We are finally taking advantage of the generous gift that was given to Pastor Pete for his retirement. The members of Canyon Lake Community Church gave us a three week trip to the Netherlands which includes a Viking River Cruise, a visit with relatives and time spent touring Pastor Pete’s homeland on our own. We are now on day nine and loving every minute!
So far, I have only bought two souvenirs. I am now at that age where I have everything I need. But the two that I bought are very practical and they take up no space. I bought two Dutch pastries and ate both of them within 10 minutes of purchase.
Perhaps, my biggest challenge so far on this trip has been the restrooms. I never know how they work and I’m not successful when the instructions are in a language that I “kind-of understand.”
Because of my missing muscles and hamstrings in my right leg, getting from sitting to standing is always a difficult thing to maneuver. I now am forced to use the handicapped stall, AKA – The restroom suite! So far, I have not located a handicapped restroom stall in the Netherlands.
But, then again, you must keep in mind that ever since my surgery, restrooms and I haven’t really been on speaking terms. Two years ago, I had a confrontation with a public restroom and things have never been the same.
One “appointment, scans and tests day” at the City of Hope, I went into the regular restroom stall. I didn’t realize that I had a problem until it was time to stand up. Panic set in! There were no bars to help me lift myself. I sat there for a few minutes to assess the situation and came to the conclusion that the only way to stand was to lean to one side, push on the seat with my right hand and force myself up using the toilet paper fixture for leverage. After that, I planned to grab for the clothing hook and hoist my body up using my good leg.
It was all going great until my foot began to slip and I found myself hanging onto the toilet paper fixture for dear life; except at that exact same time I decided to make a grab for the flush handle. Suddenly, my legs slipped from underneath me. I was now sitting on the floor in front of the “Great White Throne” with my legs extended into the stall beside me. I said a soft “excuse me” to the lady in the next stall and assured her I was fine. I said that I was a restroom inspector and I was checking around the base of the toilet for cleanliness.
Once again, I began the process of getting to my feet. As gross as it sounds, I grabbed the entire toilet seat. Sometimes a woman has to do what a woman has to do!
I struggled and found my feet slipping underneath me just like a calf that was standing to its feet for the first time. When I tried to get my left leg to go right, it went left. When I forced my right leg to go left, it found itself returning to the adjoining stall forcing me to say and additional “Excuse me,” to the lady with the blue tennis shoes, white socks and wrangler jeans neatly scrunched on the floor.
Putting both hands on the toilet seat, using my arms to lift me up, I found my face in a place that was that was never intended for my face to be!
I considered asking the “blue tennis shoe lady” to get Pastor Pete; whom I’m sure is waiting very impatiently right outside the door. But I refuse to give up. I am woman!! I can do this!!
I placed my feet on the base of the toilet and my back to the wall. I slowly used leverage to slide my body and soon found myself in a somewhat upright position. I reached for the coat hook and stood upright, dusted myself off, opened the stall and proudly walked to the sink. As I looked down, I saw blue tennis shoes and white socks. I washed my hands, didn’t look up and walked out of the restroom. Mission accomplished!
Several days ago, Pastor Pete and I toured the palace of Queen Wilhelmina: the most famous and beloved Queen of all time! We fondly looked at every room. Our respect for this awesome woman grew even greater. Few realize that she had much to do with how Winston Churchill dealt with World War II. She was one tough lady!!
Before we left the palace grounds, I decided to go to the restroom. I was very disappointed to see that, once again, there were no handicapped stalls. There were only little individual rooms complete with doors that locked. That caused me to think negatively, but the overwhelming realization that I was going to use a restroom in the Palace of Queen Wilhelmina overwhelmed me! It’s not every day a woman gets to do this, unless you are Snow White or Cinderella!
Once again, I found myself in a stall with no handicapped fixtures, but I made it. I went from sitting to standing successfully! But then panic struck as I tried to unlock the door. It was stuck! I tried and tried again, but the lock wouldn’t budge. There were six other “little rooms,” but no one else was in the restroom. I pounded on the door. I yelled for help. I tried to release the hinges, but no luck.
Just as I was accepting the fact that I, a mere peasant, might actually “live in this little room in a palace for the rest of my life,” a young Dutch woman heard me and together we pushed and pulled until I was rescued. There went my chance for royalty!
I dusted myself off, washed my hands, walked out of the door and met Pastor Pete. He’ll never know how close I was to becoming a princess and residing in a castle. Even when you are 70, it’s not too late to dream about becoming a princess.