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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

thankful to be back in brooklyn

my apologies for the lack of updates: we got back from our long thanksgiving weekend in los angeles yesterday. i have been struggling mightily to come up with something to say. but there comes a time in every man's life when the english language fails him. the words with which he is empowered prove themselves too weak for the task at hand. simply put, there is no way of adequately describing what unmitigated, disastrous, soul-sucking hell this past week was.

mom, dad, mon frere and other multifarious west coast nice guy associates: please take no offense. i love you as much as any native son/brother/cousin/friend/mugging victim can. but here's the truth: i am never, ever leaving new york with my daughter again ever never ever. she might travel to visit. i might find occasion to come see you. but never again shall we two venture west together.

my wife, child and i left new york on thursday, thanksgiving morning, at the civilized hour of 11 am. we got to the airport minutes before boarding and let the child run around. all was going according to plan: she would board the plane exhausted and her naptime would coincide nicely with our ascent. at the airport she ran around, chased a dog or two, flirted with two older boys who were running around like maniacs. according to her schedule, she would be tired right on time. we boarded the plane at the appointed hour, feeling cautiously optimistic. we had bought her a ticket and came equipped with her carseat, 402 new toys, 35 dvds and a new portable dvd player, 319 books, 68 pounds of snacks and 21 stuffed animals. we were Ready.

or so we thought. readers, i will not bore you with specifics. the flight duration was six hours, so i have plenty of specifics if you want them. the bottom line is that of those six hours, 5:29 were spent screaming. not crying. not whining. not whimpering. not spazzing out. not running up and down the aisles. not squirming. not babbling loudly. not singing. not kicking the seat in front of her. definitely not napping. no. SCREAMING. loud screaming that brings new definition to screaming. she went through bottles and books in record time. the dvd player died after only 20 minutes of use. her nap never happened. sitting in her chair was the psychological equivalent of waterboarding. she only has a couple dozen words, but unfortunately one of them is "outside." so she employed "outside" with an astonishing regularity and volume and variance. "OUTSIDE" came from her lips about a thousand times: as a plea, a demand, a question, a prayer, a hope, a wish, a threat, an argument, a reprimand, a sexual longing.

and, believe me, there were times that i would have loved nothing more than to grant her that wish. YOU WANT OUTSIDE? HERE'S OUTSIDE AT 31,000 FEET! BUH-BYE!

a couple more things that i present to you without commentary:
  • a few minutes before landing, the baby screamed so hard that she gagged and puked all over her mother
  • they lost our luggage

more to the point: they lost the luggage that had all of my wife and child's puke-free clothing in it. my own luggage arrived just fine. but i was not the person most in need of clean clothes. this fact was pointed out to me by my wife many times over.

my dad picked us up at the airport and, for the first time in our relationship, he was visibly intimidated by me and my mood. that was pretty sweet. we got home just as thanksgiving dinner was about to begin. this was exactly what we needed after six hours of brain-raping hell: a house full of guests who are also family.

we all made due. dinner was a blur. i do know it was delicious though. lip smacking bourbon-basted turkey. speaking of bourbon, i drank as much as i could as quickly as i could. then we said goodbye to everyone and went to bed. it's a good thing we went to bed early because the baby, still on east coast time despite not having napped at all, woke up at 3:30 and wanted to PLAY.

and so it went. the weekend was a lot of family, which was a lot of fun. it was also a lot of waking up at four am, which was a lot of ass. we slipped into a routine where the baby woke up at four, so we set her up with the portable dvd player and all the elmo she could watch without exploding ... while we slept. it worked out pretty well. there were more meals. the luggage finally arrived. moods improved. a car was rented and my own childhood playgrounds were revisited. a good time was ultimately had.

the flight home wasn't nearly as much of a violation of my human rights as the flight out. it went by quickly and relatively painlessly. the baby was too tired to scream. mrs nice guy and i were too tired to care. we got back in one piece with all our luggage. the baby was so deliriously happy to be home: she shrieked with joy, naming everything in the apartment that she had names for. CAT! TV! HOME! BOOKS! CAT! ELMO! EAT! CHAIR! CAT! then she slept for 12 hours, until 7:30 this morning, and love came rushing back into my heart.

so. that was my thanksgiving weekend. i will leave you finally with this, also devoid of commentary. let your wildest imagination run wildly wild and i guarantee you it will fail to capture reality:

  • my 17-year-old cousin, bless her heart, "came out" this weekend at a black tie beverly hills debutante ball. my presence was mandatory. in a tux.


Blogger Shannon said...

oh god, you just talked me out of a trip we were thinking about doing with a less than two year old on a plane.

11/30/2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. Bojangles said...

Is it wrong for me to find such hilarity in your pain? I'll be laughing about the Sreaming across the U.S.A. all day. Glad you made it back home in one piece yet with moderate hearing damage. Geez, man.

11/30/2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a very similar experience on a flight from CT to Amsterdam with a 7 month old. We left right at her bedtime, and envisioned her sleeping cozily in the special plane bassinet. Instead, she SCREAMED mightily for the entire 7 hours. No boob could soothe her. It sucked.

11/30/2006 11:49 AM  
Anonymous maya said...

Atleast it was the flight out and the one home was better. she could have lulled you into a false sense of security and then made homecoming, and the following week, hell...

11/30/2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous sheameister said...

Oh, Lord. Between your story and the one from Julia (Here be Hippogriffs) earlier this week, MAN am I glad that we decided to stay put this Thanksgiving. Of course, we'll be making the trek in January instead... and now I have just a wee bit of extra stress about it, no thanks to you both.

There's no place like home, eh? Glad you all made it back in one piece.

11/30/2006 3:00 PM  
Blogger Robbin said...

You know, 20 years ago, "came out" meant you were a debutante (which is, I am assuming, your contextual usage).

Nowadays people would think she was a lesbian.

I passed on taking my then-15-month son to my brother's wedding because I would be traveling sans husband. The thought of 4 collective hours on a plane, with a two-hour stop in Detroit, while managing Harry by myself was the stuff of nightmares.

11/30/2006 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH MY! I'll be traipsing across the country (west coast to east coast) with our 18 month old by myself later this month. The new DVD player is bought. The Elmo dvds will be checked out from the library. Is it bad to drug the kid???

Congrats to your cousin! She's brave and I wish I'd "known" at 17 what she knows now!

12/01/2006 3:26 AM  
Anonymous samantha jo campen said...

I SO wish I were on that plane.

12/01/2006 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Sisco said...

She's not a lesbian?

I've heard of these sleepy babies on the planes and how flying with your baby is NO BIG DEAL. When our daughter was 8 months old, I flew across the country with her and she screamed the entire flight, also not crying, and never slept. One old lady behind me says to another across from me: Eh, she can sing for the opera when she grows up. Second old lady answers: Yeah, One Note Johnny.

Ha ha fucking ha.

Now she's almost 2 we're taking her up there again. January. Honestly, I can't wait. Outside. Oh, you slay me.

12/01/2006 5:40 PM  

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