We have been home for more than 24 hours and I still feel empty. After everything that happened, is this all I can do? Feeling empty? I have been warned about my insane marathon vacation, now infamously coined work-cation. I did not listen and now I may be scarred for life.
This year’s vacation was a once in a lifetime event full of epiphanies, unforgettable snapshots, laughs and drama – I shall delve into these in later posts. But for now, I need to exorcise the trauma of our hectic schedule and the amount of time we spent to go from one place to another, from one culture to another. We knew it was going to be a challenge to do NYC-Paris-Ajaccio-Bergerac-Paris-NYC but I never thought I might lose my sanity in the process and most worryingly, perhaps a little piece of who I am (or at least thought I was) too. Let’s roll out key stats and facts:
· 8657 miles flown in 3 weeks
I made this calculation after we got home and I have been staring at the total ever since. And we did not earn any air miles? I-D-I-O-T-S.
· About 80 hours spent on travel, transit, and waiting for check ins, for security checks, for boarding, for un-boarding, for our rental cars or for a free restroom cubicle
That is the one number I overlooked in our grand scheme and that is the one number that pushed me off the cliff and nearly got me detained in a French prison cell (see point about physical altercations). Yes, the total duration of flights on our tickets confirmation was just the tip of the iceberg and I mistakenly thought: ‘It’s not that bad, is it?’
· 4 is the number of times I actually brushed my hair in three weeks because of the little time I had for myself
It is a random fact but this could have contributed to the point about physical altercations. What was I thinking packing hair rollers? Dumb mama.
· 15 is probably the number of times the kids watched Toy Story 3 on the Ipad
I usually don’t promote anything that will sell even more Apple products but Speck iGuy Ipad case is absolutely amazing: it not only protects the iPad but turns the whole device into a highly flexible ‘TV screen’. It stays upright on a table or a suitcase, and the handles enable you to hang the Ipad between the handles of an umbrella stroller, or between the pockets in front of your plane seats…Absolutely amazing. It got us out of a few potentially apocalyptic situations. Well unfortunately not all of them…
· 60 pissed off passengers on the return flight wanting to kill one of our my kids or maybe all of them as a matter of fact
As we were trying to calm G & L down (P was surprisingly calm and collected during the whole ordeal), I could feel the anger and desperation raising and my own embarrassment eating me up. I could hear behind my back the muffled insults, the exasperated sighs, and the loud shush. It was like a beast crawling towards us and about to devour us alive. I swear that even now when I close my eyes, I can still hear the beast grunting and puffing, puffing and grunting.
· 2 near physical altercations with airline staff and a fellow passenger
I am not a violent person or at least for the last 20 years I worked very hard to tame my dark side. I used to be angry at everything and would lash out at my siblings, a wall, DB (Dear Boyfriend, now Dear Husband) etc. My now mature Me is a rather diplomatic woman…until Crazy me takes over.
Near fight 1
An Air France stewardess told me in an arrogant way that I was not allowed to keep my lightweight single umbrella stroller all the way to the airplane.
Stewardess: ‘Mrs, we have done you a favor in the past letting you take the stroller up to the gate.
Me: How am I supposed to do with 2 (running around) tots and 1 baby?
Stewardess, shrugging her shoulders and with disdain: with baby carriers.
Mature me: Ok, sure.
Crazy Me thinking: ‘You better find a solution, bitch. Because if you don’t, I swear I am registering G & P as unaccompanied minors and you are going to have to find 2 staff members to board them. See how you’ll like that…’
Near fight 2
G did not sleep during the 8 hours return flight and as he was dozing off craving for a lie down on the plane’s floor, we were asked to strap him back on his seat. He started to fight back, kick, scream, and turn blue with his eyes blank. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. That’s when I felt a fellow traveller tapping on my shoulder:
‘Are you going to do something about it? There are about 50 persons for whom, this situation is becoming unbearable. You know, there are some soft drugs…
Me: I tried Benadryl and it is not working. I am sorry for everyone but I don’t know what to do.
20 year old fellow passenger: Well, when one travels with 3 children, one takes some precautions and plans…
Crazy me said: I did take precautions. What else do you want me to do? If you have a list of drugs, please give it to me. I swear I will try them. And was thinking: but if you ever open your fucking mouth for else, I swear I am going to rip your head off. Right there.’ I always prided myself on being able to stand in other people’s shoes-it keeps me grounded and I never assumed that having kids gave me any sort of right. But that girl, she just set Monster me in motion. Was it the patronizing tone? Her bony ass? Her arrogant youth? I am not sure what it was but it was bye, bye Crazy me and welcome back Monster me. Indeed, I actually had a 60 seconds outer body experience and saw myself slapping her, tearing her jugular out, kicking her bony ass off the plane and painting Sioux warrior signs on my face with her blood.
Scary shit. I am still shaking from the resurgence of Monster me in my head. I thought I buried her a long time ago. Turns out she was just hibernating. 8657 miles woke her up. G’s agonizing face screaming for help ignited her fire. I am home now, very far away from that XL airways plane but Monster me is still awake. I can feel it. And I am not even ashamed of her. For now. F-U-C-K, I need a lychee-tini.
A little tribute to my very courageous mini-monsters.