The most trying part of the journey was almost certainly in Dublin airport where I struggled to contain the children while Mr. Waffle struggled with the American immigration forms. In my ongoing and (I know at some level) surely mistaken belief that the boys shouldn’t be cooped up just because they are small I released them from their buggy. They hurtled round the airport uttering excited shrieks of glee and I hurtled after them. The Princess sat shrieking that somebody had better read her the “Frog Princess” or there would be trouble. Every time I ran past her she became more insistent and people began to look at us nervously wondering who would actually get the thrill of sitting near us. When the Princess’s indignation reached glass shattering pitch, I decided to restrain the boys. While the Princess screamed “Frog Princess, Frog Princess” and glasses shattered all over the airport, I wrestled a howling Daniel into the buggy. He was somewhat manhandled in my anxiety to stop the Princess’s screaming and my concern that Michael would be gone from sight before Daniel was secure. Mr. Waffle ended up abandoning the forms and haring after Michael while poor Daniel got sick from the shock of being treated so peremptorily and the words “Frog Princess” were chanted in the background by the increasingly ratty Greek chorus and I collapsed in tears. “Right, I’ll read the ‘Frog Princess’, give it to me. Sniff. Are you happy now?” “Yes.”
With such a beginning, you might have thought that the 8 hour flight would be absolutely dreadful. In fact, the Princess was reasonably well behaved and the boys slept a bit though we did spend a couple of hours chasing them round the bulkhead. Also the fact that the battery was flat on our 160 euro mini DVD player purchased specifically for the trip was, let us say, unfortunate.
Arrival and Orientation
We arrived at lunch time which was evening for us, if you see what I mean. My saintly sister met us at the airport with the car seats which she had begged to ensure our children’s safety; unfortunately, their installation had defeated her and we got to sweat over them in the car park and experience the legendary Chicago humidity for ourselves. On the way in, I was struck by how run down the city looked. When you arrive into one of the richest countries in the world, you expect it to look affluent. But it didn’t. My sister said that Chicago is the most blue collar of the big American cities. Something for Mayor Richard M. Daley to look into. We’ll be coming back to him later.
The apartment was located in a convenient downtown location but designed more for corporate workers than families. This was evident from the fact that they didn’t offer baby cots, the rooms were done in tasteful shades of beige and it was really a very pleasant place to be. My sister had sourced child cots and bought food and milk, presents for the children and a mobile phone so our needs were met. There was also a supermarket downstairs which was open 18 hours a day selling milk in gallon bottles (a gallon is 3.78 litres, way, hay, hay). We spent the afternoon unpacking and extolling the virtues of air conditioning. We put the children to bed, made my sister cook us dinner and sat back and admired the impressive view of the Chicago skyline from our 29th floor fastness.
And on a completely separate note, netnanny will not allow me to access my comments from this computer as they are clearly awash with what I see other people call p**n on their blogs. Sigh.