A trip to OH is always rife with mixed emotions for both R and I. On the plus side it is great to see family and friends, eat the foods we miss so much (Graeters, Skyline, LaRosa's) and introduce the baby around. Sadly, the city where I grew up has fallen into disrepair. The economy is shot and the neighborhood where I grew up is falling apart. There is nothing like the rubbled remains of the mall where you used to hang or the movie theater you frequented with your mom to bum a person out. You really can never go home again.
A few observations from our trip:
1.) If you fly an airline called "Sky Bus", expect the same service you might get from a bus line. And when I say bus, I mean the Fung Wah (home of the $10 round trip China town service between NY and Boston. It only catches on fire twice a year). Greyhound would have been luxurious in comparison. Last night we waited THREE HOURS for them to figure out how to actually get us back home. There were many young families with some very unhappy, cranky children up way past their bedtimes once we arrived back in Boston at 1 a.m. No vouchers, no explanations, just an obnoxious jocularity--a "we're all in this together" attitude that made me want to punch someone. The irony is that we paid $400 for our tickets. Those who snagged the $10 tickets seemed content to wait it out, but if you pay for airmail and you get donkey cart, you would be a little cranky, too.
2.) Never, NEVER rent a car seat from the car rental agency. We arrived at the Columbus airport on Friday, rented our car and promptly realized why so many parents on our flight had been lugging their Britax car seats halfway across the country. The Avis car seat resembled a circa 1985 gray bucket with a colorful, yet lice-ridden cover. They set it up, put it on the passenger side and left. I touched the seat and it fell over. After throwing a fit, I was informed that the seat was their only option and that it was perfectly safe. Um, yeah. If one's idea of "perfectly safe" is strapping her to the roof and hoping for sunshine. After two seconds riding in the back with her, it was clear that car seat had to go. So we were off to Baby's R' Us to get the Britax Roundabout (we have the Marathon already). It was a $220 well spent as far as I am concerned. Call me a car seat snob, but I would spend more than that to keep my daughter alive.
3.) Morgan Spurlock's examination of fatty food in Supersize Me was about on target with how I felt this week. I threw my diet to the wind and was soon feeling the physical effects of fast food, chocolate, pies and fat-laden cuisine. Since arriving home, I have commenced a detox diet in the hope that I will no longer feel sluggish, nauseous and hot.
4.) Trendy baby names run rampant in my home state. All over the airport it was "Emma come here!" "Jordan stop!" and "Brianna be nice to your sister." Sheesh. I am all for the freedom to name babies whatever people want. But when an entire class is likely to be filled with Emmas, Alexs and Maddox's (yes, I actually heard this name while I was there), I have to plead for some originality. When I was young, I knew 10 Jennys. Now it is Emma, Emily, Mikayla and whatever Ang and Brad's latest is called. I know some people take issue with the name Samara, but I am very happy with the fact that not every other girl will share her name. And after reading Freakonomics, I now know just how much of one's life is determined by their name.
It was a whirwind trip and we have another planned for August. But it was great to let Samara meet all of her relatives for a "If Mohammed Won't Come to the Mountain" themed visiting extravaganza.