Posted by: jility | October 8, 2011

Shuffle Off to Barcelona

Traveling is in my blood. I am a gypsy by nature. Staying in one place very long drives me insane (I know, short trip). Before we had a billion dogs and did agility, we traveled a LOT. We went to exotic places and did scary crazy shit from spending the night at Carnival is Rio to SCUBA diving in the Galapagos Islands and almost getting swept out to sea never to be seen again.

All that fun stopped when we started agility and ended up with a sickly dog. That was 11 years ago. The sickly dog is still sickly but still alive ( KNOCK WOOD) at 11 ½ plus we now have 7 more about whom we can worry. Sir Cussalot is worse than I am and that is a story in itself but I am stuck in an airplane sandwich for five plus hours until we land at JFK, then an all-nighter to Barcelona where we board the ship for a week long cruise around the Mediterranean.

So, here is the Sir C digression about not wanting to leave home.

When Sir C was about eight or nine years old, he rescued a crippled baby chicken from the brood one of their hens was raising. He kept it in a box on the front porch and wanted to save it from the imminent doom of his father’s practical hands. He nursed it for several days and, other than looking like Quasimodo with broken legs, it seemed to be doing OK.

Now, to say Sir C’s dad was not the sentimental type would be like saying Genghis Khan could be a difficult man. Had it been up to him, he probably would have wrung little “Chicky’s” neck and called it good. But poor little Sir C cried at the mere mention of any such fate and his mother intervened on his behalf. When his dad could no longer stand looking at the crumpled baby chick, he formulated a plan.

Some friend said they were going to the lake and asked young Sir C to go along. He said no, he couldn’t possibly leave because Chicky might die. His parents assured him everything would be fine and that Chicky would be waiting for him when he returned.

Sir C’s excitement grew as they got closer to his home. He couldn’t wait to see his beloved Chicky! Sir C quickly exited the car and ran towards to house. As he approached, he saw that the box containing his new charge was gone. He burst through the front door yelling for his mom to ask her what they had done with Chicky. She explained to him that Chicky had passed while he was at the lake. His grief was overwhelming.

To this day, Sir C is scared to leave home for fear “Chicky might die.”

So, last year, when our friends of nearly forty years, Jane & Ernie (or as my friend Jef calls them, Bert & Ernie) asked us to go on a cruise with them up the New England Coast, Sir C’s first response was HELL NO! With eight dogs, the chances of something going wrong was more than he could take.  I told him I would put it out there and perhaps we would e able to find somebody who would be willing (or crazy enough) to stay in the Global Warmer for a week or so with eight insane dogs.

I asked my friend and fellow Poodle lover, Laura Bernier if she knew of anyone in her area who might dog sit for us. Without missing a beat, she said she would be happy to do it! WTF? Did she not hear what I was saying? EIGHT CRAZY DOGS IN AN RV!!!! “NO PROBLEM,” she said. She would take some vacation time from work and stay for us. It was a dream come true. We had a great cruise and, for the first time since he was a wee lad, Sir C felt OK about leaving his precious pets. Laura was/is a Godsend!

So we didn’t want to take advantage of Laura but when our friends asked us to go cruising again, Sir C said the ONLY way he would go was if Laura would stay in the GW with the mutts. Being the saint that she is, Laura agreed and plans were made to go to the Mediterranean, a place I have never been but have wanted to go my entire life!

Laura flew into Seattle from Boston. Pankies and I picked her up and drove to Auburn so she could see Pankies brother Splash. While there, Splash’s owner (as well as our  puppies’ litter whelper), Beth Meyer, let Pankies swim in her doggie rehab pool (HAPPY TAILS). Pankies had a blast swimming! Thanks Beth!

After the visit we headed south for two hours to our 55 acre farm in Silver Creek, Washington. This place is out in the boonies! Poor Laura really didn’t know what she was getting into.

We were greeted at the gate by seven very excited maniacs who never forget a familiar face! Laura was lucky to make it into the GW unscathed. Once the greeters had their fill (well all but little MeMe who continued trying to skin laura alive with nothing but her nonstop tongue), the girls and I took Laura out into the orchard and back pasture for a tour. The puppies (now two years old!) showed off their speed and agility by doing full speed laps while glued to Crushie’s butt. A good time was had by all.

Poor Laura had to spend one night on the couch with Isabella. It does pull out into a bed but not that big. Laura is as easy going as anyone I have ever met and she is a real trouper! Isabella adores her too.

Laura said she is not much for cooking so I put on a huge pot of chili for her in the slow cooker, made a large batch of rice. It should last her most of the trip but she is going to get terribly tired of chili and rice!

Bert and Ernie picked us up at 4 PM Friday and we drove to Portland. Because our flight left at the buttcrack of dawn, we would stay in a hotel for the night and that way the parking is free for the car while we cruise. Not a bad deal.

We took the shuttle to the airport at 5:30 in the morning. We tried to check in at the automatic thing but it wouldn’t let us. Two officials tried to help us but to no avail. We ended up in the long line to get an agent to do it and it took her phone calls and lots of typing before the computer would accept us! Evidently, some moron had not entered us properly when I made the flight reservations so they had not record of us except for assigned seats!

We trudged barefoot through security and headed off to the gate with very little time to spare. Oh the joys of flying!

Could they make the seats any tighter? We tried to convince the guy in our row to take one of the few empty seats on the plane but he insisted on staying put. BUMMER! When I walked back to the bathroom, I notice, no, JANE GRINNED FROM EAR TO EAR WHILE POINTING AT HE EMPTY SEAT BETWEEN HER AND ERNIE! F#@KERS! They got an empty seat between them! NOT FAIR! Sir C and I are the ones with the broken knees and we are HUGE and Burt and Ernie are tiny little folk. Sometimes life’s a biatch!

The flight is as bumpy as I have ever experienced ( well, except for that time in the 60s when it was so bad all the bags fell out of the bins into the aisles). At one point the turbulence was so bad the woman across the aisle from us screamed as we dropped like a bolder in the sky. It even woke the loudly snoring man next to me (there is always a silver lining!).

Eventually, the hurricane-like tumbling turned in to minor swells and chops and snoring resumed. Not only did the snoring take up where it left off, so did the odiferous proof that he had consumed some type of pungent ethnic meal before he boarded the flight. I felt like I was back home after feeding Pankies pig ears. The smell was overwhelming but he remained oblivious as he farted and snored all the way to New York.

Gone are the days of glamorous flight when you dressed to the nines and had enough leg and arm room to sit comfortably for many hours. Gone are the days when they actually fed you edible meals  and treated you like royalty. When they held the plane for you if you were late and there were so many empty seats you had your pick once you were airborne. Flight attendants were stewardesses then (note the feminine suffix) and they were fired for being over thirty, pregnant or if you gained weight. some things have changed for the better but, for the most part, flying SUCKS! The biggest shock was seeing one of the male flight attendants wearing crappy old jeans!

Thanks to a small number of assholes in the world, it takes forever to go through security and I always forget to wear easy on shoes. It is sad to think that the younger generation never go to experience those glamor days of air transportation when we still had global safety and trust in our lives.

Now we are sitting in the JFK International terminal waiting to board our plane for Barcelona. Without the great generosity of Laura and Andy Bernier, none of this would be possible! Thanks Saint Andy and Saint Laura!!!!

Stay tuned 🙂


  1. Helen~ Thankyou for the chance to view the experience! I am laughing my fat ass off here in WA state and hoping you, Sir C, Bert and Ernie have an INCREDIBLE journey!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: