Friday, 11 May 2007

"Attention Walmart Shoppers!"

Well we got here in the Dad's (Grandpa's) lovely condo in Daytona Beach. From door to door it took 17 hours and not one went by unnoticed! In case you're wondering, NO, Miss Piggy never did stop the incessent chow-down on the plane. In fact, if possible she actually stepped it up a gear or two and there was the constant flutter of sweet wrappers being opened, small mince pies being freed from tinfoil containers, and the slurp of her jam-stained lips making regular contact with her short fat finger as she ensured that every last crumb was hoovered up when the scones, clotted cream and jam did the rounds. Most of the time it looked as though she were in a trance - except for when she and the 'Fugly's' had a severe, extended giggling fit when one of them passed wind and filled the plane with the most offensive odour. (At this point if looks could kill they would have been sizzling to their death as I shot daggers at them and had to sit festooned with two kiddies whilst covering my nose with my jumper until it was safe to breathe again.)

After we got off the plane we had an hour and a half long queue at Customs to survive. It snaked painstakingly slowly through the huge hall and Egg used this time to run off and hide several times - often requiring Jay to negotiate through the hordes in search of a giggling imp. We weren't quite sure what those lovely people at U.S. Customs were going to make of all this ruckas, but eventually he got tired of that particular game and simply lay down on the floor at one point, declared his feet 'stuck' and point blank refused to move for 5 minutes. I'd had enough of watching people step over him, and had Noah strapped to my chest gurgling and spitting on me and I was hot, irritable and about to lose the plot so i finally caved in and publicly appealed to his royal highness wondering whether a treat would do the trick. Apparently it did - and upon securing the promise of a gummy bear, Egg was up fast as you like, beaming at the now substantial audience he had attracted, and obligingly taking my hand to go find Dada further up in the queue where he had lost him.

(There was a customs agent who was scouring the crowds looking for people to jump the queue. I tried to look as beleagered as possible in an effort to win her sympathy but she merely took one look at angelic Noah and a now contrite Eggie and patted us on the back and said 'almost there'.) When we finally DID get to the front we ended up with the slowest yet sweetest customs agent - a gent in his sixties who was quite taken with Egg and even gave him a lollipop! (A customs agent handing out lollipops?? Must be the 'Egg-effect').

We eventually got hold of our 'Dollar-rent-a-car', strapped the boys in and began the hour long ride from Orlando to Daytona just as torrential rain began hitting our windshield, and with a screaming a screaming infant in the backseat most of the way (his first car seat ride and not a great hit) it was a relief to finally arrive at Dad's where we were greeted with a kitchen full of wonderful food and a heaving dining table laden with a teddy bear, chocolates, candies and every cookie and cake imaginable for his darling grandchildren (and daughter!). Freshly fried fish, falafal, tahina, taboulah, lentil soup and fine red wine were all consumed before bed, and aside from a three o'clock a.m. wake up from Egg who wreaked havoc upon us for a good half-hour(URGHHH!!!) we slept soundly and happily.

This morning Egg woke up Grandpa around 6:30am, coerced him into making him breakfast on the balcony, and eventually we all joined them and sipped tea and coffee very contentedly under sunny skies. Later we exited en masse to the local Walmart with a mission to purchase a carseat, a videocamera and other bits and bobs. Well Dad ended up getting the video camera, Egg scored some snazzy new light-up 'Thomas the Tank Engine' shoes, and mama treated herself to some divine Ghiradelli caramel chocolate.

It was around the time of the covert chocolate purchase when I noticed that the store-wide intercom was buzzing again for the third time in the past ten minutes. The words, 'blue and white striped shirt' and 'little boy has lost his mama' infiltrated suddenly and I raced over to Customer Service where i was greeted by a tear-stained little Egg being cuddled by a fawning older blond in uniform. She had to ask the barefoot (more on that later) little fella whether or not I was his mommy before she would give him to me. I was mortified. Turns out she had found him sobbing in the barbeque section. He'd obviously wandered off from Grandpa and Dada's videocamera buying mission and had found himself stranded in one of the mammoth aisles. Poor little guy - he looked mildly traumatised. I was gently chastised and overheard her muttering to a colleague as i scurried off that he was such a beautiful little boy it was a wonder he wasn't snatched by someone (gulp).

(By the way, Egg was shoeless due to his refusal to wear his new sandals. He must have decided that they were not to his taste and likely just abandoned them. Kindly he had decided that a pair of tacky black wedges were just what i needed, and somehow managed to sneak a lone left shoe into our shopping where we of course noticed it when i was too late and had to go all the way back in (yep - back over the Customer Services) to get a refund.

Anyway, afterward Dad treated us all to a lovely Chinese buffet lunch where we stuffed ourselves silly and all tears and trauma were forgotten amongst the heavenly foodstuffs on offer. A fabulously chilled-out day followed and though we are STILL digesting the huge Chinese, we remain satiated, content, uber-lazy and optomistic that tomorrow will be as wonderful as today has been. Adios amigos.

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