Trains, Trains, and More Trains By 5:00 am we were up ready to hit the shower and prepare for our marathon day of travel. It was 5:45 when we were out at the waterbus stop waiting for the 6:08 waterbus to the station. Our train to Verona was at 7:00. With Euros in hand, we gratefully were able to get coffees in the station cafeteria. The rest of the day looked like this:7:00 am to 8:25 am train from Venice to Verona, change trains9:00 am to 12:32 pm train from Verona to Innsbruck, change trains 1:30 pm to 6:50 pm train from Innsbruck to Vienna – Had time to buy snacks at the bakery 7:36 pm to 10:33 pm train from Vienna to Budapest – This is where we almost missed our train, due to Ron’s need for a cup of tea. The only place open in the station that served tea was a Subway sandwich shop, which had twelve customers in line ahead of him. When they said it would take three minutes for the water to boil, we responded with make it lukewarm. We made the train with only a couple of minutes to spare. 10:59 pm to 11:04 pm Red subway line from Budapest train station to the Blue Subway line 11:29 pm to 11:37 pm Blue Subway to within a block of our apartment 11:40 pm we were in the warmth of our apartment. Ron made tea and we watched CNN and BBC to see what we missed during our days in Venice. 12:30 am I go to check the e-mail. There is a message from my brother. Since those are so few and far between, they jump off the screen at me. It is shouting, “Open me first”, so I do. My heart almost stops as he starts off with a belated birthday wish of happiness. He explains that his Internet connect at home has been down for days and he had to wait to get to work to e-mail me on the 7th of January. My God, did Hallmark go out of business in New Jersey or was the postal service on strike in the States and we did not hear about it? That could not be the case since people who are not related by blood managed to send me birthday greetings both in electronic form and in massacred tree form. What was your excuse for Thanksgiving and Christmas little brother? I on the other hand send he, his wife, and their two sons cards for every holiday celebrated in fifteen different cultures and have earned myself a Platinum Hallmark Gold Crown card for being such a frequent customer. The salesclerks at my favorite Modesto Hallmark started crying when I told them that I was leaving the country. I initially thought it was because they would miss me, but later found that they were concerned about their stock options plummeting. After my tirade of anger turned toward being grateful for what you got, transition of mood, I kept reading. “Oh, by the way, Daddy went to the emergency room at Monmouth Medical on New Years Day with chest pains. It turns out one of his arteries is totally clogged. He has to wait for a bed to be available at Jersey Shore Medical and then they will do an angioplasty. I am not sure if you knew this already or not. He said to wish you a Happy Birthday, too.” KevinMy temptation was to remind him that my crystal ball was packed and in storage in New Jersey, so of course I would not know this. I kept my fingers off of the keyboard long enough to redirect my response to “If not you, then who? If I do not get the information from you, then where would I get it from? Please do not wait until a week after the funeral to tell me that something more has happened. Don’t forget that I can’t hop on a plane at a moments notice either.” My brother has that Italian gene that by-passed me. I also was curious about the whereabouts of Michele, who I nicknamed ‘Slutwhore’. Was she still around or did she give up on the sinking ship? Ron and I are betting this is her excuse to quit her job. No babysitter, no maid, and no chef for her kids while she is at work. She can prolong her stay by playing nurse. Of course, she would not fulfill the role; just assume the title for the sake of convenience. My father had a quadruple by-pass in 1987. He started taking this wonder drug that he say on late, late night television on one of those infomercials which assure their clients that they can eat as much fat as they want as long as they take this supplement. While we were visiting, he was feasting on fried eggs and bacon every morning for breakfast and the fat consumption only increased during the day. My years of working in the medical arena was not match for the advice that he received with this powder mix that guaranteed his health and ability to eat fatty foods if he only drank the magic mix. Sunday, I was surprised yet again with a note from my brother. Dad is home and waiting for a bed, was all he said. Kevin dislikes Michele or SW so much, that most of the time he refused to recognize her existence. It may be awhile before I learn all of the details.