Friday, June 01, 2007

Paige, the air travel masochist

June 1st, the first day of summer. (Ok, technically summer doesn't begin until the solstice on the 21st, but to anyone living in South Florida June 1st really means the first day of hurricane season, and that pretty much amounts to the same thing.) Naturally we have begun making our summer vacation (read – obligatory visits) plans. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against visiting friends and relatives. What I hate is flying. Yes, I hate airplanes. Well, that's not entirely true. Airplanes are fine and dandy (again, with the horrifying phraseology) as long as I'm not on them. I wouldn't exactly call this a phobia as phobias by nature are irrational fears. I think it's quite rational to be afraid of a huge bucket of metal hurtling through the sky with no safety net. The thing that always get me most is the insistence on seat belts. Really, if we fall from the sky the only thing a seat belt is going to do is make it easier to match my body to the flight records.

But I digress.

I'm not a masochist for arranging summer vacation plans. However, I am certainly indulging in self abuse to be making as many plans as I am. Let's see, where to begin.

July 4th: CableDad and I frequently go out to visit his parents just outside of Seattle. This year we are taking MJ on her first visit. This coincidentally will also be her first plane trip. Brilliant! So her first plane trip will require waking her up at 4 am to get to the airport by 7 at which point she will be strapped into a car seat for 5 ½ hours (yeah, that will go over well) while we fly into a different time zone practically guaranteeing a week of hellish sleep. Woohoo! I'm certainly looking forward to that. Never mind the fact that I tend to sit on the plane white knuckled concentrating very intently on whatever book I have with me so as not to think about the fact that I am 30,000+ above the ground. (Is it ironic that I actually do want to go sky diving? This has been pointed out to me in the past. I always say that it is not a contradiction as at least with sky diving I'm guaranteed a parachute.) The travel agent arranged the tickets for us because I was having a hell of a time finding a direct flight from Miami to Seattle. I figured the shorter the trip and the fewer the lay overs, the less time MJ would be forced tot behave and the fewer times I'd have to deal with take off and landings. Unfortunately there is only one air line that flies direct and it's flight is at the crack of dawn, requiring us to be up well before that crack. I must seriously be smoking crack to consider this.

Luckily that trip CableDad will be accompanying me. No such luck later on this summer.

I decided awhile back that since my grandmother is no longer capable of traveling I would being MJ to visit her. (This is not the same grandmother we visited for Mother's Day.) Allowing MJ to meet her other Great Grandmother requires flying to New York, which we will be doing in late July. Ok, not nearly as bad as Seattle, less than half the distance and the flight leave at a least an hour or two later. Unfortunately, this time around CableDad has to stay home and work. In his place my soon-to-be 14 year old step-brother will be coming with us. I know for a fact that he will be a great help, that's just the kind of kid he is, however, I think I'm probably not going to be able to grip his hand in panic when we hit turbulence. I'm equally sure I can't hand him the baby when I'm nervous and not wanting to stress her out. (Sorry, MJ, Mamma's going to be forced to inflict her paranoia on you. Hope it doesn't scar you for life.)

The third trip we have planned is a trip to North Carolina the first week of August. (Becky, if you're reading this we will be there from the 4th until the 11th and will most likely have a car. I'm really hoping we can come out and see you guys.) Again, I think CableDad might be unable to come with us as he's already going to be taking the July 4th week off and I doubt two weeks in two months is going to fly (yes, pun intended) well. However, the flight out there won't be so bad. MJ and I will be going with my father, step-mother and above mentioned step-brother. No problem there. The problem for this flight will be the return home. MJ and I will be leaving a day or so earlier than everyone else. We go home on a Saturday and they'll stay through the weekend. What does that mean to this paranoid traveler? Well, it means that I hope to hell that the two previous flights have turned me into an expert flier since I will be doing that trip all on my own, car seat, stroller and pack-and-play in tow. UGH! What am I doing to myself?

Of course that's only my stress over the actual flight and travel. I've said nothing about MJ's decidedly delicate sense of routine. The girl thrives on routine. I have no idea how sleeping in an unfamiliar place will go over. Naps are hell even at home. But that's a story for another time.

And a note out to my Toronto friends, yes I'm insane, but yes I am planning on coming up to visit you guys as well. To be honest, since I've been in Miami for the past year I figure it's best if I try to arrange that before winter hits. However, after the nightmare of three trips inside of two months I think I may wait until at least September before I attempt that one as I'll be coming up by myself. Anyone want to house a slightly frazzled Miami refugee?


Heather said...

Does this mean you're never coming out to Vegas? hahah

Paige said...

hahaha.. well I sure as hell am not going to the desert in the middle of the summer. How does winter sound?

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I'm sure everything will go fine on the trips. Who knows, perhaps Paige will end up loving flying and won't have any problems dealing.

Might be a odd suggestion, but perhaps you can organize staying at a motel or a friend's/family member's home for a night or two prior to the trip to try and get her used to sleeping away from home.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Ugh, don't ask me why I kept calling MJ Paige. It's too hot here, I can't think in this heat. Sorry.

Dayngr said...

Sounds like we have some stuff in common here. I hate flying but I'm dying to go skydiving. Werid huh? I'm also one of those people who schedule vacations (ok, everything) and print itineraries etc. though I am pretty cool if we deviate from the plan. I make myself crazy.

Hilary said...

Hey, welcome to the world of flying as a mom. I won't sugarcoat it too much for you. Other people are usually not as horrified as you are about the crying. Really. Not that it'll reassure you much if she cries, but the sound of the airplane and the ubiquitous headphones really keep everyone but the ones closest to you from hearing it very well.

Flying as a mom makes the trip not about you anymore. It's a total drag. I like to read on a plane, but what I like to do even more is sleep. Something about the vibrating and humming - I would have loved those modern bouncy seats when I was a baby. I got to sleep for what feels like the first time in 8 years on my solo trip to Portland last month. Not an option with the kids.

If you got a seat for her car seat, you do not need to leave her strapped in the whole time, as long as the fasten seat belt signs aren't on. I was behind the most beautiful baby on my way back from Portland - and her dad spent the ENTIRE trip (hours, I am serious) kissing her belly as he held her above his head. He must have done it a thousand times, loudly. It was adorable for about the first hour. She was peaceful and quiet, but the loud kissing noises got a little old after a while.