Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Smells like teen soup

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down, there party animal. I haven't even started this blog and you already want to show everyone how 'happy' you got on your first night? Calm down, Veany-bean, we'll get there eventually. Jeeze, college chicks!

My little sister took her first solo flight for some band gig in Italy. She plays this kick-ass musical thingy, although I can't remember which one. Is it the tuba? Bagpipes? Doesn't matter. Vena's musical kick-ass stopped in Germany for a two-day visit on the way to band camp.

After my Dad's fly-by visit and my older sister's overnighter, I am really beginning to wonder about my family's endurance of visiting my family. If my mom comes to visit for an hour before going home, I'm going to seriously question the Johnson's travel logic. And blame Angie, of course, since logic is so her thing.

Being the considerate and frequent traveller that she isn't, Vena decided to land at 6:30 in the morning. Not only did she manage to drag my ass out of bed before even my kids were awake, she also forgot to tell me which terminal. We have two and I picked the wrong one.

After getting yelled at by the German 'helpers' at the help desk, I discovered that terminal 2 is not the terminal for ALL international flights - just the departing ones. Needless to say, Vena was arriving and I was in the wrong freakin' terminal.

I thanked the friendly ass-helper for their ass-istance and then panicked my way to terminal 1. By now I was a little late, but not worried, since going through German customs is about as lengthy and friendly as their help desk. I checked the boards to find the arrival gate - nothing. Shit.

Although I really did not want to, I made my way to another 'help' desk. The lady behind the counter punched me and made me pay her five dollars to tell me that the plane had landed an hour early. Shit.

After a rather painful eye-poke and another five dollars, the friendly lady helper even revealed to me the gate where the early bird had landed. Danke, Frau Helferin.

Oddly enough, the gate was completely empty. Shit. I tried to find someone working there and didn't manage to locate anyone with a pulse. Shit. It was at that point that I realized I would need to return to the helpful ones. Shit, shit.

Just as I turned to make my way back to what would surely have been a good kick to the groin for asking about my sister's whereabouts, Vena came strolling out of the gate. She ran up to me, gave me a hug, told me what a cool brother I am, and then began babbling about losing her bag and how sorry she was that I had to wait while she filled out the lost luggage paperwork only to discover her 'missing' bag on the way out. On the conveyor belt. Where it should have been. There was only one response to that.

'Damn it, Vena! I have been sitting right here for over two hours, worried sick. You owe me BIG TIME!'

Okay, I have to admit, I owe Vena more than she could ever owe me. I tormented the HELL out of her growing up. But, she's still growing up and she still smells like soup, so I somehow justify this to the voices in my head. She felt bad, though. When she cried and asked for a tissue, I told her to ask the heavy-set lady at the help desk. I know, Angie has already told me - I'm an ass.

In addition to me, everyone LOVED Vena. For different reasons of course, and not all of them were related to soup. Tom loved Vena because he is a baby and these creatures with their useless legs are amused by anything, especially humans, no matter how goofy looking, that play with him.

Angie has strange women stopping by all the time and Gizma normally bolts out of the room and hides from the gossip under our stove, prompting me to cook something requiring use of the broiler. I'm not sure if it was the petting, cuddling, or disgusting cat-hugs that Vena was dishing out, but Gizma seemed to genuinely like our gifted musician with the vegetable soup perfume.

Peter and David were in love at first sight. I told them not to take a second sight, but they were too busy getting music lessons from Aunt Dena. I mean Vena.

Oh, violin! Of course! It's kind like a tuba, just more expensive, which made me really nervous when David asked if he could 'bang-bang-bonky-bang' on it. Needless to say, his lesson was relatively short and closely supervised.

Angie loves anything musical, so she was completely thrilled when Vena struck a few chords without the little Sopranos.
I have also been known to be musically inclined on Saturday mornings, but Angie just complains about my solo renditions and opens the bedroom windows.

After lunch and a show, we hit the streets to find out why the tourists love this city so much. Our kids are apparently a big attraction, at least for the Asian camera-snappers.

This lady stopped us by the old bridge and asked if she could take her picture with Peter and David. I winked at her and asked her if she didn't mean me. She didn't.

Now we come to why I love Vena. Aside from smelling like soup, which she does - just sniff her - she has discovered the glorious wet stuff that I call beer. I know I used this as the opening picture, but like her concerts, it deserves an encore.

The last time we saw each other, Vena did not drink, since the U.S. has this silly little thing called drinking age, and Vena was silly enough not to get a fake ID. This time around, post-21, it was a completely different silliness.

'Vena, do you drink now?'


'Cool, well - what do you drink? Beer, wine, mixed drinks...?'


'Okay. And wine - do you like red or white?'


'Sweet or dry?'


Man, my liver misses the hell out of my college days. I also miss the hell out of my digital camera which was 'dropped' to the floor of the pub shortly after this picture. Note to self: never, ever, ever get your sister loaded and leave your camera on the bar. I know this will be painful for one of my two readers, but for the rest of this blog and until I can buy a new camera, you may simply have to enjoy my incessant ramblings even more than pictures.

Actually, there's not a whole lot more to write about. After our first night's debauchery, Vena was not feeling so hot, so I made her some eggs and bacon and made her go hiking up by the castle with the overly energetic Zoo Crew. Don't ask Angie why, but this worked.

The second evening was slightly less wild, unless watching German TV and nursing a water is your idea of kickin' it. Before going to bed, I did the parental 'check'.

'Vena, what time does your flight leave?'

'14:45 - you've already asked me this?'

'Don't roll your eyes at me. Do you have your passport?'

'Yes. Go away.'

I went away and woke up the next morning ready to take my soup-smelling, passport-toking, itinerary-know-it-all sister to the airport. On the way there, I remembered the slight mix-up with terminals and asked Miss World-Traveller to check her itinerary just one more time. The good news was that she could tell me it was terminal 1. The bad news was that 14:45 was the arrival time in Italy and not the departure time in Germany, which was 12:15. This news flash came at 12:03 and we were 25 minutes from the airport. Shit.

I laughed and pointed fingers, of course. It wasn't my flight, after all, and I've missed my fair share. Vena wasn't laughing, but at least she was quick on her feet. We switched her flight and called her contacts in Italy who were supposed to pick her up.

'Yep, flat tire. My brother is too stupid to change it on his own, so we waited hours for road side assistance.'

Yeah, where's Sharpur when you need him? I evened out the fees they charged for being a wingbat with some spending cash for her über-21 parties in Italy. Jeeze, college chicks!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we go up to the Königstuhl.
David: When I go there today with you and your sister Dena, I mean Vena.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When my legs is sleeping.
David: When Peter have a book from me that is mine book.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Davey.
David: To play with Dena again - I like her.

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