Monday, August 18, 2008

You'd Think This Would Be Journalistic Gold After All That Time

After recounting the story of our turbulent plane ride from San Antonio to Denver to a few friends, I've become convinced that the masses would be missing out without a blow-by-blow  of the story.

Also, I am in the car driving to Michigan and 17 hours of sitting gets a little monotonous.

We both win!

I've tried to figure a few times how many times Jackson and Lilly have flown the friendly skies, but it is beyond my calculations.

All I know for sure is that when I try to get them excited about taking off and landing, they look over at me with totally bored expressions and resume watching the TV.

I've even wondered how the kids know each and every one of Frontier's wing tail names and I hardly even know what species we're talking about.

For example:

Me: "LOOK! We get to fly on the cheetah! HOW COOL! I bet his name is Spot!"

Jackson: "Mom, it's a female leopard."

Lilly: "And her name is Maya."

J&L in chorus with eye-rolling: "And we've flown on her before."

Apparently I am somewhat out of the loop.

After we boarded Maya, we dropped off (The Former) Mr. Frequent Flyer, Brad, in row 2.

The kids and I made our way back to steerage in row 17. I was prepared for the kids to pass out from swimming enough to constitute crossing the English Channel and I was going to finish my book in "peace."

I do not think it'll ruin the story at all to tell you that exactly nothing went according to plan.

Starting right from the takeoff, something on the plane just wasn't quite right. It kind of felt like a large chicken was caught in the engine--the ride was extra bumpy and turbulent enough to prevent me from doing anything.

The kids started complaining before all three tires were off the runway that they were scared and were "going to die."

After we took off and the pilot dared to dip the wing in order to point the plane to Colorado, Lilly started LOUDLY carrying on about "the plane doing a big crash landing into the earth."

Initially, I chalked all of this up to some lingering rollercoaster phobia.

At Sea World, we (ok, I) pushed the cherubs a little out of their comfort zone with some overly aggressive roller coasters.

I am a roller coaster LOVER and was determined that at the tender ages of 4 1/2 and 6, that the kids would enjoy being jostled around upside down and brought to the brink of puking over and over again.

Then after repeatedly feeling their stomachs drop from their throat to their knees, they would scream, "AGAIN, Mommy! We have tasted death and want to ride the Texas Splashdown ONE MORE TIME!"

Hindsight is 20/20.

After we disembarked the Journey to the Atlantis at SeaWorld, I immediately made the turn for another round of fun.

The kids, however, were pale, trembling, and begging Grammy and Papa to permanently adopt them for fear that I might try that again.


So with recent imagery of actual altitude drops and general bumpiness, Jackson and Lilly continued the SHOUTING about the scariness of the flight and death's impending appearance.

I kept waiting for Brad to turn around in row 2 wondering why I didn't have these two under control.

But as the increasing game of Clouds vs. Plane progressed, Lilly screamed even louder: "Mommy! GO UP THERE RIGHT NOW and tell that pilot to land this plane!

We are going to have a CRASH LANDING!"

Now, had this been a movie, Lilly (played by Dakota Fanning) would be sitting timidly in her seat, clutching a blanket, looking lovingly up at me (played by Reese Witherspoon) with a single tear trickling down her cheek.

"Mommy?" she would whisper, so quietly that I lean my freshly highlighted head down to hear her tender words, "I'm afraid."

Cut to Jackson (played by a young Zac Efron) who reaches for Lilly's hand and says:

"Lilly, I know you're scared, but I'll take care of you. Don't worry."

He reaches over and wipes her tear. "Everything will be alright."

(He didn't get any lines, but Matthew McCoughney glances lovingly over his shoulder from Row 2 and mouths, "I'll always love you.")

Instead, all of the shrill screaming got to be so much that I clamped my hand over Lilly's mouth to prevent further alarming other passengers.

Which is when she threw out AT MAXIMUM VOLUME, "You're just embarrassed of me because I'm crying and screaming so much!"

Which was true.

But did she have to point that out to every single person on board?

At this point, the elderly lady sitting diagonally in front of us gave up trying to discreetly listen to the scene. She angled her body so that she was turned around and unashamedly watching our every move.

No pressure.

Despite the glowing seat belt sign and several warnings from the pilot, Lilly defiantly unbuckled her seatbelt and sat in my lap.

In her defense, I could actually feel her insides trembling.

Another signal that things were a smidge off kilter was when the girl next to me pushed the stewardess (I still like to call them that) call-button while the flight attendants were in their jump-seats and strapped in.

"Passenger in Row 17, if you still need help, push the call-button again."

At which time she began pressing the button with the fierceness of a Morse-code expert and the stewardess came running to our row, thinking we were the ones in distress.

(Perhaps the screaming, crying, and death threats threw her off).

Girl NEXT TO ME in Row 17: "I need a barf bag. NOW!"

And then I turned my head away because I saw small chunks flying.

I situated Lilly so she wouldn't witness this (confirming her loudly broadcast fears) and focused on trying to shut off as many of my senses as possible to avoid joining the party.

The worst part of the "adventure" was that much of the plane was also afflicted with the Stomach Horribleness.

So much so that as we exited the plane, an entire Haz-mat Team (WEARING MASKS AND GLOVES) boarded with some ominous-looking cleaning products.

That, my friends, is a bad sign.

We had a lovely reunion with Brad once we reached the 2nd row.

And it took every fiber of my being to not attack him when he asked, "How was your flight?"



Queen B said...

Bless your heart. That is SO why I don't fly.

Meg said...

oh my goodness, nicole! it sounds like your trip (or was it trips) was just one big adventure after another.

this has confirmed my fears about flying the boys.

Joel said...

Your daughter CRACKS me up. I wish that old lady or Matthew McCoughney would've pulled out a video camera.

Amy said...

Oh my gosh, I'm cracking up. I mean, it's all funny once it's over right? I have been in a similar turbulant situation, however I was the one throwing up (twice), not the one with the screaming children. I look forward to that. Yeah, no just kidding, I don't.

PS Nice casting decisions.

Mandie said...

First, the casting is perfection. Second, Lily is too much! I could laugh at her antics all day. Third, that flight sounds like my worst nightmare! Lastly, the fact that you DIDN'T attack B now make you my role model for self-control. That's the Spirit working if I ever saw it!

Tricia said...

Nicole, you are one funny girl. You made me laugh out loud. I still am, actually.

The casting is absolutely perfect. That's a movie I would love to own.

Tanyale Roth said...

haha..i love it!!! sounds like an adventure not going to lie.
How did Brad get the good deal on that one??

Well i am glad u guys survived :)