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Sorry About That...

Sorry About That...

Old Jul 2, 17, 8:16 pm
  #1  
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Sorry About That...

Where were we? I forget. Never mind.

I do know that I started a trip report a while ago and then fell off the proverbial digital radar. Nothing dramatic happened. Life just got in the way. So I apologize.

Which brings me to this piece. The 3 people who read what I sometimes write will be pleased to know that I have actually finished the whole thing. From soup to nuts. Start to finish. I am even quite pleased with myself. If I remember, I will post something every day until I get moderated into oblivion or Alexandra Daddario invites me over for a hot tub party with her bi-sexual female neighbor.

I am presently sitting in Melbourne. My home town. And a place I haven’t visited for around 18-months. Probably the longest I have been away.

The trip nearly didn’t happen.

Let me explain.

Sadly, I am the owner 2 teenage children. Yes, it’s been that long since we’ve talked. A 16-year old son and a very precocious 14-year old daughter. A few weeks ago a conversation like this happened,

“Dad, why don’t you ever take me anywhere?”
“I do”
“No you don’t”
“Yes I do”
“You love The Moron (her brother) more than you love me”
“Well, yes I do”, knowing that this response would tip her over the proverbial puberty fueled edge
“Really, I knew it”
“Well, you asked”

I could feel my wife’s familiar piercing gaze from across the room. She was somewhat displeased with me for my parental negligence and committing such a cardinal sin regarding the love of her offspring.

Now before the parents on FT go on a jihad against me, and while I am quite fond of both my children (most of the time) and according to my wife, should love them equally, the plain and simple truth is that is an impossible task.

If you don’t believe me, try this. Or remember this. (Non owners of kids go ahead and watch something on TV while we chat. Or better still, pour yourself a G&T, easy on the T, heavy on the G).

Take however many kids you have, load them into the now not so new car that they have literally trashed, drive them to the local park and remove them from the vehicle. Place them gently on the sidewalk. Then tell them to runaway.

If they are under 5 years old, they will squeal with laughter and take off like Usain Bolt. They will be like Minions On Meth.

Your heart rate will go from 12 to 4000 in two seconds flat. And then. And then you have to decide which one you go after first. On one side of the playground will be a homeless man in a trench coat who has a basket full of candy and has his hand out. And his minivan door open.

On the other side of the park will be 3 illegal immigrants with chainsaws who just saw the taco truck roll up so decided it was lunch-time. The fact that they put down the chainsaws with the engines still running and left the wood-chipper on “nuclear” mode was beyond them.

You need to act quickly because you can only attempt this experiment once. You will most certainly be arrested the second time.

Other mothers will look on in horror and total disbelief.

But I promise you it will prove something. You have to make a decision and you will run after the child who you think is the most likely to look after you when you are old and have a colostomy bag that is attached to a metal thing on wheels and that needs emptying 11 times a day.

My daughter, quite undeterred by my parental faux pas then went into WMD mode. (WMD = Wear Me Down mode). This is something that literally still amazes me when I see it in action, even after 14 years of exposure.

It works like this.

“Dad, can I have a puppy?”
“No”
“Why not?”
“Because we already have a dog. And we have a cat”
“But I really want one”
“No, go away”
“But Amy has 2 dogs”
“That’s because Amy is in therapy and her parents are crazy”
“I want to go to therapy too”
“I thought you wanted a dog”
“I do. And I want to go to therapy”
“Why do you want to go to therapy”
“Because I have issues”
“No you don’t, you just cause issues. And besides you are just a teenager”
“You don’t understand me”
“Yes I do, I was a teenager once remember”
“No you weren’t, you’re too old”

You get the gist. I know you do.

But unlike most kids, who will eventually give up when the shouting starts or the threat of a damn good thrashing, our daughter simply settles in for the evening, orders a vegetarian pizza and follows you around the house waiting for you to break. She knows you will eventually succumb to her relentless harassment. It is quite the experience. She knows it’s only a matter of time. And trust me. It is. Everyone has broken. She never fails.

As a result of this behavior I created the $50 rule. You should try it. It works like this. Your child, as soon as they learn that you are only a walking ATM machine, will hound you quite literally for the rest of your life. I decided long ago that my drinking problem didn’t need to get any worse, and that I was already on blood pressure medication that really was more suitable for the equine industry as opposed to a slightly rotund middle aged man.

If whatever the small human wants is less than $50 stop right there. Write the check. Hand across the credit card. Fork out the bills. Take the money out of your wife’s billfold. Do whatever it takes. But get it done. It will literally save your life.

Think about it for a minute. My daughter used to take us to the brink of insanity. My wife and I would end up huddled in the corner of a room somewhere, both in the feotel position, waiting for the hounding to stop. But the child was only getting warmed up. Now instead of wasting 4 hours of our lives and getting yelled at by my wife for creating a mini version of the devil, we simply pay the ransom and move on. Nothing more to see. Tell me that’s not the most brilliant thing you’ve heard.

Except for one thing.

As your children get older, they start upping the ante. And the dollar amount. We’re way beyond the $50 mark now. We’re up to things like cars. Holidays in Mexico. And most probably – a divorce or too in the not too distant future. But hey, no plan is perfect.

* * * *

I used to tell my mates in Australia who also owned daughters, that my own daughter could date when she was 32. With 2 heavily armed Samoans following in a car a short distance behind.

But then I changed my mind. Thankfully, we have not yet had a pimpled faced youth show up at the front door, grunt and then mention something about taking our youngest out for an evening. Because I live in a gun friendly state, I used to think I would open the door and pretend to clean my 12-gauge shotgun. In the nude.

But then I told myself – what on earth am I scared of. Lets be honest, no member of the opposite sex is going to make it 10 minutes on a date with my daughter if she doesn’t want them to. They will be in tears long before she is. In fact, I’ll even offer the hapless young male money if he makes it more than 2-hrs.

Anyway. Where were we?

So, after my wife interceded and barked instructions that we head to Australia, I had to try and remember my FT login so I could try and figure out the best way downunder.

A fellow FT’er who runs an award booking service thankfully came to the rescue and took care of everything.

We would hoof it to Australia on UA’s Dreamliner and then we would worry about the return a bit later. All I knew is that I was going to head back prior to The Small One because. Well, because I could. And besides, I am consumed with work and that’s the excuse I am sticking with.

While I have never really ever written a formal travel report on an airlines hard or soft product, I will tell you that I couldn’t fault UA’s Dreamliner service.

Apparently they call it Polaris now and while the 787s don’t have the new seats, the soft product is more than lipstick on a pig. It is, dare I say it, quite good. Ok the food is still meh and the wines average (but a whole lot better than the dog wash they used to serve), but for good ole UA, not bad at all. I have always thought they had better than average entertainment and the new bedding is 1000 times better than the old hessian rag they used to give you and those tiny pillows, the size of which would not satisfy an elderly oompa-loompa with a mild case of dementia.

In a way, you have to feel sorry for UA. Talk about being in the cross hairs. I joined Mileage Plus in 1996 and in 20 odd years of travel with them, have completed just north of 1.8 million butt in seat miles. And during that whole time, not once have I been dragged down the isle, beaten up or even slightly abused. I’ve had some wonderfully senile old crew on the 100+ trips I would have done to and from Australia, had a person die onboard, got in a slight physical altercation with some drunk Russians and been re-routed more times than I care to imagine. But in the end, UA to me at least, is like a faithful Donkey. Not real intelligent, but always gets the job done.

My daughter, much to my sadness, has grown up way too quickly. For one, she has discovered make up and cosmetics. Her room looks like a Hollywood dressing room and she even has one of those make up tables you sit at with a big mirror and lights all around it. School starts at 830 I think. I have no clue. She wakes at 6am and then the process starts. Quite why she needs 2 hours to get ready for middle school is beyond me. At 825 or something, the screaming starts. Between her and her mother.

We live but 200 yards from The Small One’s place of education. But do you think she walks the meager distance every day? Nope, my hysterical by this time wife drives her every day.

There is the liberal use of the F word. Back and forth like ping-pong. It’s like listening to the swearing Olympics. We’ll come back to the language thing in a minute.

My daughter then spent 2 full days trawling the interweb, calling Denver Airport and then launching a detailed investigation into the TSA rules and regulations – specifically to find out the liquid limitations. She had to work out how to get 32 pounds worth of make up into zip loc bags.

We left Denver sometime last week and much to my amazement my daughter had managed to squeeze all her “product” into a wheelie and just had a backpack for the rest of whatever it is teenage humans drag around with them. I was somewhat surprised, thinking we were going to have to check multiple suitcases. By a stroke of luck, we were both TSE Pre (although that is somewhat of a joke at DIA) because the TSA Pre line is now longer than a queue of Grateful Dead concert goers lining up at the window which says “free weed”.

The Small One then decided she needed to go to the bathroom so I was left there, half way down the TSA queue, holding the proverbial bags and being trampled on by every agitated traveler in Colorado. Incidentally, why does time stand still when women go to the bathroom? After 50 years of standing upright I still can't figure it out.

If I’m honest, I dislike traveling with other people. I’m way too old and a creature of habit to worry about other people. Even people who share my last name. In fact, especially with people who share my last name.

I have a routine at DIA. No checked bags. TSA pre. Clear security. Get shoes/boots cleaned. It must be my old army days. I find it somewhat therapeutic. My daughter on the other hand starting questioning me as to why I needed to sit in a chair like a plonker with my pants pulled up and someone cleaning my shoes.

She simply gave me that roll of the eyes and stormed off to the gate, which was thankfully right beside the shoe-shine stand.

The other thing I will tell those childless among us – is that to raise teenagers in this digital age, you actually need to learn an entirely new language.

First off, teenagers the world over all think their parents are dorks. That much is known. You’re not allowed to touch them in public, hug them, kiss them goodbye or tell them that you love them. You will be met by them shrieking “pervert” at the worst to a complete look of disgust and disdain at the very least.

When our daughter became a teenager she lost the ability to speak English. I would like to think that she has been to good schools for most of her life. My wife and I would look at each other across the kitchen counter in complete bewilderment when our daughter would enter the room and yell:

“Yeet”
“What?”
“Yo, what up?”
“Excuse me?”
“I said Yeet”
“What does that mean?”
“Yeet!”

So here we are then. About to jump on ole faithful UA. A quick push to LAX, a few hours in the new United Club, and then a 15-hour trek down to Melbourne.

And a daughter who keeps bleeting the word “Yeet” and is slightly perturbed at the fact that her father will be sitting beside her for 24 hrs.

See what my life is like. No wonder I fell off the grid. Back in a day. I promise.
synd, Babaduck, rehoult and 2 others like this.
eightblack is offline  
Old Jul 2, 17, 8:37 pm
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OMG eightblack is back!
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Old Jul 2, 17, 8:45 pm
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Nice to see you back!!
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Old Jul 2, 17, 9:10 pm
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Originally Posted by chongsss View Post
OMG eightblack is back!
Ditto!
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Old Jul 2, 17, 9:16 pm
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Great to have a new thread by 8. Also great to read that everything is fine (as fine as it can be with two teenagers and a wife).
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Old Jul 2, 17, 9:27 pm
  #6  
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A new Eightblack Trip Report! Thank god it's a long-ish weekend.
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Old Jul 2, 17, 9:30 pm
  #7  
 
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in "Kath and Kim" style

much excitement

Eightblack is back
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Old Jul 2, 17, 10:25 pm
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I wasn't on FT in your original heyday, eightblack, but I am so glad you are back!

For anyone not familiar, eightblack's trip report about being snowed into the EK lounge at JFK is probably the funniest thing I've read in my entire life. I hope you have a fun trip with your daughter! And I'm happy to hear you're not divorced yet, lol (referencing your musings from earlier trip reports).
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Old Jul 2, 17, 11:55 pm
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I had kind of a low weekend but coming home to an EightBlack TR make me happy. Welcome back. Now I am going to go read it.
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Old Jul 3, 17, 12:25 am
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yo Eightblack, you're back! glad everything's okay.
always enjoy your story, so I'll keep myself updated with this one too.
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Old Jul 3, 17, 1:23 am
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*obligatory Michael Jackson eating popcorn meme here* this is gonna be GOOD!
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Old Jul 3, 17, 4:14 am
  #12  
 
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a pleasure to see you back Sir.
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Old Jul 3, 17, 4:21 am
  #13  
 
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Thought I was seeing things but hell NO, he's back (at last)
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Old Jul 3, 17, 6:31 am
  #14  
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Me looking at new threads and seeing one by eightblack


Good to have you back!!

Last edited by Madone59; Jul 4, 17 at 6:04 am
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Old Jul 3, 17, 7:08 am
  #15  
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Welcome back to Melbourne
I was wondering why is was so cold here now.
Something to do with you and the small humanoids you own?
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