Thursday, April 12, 2007


Things have been pretty quiet around here at, the result of the first real "adult" vacation Gwen and I have taken since, oh, about 2001. We joined four other couples on a trip to Lake Como, Italy that began on Thursday morning and ended with our safe return Tuesday night.

It was an incredible, unique and unforgettable experience, but for us - at least at this stage of our lives - it was also too much time away from the girls. Gwen dropped them off at my parents' house on Wednesday afternoon, my mother drove them home late Tuesday, so by the time we rolled in a few hours later it had been a solid six days since we'd been together. Too long.

Before this trip, we'd been away from Madison and Ava just a handful of times, and never more than a two or three nights in a row. That seems to be a good formula for us, and as great as it was to get away and enjoy a solid block of sleeping in, adult conversations, leisurely sightseeing and large helpings of pasta and wine about every three hours - in the future we are planning to revert to our more familiar approach. It's amazing how quickly the blissful anticipation of a few days of peace and quiet, absent the daily and sometimes overwhelming rigors of parenting, can transition into a sense that things are just incomplete without the kids. Half of our little gang was missing on this trip, and once that realization kicked in it never stopped feeling that way.

When we walked in the door Tuesday night the girls were literally jumping up and down, Ava may have momentarily broken into tears of joy as she hugged me and shrieked, I couldn't quite tell through the unrestrained jubilation.

Gwen tucked her into bed that night, and after talking to Madison for a while I stopped off to give Ava a goodnight kiss and hug. As I was bundling her up in her bedding she looked up at me and said, "Dad?"

"Yes Ava?"

"I like being back in my regular house."

"Me too," I said.

Here are some photos from our trip.

[Villa Versace, "Villa Le Fontanelle," one of the most famous villas on Lake Como, and apparently the favorite of the four homes the late designer Gianni Versace owned around the world. Not difficult to see why.]

["Villa Clooney" - George Clooney's villa on the lake. Five women on the trip, all in happy marriages or advanced stages of dating, and the consensus was that if Clooney had appeared while our rented boat floated by his house all bets were off and they were going over the side in a mad paddle to reach him first and make a positive impression, leaving the men with the outrageous pasta salad and case of Barolo we had on board as a consolation prize.]

[Headed "home" after a great day on the lake, which also included lunch in the beautiful little town of Bellagio.]

[Stopped off for a brief tour of an area vineyard. The scenery was better than the wine, although the olive oil they made there may have been the best I've ever tasted.]

[Villa d'Este. Simply amazing. We stopped off for drinks outside, on the water, and didn't want to leave.]

[Flying home over the Alps.]


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