The Worst Flight of My Life

Before I get started, let me just say that when you’re in a tube devoid of fresh air and ventilation at 35,000 feet, with a nose that rivals only a bloodhound or a pregnant woman, Bubble Yum is one of the most wretched scents in the world.

Not that I’d know or anything, Vivian. Yeah, I’m talking to you.

Image courtesy of soap.com

Image courtesy of soap.com

To be fair to the airline, the flight itself wasn’t actually that terrible. The flight attendants were nice, the captain didn’t crash or get us killed, and at no point did I have to discover whether those little oxygen masks actually have oxygen in them or not, even though they may not inflate. I even had a window seat, which at the time was my absolute favorite thing (it was a combination of boredom and motion sickness that led me to want the window, despite there not being a whole lot to look at during most of the flight. I’ve since changed my mind and determined the aisle seat in the first three rows, opposite the door side, are actually the best because you can get off that plane right quick.)

Photo courtesy of science.howstuffworks.com

Photo courtesy of science.howstuffworks.com

The problem with the flight actually occurred before I even stepped on the plane, eating a quick dinner with my mother in a restaurant of the John Wayne airport, which has since gone out of business for what I can only imagine are obvious reasons. I ordered a blue cheese burger, and at the time it was really rad. It was good enough, in fact, that I determined I needed to take the rest with me on the plane to finish there. But I was tired, and there are some instances in which tired trumps beef, cheese, and bread (they’re rare, trust me), so I decided to slip into a quick airplane nap, though not before turning to my mother and saying “I want cranberry juice.” About a half hour later I awoke to, not surprisingly, cranberry juice on my pull-down tray, and I took one sip and suddenly realized I was going to be remarkably ill. And instantaneously.

Here’s the thing. I don’t do sick people things in front of strangers, and I especially don’t do them on airplanes, so the wait for one of the rear lavatories to become available was a particularly terrible one, during which I began to sweat profusely and probably freak the passengers sitting in the back of the plane out something fierce. You can indicate with hand gestures that you don’t intend on puking on them, but that generally doesn’t really appease them much.

 

Photo courtesy of cntraveler.com

Photo courtesy of cntraveler.com

I won’t go into detail about this foray into food poisoning at 35,000 feet, but I will say the airplane lav is even smaller than you think when you’re using it like a normal person and not on your knees, I made about four visits to it during that not very long flight, I upset a few women in the PDX airport restroom outside the baggage claim, I made my dad feel sick on the way home, and I woke up a couple times that night just to finish what was only the worst evening I’d had in a very long time. It took me a couple of years before I could eat beef again.

The only thing I might fault the airline for was not letting me stay in the lav for the remainder of the flight after making it abundantly clear that one trip wasn’t going to be enough (particularly since there was a second one for people to use, so it’s not like my being there kept them from peeing or anything, and anyways, who wants to use a tiny bathroom after someone doing what I was doing? No one, that’s who. But despite all that logic, the flight attendant kept rapping on the door, telling me I had to get out.

We’re not friends, she and I.

She Really Wasn’t Good at Math

Hey remember that time I had a flight to Portland leaving Salt Lake City at 6:05, and then I somehow decided that scheduling my ground transportation should result in my arriving at the airport at 5:45?

Yeah so that happened.

I’m not entirely sure why I thought that was a good idea when I used the trip planner on the UTA website, seeing as I’d have to get myself to the terminal from the TRAX stop, check my bag, print a boarding pass, go through security, and then get in line to board. Perhaps that afternoon I was feeling especially ninja.

Image courtesy of blendswap.com

Image courtesy of blendswap.com
Oh look, I was only at 55%.

So I got into the car to drive myself to the Frontrunner stop and suddenly I realized I had a bad, bad plan. But I was in the car and my flight was leaving at 6:05 with or without me, so the only option I had was to drive straight there (which I didn’t even do — seriously I followed the signs and took a rather roundabout route) and park in the economy lot (with money I don’t actually have — hey Husband. You’re looking pretty handsome. Every day of your life).

My best friend told me to consider the positives, namely that I realized my mathematical fallacy before getting on the Frontrunner, and after all, there is never enough money, so I may as well stop being upset about it. For the record, I hate it when she’s right.

Take a Hike

There’s really nothing like a straight uphill hike on a dusty, austere terrain, devoid of living plants that reminds you how out of shape you may be.

Yep. Utah is this lush.

Yep. Utah is this lush.

For our anniversary, Husband decided it would be fun to take time off work and spend the day together and go on a hike. The upside of doing something like taking a hike at the hottest point of the day, in long pants, without sunscreen, is that you can easily eat frozen yogurt and pizza and candy thereafter without feeling particularly bad because you’ve just burned so many calories.

Domino's wasn't kidding - when they said they used to suck and are better now, they meant it.

Domino’s wasn’t kidding – when they said they used to suck and are better now, they meant it.

But back to the hike.

We decided to try something new – we’d originally planned on a hike we’d done previously that was in a beautiful locale, covered with trees and had spots to rock climb, but I’d heard a lot of students throwing around the words “hike the Y,” and I thought, “Hey we should do that.”

Things that are wrong with the above assessment: Just because all the students are doing it doesn’t mean I should too. College students are full of energy and stamina and are capable of singlehandedly eating pizzas with little to no consequences the following morning, like upset stomach, diarrhea, or extreme weight gain. (I’m not saying that’s what happened when we ate our pizza, btw. We’re smart and old and we saved most of it for a later day.)

I hadn’t realized hiking the Y was more like a rite of passage than an actually enjoyable experience, and it is, as it turns out, straight up. Just straight up. On a dusty, lame trail, without any foliage at which to stare upon. When we finally arrived at our destination (a large, concrete Y plastered on the side of a mountain), we took a couple pictures and then headed back down because … there wasn’t a whole lot else to do.

Yep. This is it.

Yep. This is it.

Back down sucked almost more than up because we are old and have crappy knees. *cue Baz Luhrman graduation speech/song now*

Also, something newlyweds should consider: You hit a point in your marriage when taking time off work to celebrate your anniversary includes a trip to the DMV to remove a lien off your recently paid off car and a stop in a mothball-scented stamp shop because Husband collects stamps. Also a visit to Petsmart to buy nail clippers for your cat, who has taken it upon herself to make teeny tiny scratch marks on your rather expensive leather recliner.

Personally, I think she should be able to scratch whatever she wants. She's so damn cute.

Personally, I think she should be able to scratch whatever she wants. She’s so damn cute.

Yep, the night of our anniversary, in between rounds of “Black Ops II,” we trimmed our cat’s nails. It was a wild night, kids.

A Bevy of Low Points

I’ve kind of had a low point drought, to tell you the truth. I mean, we know this happens to me – I’ll have a perfectly fine life and then suddenly I will get hit with a ton of horrible things. I haven’t actually been hit with a ton, nor have they been all that horrible, but here goes anyways:

1. I’m not what you’d call a homemaker or housewife (so it’s funny that’s all I ever want to be). So … dishes pile up. Counters get sticky. Floors get hairy (look I shed OKAY. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL, GUYS). And for the most part, Husband and I tolerate it. But the other day, enough was enough, and I decided to clean the bathroom counter and sink.

Used a Clorox wipe. The bathroom may still not be clean, but darnit, it’s disinfected and lemon fresh.

Image courtesy of clorox.com

Image courtesy of clorox.com

2. Spider in my bed. Heart attack. I no longer feel safe at home.

3. Last night, whilst sprinkling some delicious pre-shredded, bagged bulk cheese into my quesadilla, I burned my arm on the pan.

That's probably a 5th degree burn. My skin has melted away. My left arm is actually gone now.

That’s probably a 5th degree burn. My skin has melted away. My left arm is actually gone now.

Harshing my mellow.

4. Over the weekend, I had Arby’s and McDonald’s in one day. It’s really a huge low point that I had McD’s in the first place, and then that I went there around 8:00 pm so I could try their new fish nuggets, and then that I would totally go there and eat them again.

Photo courtesy of mcdonalds.com and my deft cropping abilities in Paint

Photo courtesy of mcdonalds.com and my deft cropping abilities in Paint

5. My new BFF and fellow blogger/Tweeter/Asian went to visit her home in New Delhi FOR, LIKE, THREE YEARS WEEKS and had limited internet. Something about being in a third world country or spending time with family. Bunches of nonsense. I was devastated, to say the least, but luckily she is back in New York, and I can bother her essentially any time I want. (Btw, Puneet, the musical assault is still coming — don’t think I’ve forgotten. I’ve just been busy what with having two jobs and two blogs and two Church callings and two husbands — wait, what?)

6. Husband saw a fluffy black kitteh in the parking lot of our complex and he didn’t snatch it up and bring it inside for me to love. He lost points with me, I’m not going to lie. His argument? “But we can’t have pets anyhow. Our landlords won’t allow it.” A likely story. That fluffy black kitteh was going to be mine and I was going to love it.

The Excursion of 2012

– OR – “How Donner Pass Ruined Our Lives”

-OR – “How We Almost Became Cannibals”

This is how I feel about Donner Pass:

Upset Mary

The only reason I might look even a little happy is because I was clearly having a great hair day. But the overarching theme of this blog post is anger and frustration.

Because Donner Pass is a beast. A BEAST. I’m thinking of other words right now, but my mom reads this blog, and I don’t want her to be aware that I know those words. We decided, after the trip to San Francisco was over, that we probably should have flown and not bothered with a car, but most trips are made cheaper by driving, and we thought this would be the same. A word to the unwise: San Francisco is not made cheaper by driving. But we didn’t know that, and so we forged on ahead.

We’d been forewarned about Donner Pass, so we armed ourselves with chains and felt that was going to be good enough. We had water, we had food, and we had enough coats to not die of hypothermia in the event we got stranded on the side of the road, but we also had an intense hope that would not occur. And, while it was just raining and looking a lot like this,

Wet Donner Pass

men in large yellow outfits forced us off the road and told us to put on our chains — there was bad weather up ahead.

I hate these men. I hate them all.

I hate these men. I hate them all.

Well. This was clearly untrue. The roads weren’t bad, the chains weren’t necessary (ignore the above picture, which clearly shows bad roads and a necessity for chains), and they were bullying perfectly nice people into getting out of their cars and chain up. But we acquiesced, and when we parked the car, Husband turned to me and said, “Okay go ahead!” Because Husband travels in athletic shorts, even in the dead of winter, and heaven forbid he have to step outside in the frigid frigidity. I was in a jacket and a scarf. I clearly was the appropriate person to put chains on our Versa.

Low point number one, folks, would be Husband forcing me to put chains on our car instead of manning up. I still love him, most of the time.

As it turns out, our chains were for 14″ tires, which would have been really perfect if we were driving a car that had 14″ tires, but alas, the sporty exterior of my car meant 17″ tires. Because … sporty. So there we were, on the side of the road, in a patch of snow, surrounded by people whose chains did fit their car tires, Husband in his shorts and I in my jacket, wondering what in the hell we were going to do.

But then — luck! The men in yellow outfits disappeared, cars started zipping by, and we thought to ourselves, “If they can all drive without chains, well, then so can we!” This proved to be only partially true because we hit a point when a man in a kiosk stopped us, asking if our small, hatchback car was all-wheel drive, and Husband turned to me and then turned back to him and said yes. Fact: our car is not, nor will it ever be, all-wheel drive. It is not equipped with snow tires; we didn’t have chains that fit. But we were on a mission to get ourselves into the city of San Francisco because our hotel reservation, made through Hotwire, was non-refundable, and I was not paying for a hotel room I wasn’t going to spend a night in. 

Things started out fine, but then they turned less fine.

Donner Pass

At this point, I decided closing my eyes (I was the passenger, lest you’re worried about our well-being what with me driving with my eyes closed) was my best course of action. I did not need to see things get worse.

And, in fact, they did get worse. So bad that when I woke up, Husband was trailing behind a snow plow, his knuckles white, leaning over the steering wheel with a look of utter dismay on his face.

Snow Plows in Donner Pass

Don’t tell my mother this part of the story. It will make her worry.

We did get out. We survived Donner Pass without spending several months there, without eating each others’ flesh, without requiring search party after search party to come look for us. But we almost didn’t. And it required lies and deceit and 5 mph travel. It probably could have been worse.

Probably.

The Word of the Day is: Oversight

Today, class, we’re going to learn about the word “oversight.” Does anyone know what that means? No? Let’s turn to our Merriam-Webster dictionaries, then, and take a look at the definition.

Oversight: noun “an inadvertent omission or error”

Can any of you use that word in a sentence? Darcy, how about you?

“It would be considered an oversight that Mary planned an entire trip to San Francisco with her husband based upon a December 27th checkout, only to discover that morning that they should have checked out on the 26th.”

Excellent, Darcy! Perfect usage of that word. And, indeed, that would be considered an incredible oversight. I can only imagine how thrilled her husband must have been when, already distraught over how expensive the entire trip had cost them, he discovered he’d need to pay for an extra night at the hotel!

Anyone else? Bill? Why don’t you try to use it in a sentence.

“Many people would argue (although we cannot really know exactly what signage Mary saw as freeways changed names, plus we need to take into consideration the fact that her husband turned off the GPS and fell asleep) that it was an oversight that she somehow got onto I-5 and drove dozens and dozens of miles in the opposite direction and would have driven even farther if she had not elatedly called out, ‘Portland!’ when she saw the city sign, notifying her husband that she was headed on the entirely wrong path for southern Utah.”

Very good, Bill, although we could probably do without the parenthetical commentary, and that sentence was a little long. Now let’s move onto a lesson in geography. How many of you are familiar with the western United States?

No one? James, finger out of your nose, please. Let’s look at a map.

Western US

As you can see, she headed north, when she clearly should have only headed slightly south before going east. *shakes head*

Well, that’s all the time we have today, class. Tomorrow we’ll go over some handy tips in inclement weather travel.

It Started with Procrastination

I once swore I would never, under any circumstances, write an entire blog post with my thumbs on my iPhone. Yet here we are, under the covers, so the bright screen doesn’t wake Husband. Which is super considerate of me, given the fact that I’m awake because he elbowed me in the face. He elbowed me good. I still love him.

In mid November, we decided to spend Christmas in another place. Originally we thought cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean (well, on it. We didn’t want a Christmas Titanic experience on our hands), but as it turns out, airfare a month in advance across the country is heinously expensive. So we settled on driving to California. To the Frisco. I’ll never do that again, I promise – I hadn’t even heard the term till yesterday. Although relatively late in the year, I still had ample time to plan out his trip.

But then I didn’t. And I found myself somewhat frenetic yesterday afternoon, scheduling out seven days in California and southern Utah so we wouldn’t arrive, unsure what to do in a city with hundreds of places to go, see, and do. It was fun, let me tell you.

I initially thought to say things started with a phone call, but I suppose the procrastination of the phone call attributed to my blogging with my thumbs at 3:49 am. Awhile back a friend mentioned something about hotel parking, so I thought, yesterday, at the height of my anxiety, to call the hotel and find out how much we were talking.

$52 a day, people. $52. Dollars. A day. Lest you think we have several other options that might be substantially cheaper, we do not, unless you consider parking at the airport, about 30-45 minutes away and then losing easy access to our vehicle an option. And that’s great if you do. I don’t.

That gave me a heart attack. I’d always considered myself something of a city girl, but obviously I know nothing of cities because he most I’d ever heard of paying for parking was about $20 a day for the very elite. So.

I somehow managed to fall asleep, however, and was doing great till the elbowing, and then I found myself very much awake, unable to fall back asleep, and, for reasons inexplicable to me, singing 80s tunes in my head. Lots of Phil Collins going on right now.

So to recap: procrastination, phone call, heart attack, sleep, elbowing, Phil, thumb blogging.

Gonna be a long drive today, people. Long drive.