16 June 2005

Guest Editor: Reginald

Names and cities have been changed to protect the innocent

We made it to Sydney.

The boys were great and the flight was nearly flawless save one incident. 5 minutes before take-off, Rolf had to go "number 2". You may or may not know that Rolf is still being potty trained so we had him in diapers...just in case.

Anyhow, I stepped up to the job and rushed to the "blue room" after confirming with the flight attendant that I had 5 minutes. But just as the door was shutting the flight attended said, "Sorry, but you have only 1 minute".

Of course by then it was too late: Rolf had let loose and I believed at that moment that sitting next to him for 20 minutes (waiting for the seat-belt sign to turn off) was not an acceptable option. So I was whipping off his diaper when he began to fight me about being changed in such a small place. I should have listened.

The 12 (or so) wipes that I had on me fell in the toilet / turned blue. Outside of what was stuck to the nappy, the remainder dropped off the side of the diaper table and fell to the ground. Rolf was ready to assist by trying to grab it; he was successful and held on to my shirt immediately after his catch as he had lost his balance while straddling the toilet. I set him down quickly only to find that I made him step into it. I picked him up; he was feeling unsure of himself at this point and began to cling to me.

Meanwhile the airplane cabin beeped and the flight attendant announced over the PA and to all the passengers (on this sold out flight) that we could not "pull back until everyone is seated...that also includes anyone in the lavatories." At this moment, I can't say that I was anxious, but I can readily confirm that I was very angry...especially when the flight attendant announced this a second time and added something along the lines that if "any remaining passengers do not sit down immediately" the flight departure time may be lost entirely resulting in an unknown departure time.

If you ever saw the original French spy thriller, La Femme Nikita, you know that the character named "the Cleaner" had only one great skill: he got out of every filthy mess no matter what the cost. This visual crossed my mind as I hurriedly stuffed the dirty diaper down the trash bin. Suffice it to say that for the next 60 seconds I wiped things down and quickly pulled up Rolf's pants...without a diaper.

When I stepped out of the lavatory, I returned the glare of several hundred eyeballs watching to determine who it was that was potentially ruining their departure time on this 12 hour flight.

What to do next...and now that I found my self seated, what was exactly was that on the carpet half way between my seat and the lavatory?

What happened next was all about team building. While Rolf and I pretended that nothing happened, Chelsea was busily convincing the flight attendants that "these things happen with toddlers" and that they (United) should sacrifice any and (potentially) all of what would otherwise become facial wipes, immersed in hot water.

Some more stuff happened at this point but it isn't fit to print in a family blog. But the story ends like this. The sleeve of my shirt and my pant leg were immersed in hot water and lemon and scented with lavatory lotion and hair gel. Rolf was cool...after he got cleaned up after another 20 minute visit to the same lavatory, he seemed to forget the whole ordeal.

Interesting...all this happened the first 30 minutes of the flight...the aroma mellowed shortly thereafter and then the rest of the 18 hours of air time was smooth as could be (given the situation)...but it was a good thing there was a plane change in Hong Kong.

I not a big "lessons learned" guy...but if I had to apply something here to my personal and business life it be this: put up with as much crap as you have to at the moment but, when the time is right, clean it up and move on.

A true story.

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