had a lot of time to bond yet. I get the feeling that within two hours he’ll have her scrubbing the grout between the tiles on the kitchen floor with a toothbrush. You can’t just breathe air, little kid! You have to work for that air you breathe! And as her sweat drips from her forehead onto her bleeding fingers he’ll regale her with stories about his own childhood like the time he used to climb onto his roof and drop glass soda bottles on alley cats. Paw-paw’s a little strict, yes, but Leta’s the only shot we’ve got at a place in his will. She’s been instructed to scrub hard because Mama wants all that leather furniture.

We aren’t sure what our Internet access is going to be like over the next few days — in fact, we don’t have hotel reservations yet! Armstrongs plan for vacations they way they raise their kids: thoroughly. Expect hundreds of photos and an uncensored look at two clumsy Americans fumbling their way around. I will do my best to represent my country by stopping every person I pass on the street and asking, “Y’all ain’t got Taco Bell over here?”

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