Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to be a good air traveler

Even before I was traveling every week for work, as a family, the JMacs travel a good deal. So much so that when MiniMac was three, he told the man in front of us at security, "YOU NEED TO TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF."

If you do not travel much by aircraft, you might not enjoy my helpful tips. If you do travel by aircraft, you surely already know these tips but will certainly want to pass them along to one or two dumbarses you see.
How to be a good Air Traveler:

1. When you are packing your bag to go to the airport, and after lifting it you throw your back out, you need to reassess the weight limit enforced by almost every airline. Most bags have a 50 pound limit in coach and a 75 pound limit in First Class. So when you shove 14 pairs of shoes and 8 different outfits for your weekend trip, survey says: OVER the limit.  What is more hilarious is that you will take that heavy bag to the airport, crossing your fingers for a whim. You will not put it on the scale until you are explicitly told to do so. You will then place it on the scale with one corner hanging off. You will then act surprised when you are caught doing this by the agent. You will then act further surprised when your bag weighs 62 pounds as if you had NO idea. So do this smarty pants, tuck a shopping bag with handles in your suitcase so you can quickly pull out 12 pounds of your gear. The people behind you in line will love you for it.

2. When you go through security, can you PLEASE just follow the rules? Even my toddler knows you have to take your shoes off. When the TSA person tells you this again because you can't read or listen, do NOT ask them, "Are you sure?" The people working at TSA may not know how to add fractions or how to properly identify certain barnyard animals but they certainly do know you need to take your shoes off. Oh, and can you please take your laptop OUT of your bag? Why is this recommended? Because the TSA agents have repeated it 10x in the 15 minutes you were standing there. Do you think they are up there singing some kind of song with no beat? "Please take your laptops out of your bags. Please take everything out of your pockets." This is not a song with no beat or cadence. Its is called instructions.

3. Also, do not bring your blow torch in your carry on. I thought the list of non-approved carry on items was a joke. Oh no. If you use a blowtorch you are either a welder or some kind of awesome artist. If so, you likely have a reason to tote a blow torch around. Anyone else, wise up. You can't take it on the plane unless you are Chuck Norris.

4. When you arrive at your terminal and tuck yourself into a seat at the gate, do NOT spread all your sh*t around to take up three extra seats. Your bag doesn't need a seat. Your newspaper doesn't need a seat. Your giant latte and bagel from Starbucks do not need a seat. Streamline. You know who needs a seat, the woman traveling with three kids, people on their third leg of a trip, or someone older than you.

5. When they initiate the boarding process, they begin with Zone 1. When you are in Zone 9, do NOT clog the boarding area. Same for you Zones 3,4,5,6,7 and 8. Zone 2, pony up. You are on deck. Everyone else, park it. I understand you are super excited to sit in a dirty seat with your feet jammed up on your bag underneath the seat in front of you because there is no more overhead space but you can't stand up and block the boarding passageway like gate lice.

6. And can we talk about the overhead space? I am the first one to never, ever want to put my bag on the floor. Here is why: They don't typcially clean the bathrooms on the airplanes. We know this from a flight attendant in our neighborhood. So you walk in the filthy bathroom. Then you tuck your feet under the seat. Then you rub your bag all over the residue. Then you put that bag on the bed of your hotel room. The bed you sleep on. Oh, there are worse things on the bed? We are all well aware. Then you take that bag and shove it bag under the seat on your return trip. Then you put it on your kitchen table.The one you eat on. E Coli? YUMMY.  So I am a big advocate for using overhead space. Now, if you are getting overhead space, can you please not take up the space allocated for a large body with your COAT? Oh, it's winter? I know, Mother Nature. Put your coat on top of your bag. You know who is going to say the same thing to you only less nicely? The flight attendants who have to repeat this 20x per flight.

7. When you are boarded and still yapping away on your cell phone, know this: Your time on th e cell phone is limited. When the flight attendants say, "Please power down your electronic equipment", they do mean everything electronic. Don't act like you don't your cell phone is considered electronic equipment. You have a job don't you? You clearly aren't that daft. When they make this request and you keep on yapping, know this: You are a dbag. Unless you are Barack Obama, Peyton Manning, dealing with death or injury, or new parents leaving your child for the first time, you don't have a single agenda item that simply can. not. wait. You had plenty of time to wrap it up. The hints to get off the phone now came in this order: When you got in line to board, when you walked down the jetway, when you walked in the plane, when you sat in your seat, and the many times you were asked to turn your cell phone off.

On the subject of flight attendants, can you please not aggravate them? Oh, I get it, not all of them are nice. But most of them are and they likely hate repeating the same thing 10,000 times a flight.

8. The bathroom. I think a prison bathroom at Leavenworth is cleaner and more inviting than this tiny closet O' urine spray. Can we put an instruction on the door? Can we request you please aim for INSIDE the bowl? Why does it look like a giant wet dog shook itself in there? This is unsavory. It is work when the floor is as sticky as a NYC nightclub at 3 am. As I hover in there in my heels, I keep telling myself, "It is only kool-aid, it is only kool-aid" but we all know it is not kool-aid.  I have seen less urine in the bathroom of my son's school and those kids barely know how to aim.

9. If you really need a snack, pack your own. If you don't like the slim options on the plane, guess who wondered your opinion? No one. I think it is so interesting that people take the peanuts or pretzels and then complain about the peanuts and pretzels. Its not prison where you simply must eat in order to garner the strength to dig an exit passageway with your spoon. Nor are you Hansel & Gretel who have no other sustenance but bread crumbs which you must eat to find your way home. Eat the free snacks or don't but please do not complain.  Same rule shall apply to the free drinks. And this is my favorite:

Flight Attendant: What would you like to drink?
Idiot: What do you have?
FA: Well, we have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Milk, Water and a variety of juices.
Idiot: Do you have Snapple?
FA: No sir, we do not.
Idiot: Do you have Gatorade?
FA: No sir, we do not.

Really? Let's be clear that when you are given the list of products, they don't secretly leave some out to surprise you later like its your 6th birthday. They also don't hide a stash in the back to break out later in case we play an onboard game and prizes are needed. Listen to the list, pick it, sip it, and then zip it.

10. I would like to put an entry here for people who cough, sneeze, snort and hack to the point that others around you need a SARS mask but I can't. These people will always travel so wash your hands people. Wash them really well.

11. Can we talk about proper plane voice volume and etiquette?  Or how loud your volume is on your iPod as you are listening to the new Ludacris song. Turn it down, Junior. Those words are pretty filthy and while Mamacita loves to get her groove on, I certainly don't want to hear club beats and back that arse up at 8:15 on a flight to a work meeting. Neither does the sweet elderly lady on the other side of you. Lucky for you she likely thinks "back that ass up" is a reference to a manger scene.

12. When the plane lands and you taxi to the jetway, the magic sound you are listening for is the bell that indicates you can jump up like Criss Cross and get your bags and giant coat stuffed in the overhead compartment. When you do not hear the bell, do not jump up and grab your bags and your giant coat. You will be admonished. Via loudspeaker. In front of all. I know there is stress at times because of connecting flights, but unless you really are a grasshopper, Daniel-san, you aren't going to be able to run over all the backs of the people ahead of you. If you are really, really pressed for time you can certainly ask the flight attendant to request that others who are not connecting remain seated. This never works but you can at least ask so you are not the betch on one of my last flights who caused a scene on the plane because she was going to miss a flight only to be made to sit down and wait. Like a 8 year old.

I am boarding a plane in minutes. I will keep all of these rules in mind. Have a great week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is that a dog in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Ok. We will talk about the New Orleans trip next round. I flew back from NOLA and then my family and JMacs family were here to celebrate our beautiful son's 5th birthday. More on that to come as well. I am boarding a plane for the West Coast today for a 2 hour meeting but in short, we had an awesome weekend. And everytime I am with my family, it is story-telling time galore. And there are two all-time favorite stories in my arsenal about my Mom. Here we go again:

After sharing the family beaver story with you, I had a big laugh with my Mom. You would think it a recent memory for the volume of comedic value I derive from it. But in my arsenal of great family tales, the beaver story has a friend. Another story, born during a sweet and innocent scene one summer I was on college break.

My parents were living in Alaska. I went up for the summer and was befriended by a group of nice Norwegians. Two of them, brothers, were helping me learn some rudimentary phrases in their native tongue. I would practice with them on our fairly frequent run ins, and I would share my tiny handful of wisdom with my parents. My mom got a kick out of practicing these phrases along with me.

My mom was running a full time business, and doing an incredible job. She was successful and smart and so it is with total respect I share the following scenario. One day in her lovely and light-filled office, a group of businessman came in. The two brothers were amongst the group and my mom was ready to intro her practiced pleasantries, this time, in Norwegian.

One of the easy phrases they taught me was "Gu Dag, Hvordan ar du det."
Which sounds like "Guh dah, vor dahn are doo day."

As she addressed the group, she said very slowly with perfect diction:
"Good dog, vord ann hard on today?"

The room went silent, briefly. One of the men responded, "Not quite yet, M, but if it changes, I will let you know." And then the large group burst into such a raucous laughter. And I thought I might have an accident of the urinary explosion kind. My mom, simply trying her best, looked at me and asked what was wrong.

I laid my hand gently on her arm and said, "Well, I'm not entirely sure but I think you just stated something equivalent to a good dog having a hard on today. " Some of these men were having a little trouble breathing. Primarily because my mom never talked like at work, and frankly, I thought it was a riot.
Her poor face. More red than classic Chanel No. 5 lipstick, honey.

She went ahead and left the room. At least until the laughter died down.

Oh, the laughs these stories have provided. And they have been told and retold. And surely someday my son will tell similar stories about us. I look forward to it and hope I take it as well as our Mom does.

So watch your words today. And I'd avoid that dog if I were you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

I am in New Orleans this week for work. You read it correctly. New Orleans. For a WEEK. For work. Things I will not be doing:

Hydrating with vodka.
Staying out late Prince-style and partying like its 1999.
Accruing hangovers like they are Valentines.
Eating entirely healthy.

Now, I will share I have spent time galore in New Orleans. I allegedly spent time there during Mardi Gras as well. Incidentally, were you aware you can buy those beads for about $1.00 each? Yes. You don't have to show strangers your cans for a string of beads you can simply purchase for $1.00. Oh, that isn't the point? Thanks, Hugh Hefner. I am well aware.

I like to make a note that when people go off campus for work meetings, why are these meetings never located in a cabin in the woods or some small unassuming city? Never. They are often in places like Vegas, San Diego, FL, or New Orleans not only for the pleasant weather but there is always sign tie to a city full of potential debauchery. A friend from work said he wished our meeting was in Vegas because NOLA is "Dirty and seedy." Vegas is also dirty and seedy. It's just a prettier more slick version of dirty and seedy.

I can't wait to eat at the dirtiest dive I know: Acme Oyster House. Scary to walk in but OH the food is AMAZING. I am also participating in a fun race this week. At the crack of dawn one morning. If that is not incentive to " Go to bed early" I don't know what is.

And no I will not be going to Cafe Du Monde. Oh, the fluffy beignets are amazing. I don't need them. And I don't drink coffee. And coffee with chicory doesn't sound intriguing. 

I hope you have a fantastic week. See you Saturday with a tasty recipe to counterbalance the sinister Sinnamon rolls I posted this past weekend. Which by the way, I made again for breakfast at some good friends and I want to hate the Sinnamon rolls, but I never, ever will.  And the Sinnamon rolls are the reason I am skipping fresh delicious beignets this entire week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Put that on your feet, sassy...

I remember buying my first pair of Louboutins. It was divine. Men, for those of you not familiar with the cult of Christian Louboutin shoes, it is kind of like getting your first fast car at age 16, only much, MUCH better. It is not the shoe itself, it is the way the shoe makes you feel. Ladies, if you don't believe me (which I know many of you already do) go to a fabulous shoe store, pick something out, put that on your feet, sassy. And then tell me how you feel.

Recently, I overheard two men at the bar. Man 1 bought his girlfriend a pair of shoes. Man 2 said, "That's crazy. I wouldn't even date a girl that obsessed with shoes. It's too superficial." This made me think of many things:

1. Because someone has shoes doesn't make them obsessed. She has to put something on her feet. This isn't Clan of the Cave Bear.
2. Awesome job Man 1 ponying up some cool shoes for your lady.
3. Hey Man 2, if you think shoes are a big deal, you have not a clue of the litany of other rituals, processes and procedures women will go through to impress you, other men, or their friends.  Enjoy the first time you discover eye-brow threading or waxing.

But, I want to share a story about a well-known theory involving women and their shoes. Yes, I am telling it again.  And zip it, you know you have a story or two you love to tell repeatedly too, smarty.

There was a young woman who lived for a shoe:

Ahhhh...who doesn't love a great pair of shoes?

Now, some of you see a pair of shoes like this and say to yourself,
Oh, those are FMPs.
Not familiar with this acronym?

Well, for the sake of public decency, let's say "Fornicate Me Pumps" and just replace Fornicate with your favorite sailor word. I think you know what I mean. The F Bomb. Yes, some people have a special code names for shoes like these. Oh, I am sure you never use that word. And I, of course,
say it often
use it so sparingly I have trouble pronouncing it at times.

But the sister to the FMP is the DFMP. As in Don't F with me pump. You have seen them, I know you know what I mean. Heels you put on to feel invincible. The ultimate power shoes. And I can't be the only one with a pair or two.

I have several pairs of shoes that immediately empower me. Oh, that's a lot of stock to put in a shoe. I know. But they do. It's like putting on Superman's Cape. And I love it. One pair are 4 inch heels I bought in Italy. I love them because they make me 5'11 and because I love where they came from. Oh, just ask me.If you say, "Wow...I love those shoes." Then I will be sure to say "THANK YOU, I bought them in Italy. " It's never lost on me that you have not necessarily asked me where they are from.

And another pair, the first time I wore them, JohnnyMac said, with a very sultry look "Those shoes are hot." My reaction? Very close to Meg Ryan in Top Gun: Take me to bed or lose me forever.

And my favorite pair of all time. A black patent open toe slide with 3.5 inch Pucci covered stacked heel...mmmmm....yum.

Oh pretty shoe, why did I wear you to that filthy dirty bar in Spain? WHY. Why did I drink all night and dance you to your near-death? WHY WHY WHY? Those shoes suffered some scars. Nothing looks good with martini splashed all over it. Not you, not your liver, and certainly not your Pucci heels. Peter Dundas would have likely maced me had he known of my transgression.

And there is no need to have fabulous shoes that make your feet hurt. Boo. Lest you are so uncomfortable you must remove them before your evening ends. And what is the point of that? I am all for barefoot and fancy free. At the beach? Barefoot reigns. Your friend's wedding? Not exactly.

A friend wore bad shoes in NYC and ended up barefoot on the street at 2 am. Catch that? Barefoot. On the streets of NYC. You may save yourself a blister but enjoy walking around in who knows what AND contracting plantar warts. Even the bar of soap shuddered and thought "I don't want to go near that mess". Ergo, keep your footwear on in sketchy places. Streets of NYC at 2 am are the epitome of sketchy.

So here's to putting something fabulous on your feet.

If clothes make the man, shoes make the girl. Don't believe me? Ask Cinderella.