Planes, Moms & Conversions

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that the four-legged little monkey that I call my baby boy is a pet. That does not preclude me from loving or taking the very best care of him. I may have even spoiled him. 

11:10 p.m.: After much debate and research, I decide that I can and will administer Children’s Benadryl to Mr. Big before our flight the following morning. I’d scoured Mr. Gore’s internet for articles on giving him the medicine and the dosage. There was no clear-cut dosage amount and I knew that I would need to do some math. Easy enough.

11:11 p.m.: I hop in the car and drive down the street to the nearest Walgreens to make the purchase. I found the Children’s Benadryl, but only in liquid form; the research said that the tablet would be much easier to administer.

Midnight.: Back home with said Benadryl. Hmmm…I’m supposed to give the little guy 0.5mg of liquid for every pound. The measuring cup that came with the Benadryl is in milliliters and ounces. Hmmm…measurement for mass of solids into volume of liquids…that round hole isn’t going to fit into that square peg. I need eight milliliters of liquid for him. I also needed a pencil and a piece of paper, this was going to require more than one math problem. I won’t bore you with the details of the conversion (happy to share offline if you are really that interested).

1:30 a.m.: I try to fall asleep knowing that the alarm will play marauder in 3.5 hours. It was another night of restless sleep. My head is still doing math and I’m anxious about his first flight. Forget the flight; the car ride to the airport could be the beginning of a very long day. Will he even ingest the medicine? Zzzzzzzzz.

“It’s 5 o’ clock in the morning, Conversation got boring.” Focus. It’s 5 a.m.

I need almost 5mL for his dosage. I try making it gravy for a spot of his wet food. Nope. The heinous smell gave it away. Take two; I must get this medicine in him. Armed with a scant amount of Benadryl on a teaspoon, I grab him, open his mouth and in goes the airplane. However, rarely do theory and reality mesh, so I wear a bit of it, the floor takes a drop, he has some in his mouth and then a furry flash sprints by while spitting.

After triple checking to make sure I had everything that he would need for the trip, I’m off to the airport (Thank you, Kelly!). He is awesome in the car. A little chatter early and then he’s quiet for the rest of the ride.

How did I miss the memo on airlines charging to check bags curbside? I had to pay $2 to check a bag after I’d already paid $25 when booking the flight for said bag. It’s not the amount, it is the principle. Seriously, US Air?? Two-dollars, really?

After I reluctantly give up the $2 (which meant no diet coke on the second leg of the trip), the skycap asked me for the receipt for the pet. Ha. I laughed in his face.

The first thing was ridiculous, but this was ludicrous. You want me to pay you $125 (I’ve already paid $234 for my butt to have a seat) for essentially a carry-on that breathes? He goes UNDERNEATH the seat. If he were going in cargo, I’m more than happy to oblige as someone would have to handle him and he is then taking up space that could be otherwise used. I get that. I would not have thought twice about paying for that. I just couldn’t reconcile the price to ride UNDERNEATH the seat…in his OWN carrier.

The skycap wishes me luck getting him boarded.

I accept the challenge.

Off we go.

No one asked me for a receipt at either gate, we boarded successfully and I still have $125 in my pocket.

Being his first flight I was a nervous wreck in terms of getting him packed, making sure I had his snacks, emergency food if he needed coaxing, harness, leash, toys, paperwork, and on and on. This is when a newfound respect was born.

I am an expert traveller. I can maneuver an airport involuntarily. I can pack a carry-on for three different events over 10 days in one bag. All that paled in comparison to what I stumbled upon today in the airport. I’ve always had a great respect for mothers, but today’s travel took it to a completely new level. Wow. How do these moms travel with infants or with more than one child? I can see the challenges of traveling by car, but when in an airport and via plane, this is the big leagues. For all passengers, once you walk into the airport, you lose all control. You become a minion in someone’s airport authority.

Moms become super heroes.

Please be reminded that I am not likening my experience to the exact of a mom with child(children), Mr. Big requires far less stuff, attention and nurturing, but it was nonetheless a lesson.  

The entire way I packed my personal item (chic computer bag) and approached the trip was with his needs in mind. Each pocket of his carrier had its own duty, holding a leash in one, an extra toy in a second and treats in the third. I carried wipes, Benadryl, a can of food, another toy and his medical records. I’m a Type-A personality so my seats have to always be on the aisle, this trip.  I had to upgrade to get an aisle seat for our second leg to make sure he wasn’t stuck in the middle unable to see. ($$) Everything I did at the airport was with him as my first thought.

Again, big ups to you moms out there who fly with your little ones. All of the items you need to keep some semblance of normalcy and their schedule intact while navigating the airport and the flight. I have a newfound respect. Big Leaguers. They should receive gold medals with an etched “M.”

I’m probably a little overboard because at the end of the day he is a cat, but I would like to think that I am a “mom” to him, and that I will one day be a great mom, so I take extra good care of him.

I remember it like it was yesterday, we’re standing in the Northwestern football press box and I’m helping Leo with his shirt and jacket and he says to me, “You’re going to be a great mom one day.”

Leo Ryan

I’ve always remembered that, and how this random (in the grand scheme of things; Love you, Leo Ryan.) man thought that I was going to be a great mother. It resonated somewhere deep inside and I hope one day that I live up to those words.

You would have thought I was carrying around the Hope Diamond.

People were coming from everywhere to see Mr. Big. They wanted to pet him or ooohhh and aaahhh over how handsome he is or how calm and friendly his demeanor.

At the end of the flights, Mr. Big 10, Children on the plane 0.

He was the perfect jet-setter Wednesday.

An exhausted Mr. Big after a full day of travel.

I didn’t realize that it had been five years since I’d last seen Greg Melton. Greg moved to Charlotte after the living the life in the financial sector to find something that he actually loves doing. Greg landed a job with ESPNU and has been having a blast for the last four years.

Greg Melton

Greg came to the airport and treated me to lunch. We dined in a French café on a busy rue eating the finest local cuisine while sipping champagne. We had a great time catching up and laughing. I so richly enjoy face-to-face engagements. It is wonderful to see a smile on someone’s face, be in his or her space and share energy. And hugs, I love hugs. Greg is actually a great hugger so that was nice.

He’s offered up his home for a few weeks and guide services if I do indeed move to Charlotte. I am grateful for such wonderful people in my life.

By the way, lunch was a frozen item from the airport mart in between the rental car desks and baggage claim, but it’s all about perspective. I went to Paris yesterday for lunch. What about you?