Friday, August 29, 2014

FFS!? Friday : Have you lost weight?

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Golden Rule : Never ask after someone's weight unless you know, without a doubt, that they have lost weight.

Obvious, right?

Not to kids who know nothing but brutal honesty.  FFS!?

It all started with some one-on-one time.

The other night, Miss5 was cuddling up to me in bed.  It was one of those rare, loving, mother-daughter moments.  No FFS!?

Which she promptly ruined:

      Miss5:  Mummy, you look like you losed weight.

      Me:      Really?

      Miss5:  Yeah.  Did you loseded weight Mummy?

      Me:      I don't know, but I don't think so.

      Miss5:  Well I think you did.

      Me:      Well thank you love, that's a nice thing to say.

      Miss5:  I know you losed weight because your head looks bigger.

Because my head looks bigger.  FFS!?

Five years old and she's mastered the back-handed compliment.  FFS!?

Is it even possible for your head to get bigger?

How could she tell, lying down in bed, blankets covering the rest of me.  FFS!?

I mean, really, I think it's a bit of an unfair judgement call on her part.  She wasn't really assessing me from my best angle.  FFS!?

I was so tempted to retalliate by saying that she has a lovely shaped eyebrow.  As in singular.  As in mono-brow.  FFS!?

But I'm above that, because I'm her mother and she learns from my examples.

So, instead, I just outed her monobrow on the internet.  Heh.

I do love my kids, but sometimes they make it really hard.  FFS!?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Upgrade fail : A brief pause at the pointy end of the plane

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Following on from Monday's post about my near miss with a Cambodian cavity search, I bring you the lead up / follow on / surrounding fail that accompanied that whole 'experience'.

Without fail, I always choose the slowest check-in queue.  Every time.

Pick the shortest queue - and it's being served by a trainee with "search and destroy" typing skills.

Pick the middle queue that appears to be moving the fastest - and the family of 11 in front of me realise they've only booked for 10 upon reaching the counter.

Swapping queues is a big mistake - for me.

If I leave your queue, it is the best thing in the world that I can do for you.  Because, as soon as I leave, you will zoom to the front of the queue at the speed of light.

However, if I move into your queue, you can kiss your formerly steady progression to the front of the queue goodbye.  Any one of the previously listed delays will occur, culminating in a computer malfunction, staff changeover, or really important and lengthy phone call that requires at least 10 minutes of the check-in staff member's undivided attention.


And so, upon carefully selecting a check-in queue at Phnom Penh airport, I watched the 4 people from our building group also travelling on the same flight, speed through the check in process via other queues.

My niece was all 'family first' and stuck with me.

Big mistake.

We swapped queues twice, thus rendering those in our queue completely stagnant to the point where one mother directed her young child to go sit down near the wall and she'd call her when the line moved.

She never called her while we were behind her, but as soon as we moved, her queue leapt forward.

Finally, after decades in the queue, we were checked in.

Followed by my unfortunate hour with the airport officials.

Meaning I was able to find and join the rest of the group around 40 minutes before departure.

Which was plenty of time for them to catch me up on the drinks and snacks they'd managed, the shopping they'd done.

Naturally, our flight is delayed.

I'm the idiot who stays in the queue while everyone else sits down for an hour.

Of course.

Finally, we board, I'm enjoying the smugness that comes with paying for the front row and all that leg room and priority boarding, as the rest of the group finally shuffle on to their seats towards the back.

I motion to the spare seat next to me, which is met with a 2 finger salute.


Then the extremely tall passenger behind me takes his shoes off and puts his feet up on my arm rest.

All the ewwwww.

We reach Kuala Lumpur and, having talked up the whole OptionTown bargain upgrade program, I am delighted to get through the transit check-in process and wave my successfully upgraded ticket in the faces of my lowly economy travelling companions.

We're talking totally gracious, IN YOUR FACE, SUCKERS!

Come time to board and I am overjoyed to see my fellow travellers reluctantly shuffling towards the back end of the plane while I'm already comfortably seated at the pointy end - I get them to stop and observe the full range of push-button movement as I demonstrate the range of the flat bed.

They are all super psyched for me, I can tell.

Minutes later and the last passenger rushes on board.

I'm chatting to the pointy end passenger next to me when this late comer walks up to my seat, before turning around and heading back to speak to the flight attendant.

Poor love, she's obviously having trouble finding her seat....

Much confusion ensues, capturing the attention of all passengers within earshot.

I hear the latecomer say to the hostess, "Look, I really don't care.  I just want the plane to take off on time", before heading back to the economy section and sitting down.

Ground staff are bought on board the plane and a few minutes pass before they arrive at my seat.

"I'm afraid you're sitting in the wrong seat."  Said loud enough for all of Premium and the first half a dozen rows of economy to hear.  Thus meaning everyone is now looking at me as the loser who is holding up their departure, and trying to steal someones seat at the pointy end of the plane.

"No no, no I'm not.  I paid for the upgrade, check my booking".  Said with mild panic.

"Yes, but so did the other passenger.  It seems that the upgrade has been sold twice."  Said apologetically, and with far less volume than their previous statement, meaning other passengers haven't heard that I am not stealing someones seat at the pointy end.

"Well I'm sorry, but that's not my fault.  I just heard the other passenger say they didn't care.  She appears quite happy to sit in economy."  Wreaking of desperation at this point.

"I'm very sorry Madam, but that passenger purchased her upgrade at the airport, direct with the airline.  You purchased yours from a third party, therefore we must insist that you move.  We will ensure you receive a refund."  Tone of voice reminiscent of a well trained teacher handling a child about to burst into tears (quite apt, at the time).

Nevermind the whole 'Madam' thing.  When did I become a 'Madam' and not a youthful 'Miss'?

And so I am escorted back to the lowly economy section, all eyes on me.

Straight past the front row economy seat with the extra leg room that I had originally paid for, because the airline had, of course, sold that prime seat on as an upgrade to somebody else once they had registered my own move to the pointy end.

I mean, seriously, could it get any worse?

Yes, yes it could.

My travelling companions who I had been so quick to show off to in the 5 minutes that my arse was making an imprint in the pointy end flat bed seat, were so far at the back of the plane that they were not even aware of any of this.

Until I told them, upon arrival back into Perth.

Eventually they stopped laughing.

Worst trip home, ever.

Including the time I did score an upgrade, and then got incredibly sick from the fancy business class food, spending 4 days in bed upon returning home.

Since returning home I have since been consoling / torturing myself by watching YouTube clips of First Class travel.  Because, you know, I can dream.  And, clearly, I must be a bit of a masochist.

Next time....

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Faux Transformer related cavity search crisis averted

It's been a week between posts, but my butt cheeks have only just sufficiently un-clenched in order for me to recount the tale of how a dodgy knock-off Transformer nearly cost me my modesty.

They day I was leaving Cambodia, I realised while packing, that I had a bazillion more things for Miss5 and Miss8 than I had for Mstr5.  Panic stricken at what would be his obvious assumption that I loved him less on account of the 2 gifts for him and 28 each for the girls....thus prompting him to act out via a downward spiral into cutting school and experimenting with drugs and booze....I jumped into a tuk tuk and headed to the Phnom Penh equivalent of a $1 shop.

The 4000 Riel shop.

Just imagine, if you will, the quality toys you can get for 4,000 Riel in a time-poor, panicked frenzy.

So I chose a dodgy, knock-off Transformer.

It was from the expensive end of the 4,000 Riel shop.  The high end section.  It was 12,000 Riel - Three Dollars.

Hey big spender!  Mummy missed you soooo much, to the tune of three dollars!

So I rushed back to the hotel, finished packing, downed a final $2 cocktail and headed to the airport with my travelling companions, including my niece.

Which is where it all turned to shit.

(More about my stellar airport skillz in the next post).

After a few decades in the check in queue, we headed upstairs and through immigration.  Finally, the light at the end of the check-in tunnel - Duty Free and the bar - were a mere hand luggage security check away!

My niece went through, boarding pass scanned, and waited on the other side for me.

And waited, and waited, and waited, and watched as an armed airport guard collected me and marched me downstairs.

Something about WEAPON.  YOU HAVE.  CASE.  WEAPON.  WITH ME.  NOW.

Nothing kills my travel buzz quicker than an armed guard with poor English skills questioning me about a WEAPON IN MY CASE.

Everybody was looking at me as I was quickly led back the wrong way through immigration and downstairs, and out the back behind the check in counters to a rabbit warren of different rooms and baggage scanning equipment.

I was treated to a vague pat down, and then motioned towards a private room which had a box of RUBBER GLOVES ON THE WALL.


It was possibly just an interview room, but you know, rubber gloves on the wall and I watch Border Security, so I knew cavity searches were a possibility.  In hindsight, not likely for a Transformer misdemeanor, probably more a suspected drug mule.  But, hey, I was freaking out and I saw rubber gloves!

Anyway, it was at this point that my arse cheeks clenched up and remained that way until just a few days ago.

Just before I was led into the room that signalled the point of no return, my suitcase was hauled up onto the bench.


No, no.  No weapon.  No, no.  No.

Suitcase opened and contents flung about and, finally, the bloody faux Transformer is pulled out of the case and eyed with suspicion.

I probably paid too much.  I get the suspicion - who pays $3 at a $1 shop, right?

The toy was poked and prodded in its plastic packaging, arms were broken off but I wasn't about to be all "hey, what up with the heavy handling?".  I didn't want to appear rude or anything.

Then the guard pointed to an image of one of these banned electronic mosquito bats.

The kind that I could easily get at home for $5 from the discount store if I had the urge to play tennis with mosquitoes....

Seriously?  How does a toy robot look remotely like that?

I mean, really:

I am not the most observant person, but even I can't see the similarities, the link that led airport security to believe these two things were one and the same.

Thankfully, the door to what may or may not have been the cavity search room was promptly slammed shut and the guard motioned for me to re-pack my case.

"Is okay. You can go now!"  said with a big, friendly smile.

Tell that to my butt cheeks that were still in lock-down mode.

I was so relieved I didn't know whether to fist bump him or hug him.  Instead I gushed a million relieved thank yous - which I'm certain just made me appear guilty and like I'd dodged a bullet, and therefore when I return next year, I am expecting a repeat performance.

I'm pretty sure I could score my own episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive, based on this experience, right?

With Angelina Jolie playing me.  Naturally.

While I'd like to say that my thoughts were with my children during what I expected to be my last 30 minutes of freedom, truth be told, they weren't.  I was more concerned with the possibility off a cavity search, and trying to work out when I last took care of business.

Lest I present anything less than cavity-search-ready, had it have gone to that next step.

My take out from the whole experience?
  • Never ever pay more than a dollar for anything at a Dollar Shop.  Globally.
  • Never buy imitation toys.  Not only are they shit quality, but they will also get you into big trouble.  Particularly when you get home and have to explain to your son why his faux Transformer is handicapped - wounded in the line of duty was my explanation.  He didn't buy it, and so I had to buy a genuine Transformer to placate him.  My $3 bargain ended up costing me $28 and a large chunk of my sanity.
  • And mostly, never ever travel unless you are completely prepared.  And by prepared, I mean groomed.

Next year I will be going in totally prepared....

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