Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day which Jack totally freaks out

We started off the day by going out for breakfast. I don't remember the name, but Jack says it was near our hotel and near the City Convenience store. He thinks maybe it was called Sapphro Cafe.

In a rare moment, I kind of had a taste for Vegemite. So, I ordered that. They gave me two slices of toast with a little packet of butter to split between the two. And then there were two packets of Vegemite. Two packets! What happened to the whole just use a little bit. You know, because if I used both of these packets of Vegemite, it would NOT be a little bit. Or maybe the Aussie idea of little bit is different than my version.

I used about 1/6 of ONE of the packets. I felt so damn inadequate. I sneaked a peak at a woman sitting in a table next to us. She used much more Vegemite than I did. Oh well. What can I say?

Sometime after breakfast we went to The Australia Museum. It's one of those taxidermy places; lots of dead animals. Our favorite part of the museum is The Search and Discovery Room. It's a large room where they have the dead animals out for you to actually touch. Jack loves that! Okay, I'll admit it. I love it too. They also have computers to play on; and a large selection of books about Australian animals and other stuff.

Before going to this room though, we looked at other rooms in the museum. Jack and I were both fascinated by the large ancient marsupials. It's fun to imagine what Australia would be like if these mega marsupials still existed today!

We looked at birds, insects, dangerous animals, and dinosaurs.

Jack wants me to mention the "scary thing". This is one of those interactive screens that have become popular lately. It's a flat screen on a table. You touch the pictures and if you're unlucky a shark or crocodile might jump out at you.

We went to the Indigenous Australia exhibit. But I think we spent more time at it last year than this year.

Tim spent some time looking at gemstones with Jack. I guess I was somewhere else. He took a photograph that I really love.

A few years ago, I got really into gemstones. I lost interest after awhile, but his picture kind of sparked my interest again.

After the museum, we went to this restaurant that Tim had discovered. It appealed to us because it has free internet. Jaipur Sweets. I think it might be the best Indian food I've ever had. Or it could just be that Fort Worth Indian food is so mediocre that Jaipur is amazing in comparison.

We were impressed with how the restaurant did water. You get your own whole big glass decanter for the table. Later, we'd find out that this is how most Australian restaurants do the whole water thing. So, the Indian restaurant wasn't so special and unique on that account.

I don't know why we didn't remember that from last year.

We ate and took turns using the Internet. I was overwhelmed by the amount of junk mail that had already accumulated on my account. I had promised myself that I'd avoid wasting time on Internet drama and controversy. But I was bad! Temptation got the best of me. I'm subscribed to a post on Hoyden About Town regarding Salma Hayak breastfeeding. The post had been quiet for several weeks and then suddenly I check my email and there's numerous responses to that post. I told myself not to read any of them. Myself didn't listen. BUT I will say that I had some restraint. I didn't bother responding or getting involved. I handed the computer over to Jack or Tim so they could have their turn.

After we ate our lunch, we ordered a few Indian Sweets. I love Indian Pastries. The problem is I never know what I'm ordering. It's all a matter of luck. I either end up with something I absolutely love, or I end up with something I merely like. This time I ended up getting lucky. I loved whatever it was I got. I really wish I could tell you what that was.

The restaurant wasn't perfect though. The staff has some challenges with understanding English. So, there's a bit of a communication barrier. But also, I didn't find them to be the friendliest people. Oh well. The food was worth it. And the free Internet!

Since I had hogged the computer reading about Salma Hayak's boobs, Tim really hadn't had enough time doing his computer stuff. And he actually has REAL work. So, Jack and I left him there and headed towards the Jewish Museum. We figured Tim would meet us there.

I don't think we got lost which is good. We really didn't have all that much time. In a few hours, we had to leave for the airport.

The museum has pretty strong security. Like many museums, you can't take in a backpack. But there you also have to turn off your phone. This was a bit of a problem because then Tim wouldn't be able to reach us. How would we meet at the museum if we couldn't talk to each other?

Well, I politely followed the instructions. Although the really sweet security guard had to help me because I actually had no idea how to turn off my mobile. That was a little embarrassing.

I thought the museum was okay. It was a bit hard to give it adequate attention with Jack there. He rushes through museums. I can get him to slow down a little bit sometimes, but mostly it's a matter of me chasing after him. I also worried a bit about the content of the museum. I didn't know how graphic the Holocaust stuff would be. And I still don't know if it's too graphic because we didn't spend much time looking at it.

In some ways, I felt like the museum was not that much different from a website. You look at pictures, watch videos, and read information. I could do that at home. I'm personally not a big fan of this type of museum. They do have artifacts on display, but I don't really get that excited about artifacts.

My mom raves about the museum. I think what she loved about it was the people, who worked there, were so nice and welcoming. They spent a lot of time talking to my parents and showing them around. I actually hoped that wouldn't happen to us. Jack has no patience for lectures in museums. He just wants to move, move, and move. I stand there all awkward, trying to listen while at the same time trying to keep my eye on Jack who has already darted to the other side of the room.

Fortunately at this museum that didn't happen.

It might be because we left fast. I kind of rushed. Without my phone, not only could I not contact Tim but I also had no idea what time it was. I couldn't quite relax.

I was a little embarrassed collecting my backpack from the security guard. He made some kind of comment. Well, that was fast!
I apologetically told him we had a plane to catch. He told us to have a nice flight home. I felt weird letting him think we were going home because that would be a lie. So, I told him we weren't heading home...just going to Tasmania. I got the sense he thought I was giving him way too much info. He probably worried I'd sit there telling him my whole life story.

We found Tim once we were out of the museum. We walked back to the hotel and hung out waiting for the airport shuttle to come. The hotel had recommended it to Tim.

The shuttle ended up being late and Tim and I got a bit anxious.

But it finally came.

We rode to the airport. The driver was pretty quiet.

On the way, we passed Redfern. It didn't look all that exciting to me. I wondered if driving through it would count as visiting. I wondered if I was obligated to visit all the places I mentioned I'd visit on my blog. Would I get demerits if I missed a few places?

At the airport, we were shocked at the lack of security! It was such a nice change of pace compared to domestic flights in America. I guess if you're worried about terrorists, it might not be so nice. But I'm not sure about the whole American-airport security thing. Does it really protect us, or is it a dog and pony show that gives us a false sense of safety?

I don't know.

But I liked that we didn't have to take off our shoes.

No one checked our passports or ID. That was a bit surprising. Maybe that was a fluke thing though.

We got on the plane. That experience was incredibly surreal. Going on a two hour flight after a 9 hour one is hilarious. We felt like we got on the plane, sat for a minute, and then were told it was time to land. It went by SO fast.

The view from the airplane of Tasmania was incredible. It's such a beautiful place. I managed to enjoy the sights even though I was so nervous about meeting Tracey.

Jack was excited because for the first time he got to climb down steps instead of walking through the little airport tunnel.

By this time, I was pretty much absolutely terrified of Tracey. I think I actually hoped she wouldn't show up. Yeah. I'm a bit avoidant when it comes to social stuff.

She wasn't there with the other waiting people. I felt a little relief about that, but not much. I knew eventually she was likely to appear.

So, I went and hid in the bathroom (toilets). Okay, I did actually have to pee. But I probably could have waited. There was a bee in the bathroom which is kind of funny because I don't often see bees in Australia. And I don't think I've had many experiences of seeing bees in public toilets. But here it was flying around. I thought of leaving, but then I'd have to face Tracey. And I'd have to face her on a full bladder. What if I got so nervous that I peed in my pants? Not that this happens to me a lot, but you never know. There's always a first time.

So, I peed and went out to face my fears.

She was already there talking to Tim and Jack.

I have no idea why but for some reason that made me feel more comfortable about things. Maybe I felt better that they met her first? Or maybe I liked that she had the initiative to approach them without me being there?

I came over and I have no real memory of what happened. I guess we talked a bit.

I remember that Tracey said she was going to do something that involved parking. I think Tim and I thought she had to actually get her car or something. I don't know...something complicated. But she returned within seconds. I think it turned out that she just needed to get a ticket. Maybe get it validated?

Then Tracey, Jack, and I waited as Tim went to get our luggage.

We talked and it went very well. I realized quickly that I liked Tracey a lot.

I think the moment that totally broke the ice is when I told her that I was surprised at how she pronounced her daughter's name.

Then Tracey asked me how to pronounce my name. For the past three years, she didn't know if my name was said as Die-na or Deena. It's the latter. But learning that poor Tracey had been struggling with that issue made me feel much better about my own nervousness.

We drove to Tracey's house. We had nice conversations in the car.

Their house was lovely.

We met Tracey's husband Tyrone and their daughter Tara. They were all incredibly sweet.

All was going well.

A weekend there seemed not only survivable but it seemed we might actually have fun.

Then all hell broke loose.

Jack suddenly started crying hysterically. I hate this house! I want to leave. Do we have to stay here? Can't we go to a hotel?
Oh shit!

I don't know what the hell my reaction was at that point. I think I was in shock. Now I don't usually have much patience for my child's rudeness, but I don't remember being angry with Jack.

In his short seven year history, he's never been a house critic. I knew he wasn't offended by their decor or anything. Sometimes Jack gets scared of certain things and I figured this is what happened.

He has certain specific fears and I figured he saw one of these things in their house.

I did worry that Tracey and her family would be offended or disgusted with us. They weren't. They were incredibly sweet and patient. We are so lucky about that. I know some people wouldn't be so understanding. But Tracey and Tyrone are parents too. So, I think that's why they had so much patience.

I took Jack into the bedroom we'd be sleeping in and tried to figure out what was wrong. Tracey meanwhile made us all dinner. Jack wouldn't tell me what was wrong. He just kept asking if we could go to a hotel. I didn't know what to do. I did say we couldn't go to one tonight, but MAYBE we could find one tomorrow. I hoped things wouldn't come to that. I hoped we could figure out his fear and either conquer it, or temporarily hide/remove it.

He still wouldn't tell me.

I think at this point, Tim and I took turns talking to our hosts and comforting Jack.

Finally, the truth came out.

We were sleeping in Molly's (the teenager) room. Very cute room. Pokemon stuff on the wall. Lovely and inviting. The only problem is Jack thought we actually had to sleep WITH Molly. The idea of sleeping with a stranger did not appeal to him.

We explained to him that this was not the case. Molly would be sleeping in another room. Tim and I confessed that we too would be a bit freaked out if had to sleep with Molly. That might be a bit awkward.

Jack calmed down a little bit, but was still a bit weary. He stayed in the room while Tim and I ate dinner with Tracey and her family.

Tara was absolutely sweet and adorable. I heard her go into Molly's room to see how Jack was doing. I heard Jack telling her he had probably just been tired. She then offered him juice and everything was solved.

Jack loves juice. That's the best way to win him over.

And I think this began one of the best weekend's of my family's life.

We ate together. We talked.

Jack had smiles instead of tears.

Molly showed up and she was absolutely beautiful and charming.

I think we were already falling in love with Tracey and her family.

But I was tired so I said goodnight. Jack and I went to sleep. I think Tim stayed up a little longer to talk to Molly and Tyrone. Maybe Tracey stayed awake too. I don't know.

Jack is sitting here asking me if Tara was still awake. I really don't know.

Oh! Important! Before we went to sleep, Tracey showed us where the towels were and helped us get the bed ready. She explained the whole Duvet thing which I hadn't encountered before. The information she gave us would come in handy lately.