Monthly Archives: February 2011

Switching Seats

As Mike and I boarded our plane for Cabo two weeks ago, we prepared ourselves for the battle to sit together.

I was 23A and he was 25F.  We thought that since neither of us was a middle seat, we had a pretty strong chance of someone trading.

When I arrived at my seat, however, it was already filled.  With a four-year-old.

I politely told the gentleman next to the boy that I was 23A.  He looked up at me with the most pleading eyes I’d seen since Mike last saw a puppy.

“Would you mind sitting across the aisle next to my wife?” he asks.  “We’re trying to seat the family together.”

That’s when I notice a six-year-old boy next to the four-year-old, and across the aisle a smiling woman and a two-year-old girl next to…my new empty seat.

“Sure!” I reply quickly.  “I totally understand.  In fact, we were trying to switch too.”  I said “were” because of course now I had zero chance of anyone trading with me to sit in day care.

Mike leans over to me and says, “Who cares? I’m going to ask somebody to switch you anyway.”

I exchange hello’s with the wife next to me, and five minutes later from behind me I hear, “BABE.  IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK.”

I look back to Mike’s row where two grim-faced elderly people made it perfectly clear that they had no intention of joining my row of potential screamers.  I decide to make the best of it.

The husband turns to me and asks if this is our first time to Cabo, and I tell him no, my husband has been many times.  His mouth falls open.

“Your husband?!”  he replies.  “Oh my gosh you must be newlyweds!  You look so young!”

“Actually we’re not,” I answer, because I get this reaction all the time.  “We’ve been married for three years, and I’m 26 years old.”

His whole demeanor changes.  “That’s fantastic!  We’ve been married five years and we come here every year!”

I look at the three children surrounding them and realize this couple has had three children in five years.  My mind reels.

“Oh and we’re pregnant so we have one more coming!” he adds.

Suddenly I felt the need to defend our lack of children.  This also happens often.

“Oh wow!  That’s amazing,” I tell them.  “We don’t have any kids yet…we’re just having too much fun!  I mean, once you have kids you can’t just jet off to Cabo…or…um…” I stop myself mid-sentence because jetting off to Cabo is exactly what they are doing — with 3.5 children.

The wife smiles at me and leans in to give sister-to-sister advice.  Suddenly I feel as if we’ve been friends for a decade and we’re discussing family matters over margaritas.

“You know what?” she says.  “Your kids are the ones joining your family.  You didn’t join theirs.  Once you have them, you have to keep living the way you want to, and they just come along for the ride.  You don’t suddenly lock yourself in your home and orbit around your kids.  Believe me, we are still loving our lives.”

I wanted to kiss her.  Or hug her very hard.  Her words were like a happy birthday present from Jesus straight to me.

I don’t discuss it often, but one of my biggest fears about having children is that my life will turn into a scene from The Shawshank Redemption — starring me as the prisoner.  I’ve just met too many moms who complain about how fun their life used to be.  But meeting this woman punched that notion out of my mind.  She’s right; Mike and I are going to continue to live our lives even if little people are in them.

…though it may be slightly more complicated; after all, they were carting approximately 57 pieces of luggage.

And then it dawned on me: my sister-in-love was doing the exact same thing.  She was meeting us in Cabo with her three kids.  She didn’t have to stay at home in single-digit temperatures to appease her kids; she packed her bikini and got on the plane.

The point was really driven home with her next question.

“And how long are you guys in Cabo?” she asked.

“A week,” I replied.  “And you?”

“Three weeks!”

Blink.  Blink blink.  You have to be kidding me.  This woman isn’t just my hero, she is officially my idol.

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Filed under The WORD (Faith)

There’s Good News and Bad News…

Last night as I left a friend’s house, I got pulled over by a cop.  I have not been pulled over in years…come to think of it, neither has Mike.  We have a great track record, and as I pull to the side of the road, I’m totally annoyed that I’m the one who broke it.

“Hello, ma’am,” he says politely.  “Do you know how fast you were going?”

I hate when they ask this.  It’s a trick: answer honestly and you admit to breaking the law.  Lie and you look like a liar.

“Um, maybe 35 or 40, sir?” I reply.

“Well, in fact you were going 43, and this is a 35 zone.”

“Yikes,” I gulp, with the most pathetic look on my face.  “I’m so sorry, Officer.”  My father taught me to always address policemen as “officer.”  So far, it appears to be working.

“Where were you going in such a hurry?” he asks.

I don’t have time to think of something less embarrassing, so I tell him the truth.  “I was watching ‘The Bachelor’ at a friend’s house and now I’m just driving home….”

He fights a smile.  He has the kindest eyes I’ve seen on a police officer, and this gives me a ray of hope.  And I desperately need that ray of hope, because I know what’s coming next.

He walks back to his patrol car, and then two minutes later returns to my window. 

“Now, looking at just your speed, that’s about $150.  But did you know your tabs are also expired?” 

There it is.  I’m hosed.

“Actually,” I say to him, “just yesterday my husband noticed that and told me to change them.  I’m really sorry, Officer.”  This statement is one hundred percent true.  I bite my lip and look up at him.

He goes on, “And I can’t prove it, but there was a construction site about a quarter-mile before I pulled you over, so that would be another $150.  And the tabs would be $100.  Do you realize this is a $400 ticket?”

He says all of this, but has nothing in his hands.  Against all odds, I hear the tingling sound of victory bells three miles away.

“My goodness, I can’t believe that.  I’m so sorry, Officer.”  And I really am — I mean, who can claim to have their life together and be driving around on January 31 with tabs that expired in October?  Yes, October.

He smiles and hands me my license.  “Have a nice day.”

I am too shocked to speak.  I cannot even smile.  I look up at him and say “Thank you,” but it’s small and quiet because I am stunned into silence.

I didn’t get a ticket!  I thank God the entire way home for his divine mercy, because that’s the only explanation for that officer’s behavior.

I decide to tell Mike that I got one anyway, so that when I tell him I didn’t, he’ll be really excited.  This is a cruel game married people love to play.

I walk into our condo slouched over like Charlie Brown.  I don’t make eye contact.  I just say, “I got a ticket.”

“What?  No way!  How fast were you going?”

“43 in a 35.  But it’s the TABS!  The TABS make it $400!!” 

Now he remembers our little conversation yesterday, and he’s mad.  But right as I’m about to make his day by telling him it didn’t happen, he interrupts me.

“Do you want the good news or the bad news?”  he asks.

What is he talking about?  I’m supposed to be dropping all of the bad/good news…

“I got a ticket today, too!”

“????……#$@&…..@$#%…..$%&@……….$@&*……………..!!!!” 

I don’t actually cuss at him, but the dozens of explosives going off in my head at once won’t allow me to process a coherent response.

He apparently doesn’t notice that my jaw is on the floor and my eyes are three inches outside my head, and keeps talking.

“Man, am I relieved.  I’ve been dreading telling you all day, but now that we both did it, you can’t be mad!  This is awesome!”

His joyful glee needs to come to an end.  We are not in the same boat.  There is a crucial difference to our stories, and it’s time he knew what it was.

“AHA!  But I lied!  I did get pulled over, but I DIDN’T GET A TICKET.”

I thought of the most obnoxious dance possible and starting doing it with great enthusiasm.  In case you’re into details, it involved a lot of hip thrusts and pumping of arms.

I was dancing so violently I barely registered his expression of shock.  But being the ever-optimist that he is, it didn’t take long for his indignation to give way to his mental calculations. 

Suddenly he was ecstatic again.  “Do you realize what this means?!  It’s like our insurance will barely even go up at ALL!”

Mr. Sunshine has a point.  And I’m so grateful that I didn’t get nailed that I decide this is one of those moments in life that is most ironic, and we high-five.

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Filed under AwkWORD (Humor)