Flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

Before we left on our trip, a friend of mine told me that her favourite part about any holiday is being on the plane, heading towards the destination, because at that point the trip is just beginning and all the fun is ahead of you.  I agreed with the sentiment, but I can’t say the flight is my favourite part.  Even though flying requires almost no effort on my part, I always board the aircraft looking fresh, with lipgloss and brushed hair, and exit the aircraft looking like I’ve been on a bender: raccoon eyes, unkempt and partially flattened hair, sweaty, crazed expression on face.  Why is that?


Note the Hawaiian shirt.  Festive! 
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:20 am, and so we were at the airport by six, only to find out that US Customs had changed their policy, and so instead of checking in, going through customs, and then hanging out at the other side of the airport drinking coffee and watching the kids go insane, we had to stand in a gigantic, winding-around-the-airport lineup, until the customs people called our flight number.  Then everyone on the flight would go through customs at the same time.  Why did we need to get there so early, then?  It’s anyone’s guess.  Attention US Customs: this is a very poor system.  This is a very poor system because there is zero communication between customs and the airport, it seems, and so customs had no idea – so they say – of passenger volumes.  We got through customs after 8:00.  We stood in line for over two hours, which wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was kind of irritating.  It meant our flight was an hour and a half late taking off, which, again, was not a big deal for me but I did feel sorry for the people with babies in the lineup.  I also felt profoundly annoyed with the middle-aged couple behind me who complained incessantly.  Yes, we’re in a lineup, but CONSTANT COMPLAINING IS NOT HELPING THE SITUATION.  The woman kept threatening to write strongly-worded letters to everyone from the airport staff to the president of the United States.  “This is just a total nightmare!” she moaned.  Really?  Annoying, yes.  But if my worst nightmare involves me getting on a flight to Maui within a couple of hours, I think I can take it.  This, plus the very dissatisfied babies in the lineup, led to a travel epiphany for me: I would much, much rather hear screaming babies than the sound of complaints, especially complaints from the privileged and entitled.
Instead of drinking coffee on the other side of the airport, we had a picnic of sorts in our giant lineup.  I need to give a (completely unsponsored) shout out to Tim Horton’s.  For the price of two lattes and a bottled water at Starbucks, I bought the following items at Tim Horton’s: two large coffees, two bottles of water, two cranberry-blueberry bran muffins, one chocolate chip cookie, one sprinkled doughnut, and two fruit-and-yogurt parfaits.  Amazing, right?  Hooray for Canada!
Once we got on the plane, I found myself to be profoundly drained, perhaps from all the negativity, or perhaps from saying “I’m not sure how much longer, sweetie” a million times.  The kids immediately immersed themselves in games of Angry Birds and downloaded episodes of Scooby Doo on the iPad.  I, on the other hand, stared at the seatback for three hours straight.  Getting to the airport at six meant that I woke up only slightly earlier than I would on a normal day, but still I was strangely exhausted.  I had reading material, my notebooks, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku, and yet I stared at the seatback for three hours.  I felt like Putty from Seinfeld.  Remember that episode?  Eventually I channeled that episode in my mind and nicknamed the guy across from me “Vegetable Lasagne”.  Vegetable Lasagne was a guy in his twenties who apparently subscribed to the school of thought that says if you have to be up early in the morning, the best way to do it is to stay up all night.  Poor Vegetable Lasagne.  He spent the entire flight with his blue hoodie pulled up around his head and his sunglasses on, playing little dirt-bike racing games on his phone.  When the drink cart came around he requested a beer – hair of the dog, I guess.  I kept waiting for him to barf or something, but he made it okay.
Today is the first real back-to-reality day, as the boys are back to school, my husband is back to work, and I am back to my life of meal planning, school pickups, and figuring out who is going to volunteer for the book fair next week, OMG, I have some gaps in the schedule!   It all feels a little surreal.  For two weeks, I walked around wearing things like this:
(That picture is for my grandma.  Not that she reads my blog.  At least I hope she doesn’t.)
I mean, I walked around in that outfit, a lot.  I went to the grocery store looking like that and I was not out of place!  Today I’m wearing two sweaters and my hands are all purple and sore and I AM WEARING A BRA AND NOT A BIKINI. 
Now that I think about it, my friend was right.  I wish I was on that flight again. 


  1. What a nightmare with customs. I’m happy we didn’t have to deal with any of that for our flight to Kauai but then again we live in the US. I’m sure if I ever travel international I’ll have to deal with that.

  2. I f*cking hate customs. HATE.
    I worked in Detroit thus I had to cross the border and deal with those rays of souless sunshine every single day.
    At least you looked pretty.

  3. Glad I didn’t have to put up with standing in line and hearing people complain, but that last picture there? With you in summer clothes, in the warm sunshine, and with the palm trees in the background? I’ll bet that was entirely worth the trouble it took to get to Hawaii.

    • cheesefairy says

      I’m replying to this comment instead of leaving my own comment because..there wasn’t the option to leave my own comment? Is it one of those days? I hope not. It’s friday now.

      Anyway I had to tell you how hard I laughed at the before and after photos. Like, seriously laughed. Thank you.

      Reading about your airport wait made my blood pressure rise so I admit I just went back and looked at the photos again. Ahahahahahahaha.

  4. The only part of our trip to Hawaii in June that I’m dreading is the airport process with two kids – one of whom is only 2. The 9 YO will be fine, but if there is a two hour waiting in line delay the 2 YO might just kill us all. Flying internationally will not be attempted with youngest for several more years because I am a wimp that way.

  5. I dread the next time we fly–now with FOUR kids. And I used to like travel….

  6. Flying, for me, is the worst part of the trip. For one thing, I’m mildly claustrophobic but it’s getting worse as I get older and the longer on the plane. This means that I’m relatively sane flying to Calgary, sort of jittery to LA, have bitten off all my nails to NYC, and ready to pull out my air to London. Add a couple of kids and a husband who doesn’t want to “deal with it” and I’m pretty much a mess.

    Hawaii, however, sounds awesome and I do believe that I am one of the very few west coasters who hasn’t been yet. I have plans for 2013!

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