Oh Boy   4 comments

We are traveling on our big white tour bus, like a wild band of country music singers, barreling down I-35 west en route to Wichita from Kansas City. I am listening to Parlour Shakedown (which freakin ROCKS and everybody should get a copy; they are for sure my favorite new boy band) and I’m eating a pop-tart pilfered from catering (well OK, it’s a cherry-pomegranate organic toaster pastry because Rockettes don’t eat actual pop-tarts) and drinking a $3.25 cup of coffee from the lobby. I am in a big cushy seat, the sun is shining, and not only do we have internet, but there is a blue butterfly sticker on my window that Libby, one of the stage managers, gave me. (She decorated the whole bus with them, actually.) 🙂

So I’m finding the touring life to be pretty OK, all things considered. I have a terrible time maintaining routine and predictability, but am pretty good at adapting to new stuff and winging it. So this kind of an adventure definitely plays to my strengths, other than a few bouts of EXTREME loneliness for Dave and the girls and especially Mason. Also I miss my dog, which kind of surprises me, and I miss seeing our big fat white bunny come bounding up to the gate when he thinks it’s mealtime, and I miss that squeaky little noise our three finches make, which always makes me think of somebody riding an old bicycle through the French countryside. Note: I do not miss Jessie the Gecko, nor Cinderella the cat (please don’t tell her that though, she’s already haughty and she will be SO offended). I can’t remember if we have any other pets. Which must mean I don’t miss them either.

But there are some things about touring that are a drag. For instance, the flying. Flying has gotten worse and worse over the years, as everybody knows. The seats are forever getting smaller, with less legroom, and there are fewer services, and even when you are on a flight that serves drinks, they give you one little cup of whatever and one tiny packet of pretzels. The magazine only gets changed monthly, and if someone has already done the Sudokus, nobody cares and they just stick the magazine back in the seat pouch. It’s JUST NOT FUN. But you wanna know what is REALLY not fun???? Pat-downs.

I’m here to tell you first-hand that someone MUST be getting some sort of secret (or not so secret) thrill out of the process, because those hands go everywhere. First, they pull aside the most suspicious looking characters, like middle-aged, graying moms who are trying to bring (wait for it) YOGURT on board. No matter that I presented said yogurt at the beginning of the security checkline and was told by an employee that it was probably fine and not to worry about it. Once I was on the OTHER side of the conveyor belt, my 4-ounce sealed container of cherry-vanilla yogurt was a matter of great import. I offered to throw it away (nope) or just to eat it (“No! Don’t touch it.”) but the process was begun. First they searched my pocketbook and my backpack to see what other suspicious items I had. Perhaps (gasp) a plastic spoon???? WHO, exactly, did I think I was???? Then – with what seemed like great relish – the gloved, suited security guard told me how she was going to pat me down and assured me that she would be touching my personal areas. And, um, she did. If I’d had anything stuck anywhere, she would have found it. I was mostly irritated, but also a tad humiliated. When we were through, after she had her cigarette (not really) she would STILL not let me go until she scanned her hands for bomb residue. To make it all the more ridiculous, when I got onboard, the other Ben mom told me that she had two go-gurts AND a water bottle in her bag. And SHE sailed through security like a beautiful maple leaf in a gentle fall breeze!!!!!! Oy.

Airline people, if you are reading, believe me: I have learned my lesson and will never travel with yogurt again. Sorry for compromising our national security in such a thoughtless manner.

That was on our flight from Madison to Denver, and once we got to Denver, things were really great. The hotel was super nice, and the area was hopping. Lots of walkable places, and enough down time to enjoy them.

From Denver we flew to Des Moines. In our hotel there Cooper and I somehow drew the short straw and had a TEENY TINY room and were there for three nights. On our last morning there, I started the shower for Cooper, then went out of the bathroom to tell him it was ready. When I went back in, I saw that the cleaning people had left the shower head pointing OUT into the bathroom and the entire (tiny) place was soaked. The mirror, the toilet paper, the bath mat, ALL of it!! The floor kind of sloped there, so all the water was collecting and spilling over the threshold and out into the room and into the closet. So that was not a very nice beginning to that day. I had to use every last towel to soak it up, except the one I saved aside for Coop to use! Then when I finally got all of that cleaned up and he was done with his showed, I went in there to collect our few things off the teeny weeny bathroom shelf and somehow when I grabbed our toothbrushes out of the drinking glass I’d stored them in, I managed to knock the glass into the sink, where it broke into a thousand pieces. Mazeltov! I was happy to leave that hotel.

The hotel in Cedar Rapids was a little creepy. It was gray and overcast outside, and the arena there was old and small. Word was that the Radio City Christmas Spectacular was going to be the very last show EVER to be held there and the place was slated for demolition soon after. So I guess the whole visit had a sort of cold, dismal, end-of-the-line sort of feeling. It didn’t help that our room was really freezing cold. When the shows were over, and we were up there getting ready for bed, the front desk sent up an engineer who connected something that hadn’t been connected, and I finally heard the heat actually come on. It was LOUD, but at least it worked. But even with the room warming up, I slept so badly there. We had to be on the bus at 6 AM the following morning, and I was worried I would oversleep. So I kept sort of drifting off and then waking up in a panic. I think I feel into a good sleep around 2 AM. But then I woke up a little before 4 thinking I’d heard something. Only I couldn’t figure out if it was something real or something in a dream. Just as I was starting to head back into dreamland, I realized I could see out of my room and into the hallway! I went to check it out and our door was open a crack – held closed only by the safety latch thing. My purse was just a little more than an arm’s reach from the door, and everything was in it. I closed it, moved my purse and went to sleep. (And I DID oversleep… thankfully Cooper had woken up early and was watching Glee and at some point said “Mommy, you HAVE to get up!!!” Good kid.) So that was really weird and I kept thinking yesterday about all the things that COULD have happened, from mere robbery to much worse. So grateful none of those came to pass. Lesson: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remember to hook the hotel safety latches!

To make things even weirder yesterday, I got two phone calls from a number that came up only as “unknown.” I didn’t pick up until the third one. It was an automated recording asking me to push some button if I was willing to accept a collect call from Riverside Regional Jail Authority (no county or state given). I did not push required button. I hung up. Quickly. But then during dinner, I got a voicemail of the same automated recording. WEIRD. Nothing today, so I’m hoping my jailbird stalker has given up.

Yesterday we were in Kansas City, Missouri, which seemed like a pretty cool place. We stayed at a hotel downtown that was old and pretty. But – like all the hotels since Denver – there were no laundry facilities! We’re not particularly dirty people, but still. One mom, one kid, one week. Lots of dirty clothes. One of the Patrick moms and myself were bound and determined to find ourselves a laundromat. So we dumped clean clothes out of our rolling suitcases, filled em up with dirty laundry, and off we went. It was a 2.5 miles walk! But it was worth it, and I have now come up with a whole new realm of multi-tasking: laundry and exercise. Who knew?

We are almost to Wichita now. Still no jailbird messages, and lots of clean laundry. Life is good. Pictures soon…

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Posted November 20, 2010 by itsjustastage in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Oh Boy

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  1. I was just talking to my mom (your children’s grandmother) about flying last week. She had just gone through a pat-down herself on her return from Chicago. It is our shared opinion that the terrorists have indeed won.

    Hope the facilities in Wichita and beyond are better (particularly in Salt Lake City!)

  2. Not only is it fun to read about your adventures, this is a great piece of writing.

  3. Agree with Sarah – this was a great (though sad at times) read. We stayed in a creepy motel in Cedar Rapids once – it was decorated in red and had a hot tub in the middle of the room. I think it was the Honeymoon Suite – ugh ugh ugh. We just flew to and from Louisville and had no pat downs – whew. The whole experience seems totally abusive and uneccessary. See you in beautiful, warm, sunny Phoenix.

  4. Wow. Great entry. I wanted it to go on and on.

    Melissa (the "old best friend")

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