Conta (Bill)

conversations with hank

Google doesn’t think that Lisbon and Porto both deserve their points showing since it is only 300 km difference after an ocean was crossed. Just know those points are there. *wink*


Hank: Mama?

Me: (in bed, daydreaming at night, practicing the fine art of escapism from chronic pain) Yah?

Hank: (noticing) Oh, am I interrupting you working on something for your story?

Me: Not at all. (cracking an eye open) What’s up, buttercup?

Hank: (bringing me a computer printout) I saw this on the fridge and I noticed it was a conta (bill). What is this?

Me: Oh, this is the flight itinerary for Aunt Kelly, Uncle Bryan, Connor and Aida to visit in TWO WEEEKSS! I am so excited. I can’t believe this is really real!

Hank: Oh, really? But the conta (bill)! This is like super expensive.

Me: This is what four plane tickets across the ocean cost and this isn’t even the full conta (bill). They had travel vouchers, meaning free flight credits, from Minnesota to Boston.

Hank: Where is Minnesota? And Where is Boston? And it says here they are flying into Lisbon?

Me: That is normal if you don’t fly out of Frankfort, Germany to have a layover in Lisboa before continuing on up to Porto.

Hank: And is says Lisbon and not Lisboa.

Me: Yes, because this itinerary is in English. Just like we say Inglaterra in Portuguese and England in English.

Hank: I guess that makes sense.

Me: Bring over, carefully, my computer please. I will pull up a map. They are traveling from the other side of the Mississippi River…

Hank: M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i

Me: And then they stop in Boston for a layover, then over the Atlantic, then land in Lisbon…

Hank: Layover.

Me: And then up to us.

Hank: (inspecting the map) And where was I born?

Me: You were born in Southern, Indiana. Here. In Bloomington where your papa got his PhD and I studied Art.

Hank: (looking back at the printed flight itinerary) So this isn’t the conta (bill) for the whole trip.

Me: No.

Hank: It would have been even more expensive if they didn’t have that voucher.

Me: Yes.

Hank: This is a lot of money, mama.

Me: It is. This is what it cost for four people to travel to us and NOT in peek tourist season.

Hank: (thinking rather loudly)




Hank: We will make it worth it, won’t we?

Me: Of course. It could rain every day, sheets and sheets, and it would still be worth it because we will be together.

Hank: This conta (bill) is like, worth it, because it means they love us.

Me: And we love them. Memories are priceless.

Hank: Okay. (getting up to leave, turning back, leaning against the door frame) I understand now.

Me: You understand what?

Hank: I understand now why we don’t visit America more and people don’t visit us as much. I thought it was just because you are sick, but I understand now it isn’t just that, because we’re four too. Our family is also four plane tickets.

Me: (nodding)

Hank: What is that thing you say? The thing they say in America? About the lunch?

Me: There is no free lunch.

Hank: (waving the itinerary in the air) This is like that, isn’t it?

Me: It is.

Hank: Love should be free.

Me: It is and sometimes it isn’t, but love is always worth it.

Hank: You should get a voucher for love trips.

Me: (roaring with laughter) Then who would pay for airplanes and fuel and in flight meals and salaries of pilots and the fight attendants both TRAINED TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Hank: (shrugs, mind on something else) We are going to have the best time with them.

Me: We are. Now stop worrying about money, put that itinerary back on the fridge and lets come up with a list of things you want to show Aida and Conner in Guimarães. You will be their tour guide!

Hank: (bouncing off) Okay, I will get my notebook. Be right back.



Smashing Moscas (Flys)?

Molly calling for the Mosca (Fly) to come and play, all be it still a little suspect of her new buzzing friend.

Molly calling for the Mosca (Fly) to come and play, all be it still a little suspect of her new buzzing friend.


Molly: Mama? MAMA? MÃE (mom)!!

Me: (scuttling about getting her day bag packed to visit her Nanny) Yes, Moo-Moo Gigante? (The Super Hero name Molly settled on this weekend: Moo-Moo Giant)

Molly: Mama, play howse (house)?

Me: Oh, thank you for the invitation. I would love to play house with you.

Molly: (singing Frozen) Wif You.

Me: (singing back) With you!

Together: Love is an open door!

Me: May I get my coffee first? One minute.

Molly: Mama, não (no). MAMA!

Me: (walking away in spite of her cries until I realize she is no longer using her “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANT” cry and she is now using her petrified cry. Double back) Hey now? What’s all this?

Molly: (looking at the ceiling, hands pulled to her chest, clasped in prayer, cowering)

Me: Are you frightened? Tem medo (are you scared)?

Molly: Sim (yes). Olha (look)! (screeching at the sight of a fly)

Me: (pulling her into my lap) Oh, look who’s come to visit us! Hello, mosca (fly). Hello! Molly, that is a mosca (fly). He is a kind bug. He is a friend. He doesn’t pica or morder (sting or bite). A mosca (fly) dances in the sky and goes buzz, buzz, buzz. Can you say buzz, buzz, buzz?

Molly: (warming up to the fly) Buzz. Buzz. (giggling) Buzz, Buzz, Buzz!

Me: Can you say hello to the mosca (fly)? He just wake up for Spring!

Molly: Hello, buzz buzz. Good morning! Mama, (toddling out of my lap) Mama, essa mooosca (this fly) buzz, buzz e Moo Moo Gigante HULK SMASK com bota (with my boot), okay? (nodding, pointing to her feet)

Me: (translating) You would like to HULK SMASH that mosca (fly) under your boot?

Molly: (delighted) SIM (YES)!

Me: Poor mosca (fly). He just wants to buzz around our living room until I open the window to the afternoon sun in a little while. Must you smash him? He doesn’t have a very long life to live anyway and it would be a shame to cut it even shorter.

Molly: Okay. No smash. Nooo Smash, mosca (fly).  Mooooooosssca (fly)? Play howse (house)? (looking at the ceiling) Come on. Come on, moosca. Come on.





(on the walk home from school)

Me: What else do you have to report from the school front, buddy?

Hank: Nothing, that’s it. Now it’s your turn. How was your day?

Me: Productive. Oh and I spoke with your Uncle Andy.

Hank: Oh yah? About the car for the character in your book?

Me: The very thing. I told him the options you helped me come up with: A 1990 Mituubioochi Pajero…

Hank: Mit-su-bi-shi

Me: Right Mitchewbitushi

Hank: (shaking his head in frustration)

Me: or a 1990 Land Rover Defender.

Hank: What did he say?

Me: He was impressed.

Hank: He was?!?!!! (walking taller with a skip in his step)

Me: He said, and I quote, “God, I love that kid.”

Hank: (beaming with pride, hugging himself)

Me: He said those were both great contenders for my character to own, but they didn’t fit the bill as the ultimate road trip vehicle. Those years and models both have one thing or another that would not make them the best options to drive 600 kilometers round trip twice a year without being perpetually be at the mechanics BUT great job and if you hadn’t of scouted those potential options for me he wouldn’t have as easily recommended…

Hank: I can’t wait to hear this.

Me: The 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser!

Hank: Ohhhhhhhh, I see. Yup! (nodding) Yup. Great car.

Me: Preferred vehicle by the UN. Known for being the go-to convoy car on peace keeping missions and a solid running, reliable work horse. Boxy, stripped of frills, perfect for beach days parked precariously on a cliff top road shoulder or off-roading Alentejo adventures. So, what do you think? Do you agree?

Hank: Absolutely. Thank you for asking Uncle Andy’s opinion. I don’t think I would have thought of that car on my own and he is right. The Land Cruiser is the best car for your character. Also how is it going in your book? Has he kissed the lady yet?

Me: Not yet, but they’re close.

Hank: Are they flirting?

Me: Yup. Totes flirting.

Hank: Right. Well, now you have the perfect date vehicle. He should drive her to the beach for a sunset picnic. They should kiss on the beach. She’ll get cold and he will lean over to give her his coat. It’s a thing adults do. That would be the date I’d take my future wife on in my Toyota Land Cruiser.

Me: Oh yah?

Hank: Definitely.