Humor Life New York Stories 2017 Travel

Drinking Red Wine On Vacation

13th September 2017

‘Isla, do you like America?’

‘I love it.’

‘Mumma used to live here.’

‘Where? In the toilet?’

We were in the bathroom.  Although, she can be sarcastic, too.  Not her fault.

And I should say Isla and Neil were in the bathroom.  I can’t even fit myself in most accessible stalls, let alone go with my kid, so Neil was on bathroom trips while we were in NY.

They were in the bathroom and I was enjoying an iced cinnamon hazelnut latte from Toast.  (And my coffee order never has more than four words in it, so I’m assuming you’ll keep reading/we can still be friends.)

It was the first Monday of our trip.  Everyone got up at 5 am and went in search of breakfast hours later.  By the time I was sitting there with my coffee it was 10, but felt like lunch.

We couldn’t find bagels on our first day, so had to have Lobster Eggs Benedict.  It’s a hard life, being on vacation.

We were going to meet Mom’s knitting club.  Because that’s a real thing.  But we went to a toy-store first.  Obviously.

I told Isla that if she bought something every day, we wouldn’t be able to fit everything in the cases.

Somewhere between the board games and the giant fluffy things, I overhear this conversation:

‘Daddy, will this toy fit in the yuggage?’

‘I don’t think so, Isla.’

‘Oh. We’ll throw some clothes out so it fits.’

My resourceful girl.

We head to Mom’s knitting group.  I’ve since dubbed some of them The Golden Girls and decided I want to be like them when I grow up.  Without the knitting part.

Neil, Isla and I went up to order brightly-coloured drinks, and we got the first question.

The question that would kinda become the theme and light relief of our trip.

‘Are you Irish?’

‘I’m not, and neither are they, no.’ I fielded first.

We carried our drinks over and one of Mom’s friends gave Isla a scary-looking doll that’s a cross between Barbie and Gumbi.


Flatty drove me to drink.  And then followed us home.

My kid is not a doll kinda person.  She said thank you and then turned to me and asked,  ‘What do I do with it, Mumma?’

‘I don’t know.  Brush her hair or something.’

And she goes over to sit next to Mom and says,  ‘Look Nana, Flatty.’  And so, that was the doll’s name.  Except Ls are the only letter Isla has trouble with and we got some interesting looks.

When we got back to the hotel, we moved into another room.  Even in this one I couldn’t get the chair all the way through the bathroom door, but I was able to grab the counter and walk along.  The accessible room would be available on Thursday.

That night we had pizza and ice-cream with a friend of mine from Jr High.  She has a five year-old and Isla is three and we are old it was trippy.  Isla ‘sounds like Peppa Pig’ but it’s all good and I could cry.  And then I do.

It’s nice to be known.

Tuesday is a new day.  And the coffee machine in the hotel room actually makes good coffee.

Now.  Stick with me here.  Tuesday we spend the day with my Dad’s barber and his wife.  This dude cut my hair when I was Isla’s age.  And that not-so-random-Tuesday he  would cut Isla’s hair.  Joe and Dianne visited us two years ago, and they’re basically family now.

We got out of the car at their house, and honest truth, my front wheel fell off.  I like to think it was from excitement.  Or something.  We had drinks outside while Joe looked for a spare bolt somewhere.  Within a half an hour, I was on wheels again.

It’s nice to be known.

We went to Joe’s shop.  Isla was first in the chair.

Isla and Joe at Bart's Barber Shop.

Isla and Joe at Bart’s Barber Shop.  Which is actually Joe’s


Then Neil.  Then Joe turns to me.

‘And what shall we do with you?’

Now.  We’d been there three days.  I hadn’t had a proper shower.  I was convinced I still smelt like the stale air of the plane.  My hair had crossed the line from frizzy to brillo pad.  And.  This doesn’t happen often.  But I was embarrassed. But I knew I needed help.

‘Maybe just a wash?’

And so, I sat in the same chair I did when I was a kid.  This time I didn’t need to sit on the phonebook, too.

In the spirit of the day, I got a haircut, too.

The vacation truly started.

We all trooped back to the house.  Where I had red wine.  That never happens.  Except on vacation.  Apparently.  We ate too much and laughed a lot.  But still not enough.

Isla got tomatoes from their garden and I got and a sunburn in the shape of the scalloped shoulders of my top.

I was on vacation, after all.


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  • Reply Beth 13th September 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I love so much here – I want to be part of the Golden Girls when I get old too. The doll. Oh god that doll. I think I’ll nightmares now. I love that you all got haircuts. Can’t wait to read more!

    • Reply Lorna 13th September 2017 at 5:43 pm

      You were reading this and I was reading about your door. <3

  • Reply jessicaannebreisnes 13th September 2017 at 5:46 pm

    I like the brevity and humor in your writing. They really make it shine!

    • Reply Lorna 13th September 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks Jessica. I like getting into the groove of things.

  • Reply Louise 14th September 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Haha, this made me laugh! I love the way you present your dialog. And I also love the sound of lobster eggs benedict! Wow 😉

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Felt a bit decadent, but I had to.

  • Reply globalhousesitterX2 14th September 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Out of the mouths of babes, no doubt why I loved working with children, and do enjoy most small people 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 15th September 2017 at 4:02 pm

      You and Isla would get along famously. Me, too.

  • Reply moscatoismymantra 14th September 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Wow doesn’t love a glass of red wine! definitely can enhance the vacation experience.

    • Reply Lorna 14th September 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Usually gives me heartburn, and so I avoid it, but I thought, what the hell?

  • Reply Parenting Patch (@ParentingPatch) 14th September 2017 at 7:30 pm

    My coffee orders never contain too many words either. I usually order something along the lines of a “large coffee,” sometimes with cream. A glass of red wine is great too, especially when traveling.

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 12:55 pm

      I miss coffee with cream as a thing, ha! x

  • Reply Aishwarya S 14th September 2017 at 7:32 pm

    This is such a great idea for a post. loved reading through the dialogues! 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Thank you! Hope you visit agin.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey 14th September 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Oh no what a nightmare with no being able to get into the toilet properly I think that would drive me insane and how lovely is your daughter, love the story about flatty.

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Flatty thinks she’s famous now. Ha!

  • Reply Jackie Cangro 15th September 2017 at 12:11 am

    I’m a bit off topic here, but I saw this article in the NYT today and thought of you. Maybe a future family outing? 🙂

    Isle of Skye Journal: On a Tiny Island in Scotland, Two Giants in the Family

    • Reply Lorna 15th September 2017 at 8:41 am

      It would be an, um, short trip. I don’t know if I could get in. But Danny is a legend. Saying that, strange stuff gets into the NYT, ha!

  • Reply Dr. Elise Cohen Ho 15th September 2017 at 1:22 am

    Your daughter is a doll. I so enjoyed this post. It was a very fun read.

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you. Isla knows it!

  • Reply alainamonster 15th September 2017 at 2:52 am

    sounds like a great vacation to me. It must have been a pretty awesome moment to see your own daughter sit in the chair that you once sat in for a haircut.

    • Reply Lorna 15th September 2017 at 9:25 am

      Moments all over the place, ha!

  • Reply thoughtsfromjasmine 16th September 2017 at 10:11 am

    This was such a calming read! But omg… that doll was certainly something… Isla looks adorable in that haircut picture!

  • Reply Shallow Reflections 16th September 2017 at 10:53 am

    There is something for everyone on this vacation! Lobster eggs Benedict, red wine, so many toys you need to sacrifice clothing to truck them home, and a creepy little doll. Glad you got your wheel fixed so you nothing could hold you back!

  • Reply Gary 16th September 2017 at 10:58 am

    Excellent, a vacation narrated as a story teller. Yuggage is my word of the day now too! Liking that sarcasm in the toilet too…which, oddly has me chuckling later at an accessible room only available on Thursdays…not sure how that works ?

    Very enjoyable read…so wish my kids were that age again on two fronts. One it’s a fab age because everything is exciting and new and two, I’d be a lot younger as well ?

  • Reply Ritu 16th September 2017 at 11:04 am

    Love your retelling of your vacation! Your lil princess is adorable!

  • Reply fancypaperblog 16th September 2017 at 11:06 am

    It is a sweet image x you tell it very well. Cute as hell!

  • Reply You Can Always Start Now 16th September 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Smiling while reading – thank you. The honesty of children is wonderful. Good to create new memories and revisit old.

    • Reply Lorna 23rd September 2017 at 8:56 am

      That’s the best combination, I find!

  • Reply SickChristine 16th September 2017 at 2:30 pm

    This is such a lovely story. I actually teared up. So happy to have read it. Thank you for writing it. And, Isla is my kinda kid. Love her!

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 9:00 am


  • Reply angelanoelauthor 16th September 2017 at 2:47 pm

    You know how writers always hear about “voice?” It’s that thing you can’t really define except to say, “you know it when you read it.” And that’s how I feel when I read this. Your writer’a voice brims with emotion, honesty, and humor. I love it.

    • Reply Lorna 23rd September 2017 at 9:00 am

      You are too kind, my friend!

  • Reply anhistorianabouttown 16th September 2017 at 3:38 pm

    A trip is a trip, and red wine and Lobster Eggs Benedict and anything else you want should be had! As an adult, I finally figured out that I should pack to leave room because I inevitably will want to buy something to bring back and will contemplate throwing out something I very much need at home to make it fit… My order is always tea, so I fit the four word rule!! (Which I will now be using, because I’m tired of weirdo coffee orders that sound like a monologue….)

    • Reply Lorna 23rd September 2017 at 8:59 am

      I always bring an empty-ish suitcase that’s full for the return journey, ha!

  • Reply Jennifer L 19th September 2017 at 6:08 am

    Aww looks like you had a fabulous and fun vacation with the family! And what a great way to close the night with a glass of wine.

  • Reply suzie81speaks 16th October 2017 at 8:08 am

    Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
    I love this post from Lorna – please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to Gin & Lemonade and say hi!

    • Reply Lorna 16th October 2017 at 8:56 am

      Thanks for the intro and the reblog. Flatty thanks you, too. But we won’t talk about that.

  • Reply Bryntin 19th October 2017 at 11:09 am

    Ahh yuggage… Brings back memories of ‘lellow’ and ‘hairychopters’ when my boy was little.

    • Reply Lorna 9th December 2017 at 10:14 am

      I’ll be a little sad when Isla finds the Ls.

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 9th December 2017 at 10:04 am

    Oh vacations. I love red wine on vacations. Oh wait, I love wine pretty much anytime.

    • Reply Lorna 9th December 2017 at 10:18 am

      I don’t, but it worked that one time.

  • Reply Snuffy 8th February 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I love starting vacations with a new haircut! Isla is adorable. ?

  • Reply Flossie 4th May 2018 at 3:24 am

    Hotels are the WORST with a chair!!! The accessible ones are NEVER available when you need them!!! (hint hotels, MAKE MORE ACCESSIBLE ROOMS!!! “Regular” people can stay in them too!!!) I only have one question, though: you didn’t have red wine until Day 3??? SERIOUSLY??? What TOOK you so long???

  • Reply Jennifer 14th June 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Maybe the doll was Flat Stanley’s girlfriend?

  • Reply Quinn 23rd August 2018 at 11:49 am

    I hope Flatty pops up in all the holiday photos! Also how did Flatty escape a haircut??

    • Reply Lorna 23rd August 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Flatty has conveniently disappeared. George Bailey-Penguin is our travel mascot.

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