Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should

Last night hubby and I went out to dinner with three couples and had such a fun time. It was so nice to have a dinner with adult friends, eating adult food , having adult conversations. These folks always just crack me up. Oh my goodness, we really need to do that more often. So, in this case, just because you can DOES mean you should.

When we returned home, we found out that the power upstairs was completely out, downstairs was just fine. You see, there are power plug adapters and 110v/220v transformers. Some American products are dual voltage and only need the plug adaptor (e.g., the laptop, the DVD player). However, most American appliances need both. Apparently, T and his babysitter didn't quite get this concept. T wanted his air purifier plugged in. So, he and the babysitter used a plug adaptor (with no transformer) to plug in the purifier. Of course, it could plug into the wall outlet this way, but without a transformer it really shouldn't be plugged in. POOF, the entire upstairs was soon without power. The power in our house is now fixed, but the air purifier, well, that's now toast.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Seven Lessons I Learned in Borovets. . .

So, we went to Borovets again. This time hubby was able to come along. Last time we were there we stayed at a hotel right on the slope. It was exceptionally convenient is so many ways, but the rooms were a bit tired looking and it was quite noisy at night. So, this time I booked us an apartment, which was better kept, more spacious and much quieter.

We arrived at our apartment, not realizing that just because you book an apartment for your family, doesn't mean you will be the only ones in it. Yes, there was another family there when we arrived. We arrived a little earlier than expected and they were given extended check-out. So, the management of the apartment suggested we share it for a few hours. We did and it actually worked out fine, they even sold us a ski pass for 1/2 price that they didn't need any more. Still, that was a first for us. Lesson One: let the hotel know you are coming from Sofia and not from out-of-country (as weirdly many do), so they know to expect you NOT in the late afternoon.

Our first day in town, T and S went skiing for the afternoon. I took K over to our previous hotel where the ski lift for little ones and the ski kindergarten are located. I had an instructor take K skiing for an hour while I got him all signed-up for school the next day. After his lesson and lunch, we headed back to the apartment. Only, I took a wrong turn and my poor little guy had a long walk uphill (in his ski boots) with me carrying his little skis. He was in tears. I was cursing myself for taking the wrong road. We finally made it back to the apartment and we were so tired that we took a nice nap until the big boys got back from skiing. Lesson Two: Get a friggin map!

So, after skiing and nap, we went to the pool. Unfortunately, it is not located in the same building as our apartment, so a little walk in the cold was involved. We enjoyed a little swim in their small pool and decided to head over to the hot-tub. Soon, a guy tells everyone in the hot-tub, "You must pay 8 lev to use the hot-tub." 8 lev is about the same as $5.25. And, not just 8 lev total, but 8 lev/person/20 minutes!!! He continued to explain that only the pool is free; there is a separate 8 lev charge for using the sauna as well. And yet another charge if you want to use their tiny gym. Of course, there is a charge for each towel too. Ok, I guess this is what is meant by "nickel and dime you to death." Jeez Louise!!!!! Lesson Three: For a ski trip with little ones, convenience over space wins the day! The hotel we stayed at previously has a large pool and two large hot tubs in the same building as your room and they are all free, including towels! And, it's location was far more convenient.

It's bed time. There were two bedrooms each with a double bed. We thought the boys could share a bed. Think Again!!!! I ended up with K and hubby ended up with T. It was the only way to stop the monkey business. Lesson Four: Our boys CANNOT share a bed!

The next morning, I got my skis. I have to say, the ski shop at the apartments were MUCH CHEAPER than the ski shop at the hotel. We are talking about 5 LEV/DAY/PERSON for full set-up. We dropped K at his little Kindergarten ski school and for the first time ever, hubby, T and I all skied together!!! What fun!!!! You can ask T; to say I am a cautious skier is an understatement. According to T, "Mom you must make like 500 turns every run." Yes, all I do is make wide turns, I will not "bomb it" down the hill. No how, no way!!! So, yes, my seven year old son is already a better skier than his Mom. I'm ok with that!! But, at least he got to practice his turns. Hubby skied behind us to "protect" us from fast skiers and snow boarders who were really not watching out for the rest of us. Lesson Five: Watch your back. Even though those behind are supposed to watch for and go around those in front, it doesn't always work out that way.

For lunch, we found a "traditional" Bulgarian restaurant for tourists, decked out in hunting lodge style on the ski hill. In our attempt to use their restroom, we learned the Bulgarian verb "Pikae" or in English "to pee." In addition, because the toilet was broken, that is all we were allowed to use it for. Lesson Six: Men can always find a way to communicate the intricacies of using a toilet (even when they don't understand common words). Yes, hubby's Bulgarian is great, but there are some things they just don't teach at FSI.

At the end of the day, I let the big guys (yes, I'm including my seven year old as a big guy) take a run without me, while I went to get K. This time, after doing a last run without Mom slowing them down, T and hubby skied to the car and picked K and me up at his school. Believe me, I was not making that mistake again! We turned in our skis and drove back to Sofia, stopping at Burger King for dinner. Lesson Seven: Calories count even when skiing. Calories burnt skiing about 300/hour. Calories for a BK meal with drink about 1200. Well, I guess better to eat that kind of meal after a day of skiing, then after a day of loafing (although with kids do we ever have a day of loafing, hmmm. . .).