Oh, it's a tour diary!

Since we have been home from Europe, I've been sitting in my heated leather shiatsu chair and getting toe rubs from my Sherpa while we plot the spring expedition to Everest. Its almost too painful to recall the wet and the cold and the hungry of Autumn Euro tour, 2004; or, should I call it: One Long Bonfire Weekend?

The Departure

I've been waiting for so long for this trip and now departure day is here. Bills have been paid, bedrooms sub-letted, and hearts broken. Erick and I leave late for Jeff's house. Those rules about getting to airports a few hours early for international flights are bogus anyway. They always let the skinny, badly dressed, long-haired folks right through the gates when they are carrying several hundred pounds of sketchy metal equipment that they don't quite comprehend.

On the way to the airport in Jeff's mom's car, I call the airline to confirm our flights. I'm informed that the commuter flight up to Newark has been cancelled...bad weather on the east coast. The woman on the phone asks me about the storms. I look at the sunny skies and tell her we are fighting for our lives. She says if I get to the airport an hour earlier, we can catch the earlier flight to Newark.

"And if we miss it?" I ask.

"You can catch the flight to Amsterdam tomorrow," she replies.

Mother Schmid does her best to speed, with Jeff criticizing her all the while. I get nervous and then my ass itches. It's not unusual for my ass to itch. The last several days have been complicated by bumps, inflammation, open sores, and uncontrollable itching that goes from my lower back to the tops of my thighs. Not one area of skin is spared. I am taking extremely high doses of steroids and will be on them for the next several weeks. I can only sleep with benedryl and gloves. Yesterday, when Dr. Hanukkah-Berg saw the rash on my second visit, he said, "Oh my! I've never seen anything like this! Let me bring in Dr. Rash-Me-Stein to take a look." Dr. Rash-Me-Stein was baffled and bewildered as well. Since I hadn't been to the Ganges that week, they figured high doses of steroids were the best option, as I was leaving the country and medical attention would not be available. And I must wear only white cotton underpanties. My mom offers to get me some. I tell her that I want little ones, bikini style. She brings me big ones and she lets me know I'll be grateful for the extra warmth in my hip region.

Anyway, we make it to the airport. Security is smooth. The commuter flights aren't cancelled -- only delayed. We make it to the connection in Newark and they are boarding as we walk up. The flight attendants offer to put my organ and Erick's bass in their closet. With our instruments and our band safely on the way to Amsterdam, I can relax.

Tonight's veggie meal aboard the plane is veggie Shepherd's pie. How many calories in that? Good grief. I can only imagine.

I watch Spiderman 2. I play Hangman. The Dutch baby next to me growls at me. I draw pictures of Val Kilmer. I don't sleep. I pace. I hide in the bathroom and scratch.

Hours later, when we arrive in Amsterdam and Jeff's suitcase containing his shoes, clothes, bass drum pedal, toothbrush and jacket is nowhere to be found, I know this tour is gonna rock.

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