Now I Just Need an Extra $200,000

11.26.12

When Steven asked me if I wanted to go flying with him I didn’t ask where we were going. I didn’t care.

The last time I was in a small plane a truly small plane, smaller than commercial, was September 17, 1995. One of the men I worked with had a small plane and he took his wife, a friend of mine and me to Nevada for the weekend. It was an old plane and a slow plane but he loved it and we all fit comfortably, had a decadent weekend and then flew home. On the way back I got to hold the control wheel for a minute or so and it was exhilarating.

I loved the feeling it gave me and hope one day to feel that again. Well actually I hope to have an extra two hundred thousand dollars laying around so I can get the plane I want along with some lessons (I’d totally forego ever having a butler if Mr. G would buy me a plane).

Of course after I hopped off that airplane more than 17 years ago I went to go meet some friends and have a drink. It was my first date with Mr. G. It’s possible that all those good feelings are completely intertwined for me and I have no idea which part of it made me feel so joyful. I just know that it was a very happy day.

On Sunday morning there was fog at the Santa Monica Airport. In fact there was so much fog that no planes were taking off and since the original plan was to fly to San Diego we had to decide on a new place to go. Somewhere closer since we weren’t going to be taking off at 10am as planned. So we sat in the car to wait and eat warm potato tacos from a ham tin.

We even talked about maybe not going at all because it was so foggy but my hair came to the rescue. I am absolutely convinced that my perfectly blow dried hair singlehandedly captured all the humidity in the air so that the clouds would part and we could take off.

We got a look at the planes and were relieved to find out we weren’t going in this one

 

We did finally get up and go and found ourselves in a Cherokee that was just right. In fact my yellow pants matched it’s yellow stripe and my spiky shoes were just perfect with the rudder pedals.

 

I never thought to be nervous because Steven (who can be ridiculous) is deadly serious when he talks about flying. In fact I even got a lecture about how the FAA was worse than the TSA and there would be no Instagramming at 6,000 feet. The term “social media bullshit” may or may not have been bandied about. William and I dutifully nodded and promised to behave. I was only shusshed a few times, we were as good as two fools could be.

Flying low is beautiful. I spent an hour with my head craning down over the city that I love looking for homes I used to live in (found and photographed), parks I ran around and boulevards I drive daily. I loved flying over a wind farm and the Mojave Desert. Apparently the Mojave Airport serves a parking lot of sorts for aircraft not being used at LAX.

When we got to Kern County the airport is sort of tucked away in a corner beyond a lake and in a valley. I was happy that Steven didn’t tell us that the landing made him nervous until we were safely there and eating lunch.

Here’s the airport.

No, really, that’s the whole airport. The lady who runs the snack bar is sweet as can be and is also from Manhattan Beach. Her son is younger than I am by two years (okay four… shut up) so we just missed each other growing up there.

 

And no trip would be complete without a picture of our fearless captain.

If you want to see all 254 pictures, they’re here.

Sitting Next to Kids on Airplanes

08.13.12

Mr. G and I flew home from San Francisco Sunday morning. Since it was Southwest we sort of had to scramble to find two seats together (not that we can’t survive solo) and in the second row there was a boy about our son’s age sitting against the window. He had the little placard around his neck identifying him as an unaccompanied minor.

Since I’m “the mom” I sat down in the middle and gave my husband the aisle. I also did this because I’m smaller than my husband but on a not completely subconscious level I knew that it would be more comfortable for me, a woman to be sitting next to this boy traveling alone.

Sitting next to him I said, “Hi.” He said, “Hi.” and looked uncomfortable. I asked him if he was returning from camp, the boy made no eye contact and said, “No.” He was silent for the rest of the flight. Someone had given him a lecture about not speaking to adults.

When I was getting off the plane I told Mr. G about this and I told him it was sad that a child didn’t know how to speak to an adult. I also found it peculiar that there were two unaccompanied minors on the plane and that both were at window seats. Why not seat them together? Why not put them on the aisle where they could actually be seen if there was so much concern about how the whole world is a child molester?

I told my husband that it made me sad that kids were taught to be fearful and to override their own judgement. It’s not normal for a ten year old child to be afraid to speak to people. We’re doing these children no favors. Frankly it was uncomfortable for me to have a boy next to me that wasn’t empowered to make a decision for himself. Kids fed this sort of stranger danger bullshit are dangerous for adults and my mind zipped to how horrible it must feel for a man to not be allowed to sit next to a child on Quantas airlines or to go into playground areas where there are chess tables.

I understand statistically speaking that men are more dangerous to our children than women. I also understand that there’s a level of grooming that happens and that teaching our children that strangers are not to be trusted is simply wrong. We need to teach our children that their own instincts can be trusted, they should trust themselves more than they should trust any adult including coaches, religious leaders, camp counselors, teachers, neighbors and anyone on staff at Penn State.

Empower your kids. Stop making them afraid of the world and stop making the world afraid of them.

JetLev in The OC: OMG I Can FLY

07.21.11

I got to fly. I flew over water with a jet pack on my back. Why? Because I’m the luckiest woman in the world.

It’s a really long story, but basically Kristi invited me to spend an afternoon in Newport Beach and try out the new JetLev before JetLev Southwest opens. The guys are all certified but they have to practice teaching people how to use the JetLev packs.

Of course I jumped at the opportunity. A few of my friends said things like, “isn’t that dangerous?” and “What do you mean by practice?” I’d looked at the contraption and it seemed safe…

When we got to Newport Beach the folks at Inside Edition were just finishing up. Apparently flying 30 feet above the water is popular.

Here’s the rundown. You have this pack on you and there are two arms, a seat and two boosters that shoot water down. A five point harness like a race car driver or a military pilot would wear holds the whole thing to you. On the dock I received some instruction about how to move your arms (less is more), how to get out of the water (lift your arms up) and how to use the kill switch (this is important so you don’t drown). I listened carefully, the dry dock instruction is the most important part of the day.

The guys strapped me in and then I did this.

Basically there’s a little remote boat that shoots water into the tube, then the water shoots out of your pack back down to the ocean forcing you up. I had a few instances where I wanted to go a little lower but forgot and shot myself higher, one where I went CRASHING into the water from about 20 feet up and a day later my bottom still hurts (see video).

I’ve always wanted to fly. Who wouldn’t want to? I remember being 22 and discovering rock climbing and mountaineering. I remember jamming my fingers and toes into tiny cracks a hundred feet in the air and thinking I beat nature. That exhilaration that one feels only when they know they’ve cheated death by climbing too high, driving too fast, jumping too far and running too fast, that’s the exhilaration I felt yesterday as I flew over the harbor in Orange County. What’s wonderful is that I was completely safe the whole time. On the shore my trainer Ryan Eastman had a remote control that looked a lot like what you’d use for a RC flyer that could override my controls and keep me safe. He was talking in my ear the entire time letting me know what I was doing right and how to maneuver when I got into tricky spots, which I frequently did.

I flew for about an hour, the first flight they controlled my throttle and after the second I took control of the throttle (hence the 20 foot drop). It was amazing, it was breathtaking, it was what man has dreamed of since the beginning of time. I got to fly, just me and a jet pack on the water.

JetLev isn’t open yet, they’re still practicing and if you’re in the harbor on a weekend you might find these guys messing around. Here’s a video of what it looks like when you do it right.


 

I’m All Talked Out

07.19.11

This morning started early. I was in a car at 3.20am to head over to Fox News so I could tape live for their show. I crawled back into bed at 5am and slept fitfully until almost 9.

I sent girls to the beach and took my son bowling. I worked in a few conference calls during the day. I’m working with a great brand that’s looking to connect with parenting bloggers so if I haven’t reached out to you yet, you know where to find me.

Tomorrow I’m going to fly. Really, I am. I’ll have some video for you tomorrow I hope.

I’m tired of talking about the Breastfeeding doll. It’s less creepy to me than a doll with a fake plastic nipple. Breastfeeding is normal. The halter is weird, but kids are weird. I remember the Barbie dream house coming with a chicken that laid eggs. The egg was a tic tac. I really wanted the dream house so I could eat the chicken’s tic tac egg. I also loved my brother’s Six Million Dollar Man doll. Whenever I look at the Intel logo I think of the chips in this stomach.

The wacky phone calls have begun. Hint to the nerds: when you call here pretending to be a reporter they typically start with this, “Hello this is [first name] [last name] from the [name of outlet] I was calling to [fact check/get a quote from you]. Is this a good time.” The phone calls don’t typically begin with, “I’m calling for Jessica, I’m with a small town newspaper.” And then you make up the name of a newspaper that doesn’t exist, ask me if Fox News is scripted and then you hang up. See, I’m helpful, I give tips.

I’m excited that I’ve joined the Moms Clean Airforce. I’d love to ask you to look at what you put into the environment and what you expect to take from it. There are many shades of green, and I’d like to move from lighter to a darker shade of green. Mindfulness is where it begins.

Tomorrow I’ll fly. Tomorrow blogging will be different.