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airforcewife Flies the Friendly Skies

SpouseBuzz Live 2 rocked!  I had so much fun and met so many new people that I'm still completely overwhelmed! 

I've even got pictures to share... but I think I should go in order of occurance. 

So before I get into Saturday's event, I must share the tale of the plane flight. 

I'm sure by now it's become fairly obvious that I can't do anything simply or easily.  I would be absolutely humiliated by that, except that along my life's journey I've come to see that this trait seems to be directly connected with being a military family.  This was the reason behind the genesis of the Military Spouse Poker game.  There is no such thing as just moving to another town with little or no fuss.  There is no such thing as hard and fast plans that can't be changed.  There is no such thing as "simple" white worms in the kitchen (thanks a lot,Lemon Stand.  That mental picture will forever haunt my dreams). 

And there is no such thing as a relaxing and uneventful plane flight.

I actually thought that this would be a breeze.  My children and my dog were staying with a friend and hubby and I were jaunting off together on a little romantic holiday.  We were leaving late enough in the day to avoid rush hour traffic and have a nice little lunch together without the screaming cacophony of four shrill voices in the back ground yelling, "I WANT MORE KETCHUP!"  "THESE FRIES ARE COLD!"  "DO THEY HAVE CEREAL FOR ME?  I DON'T WANT A HOT DOG!"

Okay, the food at the airport sports bar was awful, but really - that's to be expected.  We're captives there behind the security barrier and they have no reason to provide us with a quality mushroom-swiss burger.  The very fact that we were eating it by ourselves made it Spago-level quality.

Now, we were flying United. Apparently, the ticket agent I had used when I demanded that hubby and I be seated together thought that I was just kidding him.  Not only were we assigned seats on opposite ends and sides of the airplane, but the thing was packed full.  We managed to pull a deal involving our copy of the Washington Times, a coke, and some vague promise of our firstborn to get seated together. 

In the very last seats before the restroom at the back of the plane. 

Ah, yes.  The nosebleed seats of the plane. 

My slightly over 6 foot hubby squeezed himself into the middle seat of the row (isn't he a gallant and chivalrous?) next to a snoring businessman in a pink shirt and we were off.  Several hours to go, but we brought reading material.  And we were together, that's all that matters, right?

As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the "gentleman" right in front of me (who was apparently traveling with the snorer in pink), reclined his chair back fully.  The nosebleed seats don't recline.  I was practically looking up the man's nose as he worked on deals offline on his laptop.  It was such a tight squeeze that I could not hold my book up to read and I had to find various contortions to keep my mind off the horrendous coffee breath wafting my way from the inconsiderate lout in front of me.

But it got worse. 

The bathroom on board was having "issues".  I can't tell you what the issues were - they didn't require that the whole thing be shut down.  However, they did send forth a gagging odor of rotting eggs left in the sunlight and then doused with the blue flush stuff.  The smell would not go away, and kept getting worse and worse. 

I'm normally an easy traveler.  I don't get airsick, carsick, and very rarely get sea-sick.  I work to occupy myself productively no matter what the situation is - military spouses always have something that needed to be done yesterday to work on.

But the smell from the bathroom was making me retch - literally.  Hubby was holding an airsick bag at the ready.

Just as I was raising my hand to ask the flight attendants to PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD spray some Lysol or something, an announcement came over the intercom, "Do we have any passengers who are doctors or nurses, or have medical training?  We have a customer who is experiencing shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and numbness.  If you have medical training, please let us know, we need your assistance."

I elbowed hubby, "You took the combat lifesaver course, why don't you go volunteer?"

Hubby looked at me like he'd never realized how crazy I was before. "I don't think the man has been shot or stabbed or received shrapnel wounds.  The only non-weapon related problem I know how to treat is extreme dehydration."

I thought this over a minute.  "Well, do we have any Motrin?  The base clinic seems to think that it is a magical wonder drug."

Luckily, there was a Physician's Assistant on the flight who took charge and examined the man.  Flight attendants hovered about, and one broke from the crowd to get the shock paddles and the oxygen from the overhead bin.  All passengers were asked to remain seated.  I was positive that we would soon be redirected to land in Salt Lake City to get medical treatment for the man.

As the drama unfolded, I found myself getting more and more sick.  I don't do well with nausea under normal circumstances, and here I was barely holding back puke, unable to escape from a hovering cloud of chemically treated fecally oriented scent, and the man in front of me had reclined completely into my personal space.  I think I might have started to lose my mind a bit.

"Honey," I said.  "Does it smell like poo to you, too?"

My husband made a face and replied, "This is truly foul."

"Can you please flag down the flight attendant and ask her if they have any spray?  I'm sure that they must carry Glade or Lysol or something."

"Don't you DARE wave down a flight attendant!"

"But it smells like poo!  I just want some spray!  Just some spray!"

"What is wrong with you?  There is a man having a heart attack and you are worried about spray?"

Hubby's eyes were scanning the plane worriedly as he and I discuss the foul odor.  It gradually dawned on me that he was anxiously looking to find the Air Marshall he thought would head over and tase me into silence as our conversation got louder and louder.  He later told me he was having horrified visions of Adam Sandler's airplane scene in "Anger Management".

The crowd around the possible heart attack gradually thinned out without use of paddles, and only a bit of time with him wearing the oxygen mask.  They moved people around to allow him to lay across three seats and he seemed much better - it seemed that the problem was a panic attack brought on by the overcrowding.

Meanwhile, I'm nearly in tears from wallowing in the horrible smell and hubby is still watching me like a hawk to make sure I stay quiet about it.  I'm reduced to twitching in my seat and mumbling, "I just want some spray.  I just want some spray."  The excitement over the heart-attack-turned-panic-attack has meant that we did not get our second beverage or snack service, so there was no sprite or salty pretzels to use to calm my stomach.  And because I was sitting in the window seat of a three person block there was no way I was going to be able to make it to the bathroom in time should I lose control of my stomach.

We landed right before my sanity snapped, and the paramedics came on-board to escort the man with the panic attack off.  He walked off carrying his own bag, so I will assume he was fine.  We were the last people off, following the two business men who were discussing the man in the pink shirt's wife who was going crazy because she had been home alone with their one two year old son for four days.  The businessman who had reclined into my lap was commiserating that situation and offering his own opinion about the difficulty his wife had in raising their children while he was off on business trips.

Hubby's eyes sought me out as this conversation took place, and he gave me "the" look.  You know,the one that promises harsh consequences should I open my mouth.  Actually, he needn't have worried.  If I had opened my mouth, I would have puked.  Perhaps that would have been the most appropriate action to take.

We did catch a bit of luck - our luggage all arrived on time and undamaged.  The hotel shuttle arrived just five minutes after we called for it.  Hubby and I settled in and sighed in relief at the retreat of our nausea and in anticipation of the awesome event to come.

About two blocks from the airport, the driver of the van tilted his head oddly and sniffed. 

"You guys smell that?"  he asked.  "It smells kind of bad."

It did.  Or rather, I did.

I might have to burn that shirt.

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