Sorry to be gone so long, my friends. Problems with the inter-web thingy at the hotel. So 1998.
I have so much to tell you about our visit here but let's start with what I promised - The diary I wrote during the 20 hour plane trip. With my kids.
Sadly none of it is made up. Here goes...
4:00 pm - Car picks us up at home. As soon as we get in, David reminds me the shirt I’m wearing is stained. Poor sucker. Little does he know this will be the least of our problems.
5:32 pm - Eat gourmet pizza at Wolfgang Pucks pizzeria in the airport. Well, David doesn’t because crust doesn’t jive with his diet. I silently admire his fortitude. And resent him for it. He says he has gone down a notch in his belt. Smug bastard. He has a chicken cesar salad.
6:08 (above) We move around the airport like gypsies.
6:10 pm - We miss pre-boarding because we are stuffing our faces. Qantas staff takes pity on us and our traveling caravan of chaos and lets us through.
6:50 pm – Grumpy old sod sitting ahead of us with his grumpy old sod wife gives us a dirty look when Lucy walks over and says “Hi”. A sign of bad things to come.
6:52 pm – Quiet, clean looking people behind us with their quiet, clean child, who sits in her seat for like 30 minutes at a time and who is so well-behaved I think she might be some kind of pod child, say they “admire” us for taking the kids on the flight, which is their polite, clean way of saying, “You people are freakin’ high on crack to do this”. We, unfortunately, do not take this is an omen.
7:00 pm - Ah! This is when the flight should have been taking off. But wasn’t.
7: 22 pm – Qantas staff wises up and brings out the Wiggles activity packs. This keeps the children occupied for like 6 minutes, except for the clean people's child who seems hypnotized by the incredible powers of Anthony the Blue Wiggle and the only Wiggle I believe who can dance. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
7:28 pm - No sign of booze.
7:33 pm – Captain apologizes and tells us that there are electrical problems, which are like a complete mystery, and we won’t take off for like at least half an hour. Promises Promises.
7:35 pm – Bad news: children are now ready to make a run for it and insist on singing “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” at the top of their lungs while standing on the arm rest and leaning over the seat and serenading the clean child in back of us, who thinks my kids are like the best thing she's ever seen and whose mother is just hoping we won't undo all the sequestering she's done for the last 3 years. Good news: I start to think this will make a great blog post. David realizes this as I scribble things into my notebook gleefully and he rolls his eyes at me. This will not be the only time there is eye rolling.
7:41 pm – Still no booze. People without kids decide to sleep. Bastards.
7:50 pm – We realize that “electrical problems” really means “We won’t serve you any drinks or food or turn on the movies when we lock you in our aircraft.”
7:53 pm – We’ve burned through 2 coloring books, one jumbo princess sticker book with 600 stickers in it, the Wiggles activity packs and a couple of slinky’s, one of which suffered a fatal man-handling just minutes after opening it, when Lucy unsuccessfully tried to make it into a belt and an Olivia Newton John style headband all at once.
7:56 pm – Grumpy old sod in front of us, who David starting calling “The Stinky Bog Monster” says to his grisly old wife in a very loud voice, “It’s not as if these kids are babies. My GOD, they must be 6 years old.”
7:56:10 pm – David and I start laughing.
7:58 pm – Still holding out hope for booze.
8:00 pm – We move to a 4 seater so we can spread out and we dive into our auxilliary toy bags. We set up a small preschool. I ask the clean Mom if she and her clean daughter want to come over and join us for some activities. She thanks me politely but never leaves her seat. I feel rebuffed and rejected. I figure she doesn’t want her well-behaved child near mine. I decide to hate her. Then, I decide that her husband reminds me of one of those Lifetime movie wife beaters and I fantasize that she wants to hang with us more than anything, but she can’t because her husband will slap her around in the bathroom if she does. I decide not to hate her.
8:05 pm – Stinky Bog Monster’s wife walks by us to go to the bathroom, obviously suffering from pinched ass disease. She looks at us. Never cracks a smile.
8:10 – 8:58 pm – More re-booting of the plane. They turn off the electricity. And turn it back on. Off. On. Children love sitting in the pitch black. Think world as they knew it is coming to an end. Still not a drop of booze.
8:59 pm – I actually say the words, “You do not write on my head!” Don't ask.
9:00 pm – Captain announces we should de-plane. Everyone dashes for the door.
9:01 pm – Lucy asks us if we just landed in
9:12 pm – We and our traveling caravan of chaos go to the restaurant next to our terminal to wait for more instructions. It’s called “Sapphires”. It is very blue. Clean people with child the same age as Lucy see us, smile politely and sit on the other side of the room. (Note to self: Husband must have given her the business before they de-planned. This is the only explanation) Sapphires waitress tells us the kitchen is closed. They ran out of white wine. And since they are closing, we have exactly three minutes to down whatever we order. David has to stop me from knocking her to the ground.
9:14 – David again accuses me of being happy about our misfortune because it will make an entertaining blog post. I only exacerbate the situation by promptly writing down everything he says in my notebook.
9:15 pm – Margarita. Thank God.
9:30 pm – Qantas staff hands out meal vouchers. This is never a good sign. We vow to drink through our vouchers.
9:31 - Our children scam mini-oreos from the clean people who act like they are giving rations to the poor. It's only mini-oreos people, not a ticket to Sydney on a working plane.
9:32 - Children take their mini-oreos and run out of restaurant. David runs out and fetches them. And then, they run out again and David runs after them. Stinky Bog Monster frowns a lot and looks like he might give us a parenting lecture. Clean Mom shields her child's eyes. I just keep writing in my journal.
10:05 - Still hope to get on the plane. So naive. We throw aside our foodie mantras and head to the golden arches.
10:23 - Happy Meal Orgy. Not one ounce of guilt.
10:24 pm - David tells me I look flushed. It's because I had sex and McDonalds in the same day.
10:30 pm - Turns out clean mom is really lovely, just very reserved and her husband is not a felon, just quiet and her kid is sweet, but doesn't play with a lot of other kids (and I have an overactive imagination) and clean mom, out of sheer weariness abandons all concern for how my children might turn her well-behaved pod child into toddler delinquent, and allows my children to lead her child in a marathon around the terminal where they climb all over each other and shriek like hyennas.
It's so late, not even The Stinky Bog Monster and his Stinky Bog wife give a crap.
10:45pm - (above) I raid the goodie bag for a project we should be doing somewhere over FIJI Weirdly enough, kids are having a great time at the airport. Adults are in the seventh circle of hell.
12:26 We get the call. Plane mechanics stumped. We are on our way home.
So, 6pm the next day we are supposed to get the same plane out of JFK. We head to the airport with great hopes and the expectations of millions of travelers before us, but we find the mechanics still think our plane is a dud and they decide to re-book us ALL on the next flight to Sydney in an hour, which means we are not really leaving in an hour and that means we are back in the Sapphire Lounge, which mercifully has ordered more white wine and is now serving food, and we play My Little Pony and get drunk.
Which suites us...
And we're playing My Little Pony...
And lovin' it. Really.
And then, we board the plane, one that actually works and can, you know, make it over the Pacific Ocean and leave around 9:30pm or so and at this point, I'm tired of myself and stop writing my journal because thinking about this trip in like 15 minutes increments makes my head want to spin off, so I take lots of pictures and this will give you an idea of what it's like to spend nearly the span of a day with your husband and 2 kids in the space of three seats that are together the size of a fat man's coffin.
This picture is us reading Dora. Now, I know I have disparaged our little knob-headed friend before (see my favorite Yummy Mummy posts in the right hand column) but this book of seven stories which costs us like $175.95 in the airport book shop bought us some fun times in the coffin.
Aaaaaah! The Disney channel and head phones. There's several hours right there.
Engine starts. Food and booze to follow. It all starts to look better.
We send like two hours in the bathroom playing the water while the rest of the plane sleeps with their fancy eye masks and neck pillows. Wimps.
There is a lot of laying on me. It's quite possible I've never been so "touched" in all my life as a mother. And that's saying a lot.
And don't even get me started on how much boob Edie had. It was a lot.
There were gymnastics and aerial feats.
Princess Stickers. See, there really are 600 stickers. I wasn't exaggerating.
Princess Stickers every-freakin-where.
And this is the look that says it all.
And this one.
But we made it to Sydney. And now we are here and so many fun things are happening. I'll try to post soon and I'll be checking my e-mail and loving your comments as always and trying to get back to you.
I have a great grill recipe that I got from Jamie Oliver on the plane (No, he wasn't actually on the plane) and I have this great story about an Australian butcher I met. So much to tell and so many things to do.
Miss talking to all of you!
PS And Happy Mothers Day. I know what you guys do everyday and you rock! Have a blast! I want to hear all the details.