I Am Not A Reliable Narrator

19 August 2008


We're back in the UK.

You know how sometimes people come home from vacation and they're all like, I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!

And you're all like, whatever asshole, I feel really bad for you after you spent a week in Maui or wherever

Well I need about 2 weeks to sleep off the jet lag and sensory overload from this vacation. One week simply isn't enough time to attend 2 weddings and try to see everyone you know in the two states where you spent most of your life. Especially when you add on all the travel related hijinks that grow out of travelling standby.

So here, my friends, is the rundown of my week in America:

Friday 1

Wake up at quarter to five in the morning in London. Take a cab to Heathrow and hope to get on first flight of the morning to Chicago. No joy there as a a party of four with priority showed up at the last freaking minute. Wait 2 hours, drink a ginormous coffee and then head to the gate to try for a flight to DC. We get on! We get Business Class! We get champagne as soon as we sit down! We get to DC where we proceed to not get on the first flight to Detroit (there were priests ahead of us in the queue, we knew we were screwed) and then the Chicago flight that we would have gotten on begins to get delayed, repeatedly. Finally at about 7pm we realise that even though this flight is a sure thing we will not arrive in Chicago until 11:00pm which means we will not see a bed until almost midnight and then we will have to wake up at 6am to drive to Michigan. We say fuck it and rent the ugliest rental car ever in DC and begin to drive. We make it to Breezewood, Pa (America's truck stop) and foolishly decide to stay at the Howard Johnson's because we can get to it without making a left turn. We get a room and begin the perilous walk to Perkins for some monochrome dinner and then head to bed. Jeremy looked at the sheets before turning off the lights. I will hate him forever for this as it lead to a night of psychosomatic itching and the belief that I was being eaten alive by some strange new breed of bed bug.

Saturday 1

Wake up at 4:30 and shower in the most disgusting bathroom known to man. Go to one of the many gas stations in Breezewood, Pa and get a bunch of caffeinated drinks (and green apple flavored Jones Soda!!) and some granola bars and start driving. We stop in Ohio for sandwiches at a rest area where there is a sign advising us that it is illegal to bring a gun into the rest area. Guess this wasn't understood. Arrived in Ann Arbor at 12:30 begged and begged to be allowed to check in early, ran to Jerusalem Gardens and ate some food. SLEPT! Changed into wedding finery. I made a controversial decision to wear a black dress and was pleased to see, when we arrived at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at least two other women in black dresses. The wedding of our friends Sara and Paul was beautiful. There was thunder throughout the ceremony but no rain, and then as they said their vows the sun came out. After the wedding it was on to the reception which was awesome and fun even if my feet were killing me and I was cursing myself for not bringing some back up shoes.

Sunday 1
Wake up drive to the wedding brunch held in a park in Ann Arbor. Hang for an hour drive to Cafe Marie in Ann Arbor to see my friend Kevin for the first time in four years and meet his baby daughter, Rachel aka Schmoop and see his wife Jenn for the second time ever. From Ann Arbor to Pleasant Ridge just outsdie Detroit where we dropped our stuff off at Jeremy's old friend Leah's and headed to Peking House in Royal Oak for dinner with 15 members of his family. Peking House is where they all go on NYE. One year I got to be a spy in the house of David there. Also they make delicious wonton soup. Returned to Leah's, drank some wine. Slept.

Target, purchased a lot of bedding. A lot. Bedding is expensive in the UK, alright? Went to Kohl's, bought work clothes, did not receive discount for having last name Kohl myself. Never do. Assholes. Hit graves of Jeremy's grandparents and mother and then got millkshakes at a Coney. Wondered if there is, like, a licensing board somewhere that has rules and regulations you must follow in order to open a coney. Should such an organizational body exist would they allow us to open a coney in London? Went to see Jeremy's dad and his girlfriend at their new place. Awkward, but that's normal. Go to see Jeremy's cousin Amy, Jeremy says the following, 'Y'know if you could find me a house in this neighborhood and a good job, we'd move back.' Amy gets a gleam in her eye. She is probably calling everyone she knows right now to see what's out there. Go to Cousin Josh's to hang out with his 8 month old and express envy over the huge rooms in his home. Return to Leah's go out to Woodward Avenue Brewery with her to discus life issues. return to house sleep.


Wake up at 7, drive to Port Huron, Meet Niece 1 at Denny's, eat breakfast, Jeremy is made paranoid by repeated insistent offers of coffee. Drive to Brother's house at 10:45 see sister in law and nieces 2 and 3, bring bribes in form of 1 talking cookie monster doll and one puppy that barks walks and sits (puppy is now names Princess Carolyn Elizabeth Kohl, Jr. Niece 2 is clearly a genius) at 12:15 head to meet parents for lunch at The Raven where I once saw an unfortunate young man play bad Oasis covers in a ruffled shirt. Eat lunch try to peer presure brother over Dad's cell phone to come out later for ice cream, go to bank and cash in US Savings Bonds, make £630, score. Get Life Insurance paperwork notarized so policy can be cashed in, head to Vantage Point for ice cream with niece 1, her boyfriend, parents and family friends. Boyfriend is cute but clearly trouble. Then we do a quick drive around Port Huron and my dad took us by my old house which now has a second house built on the lot and then on to Cheap Charlies, a restaurant where they purposely mispell everything on the menu, thus rendering it illegible to me, for dinner with parents, brother and his family. Tense, but that's not unexpected. Driveback to Detroit and get stuck in Dream Cruise traffic but eventually make it to my friend Lori's where I procede to drink a lot of Miller Lite. Slept.


Remarkably do not have horrific hangover from all the Miller Lite. Jeremy's dad picked us up at 9 AM and we got some tasty tasty breakfast in Royal Oak before doing the following: Wayne State University Campus (where I was flooded with memories both happy and sad and bought a t shirt), tried to get into the MOCAD but it was shut, so instead went to the Detroit Artists' Market and bought some art (actually one that looks a lot like the wooden piece featured on the image on the homepage), went to Greektown, ate some lemon chicken soup, gave leftover to a bum, bought a D shirt, wandered around, went to the Pewabic Pottery Factory bought a detroit tile and a gift for my grandparents, wandered around the Heidelberg Project and chatted with Tyree Guyton, I gave him some pence coins for the house that makes cents and then drove to his office where we bought a copy of the book about the project. Went back to Lori's and got proper drunk at the Cass Cafe just like old times.


Woke up with a gigantic mosquito bite on my leg and a hangover to end all hangovers, but was still on the road by 7:30 to get to my grandparents in Three Rivers. Saw grandparents for an hour (not enough time) and then onto Kalamazoo to see one of my oldest friends Colleen for about an hour and a half (also not enough time) and then back on the road to Chicago. Went straight to Dana's and then on to the Chicago Diner for Chicago's best Bloody Mary (no joke, their bloody mary's are some kind of awesome) and then on to Simon's to meet with our hosts for the evening, Jessica and Brendan. Stayed up late talking and hanging with their dog Tulach (who is awesome and spazzy as hell) and then slept.

Friday 2

slept until ten in the morning, it was beautiful. Got breakfast in Wicker Park. Considered buying expensive shoes at Fluevog, still kind of wish I had. Buy books at Myopic based on recomendation from our friend Bengt's girlfirend Deena at the wedding written on a list that I stuffed into my bra then carriend around in the pocket of my jeans all week long, bought new pair of jeans at Free People, skinny jeans in fact, something I swore I would never do, but actually they look pretty cute. Then onto the rehearsal dinner where we sat at the kids' table with a bunch of friends. Back to J&B's where we saw our friend Keara and watched some swimming and discussed Michael Phelps's face (could only a mother love it?)

Saturday 2

Breakfast at god's gift to me, M Henry, I would happily, HAPPILY, eat at M Henry every day of my life. I had the breakfast bread and butter pudding topped with blackberries and peaches and a side of bacon and a side of potatoes and a bottomless cup of coffee and an orange juice and I was so very happy! We ate breakfast with Jeremy's cousin Karen, her husband Tony and their flirty flirty baby Theo. Then on to Ed and Poindexter's, platonic roommates and great big nerds, to change clothes and take a cab to the wedding of Tal and Anthony at the Glessner House on the southside of Chicago where we saw more friends, watched Ed and Poindexter get a phone number from the same girl (followed by a fight over who had dibs where I asked the following question: Maybe she'd like to decide who she has dibs on? and Poindexter replied, "We live in a patriarchy Carolyn") ate delicious food drank plenty of wine and danced a lot (I brought my converse this time, having learned from wedding #1) and then on to Brendan's birthday party and then sleep.

Sunday 2

Breakfast at the Flying Saucer where the waiter made fun of me for ordering bacon with a vegetarian entree and I was all like, whatevs dude just make it crispy. Then it was back to airport where we happily made it onto the first London flight available even if we were sent back to Economy Plus. I couldn't sleep at all on the flight so was able to watch Leatherheads, Son of Rambow, 21 and most of What Happens in Vegas before landing back in London at about 6 AM on Monday morning.

And that's it. Our trip back to the Midwest in full. I wish we'd had another week to spend there since it pretty much feels like we packed a month into one week. Still, I'm happy we saw as many people as we did and that we got to attend the weddings, I just wish I'd felt slightly more awake for them.



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