Rude Canadians and the time we almost got kicked off a plane

Today’s blog post was inspired from Rachel’s post about wanting to meet a rude Canadian.

Bryon and I met a rude Canadian once.

Actually it was two rude Canadians.

We were on a cruise in February 2014.  It was the cruise we took when I was nine weeks pregnant (before Zika was a thing).  The cruise was aboard the Carnival Sunshine and we left from New Orleans and visited Montego Bay, Jamaica (never again), Grand Cayman (loved it) and Cozumel, Mexico (fun time).

That cruise could be dubbed a lot of different things:

The time I cruised when pregnant.

The cruise where I threw up Virgin Daquiri’s.  (Sorry).

The cruise where I pretty much just ate potato salad and loved it.

The cruise where Bryon got a bad sunburn and then had to pay $15 for aloe on the ship.  The label called it liquid gold and Bryon said it better be for that price.

The cruise where we hung out in the piano bar most nights.

The cruise where I met an Elvis impersonator.

The cruise where I won a geography trivia contest.

The cruise where the somelier at the steakhouse spilled Bryon’s Chateau Neuf de Pape while she was trying to transfer it from the bottle into the decanter.  I can still feel Bryon’s blood pressure rising over this.

The cruise where Bryon pissed off a Southern lady at the pizza stand.

But this story is about how we met rude Canadians.

On that cruise we made friends with another married couple from Florida.  The dining room was tight (as most dining rooms on cruise ships are) and our tables were next to each other.  We started chatting and remained friendly during the rest of the cruise.  In fact, we still remain Facebook friends.  Maybe I will cruise with them again.  If I can ever bring myself to go on another cruise.  That was Bryon and my thing.

Anyway, we invited this couple to be part of our team in a trivia contest.  This trivia contest was different than most. Instead of just writing your answers on a sheet, each team took a chance to answer a question.  If you got it right, you got the points.  If you got it wrong, the moderator went around the room asking everyone else until someone got it right or until she got back to the original contestant.  

Well this couple came in and joined the fun.  They were there own team and they called themselves  “The Canucks.”  To be honest, I can’t even remember the name of our own team.  

“The Canucks” were before us in the rotation of questions.  So whenever a team got an answer wrong, we would quietly discuss our answer as a team.  Somehow “The Canucks” heard us because they kept stealing our answers.  

Needless to say, we were pissed.  So on the next rounds, we got even quieter and Bryon would semi-loudly say “I think it’s *wrong answer*.  Yeah, I definitely think it is *wrong answer*”.  

“The Canucks” bought our fake answer and -surprise- they got it wrong.  Then it was our turn and we gave our correct answer and they glared at us.  

Now on the Carnival Sunshine as well as a lot of other Carnival ships, there was a cocktail bar called Alchemy.  The bartender on this cruise had actually been our bartender the previous year on the Carnival Glory.  We had become friends (still Facebook friends with her as well) and right before our trip on the Carnival Sunshine, she announced on Facebook that she was going to be on that ship.  So we were so excited to be reunited.  Most nights we would go have a beverage before dinner (non-alcoholic for me) and then we would return after the evening entertainment.  Well we are at the bar and the rude Canadian couple was there.  And they glared at us because we were friendly with the bartender.

They continued to glare at us whenever they saw us.  To be honest, Bryon and I thought it was kind of funny.  Though we were surprised because we had never met rude Canadians before and we usually went to Canada several times a year.

The story concludes with our the first leg of our flight home.  Our flight went from New Orleans to Chicago then to Albany.  We were using airlines miles (I have an airline credit card) and they did not have any coach seats available so we decided to use more miles and fly first class.  I am not going to lie, I loved it.  

We were sitting in the second row and we see the rude Canadians board the airplane.  Bryon, who already had a drink in his hand waves hello to them.  And, you guessed it, they glare at us.  

Oh, about the almost getting kicked off part-

We were started to taxi and the pilot announces that we were going to return to the gate for a security concern.  I look at Bryon.  He points to the seat in front of us and mouths to me that he thinks it’s them.  In the first row was a couple who had been extremely rude to the flight attendant.  

The gate manager comes up to our row and tells us we need to exit the airplane immediately. I just sat there in shock.  

The flight attendant comes up behind the gate manager and says “Row 1!  I said Row 1!”  

The gate man apologizes and then has the couple in the row 1 exit the plane.

I said to Bryon that the rude Canadians probably thought it was us getting kicked off the plane.

Bryon said that they will never know because they we way back in coach.

And then we laughed.  Like we were people who always flew first class.

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My one fun night in New York City

 

Bryon spent the last two and a half weeks of his life in New York City.  I had him moved from our regional medical center because he needed better care.  It was two of the most optimistic and the most scariest weeks of my life.   I was optimistic because he had a world class medical team caring for him.  I was scared because he was still very sick and I knew that even if he survived, the road to recovery was going to be complicated.

I don’t usually think about my time in New York.  I mean, it ended with Bryon dying.  

Yesterday I was reading about how one of my blogging friends spent her birthday in NYC.  She spent part of her day in Washington Heights, which was the part of NYC where Bryon’s hospital was located.  

It dawned on me that I can’t ignore New York City forever.  Someday I will  have to return.  I may want to take my daughter to see the Rockettes or take her to the Natural History Museum.  Or the Bronx Zoo.  Or maybe I would go with my Spanish teacher friend to find an Argentinian restaurant.  Or to see The Bangles with Kimmy Gibbler and my Latin Teacher friend the next time they go on tour.  It would be ridiculous to avoid a whole city for the rest of my life because of what happened.  I will probably just avoid Washington Heights.

So I was reading my blogging friends birthday post and then I was on Facebook.  I checked “On This Day” and sure enough, it was a post about the one fun thing I did during those two and a half weeks.

My daughter’s Godmother came down with her (now) fiance and got hotel rooms in the Times Square area.  She was telling me all about the city as we drove downtown.  I am a small town girl from Maine after all.  We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  It was my one fun night in New York City.

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Margarita
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Tacos
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Seinfeld restaurant
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View from the hotel room

Though there were other good things about being in the city.

I had a family to stay with.  They didn’t even know me but they knew Bryon.  They welcomed me into their home and they were so kind to me.  They stay ended up being short but had Bryon survived, he might have been in the city for months.  They never once gave me a time limit.  I know they were rooting for the slow recovery.  It would worth a trip to NYC to see them and have them meet my daughter.

Bryon’s friends in NYC got to see him.  That was great.

The team was much more optimistic and Bryon’s spirits were the best they had been through the whole ordeal.  In Albany, Bryon was too depressed to facetime with our daughter, but in NYC, he was happy facetiming her.

Bryon still had his sense of humor.  It took me a week to figure out that I could take the express train to get to the hospital faster.  He shook his head and rolled his eyes at me.

But right now, NYC remains the city where Bryon died.  Maybe someday I will return but it probably won’t be anytime soon.

Chicago 2017: Navy Pier

During my weekend in Chicago I really wanted to go take my daughter on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

I first rode on the Ferris Wheel in 2004.  It was the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I had attended a wedding in Wisconsin and it was ten days after my Grandma Sullivan died.  I had found out while I was working.  It was a Friday and my father and I had been planning to leave that day to try to get to Massachusetts before she passed but we were too late.

I can still remember what I did in those ten days:

Friday- Grandma died.
Saturday- Went to Massachusetts (5 hours away from my home in Maine).
Sunday- Grandma’s wake.
Monday- Grandma’s funeral.
Tuesday- Went back to Maine.
Wednesday- Helped my mother prepare for Thanksgiving
Thursday- Thanksgiving
Friday- Flew from Bangor, ME to Madison, WI (via Cincinnati) to attend the wedding of a friend that I had attended university with while I was in England.  My cousin (from the other side of the family) was crazy enough to fly up from Florida to attend as my guest.
Saturday- Wedding just outside of Madison, WI
Sunday-  Went to Milwaukee with my cousin.  We went to the Milwaukee Public Museum, had lunch at Usingers, and toured the Colonel Pabst Mansion.

I couldn’t resist posting this Wayne’s World clip.

On Monday my cousin was crazy enough to take a bus to Chicago with me.  She was crazy enough walk around Chicago with me for 12 hours in the cold, November rain.  We had pizza at Gino’s, walked by Wrigley field, went to the top of Sears tower and rode the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

I have no pictures of myself on the Ferris Wheel but here is one of me on the El.

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Chicago 2004

And because I talking about the cold November rain got this song stuck in my head…here you go-

I returned to Maine that Tuesday.

There were lots of things that I did not know at that time.  I had just gotten involved in politics but I had not even heard of the Young Republicans.  18 months after that trip to Chicago, I would attend the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  On that trip, I would attend a party at the Romanian Embassy and on the shuttle bus ride there, I would sit behind a girl from Chicago who would become on of my best friends. (You met her here)

In the fall of 2007, I was living in Southern Indiana with another friend from the Young Republicans.  I was on a three months contract for work.  My roommate and I drove up to Chicago to see my best friend and another good friend in Chicago.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and then went to Navy Pier.  And we rode the Ferris Wheel.

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Chicago 2007
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Chicago 2007
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Chicago 2007

In 2007 we were single girls travelling around the country, attending political meetings and partying with future leaders and elected officials (some of them surprised us).

In 2012, we both got married.  I got married in September in Albany and she got married in December in Mexico.  Her location was a bit more exotic than mine but it didn’t matter.  We were both there for each other on our big days.

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Albany, 2012
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Mexico, 2012

We both had our daughters in 2014.  Her daughter came in April and mine came in September.  They are exactly 5 months apart.

And she was there for me when Bryon died.  She made the trip to Albany (along with the other lovely lady in her wedding photo).  They actually already had the plans to be in NYC the weekend that ended up being the weekend of Bryon’s funeral.  His birthday was the day after his funeral and she made arrangements to meet my father halfway between NYC and Albany to bring our daughter to see him for his birthday.   I told Bryon that he would see our daughter, as long as the doctors said it was okay.  He was excited.

But he died a week before his birthday.

And now I am here.  A widow.  Travelling as much as a I can this year to make up for the fact that I spent most of 2016 in an ICU room watching Bryon slowly die.  And because I promised him as he was dying that I would still take our daughter on adventures.

So that brings me to Chicago in 2017.  With my best friend and our young daughters.  And I wanted to go to Navy Pier to ride the Ferris Wheel…again.

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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017

Both of the little ones enjoyed the ride.  I can’t remember if it was my friends daughters first time or not.  I think it’s safe to say that when my daughter and I return, that we will go on the Ferris Wheel again.  Maybe next time, she will be tall enough for some of the other rides.

 

Just a quick note

The last ten days have been a whirlwind.  My daughter and I traveled to Chicago to see my best friend and her daughter and the following weekend we went to Maine for my other best friend’s wedding.  I had a great time on both of these trips.  They were good for my soul.  I will blog about these adventures as I catch up over the next couple of days.

There will even be food pics.

I am trying to not be overwhelmed by all the catching up I need to do.  I am trying to embrace the chaos.  Yes, my life is crazy, but I am spending time with amazing people and having some great experiences.  

I have so much to write about.  I just need to find more hours in the day to write.  I just need a few days to catch up and re-center.  And once I do that,  I will share my two recent trips, the garden post I promised Roda, awards posts and everything else.  I hope to resume commenting on my blogging friends’ posts soon.  And I haven’t forgotten about a post for you Linda!

Boston, 2015: Swan Boats and a rowing machine

July 18, 2015

It was a Saturday morning.  The baby woke up and usually I would be the one to get our daughter.  But this morning, Bryon told me he would get her.  I laid in bed thinking it was nice.  A lazy morning in bed is a rarity.

It didn’t last long.

5 minutes later Bryon came into our bedroom and asked that question-

“Hey, do we have anything planned today?”

I knew exactly where he was going with this.  He had spent the last 24 hours looking for a used rowing machine on craigslist because he wanted a fancy one without paying the price for one new.

I respond with an un-phased “where did you find a rowing machine?”

“I found one in Arlington.”

This peaks my interest.  Being a native of the Boston area, I knew he meant Arlington, Massachusetts.  And I am always up for an adventure and I love Boston.

“So if we go to Arlington, is there any chance we can go to Boston?  I want to take our daughter on the Swan Boats.”

The Swan Boats are a Boston institution after all.

Bryon assured me that since he couldn’t pick up the rowing machine from the seller until 5 pm that there would be plenty of time to go on the Swan Boats.

So off to Boston we went.  We stopped for breakfast at Chick-Fil-A in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

We arrived in Boston and we parked at Alewife and took the Red Line to Downtown Crossing.

I love my daughters impression of her first subway ride.

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A perfect summer day in Boston.  Bryon and I decided that we wanted our daughter to know both Boston and New York City when she got a little older.  I wanted to do a trip to Boston in the summer and I wanted to take her to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park.  Bryon said he wanted to bring our daughter to New York City at Christmastime.

This ended up being our only trip to Boston together.

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That face.

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Bryon always loved wearing a Pawtucket hat instead of a Boston hat.  He loved that only true baseball fans and true Red Sox fans knew that the “P” stood for Pawtucket.

(For all you non-baseball fans, Pawtucket is the minor league baseball team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox.  They are located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.)

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We went to get the rowing machine at around 5.  The machine was a bigger model than advertised and we struggled to fit it into our Suburu Forrester.  Luckily we were able to take it apart and get all the pieces in.  Bryon was thrilled because he would have been willing to pay more for this model.

Just in case anyone is wondering, it isn’t the model that Frank Underwood uses on House of Cards.  Bryon told me once that it is model lower than that.

Bryon and I joked that the guy we bought the rowing machine from was the Boston version of his brother because the houses look the same as the ones in his brothers neighborhood.  Also, the guy we were purchasing the rowing machine from had two sons the same ages as Bryon’s nephews and one even had the same name.

The only difference was that Bryon’s brother does not have much hair and the guy we bought the rowing machine from had a ponytail.  Bryon was really good at reading people and he said that the guy still had the ponytail to show the world that he was still a non-conformist even if he sold out to corporate America.  Bryon always made me laugh.

The rest of these photos (courtesy of Facebooks “On This Day” feature) were taken back at home.  Most days I am content with my daughter being my only child.  Even if I were to fall in love again, I will be 39 this summer.  I am not sure I want to go through the sleepless nights again.  And the pumping.

But then I look at these photos of my daughter and then I feel a twinge of sadness that she will be my only child.

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Lubec, Maine and Saint John, New Brunswick

May 22-25, 2009
Surry, ME
Lubec, ME
Saint John, NB
Alma, NB

When I started this blog, I was only planning on writing about Bryon’s death forward.  Facebook reminded me today that On This Day eight years ago, Bryon arrived from New York for his first trip to Maine.  It was before I moved to Albany.  I felt like I wanted to share what I remember about that trip.  I don’t want to forget before my daughter is old enough to hear the story so if I write it here, she will likely get a better account.  A preservation of sorts. Also, I am riding a pretty harsh grief wave and maybe writing about this will give me a break from the grief.

As I was saying, Facebook reminded me that 8 years ago, I was excitedly awaiting to arrive of my love.  It was a Friday.  It was his first time coming to Maine and his first time meeting the parents.  That was back when there was that topless donut shop in Vassalboro, ME and Bryon was getting a rise out of me by telling me he was going to stop.  He didn’t actually stop but he enjoyed pulling my chain.

Saturday Bryon and I began the 3 hour drive to Saint John, New Brunswick.  We made a stop at the West Quoddy Lighthouse in Lubec so we could say we had been to the most eastern point in the United States.

 

We arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in the late afternoon.  Bryon was driving and somehow knew his way around even without using Google Maps.  He had an amazing sense of direction. We stayed at a Delta Hotel.  We had dinner at the Saint John Alehouse which boasted the largest collection of beers on tap in Eastern Canada.  They had 29 beers which Bryon found charming.  We both ate these delicious burgers with a cheese that was flavored with Guinness and we both had a side of poutine.  Bryon was talking about hockey with the bartender.

The next day, we drove another hour and a half to the Bay of Fundy National Park.  I remember we passed a cute historic little cemetery and I was sad we didn’t stop.  (I have fascination with old cemeteries.)  Bryon assured me it was okay that we didn’t stop because they were probably Loyalists anyway.

We spent the day at the National Park.  It was beautiful.  We had lunch at a restaurant in a little coastal New Brunswick village named Alma.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but I remember that we ate fried clams and that the service was not good.

That night we had dinner back in Saint John at a restaurant that overlooked the Reversing Falls.  We went out a bar after but I don’t remember the name.

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The next morning, we stopped at Moosehood Brewery and Bryon bought a few pint glasses on clearance.  I think they have all been broken.  At some point, we went to the New Brunswick Museum but I don’t remember where that fit into the timeline.

On the way, I remember we stopped at a gas station and convenience store in rural New Brunswick because we weren’t sure if we had enough has to get back to the US.  (If you are not from the US or Canada, the reason we wanted to get back to the US is because gas is much less expensive here.   So if you drive to Canada from the US, always, always, always fill your tank before you cross the border.)  We put in ten dollars worth of gas figuring that would get us back to the US. Bryon couldn’t resist playing some scratch-offs.

I was excited that we were stopped on the International line.

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So many details I don’t remember.  Makes me glad that I now keep a travel journal and I write down all the mundane details like the names of restaurants and what we ate and every Museum we go to.  I want my daughter to know every detail of our adventures.  But I want to give her some idea of the adventures her Mom and Dad had before her.

Brunette Catholic, blonde Buddhist or somewhere in between?

I always thought I had a strong sense of who I was.  And I never questioned my own authenticity.  Yes, on the outside I am from a small Maine town but many people don’t realize that I spent the first 14 years of my life in the Boston area.  I spent a semester abroad in England when I was 21.  Besides Boston, I have spent time in London, Paris, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Houston, New Orleans, Vegas and many other cities.  I am fairly educated and worldly.  I just try not to be pretentious about it.

I have always been a rule follower whether it was my Catholic religion or sitting in school.  I was not a kid who got in (much) trouble.  I did get caught daydreaming a lot but there was a whole world outside whatever window I was looking out of.  I can’t say I never broke the rules in high school but I pretty much did as I was told.  I did not drink in high school or go to gravel pit parties.  I rarely stayed out past curfew (though my parents were pretty lenient as long as I called) though sometimes I stayed the night at my best friends house because she did not have a curfew. This created a kind of late night loophole that I would take advantage of. (Sorry Mom and Dad!)

I stretched my wings a little bit when I was in college.  A few weeks into my freshman year I decided to get an eyebrow ring.  It was 1997 and it was before they became popular.  It actually looked good on me though I don’t think any picture exists.  I didn’t think it through because I was heading home the following week and figured I would just take it out when I was around my parents.  My parents never saw it (though my brother saw it and he kept threatening to tell them).  I realized that I was never going to have the guts to wear it in front of my parents and I couldn’t handle the pressure of living a double life so the eyebrow ring didn’t last.

And of course, there was the road trip my friends and I took to St. Stephen, New Brunswick just so we could go to the bars when we were 19.  I remember walking along the Saint Croix River, pointing to the Maine side and laughing because we “couldn’t drink over there but we can drink over here.”  I always think of that trip every time I hear “One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies.  I wasn’t a saint but I kept myself out of trouble.

I was a very hyper and annoying kid and somewhere along the way, I figured that I had to bottle up my true self to fit in with people.  I would just sit quietly because I didn’t want to become hyper and weird and annoying.  I chose to only open up to a few.  I liked to participate in structured activities so I only had to discuss the topics on hand.

After college, I started dating the guy who would later become my ex-boyfriend.  I think of him as kind of an anti-Bryon because he was the exact opposite of Bryon.  One could argue that Bryon was the over correction of this guy. I could probably write a whole post on him and what I learned from that relationship.   In very general terms Bryon was a Catholic, Republican, manly-man who loved sports while the anti-Bryon was a Protestant, Democrat, non-manly man who preferred science fiction to sports.  Another big difference was that Bryon actually liked me while the anti-Bryon did not.  I think I was someone who paid for dates for two and a half years.  He never embraced me for who I was and I spent two and a half years trying to be the woman he wanted.

After I broke up with the anti-Bryon, I got absorbed into the world of politics and most notably, the Young Republicans.  I embraced the lifestyle of Republican politics and I wore suits, heels, pearls and the Sarah Palin hairstyle.  I loved politics because it was like I was an actress playing a role.  I didn’t have to worry that I was shy and awkward.  Politics gave me a way to relate to people.  It was also during my time in politics that I learned conversation skills and poise.

Politics led me to the best years of my life.  My years with Bryon.  The years where I became a wife and mother.  And like everything else, being a wife and mother provided me with a role that I was more than happy to assume.  Bryon did love me for me but relationships are always filled with give and take.  Bryon had the successful career and I pretty much was content to live in his shadow.  It might have caused some contention between us at times but I don’t regret it. Especially since he apparently wasn’t meant to be here as long as the rest of us.

I have heard that during widowhood, you begin to question everything you once believed.  I thought I had myself and the world all figured out.  While I learned that I am much, much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for, I also learned just how much Bryon overcompensated for my weaknesses.  I don’t have him to cover for me anymore. I have learned that I can count on my family and I have also learned which of my friends are actually my family.  I have learned who I can’t count on (some were surprising) and which friends really weren’t friends. I learned that you can’t put all your faith into the healthcare system and that the healthcare system can fail you.  And I learned that God  doesn’t care if you did your best to be a good Catholic girl for over 30 years.

All those years of trying to fit into roles and groups has left me with a repressed free spirit.  I have always had a free spirit that gets antsy and wants to see the world.  It used to drive Bryon nuts when I wanted to day trip to anywhere, as long as it was out of Albany. He usually indulged me. I also have a creative side.  I am still in the process of trying to let those parts of me out.  I have been running.  I have been travelling.  I have been cooking new recipes and putting together furniture from IKEA.  I have been reading about Buddhism to try to stay Zen.  I have been in the process of changing over to natural cleaning and beauty products.  I plan to have a garden this summer and learn how to can vegetables.  I tried to dye my hair blonde but that didn’t work.  And don’t be fooled if you ever see all the books on my nightstand.  You might see titles that consist of history, religion, politics, business, memoirs, parenting and grief/self help but the last two books I read consisted of one by the Long Island Medium and the other was Jodie Sweetin’s memoir.  Candace Cameron Bure’s memoir isn’t proving to be nearly as exciting as Jodie Sweetin’s memoir.

I realize that I was just afraid.  I have been afraid of success and I have been afraid of failure.   I have been afraid to let people see the real me.  I had a clearly defined past and I have been afraid to stray from the expectation of who I am supposed to be.   I have been afraid that if I tried something different or learned about something different that it might change how I think.  And if I continue to be afraid, I will never fully live and I must fully live to be an example for my daughter.  So my daughter can grow into the woman she is supposed to be.