Flying Frequently?

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I’m on airplanes.  A lot.  The experience of jet travel has slowly declined since its inception.  The days of the glamorous jetliner where guests dressed in their finest and were seated in the lap of luxury are now long long gone – unless of course you can fork over the cash to upgrade into business class (or better).  For the majority, the experience is nothing better than a flying Greyhound bus – perhaps worse as you’re often trapped in your miniscule seat for hours and hours with no chance for escape at the next stop.

From the start, the whole concept of flying is completely backwards from any other consumer experience we face today.  Think about it – in what other industry do you pay hundreds, often thousands of dollars to submit to a strip search and then be held hostage behind guards until you board the plane.  Not to mention if you’re delayed – to be kept completely in the dark with misinformation or worse lack of information with little to no regard for your comfort or schedule.  Imagine if this happened when you went shopping for a big screen TV?  God forbid if you become frustrated or angry at the lack of regard for your needs after spending all that money, then you can be branded difficult and then denied to take the trip at all?  I mean come on.

In the airline business, the customer is no longer a customer.  You’re merely someone who paid a lot of money to 9 times out of 10 be treated like shit.  And we still submit to this every single day.

On a recent trip out of New York, I arrived at the airport ahead of a flight to Nashville only to find out that not only had my flight been cancelled, but that the airline had graciously booked me on another flight just 36 hours later.  No consideration, compensation or EVEN accommodation was made for the inconvenience.   All day I checked online to make sure the flight was on time and only learned of the cancellation when I tried to check in.  It turns out the flight was cancelled due to Air Traffic Conditions.  The airport was too busy to accommodate all of the flights it had confirmed for the day.  Right.  Ok.

As a result of the cancellation, I had to pay to get myself back to Manhattan, lose a deposit on the Nashville hotel and pay for another night in my NY hotel.  Since my trip to Nashville was only for one night, it meant that entire leg of my trip was now off and I was forced to re-route home.  When the dust settled, the airline had the nerve to charge me a change fee and refused to refund for the leg of the trip out of Nashville that I couldn’t take due to their cancellation.

When (and if) you get on board the plane, the fun doesn’t stop.  Why on earth are they making the seats smaller and closer together?  I mean, I get the concept of cramming more bodies on that metal tube so the airline can make more money, but really?  I worry that the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis increases exponentially everytime the person sitting in front of me, reclines their seat.  Dude, I am quite sure that the extra 3 inches of space you gained in front of your nose must make you so much more comfortable.  The last time I flew a new “tourist class” airline, I had a rather intimate relationship with the seat back in front of me, it was that close.

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Should we talk about the food?  Like why?  Why try and be fancy when that really stopped the day they replaced the silverware with plastic.  At this point, can we just simplify things?  Nice fresh sandwiches.  Cheese and crackers.  Fruit that’s not served with some kind of strange dip.  Keep it simple if it can’t be fancy.  Simple and good would be just fine.

And Wifi.  Really, I would pay for wifi on an airplane EVERY TIME I FLY.  Did you hear that?  PAY REAL MONEY.  Its not hard to do, some airlines are on the case with this.  For those of you airlines that haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet – WHY THE HELL NOT?  I know lots of people that would very happily pay for wifi on a flight.  Lets just do it, ok?

The real question here is why does the airline industry seem to not get these things.  Why have the basics of customer needs fallen so far by the wayside?  And why do we as the consumers continue to allow the bad service and crummy experiences to happen over and over again?  Why?   What can we do about this as an unhappy consumer?  Go with the competition who are no better? Write a letter.  HA!  What good does that do?  Oh, here’s a voucher for $50 for future travel with the offending airline.

I guess as long as we want to travel as much as we do, the experience will continue to, for the most part, completely suck.  At this point we are so used to the dramas of air travel as commonplace that a good flight, with good experience is something to get excited about.  So for now, I guess we celebrate the good days when they happen and commiserate together the commonplace occurrence of yet another travel day horror story.

Life on the Road

I’m writing to you today from Kowloon, overlooking Victoria Harbour with the Hong Kong skyline as the perfect backdrop.  I’ve been on the road for over a week now on an around the world tour it seems.  Started in Vancouver, stopped in London for 4 days and am now in Hong Kong before I head home in just two more sleeps!

Life on the road is a very interesting parallel universe.  You can get used to the cushy treatment and rockstar amenities.  But its certainly a little weird.  Sure, its definitely glamorous jetting into a world class city and being whisked into fantastic hotels with local hosts striving to keep you happy.  The truth is that running around this alternate reality has its downside – especially as the traveling Mom.  I hear all your eyes rolling all the way over here in Asia.  “wahhhh poor you, R&R Mom.”  I recognize that this is a very ass-y thing to say.  I GET it!!!  Believe me, I am exceedingly grateful for all these incredible chances to see this amazing world and work withs some fantastic people along the way.  But being away from the Shorties and J is gut wrenching.

Thank Steve Jobs for FaceTime.  It makes it so much easier to be able to lay eyes on my loves.  Its no substitute for cuddles but being able to see each other is a godsend no matter how long the trip.  But time zones are a killer.  Inevitably, the moment I’m free for a chat its bath/ bed/ meal time at home so my call only adds to the chaos.  Not to mention the great fun of FaceTiming with little shorties who are far more interested in how they look in the picture.  They are like miniature Paris Hilton’s only rather than preening at their own image are zooming in on their eyeballs, sharing the half-chewed pizza in their mouths or shaking their butts at the camera (well, I guess this last one Paris Hilton would do too).

And forget about actually catching up with your partner on the call.  These little narcissists hold a tight grip on the technology, monopolizing the conversation with silly noises, singing and quite often burps.  Mom & Dad are NOT getting a word in edgewise.  You’re lucky to have a quiet second to get through the necessary day to day business of the household (did you remember that today is garbage day?) let alone actually sharing an intimate moment or at the VERY least “how are you doing”.

Miss this guy!

Miss this guy!

These are hard moments.  When hearts ache to connect with the loves and it just can’t happen.  So back we go into the isolation of the dark, too cold (or too hot) hotel room to bury yourself in emails and work mode.  Whether its a 2 day trip or 2 week trip this happens and it just is what it is.

The good news is that I can start counting the hours when I’ll see those bright little faces (and a bright bigger face) at the arrivals area in the airport and can go back to the real world.  Changing diapers, wiping noses and cozy snuggles.  I would take that over a 5 star hotel any day!

... and these two too.

… and these two too.

I’m Baaaaack!

Um, no thanks...

Um, no thanks…

Oh, hi.  Yeah, its been a while.  With heartfelt apologies, the past 6 weeks have been something of a blur.  In no particular order I have traveled to LA, London, Oslo, Lisbon, Amsterdam (well just a layover), NY (twice) and Toronto.  I have also moved house and juggled a two week span in which our poor Nanny was off sick.  I have successfully navigated the past six weeks WITHOUT suffering a nervous breakdown.  Almost, but not quite.  WINNING!!!!

The craziness is set to continue for a while longer but you’ll get no complaints here.  Sure, I am leaving my toiletry bag packed and my lipstick lives in a ziploc bag in my purse these days – but how can I complain?  Its been great fun following the Foxes around the world (PS – if you know what they say then mission accomplished).  The biggest downside is being away from my own little Foxes (and Mr. Fox of course), but they seem to be enjoying the Daddy time and steady stream of guilt driven toys brought home as souvenirs.

Sure, I feel the judgmental glares from the Supermoms.  I am conspicuous in my absence.  But I keep reminding myself that this much hectic business travel is (a) temporary, (b) fun and (c) ultimately good for everyone in our house.  Luckily, they are all Fox fans so they don’t seem to mind me going off to fight for the cause.

These days we are most grateful for our Moms, Sisters, grocery delivery and the deep freeze.  After a recent whirlwind promo trip with 18 hour press days, I came home with so much adrenaline pumping I couldn’t stop.  In addition to the several loads of laundry, we cooked pots of stew and pasta sauce to freeze for J to easily whip up for les petites for the next time I would be on the road.  Why won’t anyone in this house eat a casserole?  The perfect meal in one pan… if only they weren’t so gross!

The thing when you’re on the road this much is you start to forget where you are.  Beyond just the middle of the night wake-up – this happened in the airport the other day.  For a fleeting moment, I couldn’t remember where I was going!  I need an app that will remind me of my hotel room number.  Never mind jetlag – no time for that!  That’s why I invested in the YSL Touche Eclat to make me look much less sleep deprived than I actually am.

The next few months promise a continually hectic schedule, so I hope to be able to post as much as I can.  But in the meantime, its freezer filling, touche eclat wearing, ziploc bag toting time!  Who can complain about that?

Grammy Ins-N-Outs

Grammy Awards DIY Hair & Make-Up

Grammy Awards DIY Hair & Make-Up

It’s Grammy week and that usually means a significant amount of frenzied chaos around the office as anyone with an artist playing a role in the show is in a manic state of preparation.  With nominations announced only mere weeks ahead of the show and invitations to present and perform following after, its always a bit of a mad dash to coordinate with military precision all the required to’ing and fro’ing that comes with Awards show territory.

The Grammys are a complicated manoeuvre.  When an artist is thrust under a microscope for their 30 second – 3 minute appearance, on stage where every last detail from what they say to how they look is scrutinized by the media and any douchebag with a Twitter account, there are a lot of details to take into account – wardrobe, hair and make-up, arrival strategy, performance plans, etc etc.  There’s a lot that happens to prep for the big day.

Now, what happens on the ground is a whole different thing.  I’ve been to the Grammys twice.  It was pretty amazing to see it all work.  I’m a nerd that’s done this management thing for a long time, so I found the whole production process and logistical side of the event really interesting.  Yes, roll your eyes – I am a total nerd.  Although, my twelve year old self was pretty excited about the whole thing and kept asking my thirty-something self if Duran Duran still came to these things.

Ok – now here’s where I shatter some images, so apologies in advance.  I think some people probably expect backstage at the Grammys to be a little Bacchanalian or something – champagne flowing, hookers and blowing.  But yeah, not so much… at least not all out where anyone can see it.  Hell – one time I was there, there were even Muppets backstage – Muppets I tell you.  That’s not the sex, drugs and rock and roll we all expect!  But it is interesting.  Was that Miley Cyrus eating a cupcake in a Herve Leger Bandage Dress?  (Lucky little thing – if that were me you would see the cupcake popping through the fabric!)  Was that J.Lo’s legendary butt walking past my eye level as I sat in the green room?  (Yep – and it was magnificent – good for her!)  Was that a size 40 Justin Bieber in a size 44 jacket or was that a waiter?  Was that Florence (as in + The Machine) peeing in the stall next me?  (Yep and  PS – for the record, I DID NOT fan girl her while we washed our hands side by side.  PPS – If you’re reading this Flo – I DO ❤ you.)

An LA King's Throne

An LA King’s Throne

Speaking of which, on one of my Grammy tours of duty I was 6 months pregnant with Shorty #2 (See previous blog post The Glow of Pregnancy to get an idea of how interesting that would have made that day at the office).  The artist I was with was set to perform on the telecast, so we were scheduled to be at the Staples Centre early the morning of the show for rehearsals and be there all day.  The Staples Centre is an arena – and a very big one at that. I should’ve worn roller skates or something to get around (yep – you are welcome for that visual!)  The talent wranglers (bless their cotton socks) took pity on me and helped me find all the hidden secret bathrooms.  I swear people were worried that I would go into labor in the green room!

After rehearsals, we ran to a nearby hotel to quickly change and doll up for the show.  I always love this part the best, hanging with the girls and our bestie the make-up artist, primping and preening.  My feet were so swollen and sore from getting around the arena I didn’t know how I would get into shoes, let alone those platform heels.  That was when I met my best pregnancy friend – MATERNITY SPANX.  Those things saved me!  It was unreal.  If you’re pregnant, go buy them, like now!  Plus they helped hide all the cookies I stole from craft services all day.

So as I tune into the show tonight, I think of my best Grammy memory.  We made it a bit of a tradition for our little Grammy team to hightail it before the show ended, ahead of the stadium traffic and hit the In-N-Out Burger on Sunset.   A pile of animal style cheeseburgers, fries and strawberry shakes were a great way to end a great day (and give us a base for great night – after parties!).  Now pass me another pair of Spanx!In-N-Out

In-N-Out