Monday, November 29, 2010

I've got a turkey, wanna neck?

Actually the clever pick-up line is, "I've got a chicken, wanna neck?" And actually it isn't that clever and never worked for me anyway on the few times I'd holler it out the car window when my friends and I would pretend to cruise Main Street when I was a teenager growing up in Boise. Unfortunately, it also dates me since no one uses the term "neck" to describe making out anymore.

But I digress right from the beginning.

It is time for my annual post about my Thanksgiving journey to Boise. Though technically, I didn't post anything last year about our trip to Boise. Something about having two toddlers skews my sense of time, place and posting.

Anyone who religiously follows my blog knows by now that every year I make a pilgrimage back to my birthplace in Boise, Idaho for the ritual sacrifice of the turkey for Thanksgiving (I'm willing to bet the turkey doesn't see that much to be thankful for in the holiday). The primary reason I go to Boise now is to allow my children to spend as much time as possible with my mother. She is 85 years old and I want my kids to have some sense of her while she is still with us.

There aren't a great deal of options for getting to Boise. Either you drive and risk encounters with winter storms going over a couple of passes, turning a nine hour drive into a marathon affair (not something you want to chance with two toddlers in the car) or you fly and risk encounters with winter storms that turn an hour and twenty minute flight into a marathon affair or cancelled flights and lost luggage.

We opted for the latter. I should have known better when all of the planets were aligning against the trip. We were leaving Monday afternoon at 12:45 p.m. They began predicting snow a few days earlier. When we woke up Monday morning, my daughter had a fever. We looked outside and it was snowing fairly heavily. One of our three cats puked all over the stairs as we were leaving. It took 40 minutes just to get to the freeway from our house.

Still we made it to the parking garage and the airport in ample time to make it through security, have some lunch and make it to our gate. After mediating a debate with my son and daughter over whether to have pizza or hot dogs for lunch, I got the first e-mail alert on my Blackberry that our flight was delayed. Snow was coming down fairly heavily by now, so I assumed it was just the standard weather delay. We made our way to an airport play area to kill time until the new flight time. That's when the second (and third and fourth) flight delay notice came in.

Four hours later we were stumbling down an icy stairway carrying our children and two strollers,  making our way to a Horizon aircraft that is too small to use a civilized jet way. I was a bit relieved to actually be on board the plane and tried not to get annoyed when the pilot announced that they just had to deal with a few maintenance issues and get the plane de-iced before we could be cleared for take off. An hour later we were bumping along toward the runway. The pilot then announced that they had to go back to the gate to deal with some more maintenance issues.

After resolving the maintenance issues and getting de-iced and refueled, we noticed our luggage being taken off the airplane. After two hours we were told we had to get off the airplane because they were having issues now with their radios. We bundled up our kids and headed outside through the snow and back to the gate.

I want to go on record now that Horizon was not prepared for snow in Seattle. They seemed under staffed, under informed and unable to cope with anything going on at Sea-Tac on that fateful day. I got in a line at the gate counter and handed my boarding passes to a surly ticket agent who didn't say a word . She simply typed away on her computer and then handed me new boarding passes saying we were on standby for an 8 p.m. flight to Boise.

I watched the monitor above her head for the next hour or so and saw that we had been given seat assignments. I stood in line again and the surly gate agent told me that she wasn't ready to officially move our status from standby to confirmed and that I should wait around. I watched the 8 p.m. flight status change to 8:30 and then 9:15 p.m. Another ticket agent announced that the airplane we were waiting for was having maintenance issues. Then suddenly they changed the gate we were to leave from. A surge of passengers rushed off as we frantically packed our kids and scurried off to the new gate.

We finally boarded the plane at about 11 p.m. and sat there waiting for it to be de-iced. At close to 11:45 p.m. we finally took off in what appeared to be a total white out. We touched down in Boise around 1:30 a.m. their time. The car rental place was closed. It didn't really matter because although we'd made the flight to Boise, our luggage and car seats hadn't.

I waited in yet another line to file a missing luggage report. I was assured that the luggage would be on the first flight from Seattle the next morning. Then I gathered up my family and called the hotel for a shuttle. The shuttles had stopped running, so they sent a taxi instead. The taxi driver took pity on us and drove us around to several mini-marts trying to find diapers at 2:30 a.m. We couldn't find any so ended up at the hotel with one diaper and one pull up to last the night.

To make a long story short, our luggage didn't arrive on the first flight from Seattle the next morning. It came in at 2 p.m. I was able to get the hotel shuttle driver to take me to Albertsons to buy diapers in the morning and then to the airport to pick up a rental car. Almost two days of our Boise trip were spent waiting to fly or waiting for luggage.

I have written my semi-annual complaint to Horizon Air asking them to give me something, anything to make up for the nightmare. I'm assuming they will respond that they couldn't do anything about the weather and pony up 1000 frequent flyer miles in good faith.

I would prefer free flights to Mexico, because the next time I fly somewhere, it better be tropical and serve a decent Margarita.

Oh yeah, it snowed in Boise and the average temperature was below zero.

It was good though, that my kids got to see their grandmother.

Sigh....

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My life as an onion


If I were to wager a strong guess, I'd bet that the forbidden fruit Eve partook of in the Garden of Eden was more of a forbidden vegetable. And that vegetable was probably an onion.  Because what symbolizes life and reality better than an onion (including the tears when you chop it up).

In a very layman and uneducated sense, I subscribe to the multiple worlds theory of physics in which there are multiple realities or universes existing simultaneously at any given moment. We navigate through these multiple universes by the actions (or inactions) we take in life. And as we move through these universes, we create layer upon layer of experience that is much like the layers of an onion. To understand your life, you can't just peel away layers, you have to view them as a whole. Because the onion, and your life are nothing without all of the layers.

I also think that, rather than viewing experience as linear, we need to step back and view it as layers of simultaneous reality happening independent of a beginning and an end. We are more aware of the layer we are  on because it is closer to the surface of our onion. But if you were a worm burrowing straight down through the onion, you'd find all of your experiences at that moment.

This is why, I think, as we age we have these odd flashes of what we believe to be vivid memories of the past (for want of a better term). Sometimes I'll be walking along and have this odd feeling that I am sharing space with younger versions of myself living out their layers of the onion.

For some reason we seem to be able to look down through the layers with more clarity than we can look up through the layers. Maybe this is where Quantum Physics comes into play. If indeed there are an infinite number of universes existing at the same time, we don't become aware of them until we actualize them by our actions. In other words, you can see all of the universes you've touched, but you can't distinguish the ones you are going to touch until you actually touch them and add them to your onion.

As I age, this theory is somehow comforting to me. I just haven't figured out what eventually happens to the onion when you die.

I just hope it doesn't end up on  hot dog or a bowl of chili.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Making a withdrawal from my daylights savings

I'm not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time. For one, it means I have to figure out how to change the time on 40 clocks and appliances scattered about my house. And I have to figure out how to change the clock in my car with one hand while driving because I never seem to notice the clock until I'm on the road and trying to get somewhere.

I also don't like the government arbitrarily messing with my body clock. Because just because they theoretically give your hour back in the fall after ripping it away from you, your body never really catches up. This is especially true if you have small children in the house. Setting your clocks back in the fall has absolutely no meaning to them and they will now get up when their body clock says it is time to get up.

I think the clock read 5:30 a.m. this last Sunday when my two-year old son sat up and declared he wanted to watch Tickerbell and the Lost Treasure. He then proceeded to sing the theme song from Little Einsteins while slapping out the drum beat on my back. This was followed by repeatedly putting a pillow over my face and pulling off and crying, "boo." My four-year old daughter quickly joined in the fun. My extra hour slipped out of the room along with the cat, both being chased by toddlers.

Dante has a level of hell just for whoever came up with Daylight Savings Time.

Personally, I like walking to the train in the morning in the dark. It is peaceful. And this is Seattle. Even if the sun is out in the morning, its behind a cloud, so giving me an extra hour of daylight means absolutely nothing.

You can bet our ancestors didn't try messing with time. I'm sure they dragged out of their caves as soon as the sun came out and scrambled back in as soon as it when down. They didn't need the village elders to decide they could save firewood by going out an hour earlier in the spring or an hour later in the fall.  The carnivores waiting outside in the dark dictated strict adherence to nature's clock.

Oh, I am sure there is a federal agency somewhere with the sole responsibility for defending Daylight Savings Time with a vast arsenal of charts and graphs showing us how much energy and money we save each year. Honestly, I don't care whether they are right or wrong. I just want them to leave my body clock alone. Go regulated plastic bags and bottles and leave my freakin' clocks alone.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fly monkey, fly!

I am pretty much convinced that those people who do all of the polling about how people are going to vote and predict who or what will win could save a lot of money by simply asking me how I'm going to vote on any given office or issue. I have consistently voted in just about every election since I started voting back in 1976. And just about everything I've ever voted for goes down in flames.

Oh there have been a few anomaly's. I did vote for Jimmy Carter. I also voted for Bill Clinton and Obama. And I am glad they won, but if they knew my track history, they would have likely asked me to vote for the Republican opponent to jinx their campaigns.

I think part of my problem with picking losing initiatives and candidates is that I read the damned voter's pamphlets and try and figure out what the best choice is. I should just pick candidates the way I pick horses at the race track (usually a scientific method based on what memory the horse's name triggers or what color silks the jockey is wearing). I'd probably have a better record backing a winning proposition.

I have to conclude that a majority of the population doesn't research the issues and does vote based on important factors like which side the candidates hair is parted on or what color their yard signs were. Because every election night I sit in my easy chair and shake my head as the results trickle in.

I must say I kind of miss the actual act of voting before everything was converted to mail in ballots. There was something satisfying about entering the voter's booth and punching out holes next to your candidate or issue of choice. And it was kind of cool to hear the geriatric volunteers call out your name as having voted as you slipped your ballot into an actual ballot box. It was much more romantic than sitting in my easy chair in my underwear with a ballpoint pen drawing a line next to my choices while Man Vs. Food plays in the background.

But I suppose the mail in ballot eliminates the whole dangling chad issue that saddled us  with George W. for eight years and created the whole economic mess we're in in the first place. On a side note (nice way to say digression), while I was in San Antonio last month, I saw lots of these "Miss me yet" t-shirts with George W's image on them. I'm sure the gift shop people thought I had Teurette's because I'd blurt out an expletive every time I saw one of the damned shirts.

End of side note.

I wish there was an alternative to the democratic system of voting that didn't involve someone like Idi Amin and a secret police force with unlimited resources. My problem with voting is that I don't believe that because a majority of people approve something that it is automatically the right thing to do. But then again, I am a creative deviant in a world that demands order in a disordered universe. I firmly believe that if someone got enough signatures to get an initiative on the ballot declaring that black is white and the initiative got a majority of the votes, people would run around the streets screaming that it was about time the Republicans straightened that question out.

Fly monkey, fly!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

There's got to be a morning after

The beauty of this blog post title is that it will drive traffic from people Googling "bad song from the Poseidon Adventure" to my blog at which point they will say, "Hey, this doesn't have anything to do with the Poseidon Adventure." It may even turn their life upside down.

Just a little Poseidon Adventure humor, ha, ha.

By morning after, I am referring to the morning after the debacle that was election night in the United States. Although I am bummed by the backlash of the unwashed masses returning the Republican weasels to the hen house to finish off the last of the chickens, I am more concerned that a local initiative to allow liquor to be sold in grocery stores seems to be failing.

Democracy sucks. Give me a benevolent dictator any day. Because I hate to think important decisions are being made by people who base their voting decisions on the number of times they have seen a candidate's name on those annoying little yard signs that infest the roadside like dandelions on your neighbors lawn. I hate those signs. I am tempted to sponsor an initiative to get them banned. But the irony is that I'd have to print up a bunch of little yard signs urging people to pass the initiative banning them.

But I digress.

I suppose it really doesn't matter which party is in the majority. I've grown to accept that our political system basically negates anyone effectively accomplishing anything. I think Democrats are equally ineffective as Republicans, I just support them because they are nicer people, mean well and for the most part intelligent. Republicans are narrow minded, self-centered banjo players who idolize evil people like Sarah Palin. And I mean this in a nice way.

Deep down, I believe the act of seeking any political office makes a person, Democrat or Republican, suspect and unworthy to lead. We should select our leaders by kidnapping the best and the brightest and locking them in the Senate and House chambers and trade them food for decent laws and programs.

It could work.

Regardless, at least the mind numbing political commercials are done. It will be nice just to watch ads for the new Leopard Snuggie for awhile. I'd like to just pull one over my head until the Republicans fix the economy like they promised or monkeys fly out of my butt.

I've always liked monkeys.