Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to not spank your children in airports

I have never spanked or yelled at either of my kids in public. Nor have I threatened, cajoled or negotiated with them, either.

(Pat climbs up on nearby soapbox and straightens his coat...)

Here's the thing, boys, girls and robots... children have children sized bodies, brains and bank accounts. But what God blessed them and every single one of us with from the very first day of our messy, screaming birth is adult sized (maybe even McDonald sized) WILLS.

This is why you see kids, from toddlers to teenagers, exerting these wills over their parents regularly. I exerted mine over my parents daily from about 4 years old to when I was kicked out at 18 and I am responsible for half their insanity and certainly almost all of their gray hairs.

Also? "Cajoled" is a really weird, funny sounding word, so I threw it in the beginning to just amuse myself. Cajoled. Cajoled.

Anyway, while other parents with little to no control over their precious snowflakes were hyperventilating and getting more and more stressed as control slipped from their grasps, I had a simple strategy (and have used it on grown ups too, I must admit).

I never yelled, but got down right next to their crying face, quite close and spoke very calmly and quietly. Usually I would say something like, "you need to stop... now".

Now, some thought I had magic powers (which I suppose, I might), but I actually just had incredibly bright children. I am a genius, as you all well know and they are far smarter than even me. Austin is now doing advanced trigonometry or some such crap in High School, so you know it's true.

My kids quickly learned that there were only 2 certainties in life (they were too young for "death and taxes" then), and they were "vegetables taste terrible" and "when dad talks quieter, we are exactly 1 strike away from him dropping everything, walking to the car, driving home and getting spanked".

I never, ever threatened to spank them. Not once. I promised.

And we also hugged, kissed and told them we loved them, every single day.

Subsequently, by the time they were 12, they were far more mature than most of the 25 year old people I knew. And considerably more mature than their father, thank God.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Remember to always cover your mouth before you cough, sneeze or say something stupid

I have never exaggerated before, so believe me when I say that I am the sickest anyone has ever, ever been with a cold.

Tom Sawyer enjoyed a luxury that most of us have dreamed of at least once or twice, which was to hear people get up and speak at his own "funeral".

I am fairly certain that more than a few at mine will hearken back to the rich tapestry of my many and diverse, rambling and incoherent Facebook posts. Which of course is little more than an indictment against how we as Americans need to get off our asses, turn off the computers and get outside more.

And yet I am somewhat understanding of it all. It is like the old saying goes, "only the good looking die young". (Billy Ocean even made a song about it.)

I admit that I am no longer that young, but I am really, really good looking. So. Do the math.

With a couple people at my office coming in sick and each of them practicing different ways to not cover their coughs and sneezes for brief periods of a month or two, I actually thought to myself just a couple weeks ago that I somehow had dodged a bullet this cold season. Or at least dodged their projectile sneeze germs, which are technically a little slower than a bullet.

And part of the reason I applauded myself for this is because I am a notoriously compulsive liar. I mean, hand washer. One of those.

But no. If I somehow, miraculously pull through this, then six months from now people will ask me how was my trip to Maine and I will tip my head and fondly ask, "what trip to Maine?" And of course, whether or not the nurse was coming back soon with my pudding.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mr. Kennedy, tear down this line!

I got to the airport way too early today and this will give me plenty of time to get caught up on my paperwork and planning materials for the very full week of all company IT meetings starting bright and early tomorrow in Maine.

Hahaha! Just kidding, it gives me time to bitch and complain on my blog.

I woke up to a foot of snow on my car this morning, which immediately made me worry that the two hour drive down Long Island to New York City, coupled with President's Day, typical traffic around 6:00 PM, potential alien invasions, Jesus coming back, etc. should make me want to err on the side of caution and come extra early.

Holy crap, did I err. I got here 6 hours before takeoff. To give you an idea, if you try to check in earlier than 4 hours before your flight, they laugh at you (even the self check-in computer terminals are programmed to laugh and give you a printout receipt of the laugh) and then they direct you over to the only available seats for your 6 hour wait, which are at a teeny, tiny kiosk bar.

Since literally hundreds of thousands come through JFK every single day, they planned ahead and made it more than accommodating with well over 4 whole, uncomfortable bar stools.

Fortunately though, drinks only cost about 3 or 4 times what you would expect, so I still have well over $10 left for the rest of the week abroad. This is not quite enough for another drink, but that is OK, she was probably sick of me hogging that 5th chair, anyway.

But enough complaining, let me move on to something positive:

If there is anything on the entire planet more disgusting than a JFK toilet, I challenge you to name it. I certainly have yet to discover such a thing in my 42 years alive.

OK, that was not terribly positive, I admit it. Let's see what else I can spread joy and happiness about.

If I was not terrified of being stripped searched by a 300 pound, way, way too enthusiastic guy named Borlaff for taking a picture and showing it you, I totally would take a picture of the "security check-in line".

Bear in mind, this not the same as the "check-in your bag and get your ticket" line. This is the "sir, take off your shoes, turn your head and cough for me" line.

Guess how they took away the pain from the indignity of it all? It was easy. They made the line so unbelievably long, that you would be willing to do naked jumping-jacks for a viral video to get out of it.

It is well over 400 miles long. Seriously. It is longer than the average 2 hour wait Disneyland ride line, the only difference being these people are far more surly.

As soon as the self check-in computer stops laughing at me in 15 minutes, I will get into it and get ready to cough.