Smokey the Magnificent

Failing the Turing Test since 1986


Three days.

We are leaving in THREE DAYS.

Well, four, technically. We’re spending the night in an airport hotel. But in terms of packing, sewing, organising things, getting the house into housesitter-acceptable condition and trying to look up all the landmarks we might later kick ourselves for having missed… three.

On the debit side, I have two tops, a coat and three dresses to finish sewing before we go. In the black, there are now only three days in which we can contract chicken pox, break our legs, die in a car crash or consume dodgy ham, thus ruining the whole enterprise. This thought has begun to consume my mind. I hurt my toe while ironing the other day (don’t ask) and immediately thought “Welp, this is it”. I wince every time the snortlepig jumps off something. Miles – well, he’s a walking advertisement for travel insurance at the best of times.

We do have travel insurance, fortunately. The brochure was alarmingly specific. Under Loss of Limb, it informed us that the going rate for a severed toe is $50 per. Does that seem low to you? I mean, I’m attached to my toes – if a hygienic but maniacal surgeon offered to lop them off for me, I doubt I’d be convinced at any price – but for $50, I wouldn’t even be tempted. And shouldn’t it be on some kind of scale? I mean, surely losing five toes is more than five times as debilitating as losing one – balance-wise, aesthetically, when purchasing shoes, not to mention repelling potential life partners. If only I’d done better at maths in my youth, I could sell the formula to insurance companies and make my millions.

Also, our travel insurance will not pay out for kidnap if they can prove you’ve been kidnapped before. As if kidnappability is a pre-existing condition. Never having been kidnapped before – at my most portable ages, people tended to wish to get rid of me rather than the reverse – I can’t muster up too much rage about this, but it’s a curious bylaw. I suppose most repeat offenders come from wealthy families who can afford to pay their own ransom, which is sort of the point, isn’t it? Still, it seems rather like victim-blaming. Like losing your no-claims bonus if you get hit by a drunk driver. Life ain’t fair.

Tijuana isn’t covered either. Tijuana is a Bad Place, people. So are Greyhound bus stations. It is fortunate that Google is so happy to reveal the sordid underbellies of American life, and equally fortunate that Helpdesk Man hasn’t lost the childhood paranoia born from living in South Africa which causes him to shy away from unattended luggage, or I’d probably end up leaping right into a drug mule conscription van in the hope that it sold hot dogs.

[Brief pause to google ‘can you take needles on a plane?’ According to Mental Floss: Cremated remains are permitted as both carry-on and checked items, but an agent has to be able to sift through them.”And on the TSA website: “Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag, as the passenger’s other liquids, such as shampoo, toothpaste and cosmetics.” Fascinating.]

Anyhoo. Back to sewing. Have I mentioned I’m on my fourth sewing machine in a week? Mine finally gave up the ghost, bobbin-jamming every two seconds and emitting angry noises. Then I borrowed Mother’s ancient Janome, which sews like butter for the first six inches of every seam and then shreds the thread. Then I borrowed one from a friend, who got it from her mother and had never used it. It was of an extremely peculiar design and didn’t sew – probably an Autobot which failed to do its research. Now I’m using my sister-in-law’s machine, which fortunately works and is similar enough in construction to my old one that I don’t keep wildly pawing at the air trying to find the presser foot. Such excitement. Here’s the pig in her Wonder Woman outfit.

  1. trish

    A) Make sure to check the beds for bed bugs at the airport hotel. No really. In all kindness. B) It’s good to know now which of my snow globes I can pack and which I’d need to leave. Always difficult when packing! C) That is a cool costume. D) I hope you have a most excellent holiday!

  2. Maria

    I’m very excited for you! Look forward to seeing the pictures & hearing the stories!

  3. smokering

    How does one check for bed bugs? I mean, if they’re readily visible, surely people would notice them. Does it require an electron scanner or UV wand or a small piece of cheem placed on the pillow as bait?

  4. trish

    Well, if I were a bed bug, I would probably want most to snack on Tiny Miles out of all of you. So, if I wasn’t such a fan of him, I’d suggest putting him in the bed, waiting an hour or so, then pull back the sheet and see if anything was feasting on him. However, since he’s never done anything remotely horrible to me, apparently you are meant to check along the mattress seams for signs of eggs and such. I only mention it because a lady in one of the Auckland ones got bitten quite badly before Christmas. It was in the news.

  5. Krissy

    Disney hotels do sometimes have bed bugs. You check by pulling up the blankets/sheets really quickly and looking for small black dots.

    I hope you are having fun. 🙂

  6. Smokering

    No bedbugs. Unfortunately, dying of the lurgy. Great timing, right? Luckily today was a non-Disneyland day, so we can malinger in style. We have a park view! Before I collapsed yesterday we managed to do a few things. Star Tours is awesome! So are the teacups. Tiny Miles proved to be a bit of a wimp, finding the King Arthur Carousel scary, but he liked It’s a Small World. The pig is obsessed with spending her American money, mostly on lip gloss and nail polish. Ooh, and I had a Dole Whip float!

  7. trish

    Yay! re bedbugs. Crikey, posh! re park view. Aw re dying. As you can see, I popped in on the off-chance of exciting tales. Life here has had its moments though. We absolutely rocked at holding our own yum cha last Sunday, and I have gotten a huge amount of blueberries this season so far – about a handful a day. So, I mean, it’s not park views or anything, but … oh, and …. read a story today about a 74 year-old lady who opened an exterior compartment in her suitcase when she was about to go on holiday again, and found out that the last time she came back from Australia a couple of years ago, she had unwittingly been used to import 50K worth of amphetamines. You can never have too many travel terror tales to bear in mind I think.

  8. Krissy

    I’m glad you get to rest with a lovely view. 🙂 I love Dole Whips. 😀