Last night in Dublin: Define the luck of the Irish

Brian and I just returned from an incredible 16-day adventure in Ireland. And in true Chrissy fashion, I managed to include a side of ridiculous (or twelve) in our summer vacation. Most notably on our last night in Dublin during the first leg of our trip.

Chrissy and Brian at the Guinness Storehouse
Visiting the Guinness storehouse on our first day in Dublin (running on zero sleep and pints of that ruby red life blood).

It all started after a nap. Well, Brian napped. I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram in an attempt to relinquish the final edges of jetlag without sleeping. We had arrived in Dublin two days prior after a sleepless night on a plane and been zombie-walking our way through the city into every uncrowded bar with music that didn’t prevent us from having a conversation (have I mentioned my husband is an introvert?).

After rousing ourselves from bed, we realized that we needed to locate food immediately because most restaurants in the area seemed to shut down around 9 pm. Our hotel felt like it was in the middle of a food desert, so our options were limited if we planned to walk. After some Googling, Brian found a bar/restaurant that piqued his interest. The food was Southern American, but the bar had a self-described enormous board game collection. Our people!

So I put on my nerdiest accessories — an Avengers Infinity bracelet featuring the infinity stones and dinosaur necklace, both of which were early birthday presents from Brian — and we began the twenty-minute walk to said bar.

Last night in Dublin wearing a dinosaur necklace
My sweet dinosaur necklace. Not pictured: this infinity stone bracelet.
Disclaimer: Amazon links = small commission for Chrissy blah blah etc etc.

When we finally arrived at the bar, I sat down and Brian went to check out the game shelf. I realized the bartender would not be visiting the table, so I pulled my credit card out of my wallet and strolled up to the bar to get menus and order drinks. I asked for a menu, and the bartender looked at me like I was an idiot before telling me the kitchen was closed. I slid my credit card into my jeans pocket and walked to Brian so we could discuss the situation. We left and went to the Asian fusion restaurant directly next to the bar to get food.

After eating, we decided that we didn’t want to pay 10 Euro to play games we already had at home and began the walk back to our hotel. There was a great looking Irish pub next to the hotel, and we figured we could go play our own games (why yes, we did pack three pocket-size strategy games for two weeks in Ireland, and it was brilliant) in a nicer atmosphere.

Though we had just eaten, snacks seemed like a necessary and important reason to stop at a convenience store…or two. At the first one, I paid with Samsung Pay on my phone, leaving my credit card safely forgotten in the pocket of my jeans.

Because we couldn’t find a snack that Brian wanted, we proceeded to a different convenience store a block further from our hotel. We found some snacks and walked to the self-pay kiosk. Brian put his credit card in the machine and then pulled it out after he thought it was through. When the receipt didn’t print, he put his card back in for a second attempt. The kiosk called for an attendant because he needed to sign a slip. The attendant didn’t know what was going on, and a flurry of chaos escalated everyone’s panic and stress. We finally left the store with our packages in tow.

As we walked, I started feeling the urge to use the ladies room. I thought I could make it to the hotel, but Brian spotted a pub that the hop on/hop off bus tour guide swooned about when we passed it. Knowing that sometimes my need to use the bathroom can have disastrous consequences, he offered a solution.

“I’ll go get a drink. You go to the bathroom.”

It seemed harmless enough…

We walked in, and I immediately regretted my decision. This was a local watering hole that reminded me of The Snuggly Duckling. I walked to the bathroom through a dark back bar and a dimly lit hallway. I stepped down into a tiny two-stall bathroom where a woman in her sixties was smoking a cigarette and ashing it into the sink. I went for the first stall when I realized there was no toilet seat to be found. So I had to maneuver around Smokey McGee to get into the second stall.

I wiggled around the door into the stall and locked it, noticing there was no hook to hang my fleece or my purse. The floor was soaked — and I’m not sure from what — so I zipped up my purse and placed it on the back of the toilet and prayed. I tossed my fleece up above the door, effectively hanging it over into the bathroom (Smokey had flown the coop, so it was just me in there at this point).

I went to the bathroom and then started collecting my belongings. First I grabbed my fleece, which was now accompanied by a thick layer of yellow, musty dust. When I tried to pat it off, my Infinity bracelet unclasped and went flying into a puddle of wet floor. Who knew my bracelet would become the latest in a lifetime of vacation fashion fails.

Visibly flustered, I grabbed my purse, wiggled out of the stall, washed my hands and bracelet, tucked the bracelet into my pocket — feeling it beside my credit card — and hustled out to Brian, who had not ordered a drink. We rushed out of the bar and I began regaling Brian with my bathroom tale reaching into my pocket and grabbing the bracelet to show him.

We arrived back at our hotel. Brian brought the convenience store snacks to the room and grabbed our games, while I waited in the lobby. A call came in from a 00000 number, so I ignored it (spam calls are not worth 25 cents a minute). When a voicemail came through, I listened to it, fully expecting a deletable junk message. Except that it wasn’t.

It was Capital One calling to tell me someone had found my credit card (the credit card I was planning to use to rent a car the next day), and they were trying to return it to me. After a brisk walk back to the bar, interviews with every human we came in contact with, and a complete walk-through of our evening, we finally let Capital One cancel my card and walked back to our hotel.

“Do you still want to get a drink?” Brian asked, after noting my overstressed and sad disposition.

“Uh yes. Yes I do.”

We walked just past our hotel into the pub, found a comfortable spot, and Brian reached into his wallet to get his credit card out…

It’s moments like this that you have to laugh. Because there is literally nothing as absurd as discovering that you and your husband both lost your credit cards within minutes of each other. We swapped roles as Brian went into a panic-and-anger-at-himself mode, I went into crisis-management mode.

Confident that his card was at the convenience store, we left the bar and I began Googling for a phone number. The hotel made a local call for us, and we discovered the store had just closed, and it went straight to voicemail. We called a cab to take us back over there and then back again (It was late, and not the safest-looking of neighborhoods). The cab driver let us out to go bang on the window of the convenience store until someone noticed us (they all had headphones on!) and waited across the street.

We thankfully retrieved Brian’s credit card, at least, and were relieved to walk back to the cab…when the cab wouldn’t start. The driver had to pop the hood and wiggle a few things until the engine finally started up again.

After all of the hoopla and insanity, we decided not to take any more chances with our bad luck, and we went straight to bed. Did not pass go, did not collect $200. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I couldn’t help but wonder if this evening was a preview of the rest of our Irish vacation or would we even bounce back from this nonsense?

What’s the craziest string of bad luck that you’ve had on vacation? Have you ever lost your credit card while traveling internationally? How did you deal? Let me know in the comments!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Jellie Bean: A Eulogy For My Car

I loved Jellie Bean for a grand total of five weeks. We had a brief courtship. I met her online in the very beginning of January 2011, and it was love at first sight.

Sort of.

Welcome home, Jellie Bean

Welcome home, Jellie Bean

Dawn, my ’98 Pontiac Sunfire, died suddenly on New Year’s Day, after our 5-year relationship, and I was in need of a new car. Jellie Bean was cute and sweet, though hard to compare to Dawn, the car that was named based on the frequency with which she saw the first light of the morning while on her way home from the bar (or a cute boy’s house).

Jellie Bean was a fresh start. An adult car. She wasn’t sexy or a bold hue of teal; she was reliable and an unobtrusive shade of Pacific blue.  She wasn’t going to draw the unwanted attention of police officers looking to ticket a little speed racer. Because I wasn’t a speed racer anymore. She wasn’t going to get into accidents. Only two years old, with 30,000 miles on her, she was the newest car I had ever owned. I loved her.

I test drove Jellie Bean and purchased her on January 3, 2011, wiping a tear away as I said goodbye to Dawn in the Toyota parking lot for the last time. And Jellie Bean and I began our life together.

This is what it looks like to say goodbye to your beloved car from the driver's seat of your new car.

This is what it looks like to say goodbye to your beloved car from the driver’s seat of your new car.

We started out hot and heavy, driving to work, shopping, meeting boys for dates, heading to the bars. We did everything together. And then, it snowed. Poor Jellie Bean was covered from head to toe in white powdery shit after Snowmageddon 2011. For two days, she was abandoned under several feet of snow. I believe it was at this point she decided to ruin everything. Yes, I’m going to go ahead and blame my vengeful car, and not my poor driving skills, for the bad luck that came with owning Jellie Bean.

Those little strips of Pacific blue? That's Jellie Bean.

Those little strips of Pacific blue? That’s Jellie Bean.

Her first accident was a few days after I rescued her from the snow. I was heading from work to a date around sundown. Driving west on a street with a 40 mph speed limit with the sun in your eyes, snow-covered roads and mountainous piles of snow doesn’t exactly make for the best driving conditions, and I was far from speeding. But the guy in front of me? Came to a HARD STOP slightly over a hill to make a right turn. Jellie Bean didn’t stand a chance.

After a few weeks courting a rental car, Jellie Bean was returned to me, good as new. We had a beautiful couple of months together as we got to know Brian, tried on a couple of jobs, and traveled the suburbs together.

As fall set in, and deer season rapidly approached, I never once considered my daily commute passing a deer-heavy forest. At least not until one came at me like a race horse. Poor Jellie Bean took the brunt of that mishap, as well. I had never regretted a purchase so much in my life as I did with Bad Luck Jellie Bean. She was out of control.

I took that opportunity to become intimately acquainted with Brian’s car, which he so graciously offered up to me.

And so it was that Jellie Bean, upon return to me, and never as good as new after the deer kicked her ass (when I opted for the insurance-recommended body shop instead of a quality place), became our secondary car. When we moved in together, I would drive Brian’s car as often as possible for fear of more unnecessary bad luck.

But nothing lasts forever. Due to a few unfortunate circumstances (namely some douchebag with bad car insurance rear ending him), Brian’s car became less available to us. Since moving into our new house, Jellie Bean has been our primary car.

Well.

Was.

When your car is parked in an unmarked flood zone, you may come home to this unfortunate sight.A few weeks ago, Chicago had a bit of a rain shit show. You may have seen pictures of my car. Poor Jellie Bean was drowned in a rain-sewer-made lake on June 15, 2015.

I cried a little for her then. And I’ve cried several times about it. Because I’m an emotional wreck most of the time. And while she was full of bad luck, I had just paid her off in February. We had years left before she was supposed to leave me. I was also really fucking pissed. I was pissed at the village I live it. I was pissed at the rain. I was even pissed at that stupid fucking car for letting it happen.

I was especially pissed at whoever thought to wrap caution tape around my driver’s side mirror, because couldn’t someone come in and tow all that shit before the water rose to the point of destroying my fucking car?

What a car looks like the morning after a flood

What a car looks like the morning after a flood. I swear the sun was laughing at me. And that caution tape? Was definitely there before the water receded. Someone could have saved Jellie Bean.

I said goodbye to Jellie Bean a few days after they declared her a total loss. My lovely little Yaris. I had to wear a mask and gloves just to open the door because she was so toxic and poisoned inside. I cried again, hoping it was for the last time, but her I am now, with tears on my keyboard, pining for a car I must have loved the whole time, regardless of how unlucky she was. She was mine. And she was paid for. A year early.

It's always hard to say goodbye to a car, but it's even harder when that car was flooded suddenly.

It felt fitting that I said goodbye in that same Toyota lot I met her in. And strangely coincidental that a few weeks after meeting Jellie Bean, she was covered in several feet of snow and a few weeks before our final goodbye, she was covered in several feet of water.

Goodbye Ms. Jellie Bean. You will be missed. You were loved. And I hope it was one hell of a ride while it lasted.

After my car flooded during torrential rain storms, I said goodbye to her...and started dreaming of a pink carDo you name your cars? How do you feel when you have to say goodbye to a car? Have you ever experienced horrific flooding?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!