Oops, I Did It AGAIN!
I keep reading other blogs and every time that I do, I feel like I need to up my game. Why does everyone seem to have such exquisite vocabulary and such clever ideas to blog about. I feel far more inferior than amateur. I just decided to post for today and saw that I had a tab opened to my blog about the ‘covered all angles’ post. A second before I was about to close the tab to write today’s column, I figured that I should just check out my page. Glad I did. The post I wrote on Thursday was never published, although it was saved as a draft. So now I will have two posts for the day. Oh well.
Part of my previous disappearance, aside from the university test, was an untold tale of my family’s journey to America. Even though, after my vacation there this summer, I had sworn off ever doing it again, I did. My grandparents were celebrating their 50th anniversary and asked that we come in for their weekend retreat with all expenses paid. You would think they had me at the latter. No. Not even money can make me wish to torture myself. But 50 years? Who the hell makes it married 50 years? That deserved my compliance.
Don’t think it was easy. When I heard about it, I was adamant. Absolutely, positively, NOT happening. Then the guilt trips started heading my way. Honestly, I created some myself and those were the worst. My family kept telling me how it was ‘once in a lifetime’ and no matter what it would cost you, you don’t decline such an offer. Easy for everyone to say. They don’t have 3 children cooped up in a crowded tin bird for TWELVE hours, six miles above sanity. And they most definitely don’t come around to assist with the deviation from normal schedule and the whole new night shift that these kids have going.
Needless to say, I fell for it all. Only a short time later, I found myself up in the air cursing under my breath and silently swearing NEVER, NO MATTER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, to ever do this again. Only to make matters worse, we had to take the less expensive course and take a stop-over flight to Italy. I never flew a cheaper airlines in my life, let alone a stop-over. I did not even know what I was in for.
I packed up my suitcases and tried to keep it small. No matter how I try to keep baggage at a minimum, I still seem to look like a bag lady. I can easily be mistaken for one of the homeless collecting can and bottle bags. I look tattered and worn and have odd things hanging from each high quality plastic bag, some poking through the corners. So I had less on this trip than the last. One baby bag to keep at my feet by the flight with diapers, wipes, extra pacifiers ( we lose at least two every time), and a change of clothing for the baby. Then comes the plastic bag with the snacks that don’t run down drooling faces or get little grimy hands stuck on armrests (no chocolate, candies, or gum). Then comes a bag with all the sippy cups so that the thirsty boys always have their water in their cups. Next we have a carry-on with extra changes of clothing for the emergency situation of lost luggage upon arrival. Of course another carry-on with extra changes of clothing for everyone on the trip in case of spilling, accidents, and vomit. And finally, the suitcase with all the nick knacks and gadgets, coloring books and crayons, and trucks and stickers (we allow variety to promote fair choice). Definitely, not minimum enough.
The airport personnel did not even have to work too hard to make me miserable right at the beginning. All you have to do is make me stay with my children, who were woken up in the midst of their slumber, and you have me slightly seething. Then they just always seem to manage making it worse. It is their specialty. I feel as though they see families coming by and they deliberately make it hell. I have gone many times into New York and the customs guys are fiddling around, bored, until they spot us. The kids are always crying and tugging at us and disconnecting the ribbons that form the lines. Most people seem to silently pray that we just get out of the airport by security escort. The, once sleepy, men suddenly perk up and say “Oh those passengers, over there. Let us inconvenience them.” X-rays of nine suitcases, five carry-ons, ten personal bags, and three screaming kids later, they decide to set us free. They were checking for fruits and meats and plants that we may have stashed somewhere. Looking back, we probably should have taken weed along. It probably could have helped.
This time we had a break in the trip and we stopped off after 4 hours in Italy. They did not give us our stroller so lots of carrying went on. I can almost swear that no one in Italy has children. They all stared at us as we walked in and many even smiled and muttered gibberish things under their breath. It was all Greek to me. Or Italian. Either way we were stared at and poked and prodded by security once again. Sometimes I wonder if it would be worth it to just prance through naked. That should make less trouble for them and a possible rush for us past the lines. It was a thought, but way too cold for my thin form.
The kids were actually pretty good considering the many hours sitting in one chair. I was by far the worst. I visited the bathroom so many times, I got to notice all the strange things behind the doors. It is pretty amazing that you can use the bathroom while so many miles up, but I do always wonder about where it all goes. I could just do about a second of research to find out, but my version, I’m sure is better. They just drop it all off while they fly. I am sure by the time it reaches any land or water it is next to nothing anyways. Because if they had to store it all up during the whole trip it would be quite the job to empty.
The mirror that faces you as you sit on the toilet is particularly awkward. It is enough that I felt sick the whole time, I really did not need to see myself crouched on the short vacuum seat all the while. The suction is exceptional. I am pretty sure if you stuck a diaper in, it would be swallowed immediately. Every time I flushed, I turned around and held my ears. The sound was explosive and I was afraid it would suck my eyebrows down the tube. I am pretty sure that if I looked close enough, it would have my nose hairs too. The little sink is quite adorable, although it managed to turn off before I could even get my hands under the water. After you press the button you have to rush your hands under and attempt to catch a strand of water. It had this white foamy appearance, and even I thought twice before putting my hands beneath it. Strange how they feel the need to put up warnings against drinking from it.
Then the lovely sickness bags. I definitely used them to their full capacity. The name on the bag actually made me puke. Who doesn’t want to throw up into something that is called sacchetto mal d’aria. I will try to remind myself next time Not to eat the plane food. See, I just said next time. I never learn, do I.
There were warnings all over the plane against smoking. They also added it into the video safety announcements. Even if I was desperate, I wouldn’t dare smoke for the fear of the children. I feel as though they would point fingers and mutter bad things under their breath saying that even they got the point. Then they claimed to have smoke detectors in the bathroom. I wonder if they really do. I would have believed it until I saw this clever little trap door for cigarettes. It was placed quite discreetly on the bathroom door, which is amazingly small to slide your way into, I feel sorry for the bigger people. I spent way too much time in the bathroom to be noticing these weird little things. I even sat there trying to figure out how in the movies, people would find passageways behind the walls of the bathroom. I didn’t have any tools, but it seemed the mirror could be removed. There is no obvious escape, aside from the toilet that, I am pretty confident, can suck a human down.
It was long and it was rough. The woman sitting near me did not make it any easier either. With her constant “Shhhah” and telling me to get my kid to keep quiet so she can sleep. When I asked her if I should perhaps stick a muzzle in his mouth to keep him from laughing aloud, she told me there was no need to be rude. I looked at her and said, “rude? Are you kidding me? I am being rude? My kid is not crying. I am trying my hardest to keep him quiet but he wants to play and so he is saying goo ga ga. I want to sleep too. Trust me. We all pay for this trip and I can’t get him quiet. At least he is not screaming. Close your ears.” I do feel sorry for other people traveling but I make sure the kids don’t cry and I walk around to keep them as quiet as possible. But they are children and not dolls. They make sounds and have dirty diapers. You can’t put them to sleep in the baggage compartment with the pets.
The trip is slowly dwindling down now. Two weeks after the flight and serious jet-lag lasting until last night. Nights without sleep. Days without seeing sunlight… Hours of crying. Terribly crabby and whiny children. I can safely say it is now all over. The longest time it has ever taken for us to recuperate. The party was incredible and I bought wonderful things on my few shopping sprees. But was it worth it now that it is all over? I think it was worth it. Would I do it again? No, I am pretty sure I would not. Not until my kids got bigger or if we were to hire a full-time flight and jet-lag nanny. That might do it.