Jason Zufall knew the trip would be an adventure, so he decided to take notes. Well—for as long as he could. This happened.
So every year on the weekend after Labor Day, we take a trip to Green Lake, WI for some good ol’ lakeside fun. It’s about a 3 hour drive from our house in Chicago but this year our logistics changed with our move east. This year we were flying from NY to Milwaukee with a one year old who sits about as still as a coked-up monkey with Parkinsons. I thought it would be fun to document the happenings in real-time. Only the first leg of the trip is accounted for because quite frankly, I wasn’t mentally coherent enough to keep notes on the rest. Here is my report:
5:30am – Alarms go off. We need to wake up the lil’ guy an hour earlier than usual. Should be fine, he’s pretty good in the mornings just like his Pops.
5:35am – The lil’ guy was not happy that he needed to wake up an hour earlier than usual. Got him dressed & gave him a cracker. We cool.
6:05am – We’re ready to head to the car. The wife has the boy & I look like the lead Sherpa on a trek up Mt. Everest. I think we have everything we need.
6:11am – Had to run back to the apartment because we forgot something. It’s a nice humid morning too so now I’m sweating like a pig at a luau. We’re running late & I’m stressing that unpredictable NYC traffic.
6:18am – Finally on the road & things are looking good! The roads & bridge are wide open & no delays on sight.
6:45am – Parked the car, checked in & made in through security in 20 minutes; I’m amped ’cause that’s gotta be some kind of LaGuardia record. I’ve discovered experiences like this tend to get Dads real excited & my Dad Muscles are swelling & flexed at capacity. Seriously, I might rip off my shirt & start doing a Hulk Hogan impression.
6:52am – At the gate and LaGuardia is as frightful as ever. What a dump. At least I haven’t seen a mouse ye…
6:53am – A MOUSE JUST RAN BY MY FEET A MOUSE JUST RAN BY MY FEET
7:05am – We didn’t give the lil’ guy his milk before we left because we figured we’d just get him some in the terminal. Being LGA, the closest option we can find is Strawberry Quik; the boy samples then quickly rejects it which only proves he’s human because gross. Oh well, hopefully he’s getting all the calcium he needs from the seats he’s been licking.
7:16am – The euphoria of getting to the gate early fades every time I have to chase the boy. Already I’ve had to stop him from pursuing the mouse & stealing a banana from the nice lady sitting next to us for the 4th time. I’m prepared with a secret weapon to chill him out but I really need to save it for the plane.
7:50am – We’ve been blessed with a wide open flight. There’s only 46 passengers total so we just head straight for the back of the plane; this way we can avoid being “those people” if the boy starts getting itchy
8:05am – We’re pushing off on time! I’m so excited, I do a seated celebratory pop-n-lock to get down with my bad self. Thank you LaGaurdia. Mice & Strawberry Quik aside, this has been a pleasant experience.
8:35am – Boner has been killed. We’re still on the runway awaiting our turn to take-off. LaGaurdia, you are a son of a bitch.
8:44am – And we’re off! The lil’ guy is a little squirmy but we’re prepared. We have books, toys, snacks & of course, my secret weapon all locked & loaded. Hopefully we won’t need any of it & he’ll just fall asleep & I can enjoy my book.
9:05am – Yep, sleep’s not happening. We’ve already burned through the all the books, half the snacks & he couldn’t give a shit less about the toys. I wanted to hold off but now it’s time for the secret weapon.
9:06am – When in doubt, Elmo up. I load up the first of three Sesame Street videos I’ve saved to my phone & it’s working like a charm. He’s all zombied-out on the wife’s lap taking in the sights. Elmo, bring us home.
9:22am – Apparently they prefer their toddlers unruly on this airline. The flight attendant comes by for a drink order. She looks over & tells us we’ll need to turn the volume off on our savior Elmo so we don’t disturb any passengers. I look up & point out the next nearest passenger is 18 rows ahead of us with huge Beats headphones on. She said it’s FAA regulations. I ask to see a copy of these alleged anti-Elmo/American regulations. Confused, she walks away to get me a ginger ale. It’s a victory for common sense but the damage is done.
9:32am – It’s been 10 minutes since the disturbance & the boy isn’t happy. Who could blame him? He got woken up an hour early, force-fed Strawberry Quik, denied a pet mouse & now this Sky Tramp comes over & messes up his Elmo mojo.
9:41am – Code Brown! We have a Code Brown! The wife & I engage in our agreed upon rock-paper-scissors match to determine who’s on changing duties (pun intended). I throw down a sweet ass rock to crush her feeble scissors. I pump a fist & raise my hands in victory…I might have even yelled “IN YO FACE”
9:42am – Lesson learned. Airplane bathrooms are real small to begin with but they shrink even more when you’re attempting to change the diaper of a crying, squirming toddler. Not to mention his diaper is so loaded, I’m nervous the Sky Marshall might break in thinking we have a chemical weapon.
9:48am – On my way back to our seats; I’m proving real popular as I wake up sleeping passengers with my screaming kid in one hand & a bag containing his dirty bomb in the other. Screw you guys, at least we’re not disturbing you with our loud, communist Elmo video.
10:04am – Still can’t get him to sit still. We’re deep in overtime for his nap. This is one thing I’ll never understand about kids. If you’re tired: GO THE HELL TO SLEEP. Why waste time crying about it?
10:20am – Just about to land & guess who’s about to pass out. If you guessed me, you wouldn’t be right…but not exactly wrong either.
11:02am – This is becoming ri-goddamn-diculous. Been waiting for our checked luggage for over 30 minutes & nothing in sight. The boy has moved to Def Con 2 on the nap scale. Milwaukee baggage claim is about to get a piece of my mind.
11:08am – Okay, that was embarrassing. Turns out our stuff was 10 feet behind me at their desk the whole time. Yeah, they said they saw our car seat & wanted to make things more accommodating for a traveling family so they personally grabbed our bags. Then they insisted on carting everything out to our rental car. Then they refused a tip.
Ugh. Fuck you Milwaukee for being so nice & accommodating.
11:15am – Locked & loaded in the rental car & off we go. We’re excited for a weekend of family, food & fresh air. But mostly I’m excited there will be more adults around. They can help play a zone defense on the boy so I can enjoy a beer.