Friday, December 31, 2010

January 1, 2011 - HAPPY NEW YEAR

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

December 31, 2010 – New Year’s Eve

Well we made it home (Zurich) safe and sound yesterday. We were originally supposed to fly back Monday, but we all know how travel plans get screwed up with snow. The beastly boy didn’t appear any worse for the extra few days at camp. Although after we got him home and I immediately threw him into a shower to eliminate “camp” smell, he might have been wishing he was still at camp. He doesn’t actually mind the shower part, but he certainly puts on his best “am I in trouble… please don’t make me go” posture. L has taken to calling him Eeyore.

So today is New Year’s Eve, everywhere, unless of course it’s tomorrow somewhere in which case this is old news. It’s our first official NYE in Switzerland. I’ve been informed that I will be staying awake to ring in the New Year; typically I like to be asleep as the New Year creeps in. I don’t think my typical will work this year regardless of past habits, it seems Zurich has fireworks at midnight and then there is the church conspiracy. The church bells start to ring at 11:45pm and don’t stop until 12:15am. So yes, we will literally be ringing in the New Year. In preparation for the event I have all of the fixing for pizza and I went to Globus and bought a bottle of Champaign. What? Champaign goes with anything.

Have a great New Year’s Eve and stay safe.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010 - Travel Plans

I know you are all dying to find out if I am posting this blog while sitting aboard an aircraft winging it's way back to Zurich, or... am I sitting at home in CT curled up on the coach because our flight was cancelled just before we arrived at the airport.

Yes you guessed correctly, L and I are sitting at home in CT drinking tea and staying warm.  L sent off an email to the kennel requesting that they kindly look after the beastly boy for a couple of extra days until we can pick him up Thursday.  Sure it's highly unlikely that they would just push the beast out into the snow telling him that his Mommy has abandoned him, but it's still nice to politely request that they take care of him.  Oh and to confirm that we are coming back.

So, current plans, fly back on Wednesday evening.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26, 2010 - All I wanted for Christmas….

... was my two front teeth. Fortunately I have them, along with two new fillings. Yes, Santa brought me two fillings. What the heck go big or go home, that’s what my dentist says. It’s been awhile since I’ve had to have a filling and I’m not sorry. There is something decidedly unpleasant about having your mouth forced open for an hour with a bite guard. Sure “they say” it’s supposed to make it easier on the patient because you can relax your jaw, but we all know it’s really to prevent the patient from biting the beejeezus out of the dentist.
Did I mention I got a new heart rate monitor for Christmas? I did, it has an add-on gps unit so it will also tell me how far I run. I will admit that I am very amused by technology and find speed, distance, and calories burned a huge motivating factor for staying on track with my workouts. The other bonus to the GPS: it may come in handy as a locator should I ever decide to just lie down on a run and seriously contemplate what is wrong with my mental status.

So this evening we’re sitting in our cozy house waiting for the brunt of the snow storm to pass us. L and I are supposed to fly back to Zurich tomorrow. If mother nature plays nice, as well as the airlines, we’ll make it out and home without any major hassles. You know the beastly boy is expecting to be picked up from “camp” Tuesday morning. It’s important that we stick with that plan, I don’t think “doggie counseling” is covered by our health insurance.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010 – Weekend Roundup

I realize this is late; you’ll have to forgive me. Since I’m back in the US this week the time zone isn’t conducive to posting before I go to work.

We dropped the beastly boy off at camp and flew home on Saturday. When we arrived at the airport we were surprised to see so many people in the airport and to find out that there is an 8:30 am flight to NYC. The man at the AA counter quickly set us straight that there isn’t normally an 8:30am flight, the Friday flight never made it out of Zurich so they were loading up the plane with the prior day’s passengers to get them home.

Sunday, I got up early (6am) and met my friends from the Frontrunners running group. We ran to the summit of East Rock to meet the sunrise in honor of the Winter Solstice. Sure the solstice is actually tomorrow but meeting the sunrise on a work day is not as easy as on a weekend. Just for some perspective. Running to the summit of East Rock requires you run approximately 2.5 miles uphill. I have to admit that I ran 2.25 miles of that uphill and then Holly who was riding a scooter instead of running gave me a ride. Many thanks to Holly or I would have totally missed the sunrise. Have I mentioned I don’t run very quickly? I don’t. Despite the ride, I consider Sunday morning a win.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010 – The Abominable Snow Beast

Have I mentioned that it is snowing? It’s really not a shock, being December in Switzerland. I’m fairly certain there is a rule that snow is a requirement. It’s coming down pretty hard and accumulating. So what’s a girl supposed to do when it’s snowing like that? Take the beastly boy out in it of course. There is something about the snow that makes him crazy. He runs from spot to spot stuffing his nose into any and all foot prints. If there are no foot prints he just stuff’s his nose down into the snow, because there must be something hiding underneath and it’s his job to find it. I wish I could have taken a picture. My black beastly boy was completely covered, head to tail … white. We went to the park and raced around in the snow playing tag. I was “it”. It’s not easy to catch the beast in the best of circumstances; it’s really difficult when your glasses are fogged/covered in snow. I either need to start wearing my contacts in this kind of weather of I need little windshield wipers.

Ok you camera whiz people… can I bring my camera outside when it’s snowing HARD and I know that the camera is going to get covered in snow fairly quickly. Can I bring it and snap a picture and put it back inside my coat or will I break the thing if it gets wet? It can’t be “that” delicate can it?

Oh and I had an epiphany yesterday as it was… snowing… and I was walking to the grocery store. I have absolutely no reason to be concerned about driving in the snow. This came to me as I watched a crazy person riding his bicycle down the STEEP hill that sucks the life out of me to walk up it. Seriously, if some guy can commute to work in an inch of snow on his bike what the heck should I be concerned about? Well other than running down a bicyclist in the snow.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16, 2010 - Music

I need to get myself setup so I can listen to music while I work.  I certainly can listen if I play my music off the computer in the other room, but then I have the feeling that not only am I listening to the music but that I am also subjecting my neighbors downstairs to the bass portion of the music.  We all know that can be annoying.  I have visions of my mothering yelling down  the hall to the thee kids "shut that noise off."  Seriously, I have no idea how she tolerated 3 different stereos going at the same time playing different music and all she can hear is the back beat.

I also have the option of plugging in my iPod and listening with my headphones (skull candy).  Have you ever notice that after 8 hours of wearing headphones your ears start to hurt.  Not from the sound, but actually are tender from the headphones touching your ears.  Well I have, it's not pleasant.   What I may do is bring my sisters batter powered speakers back with us so I can listen that way.  My iPod is too old for the new fangled speaker systems and I burnt out the power supply of the ones I was using.  Gotta love that 110/220 conversion factor.  Oh and sure I could always buy a new iPod but I'm not willing to spend the money yet.   Sooner or later I will be, but I'm not there yet.  Yes frugal is my middle name. 

Now that I’ve bored you with that little tidbit, it’s stopped snowing so if all goes well I will get a run in tomorrow, then it's finishing up work, packing, and a flight home Saturday morning.

  “y’all have a good day now”. 

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15, 2010 – Bah Humbug or Not

Typically I am not in the Christmas Spirit until December 23rd or 24th. I can be downright Scroogish around this time of year. I suspect that it’s a combination of the cold weather and the stress that I associate with the holiday; all of my natural grumpy tendencies rise to the top. People rushing around, stores PACKED with people, long lines, and general crankiness (of other stressed people). Plus work tends to be a little crazy leading up to the holiday. Everyone wants to get everything completed before the end of the year and Holiday vacations kick in. Now, I admit that the last few years I have seriously enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas. It’s been relaxed and frankly I enjoy family dinners and these two are just fancy-ish family dinners.

What’s different about this year is I don’t seem to be experiencing any of my Bah Humbug feelings. It could be in part, like the political season, I am not exposed to all the retail commercialization of the holiday and the “in your face’ sales pitches that start before Thanksgiving. I think a large part is also due to the fact that we are going home for the Holiday and I am looking forward to catching up with family, hearing my brother’s stories about his vacation and/or the funny things that happen at work, seeing my sister and Mom & Dad. Now the only thing I have to worry about (I can’t help it I’m a worry wart from childhood) is the weather. I’m praying for no snow her on Friday Night/Saturday. I seriously do not want to test my nerves and driving skills to the dog kennel… camp… in the snow. I’m sure I will be fine, it’s not like I don’t have a lot of experience driving in the snow. Heck I used to drive 50 miles one way to work in snow. It’s the whole, new car and not sure how it handles in the snow jitters that I will get over after the 1st time I have to drive in real snow. Heck we bought this car specifically because it’s supposed to be good in the snow. Plus I want to make sure our flight gets out on time and we get to go home. Maybe Oprah will send John Travolta and his plane her to pick us up? On second thought, do I really want John Travolta flying a plane I am traveling in? Not really.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 2010 - 8 Months

We're getting ready to head back home for the Christmas Holiday.  We head out Saturday and have a list of things we need to bring back with us.  All the essentials:  Crystal Light Iced Tea,  Cookies for the Dog, Yellow Mustard (don't ask), Rx's... and anything else we think of that we are "brand specific" about and haven't found here or it's just way cheaper to bring from home.  Like running shoes or any shoes for that matter.  I am not spending 300CHF on a pair of shoes... ever.

So as we get ourselves ready I'm realizing that we have been here 8 months.  It's amazing how quickly the time is flying by and I'm pretty proud of myself for how things have gone thus far.  I feel like I am still settling in, but I have a routine that I am comfortable with and I'm getting better with the language.  Slowly... but I'll take slowly.

As of today, it's snowing again.  It's snowed every day for the last 4 or 5 days but it hasn't accumulated.  Typically it snows a little bit and a few hours later its gone.  Today, however, it looks like this might actually accumulate and stick around a bit.  I think the beastly boy will be excited to get a chance to run around in it.

Maybe we'l make snow angels later ;)

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010 – Chocolate 1 CAB 0

Well maybe that’s not quite true I may have given into the temptation of chocolate but it was soooooo good I’ve burst into song several times: “I’m in heaven… yes I’m in heaven.” Here’s the deal, Saturday L and I went into Zurich because it was a beautiful day and I wanted to walk through Old Town and check out their Christmas Market.

I bought this nifty pair of fingerless glove doohickies. I bought them for two reasons (1) they are really nice and have a lining so my hands are warm and my fingers can still grab things (2) I want to show my mom the gloves in the hopes that can make another pair in fun colors.

I think I need a manacure...

After walking through Old Town we walked back past the big train station (the Hopbahnhoff) and had to walk past Laderach chocolatier Suisse. We had been past this chocolate place the weekend prior but managed to win the battle of the wills, which is an exaggeration because it was really the long lines that kept us out of the store. Well, this weekend the lines were manageable and the chocolate in the window was yelling “CAB, be my friend, take me home…. You know you really want to.” So in we went, they had sheets of chocolate. No kidding, like a cookie sheet sized piece of chocolate and they would break off pieces and sell it to you that way of you could buy an ENTIRE sheet. Some man bought 2 full sheets of chocolate. 68 Francs. I like chocolate, a lot, but not that much. I bought a small square of dark chocolate with hazel nuts and L bout a piece of milk chocolate with toffee mixed in. Mmmm mmmm mmmm Mmmm. Next time, yes there will be a next time, I might try the dark chocolate with chili spice mixed in. Oh and next time I will definitely bring my camera.

Sunday we went to Rapperswil to their Christmas market. It was more relaxed than the others we went to, less crowded but that could be in part because the market was so well spread out that there was room to move around.

We saw the roaming gnomes evil cousin “the scary elf”

I guy dressed as a christmas tree on stilts.  Maybe that's a guy on stilts dressed as a Christmas Tree 

Angels carved out of wood 

Oh and Sunday I re-watched Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas"  I love that movie, Jack the Pumpkin King is just great. 

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10, 2010 - Ramble

I’m tired, I’m even too tired to come up with a title for this blog. Consider it a ramble. I woke up this morning… tired… how that is possible considering I was obviously asleep is beyond me. Tack on top of that I woke with a wicked headache. Needless to say I really wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, no such luck. The cleaning lady comes on Friday’s (which is a wonderful blessing) but she shows up at 8:30 and considering I was trying to drag myself out of bed at 7:30 that doesn’t leave much room for sleeping in any later.

I also had a run scheduled with my neighbor, again hoping she would cancel. Why does Murphy not show up when you want him to? Which could just be further proof of Murphy’s Law. So off we run this morning, M bundled up in layers, me waiting for my head to explode. Now I was already aware of this phenomenon, when I work out it tends to make my headache go away, but it also requires faith that I’ll survive the 1st few minutes of working out to let the headache dissipate. Obviously I survived and my headache did go away for a little while. It’s attempting to make a comeback but I’ll try beating it off with caffeine, advil and lunch.

There are no immediate plans for the weekend and I’m ok with that. But here is a picture from one of the things we went to last weekend.

We went to a bicycle race on an indoor track.  The bikes have one gear, no brakes and at times the track is at such an angle that you have to wonder how they manage to not fall.  During the sprints one guy was riding 40 miles per hour.  Crazy.

 See the shadow?  They were moving too fast so I missed the actual riders

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9, 2010 – Rain Snow and Other Things

I don’t have a lot to share with you. I am having a heck of a time dragging my butt out of bed by 7:30. I’m blaming the lack of sunlight in the mornings. I would also feel bad if the beastly boy wasn’t having the same problem. Wasn’t it just a month or two ago when I was waking up at 6:00/6:30 without any difficulty? This is a sure sign that we have entered the nesting phase of my year. It gets cold, the weather gets frightful (I had to say that) and I’m content to stay indoors and drink a cup of hot chocolate.

So yesterday, SwissCom sent a technician out because I have been having trouble with my internet. I’m getting randomly dropped and my router has this nice light that flashes a pretty red, which pretty much says “Death to the Internets.” Sure red is my favorite color, followed closely by yellow, but in this instance it’s not a good thing to see. So, I called SwissCom and I should mention when I called it’s one of the few times I’ve been THRILLED to hear: “For English press 5”. Why 5? German, French, Italian, something I missed, English. Needless to say they were very good on the phone and then called me a couple of days later to say they were sending out a technician. I’ve been preparing for a couple of days. Going to Google Translate, practicing “Ich Komme nach unten.” “Est ist ein Hund in der Wohnung.” Planning a communication strategy: Plan A “broken german and mime” Plan B: Google Translate and Typing. Turns out I didn’t need either. The tech spoke English. In the late 80’s he went to Santa Barbara for 6 months to learn English. He was very funny and extremely helpful. The thing was, he kept apologizing for having rusty English. So I had to point out that he had no reason to apologize for rusty English. I should apologize for my horrible German. I am however, getting better. When he first was speaking with me in German I was managing to follow the conversation. Primarily because he was speaking slowing and the word for internet in German is “internet”

So he installed a new wireless modem and we are keeping our fingers crossed that it resolves the issue.  Then he told me he is practicing his French in the car listening to CD's.  So I shared I was practicing my German listening to CD's.  I think we bonded.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 08, 2010 – Locksmiths

Oye, I’m not sure I ever mentioned our locksmith adventure shortly after we arrived here, but I think we had been living in the apartment close to two months when L and I were heading out for a Saturday day trip. Our apartment is situated on the upper floor of the building and the elevator literally opens into our apartment. Now it’s not like the elevator randomly opens into the apartment. Either someone in the apartment has to call the elevator or you need a key to the apartment which also turns on the elevators capacity to get to the top floor. You could also be adventurous and climb the stairs to the apartment, but when we 1st got here the hills were enough competition for me I wasn’t looking to also walk the stairs. So, one day we’re leaving the apartment, step onto the elevator, the doors close and the cartoon light bulb over my head flashes and I realize “crap I don’t have the key to the apartment” and neither did L. Which meant; we had just locked ourselves outside, the dogs were inside and it was a Sunday when everything is closed. Good Times! Long story short a neighbor in the next building saved us, got in touch with a locksmith who eventually got us back into the apartment.

Where am I going with this? Ever since then I have been paranoid about having my key on me. So much so I clip it to my pants. Yes you guessed it, today I went running and when I got home I decided to rush and quickly run to the grocery store for some staples. I had originally planned on going in the morning but it is supposed to snow and I needed a couple heavy items that I didn’t want to carry up the hill on foot. So I threw off my routine a bit, went to the store and got back. Pulled into the garage and realized: (a) crap I don’t have my key (b) double crap L went to Paris today (c) Oh wait I left the apartment door unlocked (d) crap how do I get into the building (e) oh buzz a neighbor and have them take pity in me (f) please let me really have left the front door unlocked (g) oh wait… we gave our neighbor M a key. Phew.

I took a couple years off my life in a brief 30 seconds, and have decided that maybe I need to wear the key around my neck.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010 – Marathons for Dummies

You all know that I’ve been trying to run more consistently and that I’ve set a goal of running in the Zurich Marathon in April 2011. Now will I actually “run” the marathon? I don’t know, but I am giving myself until March to make a final decision (the sign up deadline). With that in mind, I have officially started to act as if I am training for the marathon. I even went so far as to buy “Marathon Training For Dummies.” When I first read the title I thought it said “Marathons for Dummies” hence the title of this blog. It also amused me because it begs the question; how dumb do I have to be to even attempt this? Seriously I don’t “love” running. Maybe I should have looked for a book titled “Diagnosing Insanity for Dummies.”

Awhile back I asked a friend of mine if you could learn to like running and she was quite helpful plus it got her to write a series of blogs “Passion for Running…” Between her advice and the book I think I am off to a good start. The best thing I’ve learned from the book (thus far) is some stretching exercises. I’m about as limber as a board and it had a couple of nifty ways to increase flexibility and one suggestion for stretching my back. I swear I am 45 years old but my back must be a hand me down from an 85 year old. Which also tells me I need to do more sit ups. I don’t understand the phenomenon but I know the stronger my abs are the less my back bothers me.

So today I started my training diary and while I ran I focused on a mantra “I can do this” interchanged with “relax and breathe”. Thus far both have kept me from counting my steps. Do you have any idea how annoying running is when you count “1,2,1,2,1,2,1,2,1,2” in time with your steps? It’s VERY annoying.  So for the moment I have plenty of goals: stay away from chocolate, don't cut my hair, lose 5 pounds before christmas, run/workout 5 to 6 days a week. 

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 – Distractions

I had started to write a post to tell you about our weekend and all the fun things we did, but then I decided that I needed a cup of hot chocolate. So I got up started the water to boil and saw the two bottles of wine we bought yesterday. One is a pear wine and the other honey. Needless to say I got distracted by the wine.

No, I did not start to drink the wine.  However, we have this wine rack that I had put in a cabinet that we were not using because we were trying to keep the counter space as clear as possible. The problem was the location was right above the oven and we had some concerns that the space would heat up and ruin any wine that might be stored there. Now I admit that I am not a wine connoisseur but it is nice to have some on hand should we ever have company, get invited somewhere where we need a hostess gift, or if I decide to channel Julia Child.

So I got distracted by the wine and re-arranging shelves etc so I could move said wine rack to a different location. Of course nothing is as easy as it would seem. I thought I had the perfect location moved everything around. Got the wine rack in place…. The two new bottles of wine are in tall skinny bottles. Yep, when you lay then on the wine rack they stick out just far enough to prevent the closing of the cabinet door. Some more analysis and re-arranging… nope this cabinet is just not wide enough despite being deep enough. I’m pretty sure I already knew that from the first time I tried to find a home for the wine rack. I was ready to give up and put the wine rack back over the oven, but then decided to go back to my original plan. Except this time, I removed the third shelf, re-arranged some more and now the new wine and the rack have a new home. Sure the wine isn’t “on” the rack but it works.

Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on the weekend.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3, 2010

I just made potato and leek soup for dinner tonight and I have to admit it tastes really good. Up until yesterday I’ve sort of viewed leeks as giant scallions. I’ve been putting them in my stew and chicken soup as an alternative to celery and well onions. Yesterday, however, I learned that unlike scallions, you can’t just toss leeks into something you are cooking for added texture and flavor like you can scallions. Well I take that back. You can, it’s just that leeks are not that much fun to eat if they are not cooked really well. So today when I made the soup you can bet that I sautéed the bejeezus out of those leeks. Oh and as a result of the soup I also now know how to mash potatoes by hand. Let me just say, potato flakes out of the box have moved up a notch or two on my scale of priorities. Sure, I could have used one of those stick blenders to puree the potatoes, or I could have used a blender. Neither of which I have here in Switzerland. I deliberately left my blender at home. “Why?” It would just burn out here. Oh and sure I could buy a stick blender, I saw one not too long ago, but I can’t get past the 50 francs it would cost to buy it. Maybe if I start making more things that would require a stick blender. Hmmmm like frozen margarita’s; which poses another problem. I’ve found a place that sells wine, but where do you get tequila? How do you say “where is the nearest package store?” in German. Yes I know I’d have to actually ask for a liquor store. Does anyone outside of the United States call liquor stores “package stores”? Actually does anyone outside of the east coast in the US call it a package store?

Onto other topics:

Once again I have managed to avoid the brownie lady. L and I have committed to losing 5 pounds by the time we make our Christmas trip home. Personally I’m going to need those 5 pounds as leeway for desserts.

I’ve also decided to not get my hair cut until at least Christmas. I’m 6 weeks in so far. I don’t know, I’m bored with my hair so I figured I’d let it grow until I can’t stand it one more minute and then I’ll just get it cut wicked short again.

Which do you think I will succumb to 1st: Haircut or chocolate? It’s a toss-up really. Everything depends on stress levels and calmness factors.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2, 2010 - My 1st Swiss Snow

I got my wish, yesterday afteroon it started to snow and it ended some time last night.  I think this qualifies as a dusting.  My best guess is there is about an inch of snow.  I just know that it covers my boots when I walk and there is plenty of snow for the beast to stuff his nose into to see what is underneath.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010 – We’re Baaacccckkkk!

Did you miss me? Well I am back. L and I arrived in Zurich yesterday afternoon and what did we find? Snow! I’m a little bummed about the snow I was looking forward to actually being here to witness our 1st snow. Never fear, I’ll just comfort myself with “my” first snow, when it arrives. Which is looking like it might just be today. We shall see.

So, the trip home and back: Let’s see, we flew from Zurich to Amsterdam then from Amsterdam to Detroit Michigan. We spent a lovely few days with L’s mom (M) and family celebrating the turkey and L’s brother’s b-day. I had a very nice time and we played with M’s Wii fit. There are these crazy balance games; my favorite was the downhill ski jumper. Why was this my favorite? Because if you did not extend your legs at the right time at the bottom of the ramp, you would CRASH and tumble down the hill making a giant snowball. Just awesome! My least favorite, this crazy duck game where you flap your “wings” to fly to the end of the obstacle course. This was not my least favorite at the time, but two days later was definitely my least favorite as I wondered why my shoulders, arms, and abs were sore. Apparently I am in decent enough shape to run a 5K but not to fake fly across an ocean.

Then we flew from Detroit to NYC and drove to CT to spend a few days with my family and to celebrate my brother’s b-day. Again, a fun time was had by all and it was great to catch up with my family. Sometimes I forget how much I miss our Sunday family dinners.

Finally we flew from NYC to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Zurich. Now I am sure you are all dying to know, yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus… yes we went through a couple of full body scanners and were patted down at least once.  I rather enjoyed the full body scanner in Amsterdam, I’m fairly certain that it made me look thinner. Sure I also looked like a stick figure with random orange boxes on her but nothing is perfect.

So after all of the scans and pat downs, you’ll be surprised to know that I did not feel that my personal spaces was being invaded until the flight from Michigan to Amsterdam. We flew cattle like most people, and L had the aisle seat, I was in middle and this gentleman (I use the term loosely) had the window seat. First impressions, the guy must have a really cold head because he is wearing 5 hats. Seriously, they are the dressy hates that my grandfather used to wear, all the same, different color combinations, all stacked one on top of the other. Sure this could just be an ingenious way of packing said hats so they don’t get crushed, but I still think it’s odd. So hat man gets into his seat and proceeds to make himself comfortable. His comfort included, spreading out across his seat and mine, taking his jacket off., putting his jacket on, jacket off, jacket on (I think he was auditioning  for the Karate Kid movie) finally settling with jacket off, and folded. During all this on and off he is leaning against me. Seriously, sweaty hat man is leaning against me with his back so he can store his jacket. About this time I started to fantasize about killing him. I’m not even sure we had taken off yet. Now L did offer to switch seats with me and I declined. I know that she will get up a couple times during the flight whereas I will not. I made an assumption that he’d settle in and it would stop. I was wrong, he settled in my slouching down in his seat, spreading his arms across both armrests, and periodically jabbing his elbow into my side as if I was in his way. In addition and apparently because he is really a fidgety 8 year old boy he would bounce both legs with a fair amount of speed, stepping on me, or frankly just touching my leg with his leg. I swear to you he used up what little patience I have and then some, I have no reserves left.

What I really wanted to do was turn to the guy and say “Dude what is wrong with you?” Maybe a more appropriate thing would have been to say “dude, I’m trying to sleep could you stop kicking me and jabbing me in the side?” What stopped me was the fact that I knew I was stuck next to this guy for 7 hours and didn’t want the behavior to escalate into something deliberate.

So, tips when traveling:

(1) Please don’t wear cloying or overpowering fragrances. Hat Man, smelled, not bad, but more than I wanted to deal with until my senses were deadened

(2) We’re all in the cattle car together, no one is going to be able to spread out and be wicked comfy, try and stay in your invisible space, and if you accidently bump your neighbor, apologize

(3) Do not kick/knee/push the back of the seat in front of you.

(4) When you recline you’re seat, could you try and not recline it all the way into the lap of the person behind you? I realize this one is tough, they let you recline and you are trying to get comfy, but is there a happy inbetween?

(5) For the love of Pete, if you cough or sneeze, COVER your mouth/nose. Yes, I’ve had a flu shot but that turning to face me when you cough/sneeze is disgusting.

© C.A. Bailey 2010, All Rights Reserved.