Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Plane to Australia

Bet you thought I was dead, didn't ya?

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.

7:54 pm – Children start jumping on seats and climbing over. All hell breaks loose. There isn’t a coloring book in hell that can save us now.

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 Australia. Everyone laughs. It is the hollow laugh of desperation.

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!

xxxooo YM

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.



Shannon said...

OMFG this has me giggling at 3:37 a.m. in the morning while every room in the house that has a TV is taken up with sleeping children (only mine) and a sleeping husband, so I'm on the net and I was VERY happy to see a new post from you.

I can picture you with your "blog" notebook jotting down bloggable moments because I do the same thing and Jeff shakes his head at me (instead of eye rolling) and anytime something happens or he says something "interesting" he says "This is going on your blog...isn't it."

You crack me up to no end.

Happy Mother's Day to you!!

P.S. Clean mom looked not only clean but down right perfect. So not me.

frogpondsrock said...

Yay... Welcome to Australia..

I giggled all the away through that. hehehe I also had a big dose of *phew* I am so glad that isn't me traveling in a fat mans coffin with small children and bog monsters lol..

cheers kim

Veronica said...

Wow. Just wow.

See? That is why Quantas has never had a crashed plane. They tend to err on the side of caution and make everyone wait for hours.

The photo of Edie breastfeeding made me teary. I didn't want to wean dammit!

grocer said...

I love kids.
on planes
long haul flights
on any flight

I think I'm a bog monster. I cannot stand having another persons child pulling on me hair, shaking my head rest and letting out a primordial scream. But maybe some people like it...

Can they really be that bad? Is it a self fulfilling prophecy? I had to laugh, dad looks COMPLETELY exhausted so heaven knows how you felt at the end of it.

Molly said...

Oh. My. God.

That's it. My child will not leave this country until they have invented and perfected teleportation. I cannot bear the thought of him on a plane for 20 hours. There is simply not enough alcohol on this earth.

And there's only one of him. Holy Cheebs, sister.

Krysta said...

you need a hug. i don't know how you did that. that was insane. you also need some more drinks and an award for best mother of the year because i would have dismembered all of mine. happy mother's day, i hope david let you sleep.

Christine said...

Oh my! First off, happy belated mother's day to you.

And secondly, you must be a saint, because I don't think I would have handled any of that with as much grace as you managed. Indeed, instead of pod woman and child being tormented by her husband I would be in the bathroom beating on my significant other, for sure.


Thank God you had the memory of sex and greasy carbs to hang onto: the pillars of sanity in trying times.
You've made me laugh yet again, am happy to see you back, and feeling like my miserable little adventure with two toddlers in bizarre icelandic May temps with no power, no heat, and no water the past couple of days has been, well, little. At least (?) we were all on the freaking ground in our own home. But the kitchen wasn't serving and we were out of wine.

Annie K. Nodes said...

Happy Mother's Day! Good lord, woman. You're a Class A trooper. I'm building a statue in Central Park in honor of you, your patience, your amazing sense of humor and your fortitude. It will be in the shape of Dora and covered in princess stickers.

Izzy's Mama said...

It never ceases to astound me how you manage to photograph and take notes during all manner of chaos. Did any of you manage to sleep during that flight? Can't wait to hear about the butcher!

Neen said...

The third-to-last photo of your husband...priceless! Thanks for recording and sharing all this. I guess Dora is good for something!

Anonymous said...

I not only admire your taking two very young girls on a long-haul flight, but documenting every step of the way. That takes a lot of chutzpah.

I'm glad you finally made it. Now enjoy! I can't wait to hear all about it!

Mommy said...

OMFG - I am so loving the bathroom playing. That picture on the sink is so DIGGITY DANG cute I laughed right out loud when I scrolled to it.

Be well!

White wine rocks.

Erica said...

Oh my god, I was laughing out loud. So sorry that you had such a rotten time getting out of New York, but so glad that you blogged about it!

We just did the flight from Europe to California (and back) with a 3-year-old and 6-month-old, so I feel your pain. We left the duck backpack behind, though (seriously, I think we have the same one). I didn't want something else that I could lose.

Le laquet said...

Oh you poor poor buggers! I laughed but now feel mean that I did because I can see by your faces that it was painful in the extreme - you deserve(d) bucketfuls of white wine. Enjoy now!!

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