Tag Archives: carry on luggage

Moving…There’s Not Enough Vodka for This. Vol. 1

It all started with what I thought was a dog’s bellowing.
You know that sound.
Something between a howl and a growl.
Or it was a terrible bagpipe performance….performed by a ostrich.

In reality, it was our cat….. Monkey.
In her carrier.
Being taken out to the car.

By the time we got everyone into the backseat, the cats were carrying on a conversation that clearly they thought life, as they knew it was over. Well, buy those felines a king size bag of nip….they were correct!

We were on the way to get kitty health certificates because in two short days….they were  flying with Momma from Miami to Boston!  Are we excited? Oh yeah.

They were about as excited as cats going to the vet’s office, in cat carriers, in the back seat of the car….screaming the whole way.  We’re going to need some drugs.  Either the cats are going to need drugs for the flight or I’m going to need drugs for the flight.

Someone WILL be medicated.

Fast forward and let the chaos unfold.

Day of the flight…I am packed and ready to go.  The house is fairly boxed up and sorted out.

Eric will be driving up in the Honda, so I have a pile of “must go in the car” and a pile of “would be nice to go in the car” and a “can wait for the movers” pile.  Knowing how the day is going to progress, I begin the day with a hearty breakfast – a Whipped Cream Vodka shot.  Perfect.

I download a movie.  Get dressed.  Throw things in my two giant suitcases,  one under the seat suitcase, which will be checked as luggage and one carry on.

One cat, will be a carry on.  Two cats will be checked as luggage.

There is a word for this traveling style:  Circus.

The only saving grace for today is it’s a non-stop flight.

Time to get dressed.  Boston.  It’s freezing, literally.

Attire: jeans, long sleeve shirt, jacket, Xtra Tuff boots.

UGH.  Time for another shot….Rootbeer Vodka Shot.

Alright, we are close to leaving, time to pack up the small pets.  I calmly say to Eric.  I’m getting a cat.  I pick up Taku, the youngest and stuff her into a pink, hard sided carrier.

He grabs Liggy, the eldest at 15 years, and we back her into her soft sided case.  She is the one traveling under the seat.

Next up is Monkey.

It becomes a three ring circus.  Monkey is under the couch, over the chair, up the stairs.  Her tail is as fat as my arm.  She is NOT happy.  She is hissing.  Growling.  Under the couch.  Over the chair.  Under the couch.  Through the kitchen.  Behind the boxes.

We are now 10 minutes into trying to catch Monkey.

What.

Is.

That.

Stench?

Great.  She has released her anal glands.  Think musky, dirty, poopy, dank, odor from the swampy depths of cat butt.  Awesome.

Scratches on Eric’s legs as we try and grab her as she dashes past on her way round boxes, under the couch, under the coffee table, over the chair….knocking over trash cans, empty suitcases and other roadblocks.

Finally, we catch her and she is literally sweating.  Her fur is wet.

The Monkey.  Is.  Pissed.

A blood curling yowl escapes from her little furry black body.

Into the pink carrier she goes.

I need another shot…..

Now, we’re late, of course.  Damn it Monkey!  We get into the car and the felines are silent.  I think someone said two words and that was about the end of it.  They knew.

We race up to Ft. Lauderdale airport and decide to drop me, the luggage and the circus at the sidewalk.  There are hundreds of people in line for curbside check in.  You have got to be kidding me.  We don’t have time for this.  I can’t lug three suitcases and three cats by myself while Eric parks the car.  So I decide to crouch next to the felines and talk calmly to them.  There isn’t a porter in sight.

I’m sweating through my Xtra Tuffs and jeans.

Is that a whiff of Monkey ass?

Christ, please.  I don’t want to smell like cat butt.

Next thing I know I hear this man say, “Mommy, you need help?”

I look up and low and behold….A PORTER!  A PORTER ALL FOR ME!  Yes, I will be anyone’s mommy if you can help me!

Yes, yes, yes! I need help!  Checking in…with three cats!  Please!  (Get me into the air conditioning before my crotch soaks through these jeans in this heat…that would be a fantastic feat!)

Within minutes, he had me in the line and we were zipping to the check in counter.

Next thing I know we get to the counter.  My little agent guy has a helper.  The helper lady seems to be doing a lot of the work.  Uh-oh.  My little agent guy….is new.  Buddy, I don’t have time for new.  Not today.

Look, you fill out the form, you slap it on the kennel. It already has a Live Animals sticker on there.  You put the label with the arrow going UP.  You want the kennel to stay in the UPRIGHT position.  Are you kidding me?

I don’t want to tell you how to do you job – but damn – I don’t have time for this.

Then they tell me we have to take the two kennels going under the plane over to TSA and they need to inspect the kennels and we have to take the cats out.  I look at Eric.  One word comes to mind.

M O N K E Y

We tell the TSA guy, “well, let’s do the easy one first.”  Taku, who never says a word, comes out…blinks at us while I hold her…. and goes back in.  Time for the stinky, pain in the ass, but really she’s just scared to death,  one.  I open the door, reach in and grab her by the neck ruff.

WE will not be playing any games in this airport missy.  You may think you’re all that and a bag of cat nip…but I AM the momma cat and YOU WILL not be fucking around.

Fine, back in she goes.

Next, time for me to go through the security gate and I look at Eric.   What time is it? Plane boards in 10 minutes.  GREAT.  I have to give Liggy her medicine 30 – 60 minutes before the flight.

Wait!  Where is my iPad?  Momentarily I panic.  It’s in the car.  I debate, leave it or should Eric go and get it?  I downloaded a movie to watch just for this flight!  I have my book, but I really wanted to watch the movie.  He runs and gets the iPad….in the meanwhile….

I throw everything on the floor.  I grab the pill and try to shove it down Liggy’s throat while she is sitting in her little bag.

Once, twice, three times.  Not happening.

I open the bag.  Jerk her out and hold her in my lap.

You.  Will. Eat.  This.  Pill.

Liggy, however, has other ideas.

Such as…..there will be no pill going down her throat today.

EAT THE PILL!

By this time, sweat, is pouring down my face.  I am literally, a hot mess.

Eric is back and he’s telling me, “you have to go.”

Okay, well.  Here’s hoping she ate the pill.

Pack up the 15 pound cat, roller suitcase and my handbag.  Off we go through security.

I get to the X-ray machine and tell them I have a cat.  “Please take her out of the bag.”  Okay.  Liggy and I then stand there for 5 minutes while they discuss with the persons in front of me which machine they should use.  The walk through X-ray or the stand there with your hands above your head machine.

Okay, I’m standing here with a 15 pound feline, who isn’t really happy with her situation.  Could we move this along?  Is she doesn’t start hissing, I might.  We both might.

We get through the machine and don’t you know her carrier bag get stopped on the conveyor belt…..just short of arm’s reach.  There’s that sign that says, “don’t reach in to grab your bag.”  Come on.

COME ON!!!!

I get all the stuff…cat in the bag.  Luckily, for once, I was the FIRST GATE!  Eureka.  They were already boarding First Class when I arrived, so I dashed to the restroom.  Why?

Well, yes, to use the restroom, but also, because unlike most people.  My quart size bag….is filled with airplane bottles of…vodka.  Yep.  So I had a shot of chocolate vodka before jumping on my flight.

(No.  Contrary to popular belief, the only thing TSA has ever said to me was, “Finally someone actually gets the idea of what they should be using the quart size bags for on these flights!”  I can get about 8 little bottles in there.)

Liggy and I get to the gate and I hop in line.  I look around and smile.

Finally.

This is the first time in two years.

I have found my people.

Carhartts.

Flannel.

Boots.

North Face.

Fleece.

English is the first language.

It’s good.

As I get on the plane I advise the crew I had two other felines joining me below, they were like, “YOU’RE the CAT LADY!!!!”  Yes.  Yes.  I am.  They were delighted.  They had the slips showing Taku and Monkey were already boarded.

Liggy and I get on board and the middle seat remains empty.  I’m thrilled.  I’m thinking, this is great!  I will enjoy my movie “Chef” and order a seltzer water for my Vodka….after the last four hours, I need another Vodka.  Liggy, I’m pretty sure, hasn’t taken her pill as she keeps changing positions and mewing.

Then it happens.

I get a middle seat person.

Which under normal circumstances, would be fine.  But this, of course, isn’t normal circumstances.

Guess who sits next to me?

Nope.  A pilot.  Of course!  There goes my Vodka.  (Plan B:  have to use the restroom and take my purse, which had my quart size bag anyway after security.)

So, definitely, Liggy had not taken her pill.  Luckily the noise of the aircraft mostly drowned out her meows but she definitely could not sit still.  Well sister we have three hours to go, suck it up.

We finally land Boston and we hop off the plane.  Liggy and I meet our pick up party in baggage claim.  All the luggage arrives and we wait patiently for the two pink cat carriers to come through “special baggage”.  Apparently, animals are last off the plane.

As soon as I saw those two carriers I said, “There’s my little girls.”

Then SHE LET ME HAVE IT.

It was one big yyyyyeeeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwlllllll….followed by…..

A where in the hell are we?

And a who the hell do you think you are?

And a what the hell was that?

And never again!

And a fuck you lady and the horse you flew in on!

Monkey.  Was.  Pissed.

By the time we got out to the car, she was exhausted and had no further words.

Now, if we could just get her to come out from under the bed….we’d be doing good!  She does laps, to make sure we’re still here.  Then back she goes.

 

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Move It or Loose It – Part 1

It’s been awhile since my last entry.

With good reason.

I moved out of Alaska.

To take a new job, which I’m thrilled about, except for one thing.

It’s in Miami.

Today, back home in Juneau, it’s 33 degrees and snowing.  Today in Miami, it’s 82 degrees and 67% humidity.  I didn’t used to have an afro.  Now I do.  I don’t even think Oprah’s hairstylist could tame my curls at this point.  Oh wait, did I mention?  I’m a white girl.  With an afro.  (And it’s not even August.)

I’ve been here for 1 week.

It’s been an adventure.

I should have guessed it was going to be ridiculous when I pulled the cat carrier out from under my seat on the plane and the lady, who sat next to me on the five-hour flight from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale says to me, “Oh, is that a cat?”  Liggy had decided she had enough of the carrier and was starting to tell me all about her issues.  I looked at the lady and said, “No, it’s a pygmy goat.”

REALLY?  Perplexed face.

No.  Of course it’s a cat!

Fast forward to my first official drive on the six lane highway. In my mind, I was trying to drive like a NASCAR racer, just trying to keep up with the pack.  Mind you, in Juneau we have one main road – two lanes in each direction – 60 mph is standard and we only experience rush minutes.

Here I am ….  hands at ten and two.  At one point, as I slowly pried my fingers from around the wheel, I thought….I better invest in a Virgin Mary statue for the dashboard.

Needless to say after 1 week – I’ve got this driving thing down pat.  Now I’m the one that’s yelling, “MOVE IT….”  There’s two options for driving in Miami, drive the car or park it.

My first day at my new job was interesting.  I haven’t had a new job in really 13 years.  Luckily, I’ve had the same boss all these years and just kept jumping from one new experience to the other within the companies we worked.  Easy.  Tourism, while a big industry is really fairly small.  Once you’re in – you can learn to do anything – provided you enjoy the industry.

Oh, did I mention, I took a job in the corporate offices of Royal Caribbean Cruises?  Yep.  A complete 180 from what I’m used to in Alaska:

  • No longer an actual office but a padded cell.  I mean a cubicle.  It does have a fabulous view from the floor to ceiling windows of the Miami skyline across the water.
  • Jeans, rain gear and Xtra Tuff boots are not the uniform.  Ankle breaking heels and cute skirts are the norm.
  • More computer programs to learn than a NASA astronaut.
  • An employee identification card that swipes you into the building and parking lot.
  • Personal identification number, which I refer to as my prison number, identifies you.
  • Can’t drive down the road for Pel Meni but you can go to the company cafeteria.
  • Not so much a brown bear spotted at lunch outside,  but a big Iguana.

On my first day, in my furry little mind….this is how my morning would unfold.  I mean it seemed logical to me so why shouldn’t it.  Right?

I’d arrive right on time, get my visitor pass from the security desk and immediately walk myself into HR to wrap up my paperwork.  Next, I’d go upstairs to see my new boss and on the way stick my head in the VP’s office and say hello.  (Don’t panic, it’s okay, I’ve met him before so it’s not like I’m being pompous.) Thus would begin my career at RCCL.

In reality….not so much.

I arrive early and sit in the car for 10 minutes outside.  (A/C running of course.)  Then it hits me, what I’m about to do.  Start a new job, in a new company, in a new city….I don’t even know where to find the toilettes let alone a paperclip here.

Stomach starts to roll.

Mouth goes dry.

Sweat begins to ooze.

Skin flushes a lovely red.

Here goes nothing.  I throw open the car door and march up the steps to the building.  I stop at security and get my badge.  She asks who I’m there to see.  I explain I am a new employee but need to see HR first.  Nope.  No such luck.  She calls upstairs and then instructs me to head up to the 5th floor to my department.

WAIT!

That’s not how it’s supposed to go!  I’m supposed to go, in my mind, to HR first!  Not immediately to the department!  Well now this is a pickle.

Now my entire skeletal system feels like it’s on one of those old style exercise machines, where you stand with the big band around your waist and it jiggles away the fat.  Yep.  That’s me.

I politely inquire about the nearest water closet and head that direction.

Big breaths.  Breathing.  Walking.  Upper lip has stopped sweating – now I’m just shaking like a big bowl of Bill Cosby’s Jello.  Dear Lord don’t let me break an ankle in these shoes…one foot in front of the other.  Keep breathing.

Doors open on the 5th floor and I’m greeted by the department’s true angel, the woman who makes us all look good and I swear she must be part of a set of triplets to accomplish all she does in a day.  She gives me a big hug and escorts me to Director’s Row – that’s my name for where all the Directors sit with obviously the VP’s office at the top of the line.

As we approach my boss’ office I see movement in the VP’s office out of the corner of my eye.  Well, I can’t very well pop my head in there now since we’re heading straight for my boss’s office.  My plan has been turned into a right kerfuffle.

We stop short of my boss’s office.

I now realize the VP has come out of his office and is standing directly behind me.

Well shit.  My entire plan has really gone to pot.  This isn’t how I envisioned the start of my day.  Now what do I do?  And I know he’s a hugger.  So there’s that awkward moment of…to hug or not to hug.  If you’re going to hug is it a full hug or a side hug.  I’m short so it’s always awkward anyway.  But today I have on heels so I have gained 3 inches for sure.

Dear Lord, is that sweat dripping down from my armpit?

There’s only two solutions:  Stand really still and hope he doesn’t see me.  Or turn around and acknowledge him.

Let’s just say I may have startled him a bit.  Why?  Well I think I actually yelled my greeting at him.  It happens.  When I get nervous.  It’s like a nervous tic but different and it’s not quite like Turrets Syndrome either.

I turned around, threw my arms open and said:

HEY!  HOW ARE YOU!!!  I MADE IT!

Or something along those lines was shouted and then promptly echoed over the 5th floor.  I’m fairly certain the people on the other side of the building heard me.   The upside is at least I’m starting off my employment with a bang!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airline Travel : Hold the Rolls Please

There’s nothing more I’d rather do then get into a metal tube with a bunch of strangers, sling shot myself through the air at the hands of someone else’s capabilities and land exhausted, grumpy and achy in a distant city.

Awesome.

Life changing.

Fun.

Let’s do it again please.

What is it with people getting on an airplane?  It’s always a mad dash to see who can be first to board.  News flash folks: this isn’t a game of Musical Chairs.  There is a seat for you, provided you have a ticket.  Everyone wants to beat the stranger next to them to get on the plane.

I have a limp so I need extra time to board early.

My contact fell out so I can’t see and need to go first.

Yes, my 15-year-old needs extra time to get settled, we’re going to pre-board.

This computer bag, garment bag and messenger bag are over weight and too heavy, I need a wheelchair to get down to the plane.  Excuse me.

Forget about those that actually need to board first.  Hell, just run the legitimate folks down, they’ won’t mind.  Isn’t it obvious?  They’re just like the rest of the group.  Just one in a herd waiting to hear the cattle call to move forward.

I’ve written before about passengers who believe the entire overhead compartment is just for the two of them.  (Not for all three in the row on that side, just the two of them.)  They always feign shock when the flight attendant comes by and asks them to fold up their coats and to please take down the “mine, mine, mine” sign taped on the door.

They usually respond with “But we’ve always done it this way.”  I’m sorry honey but that excuse stopped working in 6th grade when you could no longer snow your teacher into believing you didn’t know the proper way to settle into detention.  I was born at night, but not last night.  Let’s move on.

As John Q. Public gathers anxiously around the gate’s podium everyone is eyeballing everyone else and thinking one thing:

Who am I sitting next to?

If you’re a people watcher, you can see the expressions change as the public reviews its options from one possibility to the next.

Yes.

No.

Hum, ok.

Definitely yes.

No.

No.

Hot momma…yes.

When it comes down to it, we’re all hoping for one thing:  maybe the middle seat will be empty.  If the airlines were smart, it would be an option for passengers seated on the window or aisle.  You could select a box that says, “willing to split fare for middle seat” and if the person who books the other side of the row agrees, you each pay $200 to save that middle seat for yourselves.  Why not?  If I’m flying from one end of this country to the other, I’d pay for half the space.  Unless I was in first class, then it wouldn’t be an option.  But, let’s not dream – let’s stay focused.

The one draw back to selecting your perfect seat mate while waiting for the racer’s gun to go off at the gate, is if you’re boarding a flight already in progress from another city.  Well this sucks.  You don’t get to ponder the possibilities of those already seated on the plane.  It becomes a cruel game of Peek-a-Boo!

Guess who?

No, I’d rather not.

Recently I was upgraded to Alaska Airlines MVP and was delighted with the fact I could directly book my aisle seat into an exit row.  A little extra leg room never hurts.  Not that I need it, but it’s helpful for when your seat mates have to climb in and out.  Climbing over me is fine, provided you’re the one I want a lap dance from – chances are you’re not that person – so I’ll take the extra space.

Recently I was on a business trip with a small posse of my industry mates.  We were all on the same short flight.  This particular flight had one stop before we reached our final destination.  Quick, easy, perfect.  The two segment flight was all of about 45 minutes of flight time but with boarding and stopping and all that other stuff it was about 2 hours start to finish. Ridiculously easy right?

Wrong.

Apparently the Karma Gods were not happy with me.

Walking on the plane I start immediately, counting back to my row.  That would be row 14 thank you.  Left side.  aisle.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four……

Wait.  What?

Five.

Six.

Seven.

That can’t be right.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten.

Are you kidding me.  I better check my boarding pass again.

Eleven.

Twelve.

Thirteen.

Just shoot me.  I didn’t even notice the welcome sign.  I ponder ringing the call button and asking for a fist full of little vodka bottles.

Fourteen.Welcome to Dante’s third circle of hell : gluttony.

I can’t even begin to describe the image that has been permanently burned into my mind.  At first I thought it was a walrus.   It’s a walrus slumped over into my seat.  Brown leathery neck folds.  Shiny bald head.  In my moment of confusion, I couldn’t figure out how he manged to get by the door attendants.

When did they let animals this large into the main cabin?  He’s obviously not going to fit under the seat in front of his owner.  Oh wait, the lady seated by the window is pressed up against the glass like a sea star.

She’s not with the walrus.

Uh-oh.  This is not a “happiness is” moment and I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands.

Before I set my bag down I realize my arm rest is up and he’s literally, laying half way across my seat.

Awesome.

Now I’m kicking myself.  I should have changed my seat.  I should have changed my seat.

I take one glance at walrus man and throw my bag into my seat.  I verify, again, my boarding pass and the seat assignment.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

He straightens up and as I’m taking my book, ear plugs and gum out of my bag…he puts down the arm rest.  Thank goodness for common sense on his part because I was ready to very politely advise him that while I’m sure he’s a nice person, I don’t really want to get to know him any more than I obviously have to at this point.

The only thing that is going through my mind now is how am I going to sit back?  Half of his upper body is in my seat.  I don’t remember asking for additional back support on this flight.  Nor, did I ask for a jello like body pillow to rest my head upon.

I slowly inch my way back.  Pretending to stretch my back by twisting from side to side.  Here goes nothing.

S M A C K

That would be the sucking sound of my  shoulders finding what little space available under his ham hock of a bicep and suctioning to the pleather seat back.  It was then for the first time in my recent memory, I had to fold up like a Praying Mantis to survive.  I am very small.  I am a little bunny rabbit.  I am cute and furry.  I am small like a spec of sand.  I am light as a feather.

People continue to board and  I can only guess my facial expression – a desperate, silent plead for help.  Anyone want to switch seats?  Where is a small kid when you need one?

One of three things would happen as people noticed my situation:

Knowing grimace of pain and sympathy – mostly from strangers.

Compliments on my shirt, hair, necklace or earrings – mostly from strangers.

Horrified smirks and pats on the shoulder – fellow co-workers.

Thanks for the support guys.  Appreciate it.  Can feel the love oozing now.

Before they shut the front door, I realize with a churn of my stomach, this guy is radiating heat.  Lots of heat.  Not just any kind of heat.  Pit heat.

Arm.

Pit.

Heat.

I didn’t realize personal sauna was an option on airlines these days.  I certainly don’t remember requesting this service for this flight or any other.  And this isn’t an add-on service I’d choose in the first place.

Insert full on toddler wailing moment…….WAH!

Now can I have a double vodka – hold the tonic – with a lime please?  This guy next to me is buying whether he realizes it or not.    If I’m going to get felt up for the next two hours by a stranger, you better keep them coming.

Oh, right. The suck thing is on the short flights, there’s no beverage service.  Of course, at this point I don’t think a beverage would have helped.  I was trapped under the walrus’ flipper…there’d be no way I could have squeezed my lime into my vodka!  Just open the little airplane bottle and pour it into my mouth, that’s fine.

(Note, my boss sitting across the aside from me would have probably had a few words to say about that activity, but you know…desperate times call for desperate measures.)

What I truly don’t get is if you know you’re a giant person…why, why, why….would you book a middle seat?  Why?

Everyone has to make sure their carry on fits inside the airplane.  They have those tester frames set up at the check in area, so you can ensure your bag will fit.  Smaller planes will have the gate attendant come through and gate check oversized bags.  If size matters – all size should matter.

If your ass doesn’t fit inside the seat simulator – you have to buy the middle seat.

Period.

End of story.

Why should the rest of us, who have paid the same amount for our 17.5 inches of seat – have to endure 1/3 of it being consumed by a stranger’s fat rolls?  They’re comfortable, shouldn’t the seat ends be comfortable too?  If you’re into  sharing strange, fleshy rolls, by all means – enjoy it!  I however, do not.  I prefer to rub up against people I know and even then, those people are a small select group of pre-approved people.

If you’re oversized, do me a favor.  Buy the extra seat so we can both be comfortable.  Otherwise, this is going to be an expensive flight for you.

Ring that call button please.

No, the World Revolves Around You!

I’m not entirely certain which flight leg it occurred on, as the final two days of my latest traveling have become a blur. On the plane, off the plane, on the plane, off the plane….wait on plane for over an hour….take off….land…switch planes….overnight…back on the plane….off the plane… Oy.

Anyhow, being the aisle sitter I am, I enjoy watching the people around me as they settle into their row in my “airborhood.” Often I’m wondering, why is it the guy behind the girl struggling with putting her carry-on into the overhead, does not help her? Idiot. Or really, buddy, you’re going to receive a karate chop on that dorsal fin if you turn around to talk to your wife one more time. Honestly.

However this time, if I had an award to give out, this couple would have received it. “Excuse me, I’d like to give you this Bedazzled suitcase wheel in appreciation of how much of a boob you are being right now.”

Sitting comfortably in my aisle seat….a couple in their late 20’s, early 30’s, Mr. and Mrs. Smith come down the aisle. Both have wheeled bags. She has one of those enormous purses that look like a suitcase it’s so big. I’d love to know, what do women carry in those 15 pound handbags? Small children? Pet orangutan? The contents of your refrigerator? A mini bar complete with full size martini shaker? Geez-its!

He is carrying one navy blue suit jacket, on a hanger, covered with plastic wrap.

She climbs into the middle seat and he hoists their two suitcases into the overhead directly above their seat. He puts one suitcase on the left side of the compartment – lengthwise, with wheels to the center and the other suitcase on the right side – lengthwise, with wheels to the center of the compartment. His suit jacket, he lays down between the two wheely bags – claiming the entire overhead space as “THEIRS.”

I silently think to myself, as opposed to yelling out to him: “Wow, you really think nobody else is going to sit in this area and require space for THEIR suitcase in the overhead? Either you don’t travel much or you’re a self-absorbed jackass.” I get giddy in my seat as I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Mr. and Mrs. Smith sit down and if I may just make a tiny note here – for your visual – they’re not petite people.

A flight attendant comes by and notices their bags. She turns them to the proper position, wheels out. This attendant, also notices Mr. Smith’s jacket laying between the two suitcases and pulls it down. By now, I’m on the edge of my seat…..wishing I had popcorn and wondering it it would be rude to snap a picture with my Blackberry?! And then it happens. Mr. and Mrs. Smith both say in unison, “This is how we always travel and it’s never been a problem before.”

With a calm, jaw grinding smile, the flight attendant hands the suit jacket to Mr. Smith and tells him to hang on to it as they’re not finished with boarding, it’s a full flight and their seatmate may need that space.

I quickly did the happy dance, tapping my toes on the floor. Na, na, na, na, naaaa! Take that, Mr. “We always travel like this.”

Within minutes, as if cued by the airplane fairy, a young woman approaches our area and stops at Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s row. Luckily, she’s the window seat, so she’ll be able to hug the wall the entire length of our flight. She also has a wheely bag! Score! With ease, she pops her bag in the overhead — neatly between Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s bags and climbs into her pocket seat.

Mr. Smith grumbles a bit and continues to hold his beloved jacket. He sits down, still holding it as he is quite annoyed. The flight attendant comes by and with a gracious smile – offers to “take care of that jacket” for Mr. Smith. And with a flourish of the hand grabs the jacket and puts it into the overhead compartment….on top of all the other luggage.

PAH! HA! HA! HA! No front closet for you buddy! I smelled sweet victory for airline travelers everywhere and it comes in the scent of musty polyester blend suit fabric!

Je ne parle pas Francais.

I don’t speak French.
Huh?
What?
Arriving into Montreal tonight – after two days of travel to get here – I tried out my one liner on the cab driver: “Parlez vous anglais?” To which I received at least 4 sentences in French. I was flabbergasted in the back seat. The only thing I could say was, “I’ve got no idea what you just said.” HA! And we laughed. Thank goodness laughing is universal. Could you imagine if it wasn’t? Wow….that would have been awkward.

I actually have THREE lines when meeting someone here: Bon jour! Je ne parle pas Francais. Parlez vous anglais? However I haven’t enough nerve to throw it out there yet. Maybe the daylight will change my mind. I hope. I want to give it a go. Really, all it comes down to is my self-conscience saying “you’re a boob” when in reality the people on the receiving end will probably be happy at least I’m trying. Well they’ll actually probably end up laughing, but hey, people make money making people laugh – look at Ellen DeGeneres!

Okay so ponder me this – airplane bathrooms. By the time I return to Juneau on November 26th I will have taken 22 flights, counting Australia. (Still haven’t made Alaska Airlines MVP – seriously.) Things I have noticed that have given me pause are:

1. When you are using the bathroom on the plane, I have an idea – lock the door! It’s the little slider that turns the light on. Even has a note that says, “lock” with a directional arrow. You don’t have to sit there in the dark, Mr. Blue Boxer Shorts. I mean, really, you’re mad at me for opening the door – when really you’re the one who didn’t lock it! If I had esp I’d be in a different profession making millions telling fortunes not whipping the door open on mindless men on an airplane….don’t flatter yourself.

2. When you come out of the bathroom – don’t give me the stink eye. I mean where would you prefer I stand? Really, the back of airplanes are legendary for their expansive space and accommodations. In fact, some airlines offer full blown yoga courses back there. NOT! And why are you so surprised there are people waiting in line to pee? You didn’t think you were the only one right? Chances are you had to wait in line just like the rest of us so get over your attitude – everyone poops.

Side note: I would like to point out I actually feel bad for the people near the pee line. Throughout the entire flight, they have people hovering over them. Wondering: what are they reading? Oy, look at that outfit. Is he drooling? She really needs to get her roots done…soon. Those people should get a free drink ticket.

3. Today, I was on a flight – in a small plane. One bathroom – in the back. The light wouldn’t stay on. Really, you must be kidding and I checked my flashlight. I checked the lock – for fear it slid out of place. No, it was secure. The light was temperamental. I am not a trapeze artist. Hanging on to the sink, so I can hover appropriately over the bowl, with tissue ready in the other hand is hard enough – let alone having to pause every 4 seconds to turn the light back on. Someone should really mention something to someone about that light.

Finally, nothing to even do with bathrooms, but it was an enlightening moment. Recently I was reading an article in Alaska Airlines magazine and the author, whose name I now forget – made a comment that has stuck in my brain and is genus. I’d like to share it with you. Boarding the plane – we all have our 1 carry on bag and 1 personal item. How many times does that personal item turn into a homo sapien “dorsal fin”? I’m sure those people packing giant packs on their back are very kind and gracious people. However when they whip around to put their roller bag in the overhead – I, being an aisle sitter – have to watch out for the dorsal fin attack. After realizing the proper term for the attack, I laughed out loud when on my flight yesterday….there I sat when “AHHHH it’s the fin….the dorsal fin!!! Watch out!!” Karate chop that …. wahhhhhhhaaaa!

Alright then, enough talk about planes. I did fly into NYC today on my way to Montreal. It was like a flightseeing trip. We flew over Central Park, the Sears Building, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, Ellis Island and as we turned I could see the Statue of Liberty. It was amazing. I was so glad I had a window seat.

I made it to Montreal and am in my room. The first one was a gorgeous corner room – THREE french doors that opened out on the street. Only one problem….the lock on the door didn’t work. So now I’m down the hall – same room set up and actually there are stairs in this room. How funny is that. I’m also off the street, so I think sleeping will be easier, but with less light during the day. Although i don’t plan to spend much time in here so that’s okay.

Montreal hotel room - up the stairs!

Way cool shower.

Tomorrow I’m out on my own to explore before the convention. Watch out – Alaskan on the loose! Onwards and upwards!

Have a good one.
D.