From the category archives:


The Trip To Rome, Part I (of XXX)

by Marinka on April 13, 2016

I was going to do one of those I’m Right, You’re Wrong posts, but some things are so obviously right and the Guy I went to Ireland With is so obviously wrong, that I didn’t want to insult your intelligence. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to write it, given the details to be revealed below.

My Side:

Last week the Guy I went to Ireland With and I went to Rome. Obviously he’s considering hyphenating his name to The Guy I went to Ireland With-Rome, but then he’ll have to get all his towels re-monogrammed.

Because of the mad rush to the airport of 2014, we agreed that I am the party best suited to take care of all airport arrangements since I have a keen sense of time management, am a wonderful person and have a certain je ne sais quoi, although I don’t know what exactly.

Everything went according to plan. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and after checking in, settled in the airport lounge. We smiled at each other, exchanged the customary pleasantries about how wonderful it was to be going away together and how much we were looking to spending the week together (although I silently added “with pasta” after each “together”) and read. He read the newspaper and I read my Kindle. This is one of those sentences that adds absolutely nothing to the story, but I like to throw it in anyway. Also, this is as good a time as any to mention that I don’t understand people who don’t read on the Kindle. “I like paper books,” they say, and although I applaud their having moved on from cave etchings and papyrus, I hope to be able to support them as they take that final step to the modern world.

Back to our story.

All was going well, perfectly almost, we were on the cusp on a romantic holiday, except there was a problem. And the problem was that once I glanced at my Kindle and checked my Facebook feed, repeatedly, I was bored. Bored like I wouldn’t believe. Deadly bored. Room and bored. Water bored. I checked the time- plenty of it left before boreding.
I turned to the Guy I went to Ireland With.

“Hey,” I said, but more lovingly than that.

He didn’t respond, so I poked him, but just with my fingers because they take all the sharp objects away when you go through security.

“Hey,” I said, again, lovingly.
“Yes?” He asked.

“Want to walk around the airport together?” I offered. It was an offer from a lover to a beloved, or maybe the other way around, I’m not a professional romance writer, you know. It was an offer that no mortal could possibly refuse, as it was filled with love and romance.
And yet.
And yet he said , “No, I’m good.”
Now, you probably will need to re-read what I had written (through tear-stained eyes and pasta-filled stomach). Because like any normal person you’re finding it hard to believe that anyone would turn down an opportunity to stroll at the airport with the woman of his dreams. And yet he did. Just like that.

And that’s how I knew that our vacation wasn’t going to be the romantic getaway that I had anticipated but rather fodder for a blog post in which everyone unites with me against him.

The Guy I Went to Ireland With’s Side:

Business class to Rome for a spring vacation with my beloved! Life doesn’t get any better!

We met at my apartment to leave together for the airport. We had lots of time and enjoyed a leisurely trip notwithstanding Friday evening traffic. We had a 10pm flight which would get us to Rome around noon which was check-in time to our five star hotel. Wonderfully planned.

No lines at the airport for premium check-in. Security; ditto.

But now a hiccup. We had to mingle with the great unwashed once we cleared security. Crying babies. Families walking twelve abreast. Idiots with strollers who hadn’t mastered the trick of walking in a straight line. Long lines of people shopping. Shopping? At the airport? Like you morons didn’t know you were taking a flight until just now?
The bright light at the end of this tunnel was the Alitalia first class lounge which was ours to enjoy as of right with our business class status.

Like a marathoner eying the finish line I focused on the distant sign and steeled myself to get there before hitting the wall.

I will save my beloved from this chaotic mass of human organisms and be the hero! Yes! We made it and entered a different world beyond. Soft music, muted lights, food and wine for the taking. Televisions with whispered volume. What’s that room over there? An even quieter space with no TV and nobody sitting there. That’s the place for my beloved and me. We sat in plush Italian armchairs and exchanged pleasantries while snacking on delicacies washed down with fine wine.

We had almost two hours before boarding so I started some light reading. My beloved did the same, switching from her Kindle to her iPhone and back again. I detected a mild restlessness in her but decided to continue with my reading. She looked around. She got up and paced a little and sat back down.

“Hey,” she said. Twice.

“Yes?” I enquired, wondering what she had in mind to elevate this experience even more.

“Want to walk around the terminal with me?” She asked.

“Just walk around?” I asked, caressing the leather that held me.

“Yeah, maybe buy something. I need tampons,” she said.

It was a tempting offer, obviously. Sitting in the lap of luxury, eating, drinking, relaxing on the one hand and tampon shopping on the other.

“No, I’m good,” I told her. I think I made the right call.


Mysterious Ways

by Marinka on July 8, 2015

I bought new sandals, wedges, the day that my son graduated from middle school last month. They were on sale, although from an upscale store and I spent more on them than I normally would, but they were comfortable and had secure black straps that flattered my Cinderella’s step-sister foot and I thought, “why not?”

I know there are plenty of women who love all things shoes—wearing them, looking at them, buying them, but I’m just not part of that tribe. I tend to get a pair, wear it out and move on to the next one, until the season changes and then I start all over again with the appropriate footwear. I have enough on my mind without having to decide which shoes I am going to wear every morning. And you’d think that I could have used the time I’d saved with this method throughout the years to make a couple of scientific discoveries, worthy of the Nobel or the Madame Currie Prize or whatever it is they bestow these days on the truly selfless and heroic, but The Bachelor isn’t going to watch itself, you know.

Anyway, I bought the sandals the morning of my son’s graduation. It was June 15th. I know because I looked at the calendar.

And the sandals and I started off on the right foot. They looked great and were comfortable and I hardly noticed that by the end of the day, the previously appealing straps were trying to sever my big toes from the big toe bones. I was disappointed, of course, and temporarily bed-ridden, but I remained strong and, yes, brave. I knew that like all relationships, this one would require time. After all, who knows what kind of an environment the sandals came from. Maybe they were made in a factory. Or worse.

I put the sandals away for a few weeks and when the stigmata on my feet abated, I tried them on again. Somehow through the miracle of positive thinking, and leaving them in the closet to consider what they had done, the sandals no longer hurt my feet. (It’s possible that my feet no longer have feelings, but the statute of limitations on that cause of action doesn’t run for a while, so we have time to explore that option.)

I was once again happy with the sandals and decided to take them with me on my European vacation in late June.

At first everything was fine.

My sandals and I walked down the Spanish steps, we visited St. Peter’s Square and we strolled over the many bridges over the Tiber.

In London, my sandals and I got caught in several showers, but perked up by hopping on and hopping off the Hop On/Hop Off (or, as some of my travelling companions referred to it, Hop On/Fuck Off) Bus, marched by Buckingham Palace and tiptoed around Big Ben.

The sandals were comfortable. They were stylish. They were practical. It was the trifecta of sandalhood and I felt shoe bliss as never before.

Then we got to Paris and the merde hit the fan.

The Guy I Went to Ireland With (I know how confusing this sounds since we were in France) and I were strolling hand in hand down the Champs-Elysses, when suddenly and with no warning and/or official announcement, the strap on left shoe snapped and I almost fell over. Fortunately TGIWTIW caught me like the precious Faberge egg that I am and I suffered no injury.

“Wow, mom!” My daughter, who was walking behind us with her friend said, “you have a reverse flip flop!”

Yes, I did. The only strap holding my foot in was around the heel, so the front of my foot was completely unstrapped. I understood instantly why “reverse flip flip” never caught on as a craze.

I could not walk with that thing on, so I took it off. And then I decided that I would hop on the one sandaled foot.

Here’s the thing about hopping on one foot when you are sightseeing in Paris (or anywhere for that matter):

Or do it, I don’t care.

But I did two hops and then couldn’t decide whether the perish from knee pain, chest pain, exhaustion, ennui or indecision.

So I did the only thing that I could do- I took off my sandals and walked barefoot. In Paris. The City of Lights. And possibly, feet.

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(Oh, dear lord. They’re platforms, aren’t they?)

“I have to buy some shoes!” I screeched, thinking that maybe the Lord works in mysterious ways. After all, if you have to buy a pair of shoes, there are worse places to be stranded than Paris.

We got into a taxi and explained our dilemma. “Take us to the nearest shoery!” we said to our taxi driver, which unfortunately doesn’t translate that well into French. We showed him my broken sandal, to say nothing of my spirit.

“Ah,” he said and then he said some words that we understood to mean that all the stores in Paris are closed so we cannot buy any shoes.

“How can that be?” I despaired from the back seat. Our day trip to Paris was being ruined by the minute and I realized that all those “No Shoes No Service” signs I used to question in NYC were now directed at me and that I would have to leave Paris shoeless and filet mignon-less.

I said a silent shoe prayer.

There was more conversation, and I use the term loosely, with the taxi driver and then he drove us around in circles to earn enough for a down payment on modest two bedroom in Versailles until I saw a store that appeared open.

“Stop there!” I pleaded. And he did.

And I went into what was apparently the only open store selling shoes on Sunday afternoon in Paris.

And I bought a pair. The Lord works in mysterious ways. And with a sense of humor.

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A Scene in Front of a Fountain

June 28, 2015

A while back, Papa was telling me about an argument that he had with Mama. “We had real scene in front of fountain,” he told me, in Russian, which I am indicating by writing in English but nonetheless leaving out all the articles, so you can feel the Russianness. Let me know how that’s working […]

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Get Over It

September 9, 2014

I have many important things to update on, including the fact that I am not drinking alcohol in September and that my cat is urinating all over the fucking place, but I feel like first I have to tell you about my trip to Ireland. So let’s get that over with so that we can […]

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August 22, 2014

I’m in Ireland and it is beautiful and everything is going really well, which is obviously a relief and also a damn good thing because right before we left, I almost had a nervous breakdown. Now I don’t know about you, but personally I believe that there are two types of people in the world: […]

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August 8, 2014

Love stories are so dull. And they’re all almost exactly the same. Girl meets boy. Girl and boy decide to go to Ireland together in August. Girl realizes boy is bat shit insane. How many times can you hear this story before rolling your eyes and thinking “this again?” In case it’s new to you, […]

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April 16, 2014

I’m in Rome. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I thought if I did, you’d get all clingy and start dropping hints about how you love Rome/always wanted to go and/or have a Prada purse. So I took the easy way out and snuck out behind your back, without alerting you. And there’s nothing […]

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Sleepless in Florida

March 27, 2013

I am on spring break in Florida! It is very palm-treey and baseball-y and warm and nice. I haven’t slept more than a few hours at a stretch and am completely exhausted. There are two reasons for this. First, I’ve spent 99% of my life living in apartment buildings, so sleeping in a house, where […]

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