Monday, May 17, 2010

How to force people to be your friend during air travel

I went to Chicago last week to meet my older sister and my Dad.  Dad had a meeting there and Mom was going to Germany (to track the path of John Wesley) so Dad invited us.  I had asked the doctor when I saw him last for a few Zanax to take (not at the same time) for the flight because I hate to fly.  I used to love it as a kid, but as adult I have never liked it.  I don't think we are going to crash I just hate the feeling I get when I why.  So I had taken my Zanax before so I would be good and relaxed, hoped on the plane (Southwest, love them, really).  I actually was so relaxed that I almost missed my flight, they changed the gate number and I didn't realize it.  I got in the plane and seating section A had no meaning.  I lucked up and found a seat on the front row between two business people.  One was definitely more businessy than the other.  The guy on my left had longer hair and kept tearing out pages of a fishing magazine and putting them in his front pocket.  Neither one of these men said a word to me when I sat down.  They hogged both the armrest, but that is what I got for being too relaxed.  So the flight attendant came to get my drink order and brought me a diet coke.  As soon as she gave it to me, the fasten seat belt light came on.  The plane started experiencing turbulence and one time we dropped and my diet coke flew up in the air.  I did get diet coke on my seat companions, and to my relief they laughed.  After a couple more bumps I was brave and asked my still mute friends if I could hold their wrist.  I told them I was scared.  They both said sure.  The guy on my right then started talking to me and I think he took it upon himself to help distract me.  The guy on my left was my time guy,  I kept asking "How much longer?"  Each time he would patiently answer me with a smile but no chit chat.  The guy on my right was a nice guy from Mountain Brook, wife and two kids, and he was actually going to the same conference Dad was.  For some reason I blurted out, "We should share a cab!"   We were staying in the same place.  Isn't that crazy?  It was the Zanax talking.  I mean I had just watched  " Taken"  and the shared cab is the kiss of death.  I think that was in my subconscious or something.  Needless to say I was so thankful for my new friends!  The flight attendants never got up again the whole flight, too bumpy.  When we arrived, I realized my cab friend had not checked any luggage and I had.  I had to say "I am sorry, I have to go to baggage claim."  He said no problem.  About this time my sis texted me and said they were waiting for me in baggage claim.  My friend was saved.  I tried to introduce him to my Dad but had no clue his name.  Thank goodness he realized it and introduced himself.    He bade me farewell.

I tried to move on from bad flight with shopping at H&M.  I had never been there and I loved it.  It was like Forever 21 but better.  That night we went to a delicious steak house and I had the best steak I had ever had.  We had ridden to the restaurant in a mini bus, after dinner my Dad was ready to leave.  He had to wait on the bus, he convinced the whole group to go outside and wait for the bus.  About 30 people stood under the awning while it rained, but soon enough the disco bus arrived.  It was just like the ones they use for prom now.

The next day we went to the Museum of Modern Art, because it was very rainy.  After getting a dose of culture we went to Nordstrom Rack.  Loved it!  That night we decided to go see Date Night, funny movie.  Then we went to a Greek restaurant where I had a strange Greek dish that was pretty good.  We then went to Navy Pier looking for ice cream but the whole darn place was closed.  We ended up getting a dessert at a fancy grocery store.

We all decided to change our flights to leave Friday night.  We were having fun but all of us were getting a little anxious to get back to our lives.  So wonderful time and now I was off to the airport to fly home.  The shuttle took 1:15 minutes to get to the airport, the driver said it normally takes 10-15 minutes.  He was driving so crazy that I had to take Bonine and only look straight ahead.  He was so angry too.  I really thought we might have an accident and I was sure my driver would have some major road rage.

I am waiting for my plane and I take a Zanax, I am starting to get nervous.  I am thinking I will have a smooth flight since it was clear skies.  Just then I saw my friend, Scott Dillard, from church.  I work with his wife and she had mentioned he was going to Chicago but I had forgotten.  Scott who knows I am somewhat crazy must have thought I was sure enough crazy that night.  I told Scott he would be my buddy, I was so happy.  We settled into our seats and started discussing life.  The flight attendant came to ask our orders (2nd row) and all of a sudden ding, ding, ding.  They never got up the rest of the trip.  Very bumpy.  Scott was trying his best to distract me and all the while I had his arm in a death grip.  In one moment of panic I blurted out to my silent other side soon to be friend, "Where are we, what are we going over?"  He said, "What?"  I repeated my frantic question.  He said I don't know but I will look on the map.  He did and then the three of us talked the rest of the way.  I think he took pity on poor Scott and thought he needed help keeping this crazy flier distracted.  He was such an interesting guy.  He gave me his card, because of some Mississippi State stuff and I think it might have disintegrated in my clenched hand before I got home, because I can't find it.   We survived.

He and I headed to baggage claim, Scott had carried on.  We claimed our bags and I waved to his wife and child through the window.  She was probably was thinking "Who is that strange woman standing next to my husband waving at me?"  He had told me so much about them that I felt like I knew them.    I never use skycaps but when one offered I said, "Sure"  He had an I Love Jesus lanyard around his neck and I love him too so why not, I was just happy to be alive.  So we get in the parking lot and I am not parked where I thought I was.  Then Miss Olivia started calling on the walky saying someone needed help with a wheel chair.  So I encourage my 4th new friend to go help Miss Olivia and I surely could find my car alone.  He ran away calling "Miss Olivia, I am coming."  One reason I love Birmingham.

I was left to locate my car.  I kept pushing the panic button and then I heard it.  It was below we somewhere.  I tried the closest elevator and it was broken and I lugged/rolled my 50 pound suitcase to the other elevator.  Yeah my car!!  I was so happy to be on solid ground in my good old Quest, I  could hardly stand it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"It's time to change!!"

Sometimes I am not a good sharer.  It probably goes back to my childhood, always having to share with three sisters.  Lately I am tired of sharing our kids.  They are starting to have such busy lives.   I told my husband today I feel like I am always bossed around, not by my kids but their schedules.  I love they have activities of their own but I just have to remember to let go.  I do not control their schedule anymore.  For years I had to control every minute detail of their schedule, routine and life.  It took me awhile to get used to that reality, now we have a new one.  I don't know why it was bugging me today, I guess it has been a year of reflection overall.

This summer will be different with activities scheduled pretty much all summer long, but I just need to relax and enjoy it.  I am just feeling a little selfish today, I was a little grumpy for mother's day.  I am so thankful to have my family and I just need to remember I am not the only navigator.  I also need to remember that there is only one navigator that matters, my God.   I am going to Chicago with my sister and dad on Wednesday, seems like this break could not come at a better time.  Maybe I will come home with a more sharing attitude.   In the computer class we teach we always set the timer to remind our friends to share, maybe this is my "ding."  We always say, "It's time to change!"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Broken bat, but not a broken arm

We had another busy weekend of ball games.  Lewis had a game Friday night and then Clara started playing in a tournament at 7:30 Saturday morning.  Clara's wildest dream, she loves to play softball!!  It is her favorite thing to do period.  So they won the first game, lost the 2nd, and won the 3rd narrowly.  Clara and friend were covered with dirt from head to toe.  Then they had to wait about 3 or 4 hours for the next game.  Clara made friends on the Chelsea team we were playing next.  Some of her friends went on an adventure under a bridge.  Clara told me about her friend Kendall who was playing under the bridge and a little girl came up and said "My Dad owns the park and you are going to get kicked out of softball for being down here."  Kendall did not have the appropriate response for the little princess so the princess started throwing dirt clods at Kendall and Kendall threw them back.  I love that girl.   So the girls had a great afternoon beings kids too.

So by the time we got to game 4 they were a little tired.  Clara pitched the first inning and was catching the 2nd when she got smacked in the arm by a ball, hard.  She crumpled down and I knew she was hurt.  She gets hit all the time and keeps going but this was different.  She came out and we put ice on it.  It hit her in the crook of her arm.  I was thinking it was a bad bruise, but the longer she cried the more worried I got.  I decided I needed to take her to the er.  She is so tough and she was having a hard time shaking it.

They were wonderful at Children's Hospital, and I found it with no problems (1st time ever).  Please know that if it had been broken it would not be the end of anyone's world, except my little girl.  Clara without softball would be like me without Diet Coke.  Seriously she would play it every day, several times a day, if that was possible.  It is her "thing."  I remember an old episode on "Little Bill" when the grandmother explained to Little Bill that everyone has to find their "thing." The thing that makes you feel happy, completely engaged and content.  The thing you enjoy more than anything else. The grandmother had quilting, the dad had jazz and I forgot what the Mom's was...(probably sleeping).  She used to ask me, "Will I ever find my thing?"  She was good at dance but didn't love it, same with soccer.  Art was a true passion but with her temperament she had to do something active too. She was so happy playing baseball with the boys but she wasn't a boy even though sometimes she wished she was.

So when she discovered softball it was not love at first sight, but the longer she played it the more she loved it.  She by luck played all stars that summer and fell completely in love.  They lost almost all of their games and some of the girls were not that nice to Clara but she still cried so hard when it was over.  She has played ever since, and last summer she made her best friends playing all stars.  She had never found girls she had so much in common with they were fun, girly, tough and just as driven as her.  I saw her blossom before my eyes.  These friends all go to different schools so it was a special that they got to spend so much time together.

So as Dr. Phil would say it was not just about the possibility of a broken arm. So that is how we ended up in the er with my daughter covered from head to toe in dirt.  When we got back from the triage I looked where she had been sitting and it was covered in dirt (my own little Pig Pen).  When the doctor said it wasn't broken we both cried with relief. She has a sling for comfort and will take a break for a week or two.  In all the hurry to get to the hospital, I left my Vera Bradley bag and our MS State cooler at the park (really Brian did but I didn't tell him that I brought that bag that had my name monogrammed on it and he just plain forgot the cooler).    His friend is trying to locate it for us, it has my prescription glasses and sunglasses in it.

Meanwhile Rob had a game and broke his composite bat in half, it has a year warranty so he will be getting a replacement.  I think he was a little proud he broke it.  His first day of football practice is tomorrow.  He went to get his football cleats from flag football out of the basement and discovered one was filled with sunflower seed shells.  He dumped them in a big pile in the garage and when I asked where they came from he said my football cleat, like that kind of thing happened all the time.  So I am assuming our furry friends hid out there too and neatly left all the shells in that one shoe.  As I type I am trying to convince Brian to go set a peanut butter trap, it is not working. I hope football goes well, not quite sure what to expect.  A couple of friends told me this weekend to expect that he will get yelled at alot.  I just have to accept I don't really understand the appeal of it.   Clara took the first nap in years today, she was exhausted.