Finding Peace at 37,000 Feet

Punditdad wishes this plane had an inflight movie!

Punditdad wishes he could click his heels and be home!

Welcome back readers, lovers and those feeling lucky web crawlers! Punditdad returns from the Great White North which was actually grey, cloudy, rainy and generally not as sunny as the PunditFamily would have liked. But, we prevailed and introduced the Bean to our loved ones who never had the pleasure to meet her prior.  That said, Punditdad braved the Friendly Skies to deliver the Bean to the 49th State on the first leg of the journey. Solo. How pray tell did we do? Better than poor William Shatner in the picture from the Twilight Zone. He wishes he was sitting in 1st Class!

Leaving the Orange Curtain at 4:00 AM on the (on time) SuperDuper Shuttle for LAX turned out to be easy and no-fuss. The Bean slept while Punditdad fussed and worried about the drive, weather, and the ancient cattle-farm conditions at LAX but it was no hassle. Arrival at LAX was a breeze and of course like many in this ridiculous, ludicrous Post-9-11 world we arrived well over 2 hours early which makes Punditdad want to shoot himself. When you arrive early, the transitions of travel are a breeze. If you arrive late, the security line is ASSURED to be a mile long. Duh.

The Flight. Of course, Punditdad was the darling of the ball with a cute baby girl and an expression of self-assuredness masking complete and utter terror the child will explode any second. Never happened. Thank god. Slept in my arms for 3 hours and played with a happy grin completely intoxicating all the Japanese tourists surrounding us and any errant grandmothers in a 50 foot radius.  Hmmm, this wasn’t so tough! I could do this in my sleep! Hah! A 9-month old baby is putty in my arms and with my Cheerios I am Master of the Universe!

The Return. With Punditdad and Mommy on guard the return 5 hour trip from Alaska with 2 bottles, cheerios up the behind and plenty of toys to entertain the Bean I was certain this would be smoother than Barry White in a Crisco factory.  Wrong. Little did I know that our 5:00 PM take-off, delayed by 45 minutes (that’s 3 hours in parent time when you have a baby on your lap) was smack in the middle of a regularly scheduled feeding and eventual sleep time. What? My baby can’t fall asleep as usual at 37,000 feet????

After cajoling, beggin’ and the feeding of 1,300 cheerios later we patted her stomach endlessly under a darkened shawl over her car seat until a drowsy peace fell upon aisle 24.  Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes long.  Sweet jesus has anyone ever felt such love for a simple bout of reading, snacking and light conversation for those precious minutes. Never. I recall the bliss Punditdad used to feel when he could just jack in his headphones and read The New Yorker while drinking his thirst quenching diet soda. Ahhh the plane trips of old. How I miss thee.

But wait. There’s more! 40 minutes of waiting for baggage. That’s like waiting for your mouth to go numb BEFORE your dentist goes to town on your teeth. Nothing but the dread that your trip is not YET finished. Baggage arrives and we pile the SuperSmartCarte full of seats, baggage and what have you.  Out to the SuperDuper Shuttle stop looking for our handy trip coordinator to direct us to our ever-present van just waiting to carriage us away to the OC.


The SuperDuper Shuttle Stop at 2:00 AM at LAX is a place of lost dreams and crushed reservations.  Abandon all hope ye who hope to leave from there.   PunditFamily spied another family that had been kicked, beaten and tossed asunder by SuperDuper Shuttle. Apparently no one wanted to give them their “exclusive” ride to the OC. Mother was on the phone screaming at “Ken” at LAX dispatch.  Punditdad tried flagging other shuttles but they were all going to Burbank, Westwood, Culver City or possibly Las Vegas for the weekend. Anywhere that didn’t incorporate taking ACTUAL PASSENGERS. You see, all their shuttles were empty. Damn you airport transportation!

Finally, the SuperDuper Shuttle Gods showed mercy. A shuttle stopped and Punditdad immediately loaded luggage while the Abandoned Family Mother argued about her “exclusive” ride. That means she didn’t want our kind there. My logic is that it’s harder to throw someone off a van than to keep them from getting on. We were on the bus and triumphant.  But the cast of sad characters we picked up were a slide show of exhaustion, frustration and hopelessness.  Their stories were rife with indictments of SuperDuper Shuttle.  I shared their pain but I was headed home.

By the time that faithful key turned occurred at the home, the Bean was completely destroyed.  Her bottle had leaked into her car seat. Momma lay her on floor for a moment. She stared at the ceiling with a goofy smile like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest after Nurse Rached has fried his brain. It was nearly 3:00 AM and our family went to bed…finally.

So, what are the lessons learned dear reader, parent and travelers with young children?

1) Fly early. Not late.

2) Airport transportation is more important than you think. Don’t do it on the cheap if your time is important.

3) Cheerios, toys, bottles and in-flight entertainment will never assure smooth travel. So cross your fingers.

4) Prepare for the worst and you’ll never be disapointed.

3 Responses

  1. AH HA! You learned the golden rule of traveling with toddlers – if you get one good leg on a trip, consider yourself lucky and know this – the second leg will be HELL!!!!! It’s some kind of secret that they all must pass along to each other and a pact that they all made together during their late night underground baby pow wows.
    Glad you survived to tell the tale……

  2. And as the man who coined EgoParenting…how about the fact that People mag coughed up $14 million for the first pics of the Jolie-Pitt twins. COME ON people!!! Every kid looks basically the same at 3 weeks – $14 freaking million?!?!?!

  3. But I thought Cheerios were all you ever needed, Bean, to make life complete, happy and relaxed? Many thanks for a wonderful two weeks. Your NANA

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