Disclaimer: Some content is inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age or those offended by swear words, references to sexuality, atheism, and libertarianism.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Art of Flying With a Toddler- What Not To Do.

On my first flight with my daughter, I was extremely nervous about how she'd handle things... Would she be able to contain her incredible amount of energy for the sake of sitting on my lap and reading her favorite books? Maybe, maybe not... But I had the ultimate foolproof plan... Sesame Street. Thanks to her impeccable taste, my daughter is fantastically in love with a shortened version of the show called Play With Me Sesame, which is far easier on the eyes and ears than some of today's young children's shows.

I fed her with snack after snack and peered discretely at the man to my left who now had a little patch of cheesy Cheeto-type crumbs imbedded in his suit jacket sleave. I debated whether or not I should flash a charming smile as I brush it off him, but then he may take that as a bizarre come on and respond... I decided against it, but guilt drew my eyes back to it repeatedly.

My little one soon tired of hearing her favorite books over and over again, but I wasn't going to lose my cool. I had the DVD player packed up and ready to go. All I had to do was attach the battery I had made sure to charge the night before. (Actually, the night before my ORIGINAL flight date, as well as the ACTUAL flight date). There was only one small problem.

When I had been turned away by the strike on the original date of my flight, we had driven back home and got stuck in an incredible bad traffic jam (nine car pile up, no less) and so when my little one started to get royally pissed off with all this pointless travel in the car, I rushed to pull out her favorite DVD to put into the minivan's DVD player. Little did I know that in doing so, I spilled the battery out onto the back seat where it would happily stay while I was rifling through my stupid bag 30,000 feet in the air the next day and very rapidly beginning to lose my cool faster than an ice cube on Angelina Jolie's ample bosom.

I sat back down with her and tried to distract her with other bits and bobs I had brought along. I soon felt a warmth on my lap as I realized she was peeing into her diaper. I didn't panic at first, because I had often felt that heat spread and had previously learned that it was all safely sealed in those amazing multilayered wonders. The only problem was that it felt a little... Warmer... Than usual.

I recalled my attempt to change her diaper earlier on in the flight... There was no changing table on board and I couldn't do it in between the two poor passengers who already displayed their sheer horror at being sat next to the youngest passenger on board, so I balanced her on the closed toilet seat. Badly. Understandably, she had squirmed the whole time and I had failed to notice that her Huggies were only hugging one of her butt cheeks.

Hence the warmer sensation spreading across my lap. I looking down to see a dark crescent of dampness on my jeans. Great. I stood up, with Cheetos falling off my lap and half a Ritz cracker with cheese stuck somewhere in my bra and went to try to change her again. This time I used the stewardess' seat just behind us.

Enjoying the feeling of flying in the face of danger, I didn't take any motion sickness pills on this particular flight. I have no one to blame but my stupid self. As we descended, the bumps and jolts were enough to bring up feelings of illness along with my lunch and I tried desperately not to puke on my sweet little girl. I managed to keep most of it down. Most of it. To my credit, neither passenger on either side of me seemed to notice the tiny bit that escaped me and joined the party of bodily fluids on my jeans.

It was then that I realized Dante had left this whole experience out of his novel when describing the various levels of Hell.

I looked back at the small smudge of orange on the man's navy sleeve and laughed.

Fuck him! Fuck him AND the plane he flew in on!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fly? I'd Rather Stick a Red Hot Poker In My Eye.

How much do I hate flying? Let me count the ways...

1) The flight crew on my departing night flight go on strike so I have to lug my bags all the way home and lose a day I could have spent with my family I hardly ever get to see.

2) I lose the lovely seat I had booked that had a circle of open seats all around me for my one year old to cause chaos without getting Cheerios on anyone or kicking the back of someone's chair while she's sitting on my lap for story time.

3) I instead get crammed in the back of the plane right next to the screaming engine and have to rock my poor child to sleep and she screams in frustration at not being able to lie down properly (on the bright side, this was the only time she screamed the whole vacation).

4) The line for foreigners in Vancouver airport was long enough I thought I was going to get onto Space Mountain on a hot July day and was unlucky enough to be behind an enormous number of huge tour bus parties from the Far East.

And that was my flight TO Vancouver.

As for the return:

5) One leg of the journey was fine. I had one hour for my connecting flight and had to get there quickly with my happy little child attached to my front, cheering "Weeeee!" on every moving walk way and escalator. That wasn't the bad part. The bad part was rushing to get there and then finding out a long time later that the crew on this flight was on strike too and I was going to have to spend a night in beautiful Detroit.

6) The lady at the gate (let's call her Kim, because that was her real name) told us all there was a free shuttle to the hotel that Northwest would pay for and we had $15 in coupons to spend on food there. THERE IS NO SHUTTLE TO THE DOUBLE TREE HOTEL THEY PUT US UP IN.

7) When we (I made friends with other Lost souls of Flight 815) finally figured this out, we shared a cab and figured we could present the bill to NWA later. The first cab filled up before I could get on with my increasingly annoyed little girl.

8) I finally stepped up to a cab who refused to take me because he didn't have a car seat.

9) When I finally got there, my daughter was so wound up, she didn't fall asleep until half past midnight, and in the meantime, crawled all over my face and hit me painfully in the nose twice. The bed was so high, I woke up constantly to make sure she wouldn't roll off.

10) I only had enough formula to last the trip home. I thus ran out.

11) The next day, my flight changed gates twice. This wouldn't mean much to those who didn't have to carry around as much as I was.

12) They refused to reimburse us for the taxis and Kim claimed to have never said that there was a shuttle.

13) The plane we got on was faulty and we sat there for an hour and a half until they finally kicked us off. My daughter slept for the whole time we WOULD have been traveling, but was now awake and ready to go with bells on.

14) We got onto a new plane and sat there for two hours because flight control "forgot" (the pilot's words) to reschedule us into the air. Boy, don't I feel confident.

15) The milk I bought her has now gone bad before she could finish it because this is all taking so damn long. There is no milk on the plane, only creamer for tea and coffee.

16) I finally get home, and my luggage is stored away because it arrived before me. No one is manning the NWA luggage storage desk.

17) I have to wait in the check in line for another half an hour to get the one under appreciated NWA employee to go down and unlock the door and let me get my bags full of touristy crap and swim diapers.

And those are the reasons, my friends, I hate flying. I didn't even bother mentioning the fact that they now charge for snacks because that was the least of my worries.

It is their right to strike, certainly, but I wish I had known ahead of time so I could avoid their company altogether and spurn them as I would a rabid cur.

On the plus side, my daughter was absolutely amazing the whole damn time (aside from the hits to my nose) and deserves an award for best behaved one year old in the history of time. I was more likely to throw a tantrum in the face of our joyous experiences than she was.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Now Leaving Canada, Eh.

I thought I was worldly wise, but then I also thought Canada was a country filled with frigid moose with snow collecting on their antlers and great comedic actors. It's freaking hot here, and the best comedy I've had all vacation is my own sister. She and I always had a special kind of friendship whereby we make each other laugh until one or both of us wets our knickers and stumbles off in defeat. We laughed our way through Egypt, giggled through Turkey, guffawed through Great Britain, and now have Canada to add to the list of foreign countries we've embarrassed ourselves in.

One of my favorite incidents this summer involved one of our many trips on the buses. She spotted a guy at the back of the bus who caught her eye. She discretely called to me and spoke in Arabic.

"TeacherLady, look at the guy at the back... He looks like the guy from that movie... What's it called...? 'Wiiiilsoooon', you know? HUGE beard, big hair..."

Now he may have guessed from her constantly darting her eyes back at him while talking to me, but it may have also been a give away that she seems to think that the Arabic masked the wild gestures she was making with her hands! She gave the universal signs for 'big ass beard and mess of hair that John Goodman could get lost in" and sure enough, when I risked a peek back, he was looking right at me. He was actually a really good looking guy, who had decided (for God knows what reason) to hide behind Cousin It. I mentioned this quietly to my sister, who then reappraised him and agreed.

After we got off the bus, she announced to the window (in English):

Sister: So cute!

As I mentioned, it's freaking hot here. The windows were open. He continued to stare back at us in confusion.

Sister: Oh shit! The window was open! Oh shit! My face is burning, oh my GOD how embarrassing!

I love my sister. I laugh laughing with her. Or in this case, AT her.
PS: I used to have a crush on John Candy when I was a kid.