Cathy Goes to Boston

Hello, friends.

I’m coming to you live from the hotel of some hotel in Boston and then my living room (because I wrote and rewrote this over multiple days), having just had the most amazing weekend. I’d like to tell you about it and show you some pictures, but I don’t think I’ll really be able to capture what it meant to me. Continue reading

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Iceland, Day 3

How has it been three days?!

Today we put our rental car to the test and went from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon — a 5-hour trip one way.I hardly slept last night so, to no one’s surprise, I was a little grumpy. But Chris took the wheel after an hour, and I got a nap. And then some lunch. And then my mood improved. Oh, Monica. How does she put up with you?

Our first stop was Reynisfjara, which also happened to be the wallpaper in Chris’ computer for two years. Bucket list item for her.

Next we stopped at a crazy diner/gas station/mini mart that I dubbed Icelandic Sheetz. We had delicious lamb soup and a lamb burger.

Our last stop was Jökulsárlón, a lake that had bits of glacier bobbing in it. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

One of the best parts of the day was the scenery along the way, so here’s some of that.

Also, our first task of the day? Getting gas. It’s 6am and 3 degrees Celsius outside. I pay with my credit card, and it asks for a pin.

But…I have no pin.

It’s freezing, I’m exhausted, and we are in Iceland. I shrug and enter the pin to my debit card, thinking if I ever set one up, that was probably it.

Bingo.

Oh, and I thought I locked us in a bathroom for 20 seconds before Chris saved the day.

Tomorrow’s our last day here! So much lamb soup, so little time.

Iceland, Day 2

Day 2 in the Books!

We got a bit of a late start, because we slept almost 14 hours. Whoops. But we needed it, and it made yours truly much more pleasant to be around.

I drove again today (because I’m shit at navigating and a slightly better driver), and we made a couple wrong turns and I didn’t let someone go who had the right of way. I was pretty annoyed with myself and getting a bit discouraged. And then the radio, which plays a mix of Icelandic and American music, played “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Commence sobbing.

“Think that’s your dad trying to calm you down?” Chris asked.

I did. And it did.

No further problems the rest of the day, except that Chris took issue with how fast I went over the speed bumps. (“We both almost hit our heads on the ceiling!”) Whatever. I went the speed limit. Oh, and she insists I almost wrecked the car when I saw a gay-rainbow bus. I was fully in control, but I was pretty excited.

We saw Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geyser (the geyser which all geysers are named after!), plus Strokker geyser, which we saw erupt a few times. We spent the evening strolling the city a bit and finished with a delicious meal at Burro, an Icelandic tapas restaurant.

My only regret is that we didn’t stop at Ruby Tuesday. Who knew there were three in Iceland?! Zero in Pittsburgh and three here. So unfair.

Iceland, day 1

Hello, friends. We left Pittsburgh at 7:00 (or a little after, because our departure was not punctual) and arrived in Iceland around 5:00am local time, which is 1:00am Yinzer time. Neither Chris nor I slept much on the flight, so it made for an exhausting day.

We picked up our rental (and got upgraded to a Kia SUV and not the tiny sedan we originally chose) and made our way to the Blue Lagoon. Even with our dilly-dallying, we were an hour early. I took a brief snooze, and then we headed in, dashing ahead of a bus full of people because we booked a slightly better package.

So, picture it. A man hands you a towel and a bathrobe and you’re ushered to a changing room. You’re told you have to fully shower before you go into the lagoon. We stood around awkwardly, not knowing what to do and even getting confused by the lockers. Am I supposed to strip naked and head to the shower, then march, still naked, back to a changing area to put on my sweet, sweet bathing costume? Why are so many other people in their suits? Does “fully naked” mean something different?

Anyway, we finally figured it out. There were a few hiccups (like when Chris saw a guy steal my towel and then HE DENIED IT, and other fun stuff), but overall it was a magical experience. Then we walked around the lagoon and headed to Reykjavik, where I had a much better Airbnb experience than last time, and we just mulled around a bit.

Here are some pics.

Traveling Fandras

What happens when you are talking via Twitter DM with someone you met one time at a con and she expresses sadness that she wasn’t able to get a Fandras shirt before traveling overseas? You overnight your Fandras shirt to her, of course, because that makes an excellent story.

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Pictured — Emily Andras so angry with me, she will exact her revenge several months later by blocking me on Twitter for 36 hours. “Accidentally.”

After a quick trip to the post office the next day, Heather (@RealSmarticus) has my blessed “original” Fandras shirt the day of the premiere and is ready to make stuff happen. I, of course, am going through Fandras withdrawal, but this Earper will push on.

First, I got proof of life shipping success.

fandrasheather

THANK YOU, USPS.

Continue reading

Yinzers of the Caribbean — live blog of the pre-trip activities

Tomorrow, Chris and I leave for vacation with Chris’ family. We are heading for the Caribbean, guys!!

But it’s never easy. Never easy. So, a bunch of people’s birthdays were entered incorrectly, and, as you can imagine, this is making it difficult to check in with the airline. This shit drives me bananas, and I am so grateful that Chris is here to calm me down. 

PS — our travel agent is awful. And not helpful. If you’re considering booking an Apple vacation, contact me for my “do not call” list. 

The list consists of one name. 

So, I’ll be randomly live-blogging our getting ready and airport adventures. And there will be a bonus live blogger — my SIL Amy will be taking care of the NC portion, because sometimes yinzers move out of state. 


Amy and her beloved. He’s pretty dreamy. 

4:09pm — after leaving work early because of a ticketing issue and running a couple of errands, we are home. Chris has called and talked to three people about this, and there’s no solution. We just have to hope it’s fixed tomorrow when we check in. 

7:34pm — a class in packing by the master, my lovely wife. And gems like “When you have big boobs, this shit is real.”

7:58pm — Graham has received his second shouting, courtesy of the packing genius. 

9:49pm — break for ice cream and “Wynonna Earp.” It should be whiskey and doughnuts, but I have an early flight. For real, though, if you haven’t watched it, you should, especially if you are a fan of the gays and/or genre TV. It’s. So. Good. That’s going to be another blog post in and of itself that’s forthcoming.

12:37am — still awake and need to be up in less than two hours. Finishing up packing and listening to the “Wynonna Earp” fan hangout. More proof that my wife is awesome, since she hasn’t even watched the show yet. We would have fit everything into one suitcase if there weren’t a weight limit!

2:40am — awake. I swear. 

NC UPDATE

2:00– The alarm goes off and it takes me a minute to figure out what’s going on. The good news is that I was actually able to sleep for a few hours! I hit snooze and pretend to go back to sleep.

2:01-2:08– I pretend to sleep while I have a sort of dream about a giant tortoise carrying a box turtle safely across a street on its back. 

2:09– I give up on pretend sleeping and decide not to try to figure out what made these turtles so special that they were being cheered across the road by all humans in the vicinity. I have a text message from the airline that the flight is on time! 

2:18– Another text message from the airline. The flight is still on time. Phew. I got worried for a minute. Hopefully in another ten minutes, I’ll get another reminder. (To be fair, the first message could have been sent hours ago. I didn’t check the time stamp.)

2:23– I packed my face wash, and don’t feel like digging it out of the suitcase, so I use this imposter travel-sized face wash in my cabinet. It claims to be morning fresh, but it really just smells like a grainy, orange-flavored cough syrup I used to take when I had a cough. 

2:28– I now have the “riding backwards on a pig, baby monkey” song in my head for no apparent reason. If you know what I’m talking about, I apologize that it is now in your head. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please check it out: 

https://youtu.be/5_sfnQDr1-o

2:52– Everything by the front door and ready to leave! I found that the poor fish had his light on still and now he thinks it’s morning. Go back to sleep, fish, you’re drunk. Waiting for my taxi to wake up. 

3:11– In the priority line with Aunt Deb and Sarah. Hopefully I’ll be able to check in with them because I’m traveling with them and won’t be kicked out into the “not special” line. 


PGH

3:21am — the moon looks really cool, but when Chris said something about it, I responded with, “That’s no moon.”

3:31am — detoured bc of construction and almost taken out by a tractor trailer. Awesome. 

3:28– American Employees have arrived and are opening things up! 

3:33– The first people in line have been helped. We’re next! 

3:35– More employees have arrived! 

3:43– Out of bag check and headed toward security! Things went smoothly. Aunt Deb is TSA pre-check, but Sarah and I are not! 

3:49– Sarah was told she could go to Pre-check with her mom, but I made it through security before them. They are almost through and we will be ready to sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Starbucks appears to be open. 

3:57am — we are parked! Near 11G. Someone write that down. 

Shuttle-stop selfie! This is what one hour of sleep looks like. 

4:12am — sharing the shuttle with some Star Wars fans. The guy just quoted C3PO, and the kid has an R2D2 suitcase (like I do). 

4:20am — in the check-in line. Fingers crossed that it’s as easy as Amy’s!

4:19– They opened at 4:15. I was the first person in line. Ready to go!


4:26– SARAH AND I ARE TRAVELING WITH DOBBY THE HOUSE ELF!


5:04– On board, got to board with Priority passengers since I’m traveling with Aunt Deb. Sorry, Zone 4 passengers! A little kid was in my seat, so I’m across the aisle from my assigned seat. They moved him over there so he could sit with his siblings. Hopefully we’ll be off in the next twenty minutes. I can’t wait to eat breakfast in Charlotte. I’m starting to get hungry! 

5:55am — all through security, breakfast eaten, and waiting at the gate with 8 of Chris’ family members. One may or may not be drunk and is using a personal fan. She just said, “It’s short. It’s not long.” Yes. Definitely drunk. 

6:24am — so. Tired. Need to board so we can sleep. 

6:32am — boarding has begun, but we are in group four because we couldn’t check in online because the airline thought I was born in 1970, which I was not. So I checked my super-cute R2D2 carry-on. Be safe, little buddy! Bloop-bloop-beep!

6:45– Here we are in Charlotte. I got to sit in front of a family with 5 boys who were all under 7. There was a lot of screaming and arguing and children who wouldn’t sit down. I order a Bloody Mary at breakfast and am told they can’t serve alcohol until 7. I said, well then, I’ll just take the water for 15 minutes. 

6:57am — we are boarded! There was some sort of double booking situation going on. Scheduled to land at 8:30ish. Bye, yinz guys!

7:59 am– saving seats for our people at the gate.


8:16am — landed! The Bojus got in trouble for reclining their seats, Mary Ellen offered to buy me an 8am drink (I declined), and the old dude next to me manspread into my legs and armrest the entire flight. Despite an allergy pill, I only dozed for about 15 minutes. But I did have a delicious Coke, so at least there’s that. 

8:53am — the groups have joined, and the yinzers are almost complete!

9:01am — just me with some Hydes 

9:23am — hopefully the pilot is a better flyer than he is a talker, because he just mispronounced the name of our destination with a “I don’t know if that’s how you pronounce it.” Uh-oh. 

4:39pm — checked in. Exhausted. Many problems but happy to be here. Happy #YinzersOfTheCaribbean, folks!

So. Much. Excitement.

So, I’ve had a random couple of days on day shift, which has been wonderful because I get to spend time with this lady.

photo 1

Wedding planning! We’re so organized!

We are currently on day 14 of Whole30. It’s going pretty well, though my Instagram followers are probably tired of seeing pictures of breakfast foods, no matter how awesome they are. Breakfast is the only meal I make by myself regularly, since Chris is usually at work, so I feel the need to share my pride.

photo 2

Frank’s Red Hot is my breakfast friend. So is the Marauder’s Map. Also, you should probably follow me on Instragram.

I feel pretty good, and we’re eating some good recipes, both new favorites and old standards. And a lot of salad. Canned chicken has been my spirit animal of late.

This weekend, Winter Storm Linus was supposed to blanket us (get it?!) with snow, but instead we only got a little, almost like someone pulled the football away before we got the chance to kick it. “Yeah! Snow! Oh…” Good grief.

After some friend and baby time…

photo 3

“I can put my whole fist in my mouth. Want to see?”

…we had planned a cozy weekend in, and it hasn’t failed us. Movie and TV watching, cooking, and wedding planning have been our life, and it’s been pretty great.

And today…we booked our honeymoon.

Wait, that feels kind of tame.

Today, we booked our…

[ As Oprah Winfrey ] HONEYMOON!

Well, the flights, but still.

I’m super excited, and it’s the best thing to beat this winter chill. Twelve days in sunny California with this lady.

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From our first California outing together, at sunset at Matador Beach.

All in all, a great weekend. A great week. I’m very happy, and life is good. You know, all that happy jazz.

Also, my aunt texted me this picture, because…I’m adorable.

photo 5

Happy February, friends.