I don’t travel as much as I’d like to, and I definitely don’t travel enough to make this a travel blog. But I recently returned from a lovely vacation with Mr. Maid to the awe-inspiring Maine coast that I mentioned in my post Coastally Deprived. I’d love to tell you about it.
This is what happens when you leave your job. I have no coworkers to talk to about my trip, so I get to play show-and-tell with all of you kind people! So, I will spend the next few posts boring you recounting spine-tingling tales of our journey.
Before I get to the “good stuff” of our beautiful travel destination, I want to tell you about our adventures getting there. Most of our vacations are road trips, but since we only had a week, we decided to fly and rent a car.
We’d heard the recent horror stories about long TSA lines and missed flights. Mr. Maid and I both hate feeling rushed, so we left home well in advance of our 11:55 am flight. We would leisurely drive the 30 minutes to Lambert St. Louis International Airport, park in the SkyPark lot (which I highly recommend), navigate through checking our bags and the TSA maze, then sit down for an unhurried breakfast before boarding. If you have the time and you don’t mind sitting at the airport, this is a good way to avoid the stress of traveling. Lambert is a fairly calm and quiet airport, so give me a good book and a place to people-watch and I don’t mind hanging around pre-flight.
Everything proceeds according to plan. We park the car, remember to lock it, and even take a picture of the sign reminding us that we are parked in Row K – hoping that our trip will be so mind-numbingly wonderful that we will not remember. The shuttle takes us to the terminal and our bags both weigh in with 10 or 12 pounds to spare. Whew!
The TSA lines are ludicrously short. TWO families are ahead of us. I’ve unlaced my shoes needlessly as I am “randomly selected” for TSA pre-check and go to an even shorter line. I finish up and gloat as my apparently shifty-looking husband is required to be x-rayed, poked and prodded.
That hurdle crossed, we make our way to our gate in no time. The terminal seems nearly deserted at this time of the day. We find the airport’s version of a favorite local taproom and settle in for some breakfast. This unfortunately took nearly as long our voyage thus far. I won’t go into that debacle right now. It will be examined in a future post about customer service nightmares!
Once on the plane, we experienced a phenomenon that has happened to us at least three times in the past. We were not able to get seats together – which is fine – we both read or nap on flights and will spend a full week of 24/7 togetherness – we can stand to be apart for a few hours. But once we find our separate seats, we somehow discover that our seatmates are another couple who have not been able get seated together. We swap, and get to sit with our significant others despite our assignments.
I would love for someone to explain how this happens! I made the reservations for the two of us at the same time, as I’m sure the lovely couple who swapped with us did too. I picture some bitter curmudgeon in the airline’s beige cubicle farm, chuckling maniacally in the florescent lighting as he scatters unsuspecting couples and families throughout the main cabin.
Once that was sorted out, the first leg of our journey went off without a hitch. We had a short layover in Philadelphia – I wonder if my fellow blogger Dr. Meg saw me waving – and then on to Portland, Maine.
Sounds like a rather pleasant day so far, doesn’t it? Well, we weren’t quite there yet…
Although only an hour long, the flight from Philly to Portland felt excruciatingly long for us. We were seated in front of two women who, although they had just met right there in seats 7C and D, did not shut up the entire time. They talked nonstop through (or I should say “over” because they were that loud) the safety instructions and every flight attendant and pilot announcement from takeoff to landing. They could have announced that the airplane was about to make an emergency landing on the freeway and not only would we not have heard it, but I have no doubt they would have continued to talk while the rest of us used the inflatable slides to evacuate.
As if the relentlessness of their chatter wasn’t enough, I think I sprained my eyeballs from rolling them at the content of their conversation. They could be described as what my stepdaughter calls “Crunchy Granola Moms.” I will henceforth call them “Raw Milk Lady” (RML) and “Essential Oil Woman” (EOW).
Disclaimer: I have never had raw milk, but have used essential oils. I know the pros and cons of both are hotly debated, but I personally do not have any expertise, nor strong opinions about either. I also have never had children of my own and do not claim to possess any maternal wisdom other than common sense. Here are some of the highlights of their interaction:
- RML: “I’m coming from a Women’s Conference in Indianapolis and my husband and kids are flying from home and meeting me in Maine.”
EOW “Tell me all about the conference! Isn’t it sooo fabulous that we have these now?! They are so enlightening and empowering!”
(Maid’s note: I didn’t think women’s conferences are something new, but whatever.)
RML proceeds to recount every speech, workshop and meal of the past few days in excruciating detail. EOW enthusiastically “oohs and aahs.”
- RML: “My children drink raw milk all the time and they are fine – I know moms that give their kids Twinkies and Kool Aid and no one bothers them! I’m so tired of the Mom shaming.”
EOW: “Oh, TOTALLY!” They should outlaw that stuff!”
RML: “This is why I homeschool.”
(Maid’s note: nope, you two aren’t Mom shaming at all)
- RML: “They claim raw milk isn’t safe, but it’s the big dairies who just don’t want the competition.”
- EOW: “Oh, TOTALLY!”
(Maid’s note: All I can think of is this Portlandia sketch “Raw Milk is the Future”.)
- RML: “We’re going to Maine for an annual camp for (debilitating disease) survivors. My daughter had it when she was younger, but she’s fine now. Well, not fine, but she doesn’t have that (debilitating disease) anymore.
- RML: “Since my son is in leg-braces, people sometimes stare. Little kids are so rude because they’ll come right up and ask why he can’t walk.”
(Mr. Maid’s note: maybe it was the raw milk… Maid’s note: elbow to Mr. Maid’s midsection.)
- EOW: “I can give you the website that will tell you all about essential oils. I would suggest rubbing (unpronounceable blend of oils) on his feet and ankles every night. They’ve been known to cure all kinds of things.
(Maid’s note: um, ok.)
- RML: “I’m going to write a book to explain about the reasons why kids might be wearing leg braces.”
EOW: “A children’s book or an adult book?”
RML: “A children’s book.”
EOW: “Oh TOTALLY! That’s a great idea… I wrote a book.
RML: “You did?!
EOW: “Well, no… but I had an idea for a book. I just need to start writing it.”
RML: “That’s awesome!”
EOW: “Oh TOTALLY!”(Maid’s note: eye roll)
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll finally get to the “Maine” part of our trip.
Pun intended. 😉