Observations In An Airport

My daughter and I traveled to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks recently, and we had some travel “snafus” on the way home with some flight cancellations. We originally were supposed to fly nonstop from LA to Charlotte. Long story short, we ultimately ended up being booked on a connecting flight through Columbus, Ohio, with a five hour overnight-ish layover in the Columbus airport. We made some new friends, and I made some observations.

I’ve spent lots of time in airports. When I first graduated from college, I was a flight attendant for a while. I worked in the travel industry till I was married in 2000, and we are still pretty regular fliers. We aren’t flying every week, but we fly pretty regularly. This last trip was a new experience for me. First, I always book nonstop flights, so I haven’t had the inconvenience of having to connect in a long time. We are very fortunate that Charlotte is a hub airport for American Airlines. Secondly, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever had to spend five hours in an airport from about midnight to 5am…until last night. And those five hours gave me some time to make some observations.

  • When you’re in a less-than-ideal situation, you bond with others in the same boat. It’s true. Three ladies in the airport with us had been traveling for 36 hours because of cancellations. They didn’t have any food, but I had a bag full of snacks. I offered them a turkey sandwich and some chips, and they were grateful. I was happy I could help. One of them said the turkey sandwich tasted like Thanksgiving! I hope they’ve made it to the Cayman Islands by now.
  • Some folks can sleep anywhere. It was impressive how some of the other people who were waiting could sleep! I didn’t even think about sleep. In fact, I just strolled around the airport taking silly pictures…walking a few miles while I waited. But folks were sleeping with their heads on carry-on luggage. Some slept on the floor, and some slept in chairs. Some were even snoring! They were really asleep.
  • Connecting is a pain in the butt. I’ve known this for years. My husband always gets miffed with me when we discuss retiring and moving. He wants to move to a beach. I want to live in a city that’s a hub airport. Give me Charlotte, Atlanta, or even Houston or Dallas…but please don’t make me live somewhere that requires connecting flights to everywhere.
  • All airports are not created equal. I knew this too, but as we landed in Columbus, I expected to go to our gate and wait out the five hours till our next flight. Nope. After we had been sitting in the gate for about an hour, two security type personnel came over and rudely told us (there were about seven passengers waiting for the next flight), “You have to move outside the security barrier now. Let’s go.” What?!?! Was it really necessary to approach us so rudely? Trust me, our layover wasn’t long enough to get a hotel room, or I’d have gotten us one. We were not happy about having to hang out in the airport, but honestly, I was trying to make the best of it. They were just rude, rude, rude. And one of them, the female, appeared to need a visit to a doctor about an eye infection of some sort…ick. To add insult to injury, there were quite a few vending options inside the security barrier but very few outside the barrier. It seems as though they could have come to us earlier and said, “I’m sorry, but in about 30 minutes, we’re going to need you to move to the lobby area outside security. If you need to get anything from vending, you might want to do it now.” But nope…rude, rude, rude. ***I know several lovely people who live in Columbus…I think most folks there are great!***
  • All vending machines are not created equal. Kudos to Columbus for having a Jeni’s Ice Cream vending machine/kiosk in the terminal. I wish they were in every airport! Heck, I wish they were on every street corner! I would have loved to have gotten some for my daughter and her friend. It looked delicious. Too bad security didn’t give me the option of going to get it before they hustled us out of the terminal area like cattle. Also, on the outside of the machine, it said, “Welcome to Columbus, home of the best ice creams (and the nicest people) in the world!” I guess those security folks didn’t get the “nicest people” memo.
  • The smell of bacon is stronger at 5am when you’re boarding a flight. No joke, just as we started to board, I guess a restaurant opened and put some bacon on to cook. Does anything smell more yummy than bacon in the morning?
  • Little noises are enhanced when you’re in an airport and running on no sleep. Squishing plastic water bottles? Flip flops on sweaty feet? Cracking knuckles? Those noises don’t normally bother me, but in the last five minutes before we boarded the plane, my ears were sensitive to all those little noises that normally go unnoticed. I wanted to snatch water bottles out of people’s hands. I wanted to throw powder at people’s feet to stop the sweaty flip flop sound. And I wanted to pass out gloves to stop the knuckle cracking. Clearly, I was nearing my limit.
  • Attitude is everything…really. I was not thrilled about the cancellations/re-routing situation. I was unhappy. But I didn’t take it out on the American Airlines reservation agent. It wasn’t her fault. I’m sure she was having a terrible day with all the cancellations. And when we landed in Columbus, I decided I wasn’t going to try to sleep. I was going to walk around taking goofy pictures to entertain myself. I wasn’t going to be unhappy. I made that decision. And despite the rude security personnel (bless their hearts!), I was pretty darn happy.
  • Small acts of kindness mean a lot. During our flight from LA to Columbus, I was talking with the flight attendant about our predicament…I was laughing about it. But she felt terrible and made sure the girls had plenty of snacks for our layover. Kudos to her for her kindness.
  • Shiny airport floors would be great for running and sliding. I considered it. I wanted to do it. But would I break a hip? Or an arm? Besides, my daughter would have been horrified. I kept my cool. I didn’t run and slide…but it would have been fun!
  • An alarming number of people walk around barefoot in airports. I have TSA Pre-check. One of the main reasons I wanted pre-check was so I wouldn’t have to remove my shoes at security. It totally grosses me out to walk barefoot where all those other sweaty feet have walked. Yuck. But I noticed quite a few people walking through the airport lobby with no shoes last night. That’s almost as bad as the ones who go to the airport lav with no shoes…ick.

That’s my wisdom from the airport. If you’ve made other observations, I’d love to hear them. And for the record, we love American Airlines. I think they are experiencing some labor issues right now, but I certainly hope it all gets resolved soon…for my sake, but especially for the sake of the airline. Labor disputes can cripple an airline, inconveniencing passengers and employees too. My hope is that everyone involved will realize there is a better way to do things.

 

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My Top Ten Reasons (Excuses) To Stay In Bed

I don’t consider myself a low energy person. I like to be busy. I like to have things to do. But sometimes, I like to have nothing to do. In fact, one of my hobbies is doing nothing, and sometimes, I look for any reason (excuse) to stay in bed.

How did I marry a man who hates to sleep in? I love sleeping in! I remember when “sleeping in” meant 10am or 11am, but now it means 8:30am, and it’s rare. My husband is a morning person. Every morning at 6:00, he jumps out of bed, opens all the drapes, and starts his day. He usually asks when I want to get up, and rarely I say, “Now.” And when I’m awake, he  brings me a cup of coffee in bed (yes, he does!). Lots of times, though, I say I’m not ready to get up yet, and I feel the need to give him a reason (excuse) for me to stay in bed. Some of my reasons (excuses) for staying in bed are good, and some are lame, but here they are:

  • “I was up late last night picking up teenagers from friends’ houses while you were sleeping.” I’m really a night owl, so I don’t mind driving kids around at night, but I use it to my advantage the next day, if I can. Sometimes it buys me an extra hour in bed.
  • “It’s raining.” Or snowing…either would apply. Yes, I’ve actually used this lots of times. Who wants to get out of bed when it’s rainy and gloomy outside?!? You can either let that rain ruin your weekend, or you can use it to your advantage…be happy you get to catch some extra  Zzzzzz’s.
  • “We’re out of coffee.” This one is pretty lame. I admit it. But it worked. When I told my husband I didn’t want to get out of bed one Saturday morning, because we were out of coffee, it bought me another 45 minutes of sleep. He actually went to the grocery store and bought more Keurig cups, and on the way home he stopped at Dunkin Donuts and picked up an Iced Coffee for me.
  • “We don’t have anywhere to be.” Fortunately, our daughter gave up club soccer a few years ago, so we don’t have to get up at 5:00am to drive three hours for a soccer game on weekends anymore. There have been lots of Saturdays my husband has jumped out of bed and started to open the drapes, but I’ve interrupted him by saying, “Don’t bring my coffee till 9:00, please. We don’t have anywhere to be.” He sighs, but he hears me.
  • “I’ve gotten up early five days in a row…no more.” Yes, there’s a limit on how many days in a row I’m willing to get out of bed early…five days. I do it because I have to, but don’t ask for more than five early mornings in a row. I might cut you.
  • “It’s cold out there, but it’s warm in bed.” I’ve honestly quoted Wham!’s song, Wake Me Up Before You GoGo, as my reason (excuse) to stay in bed. It’s my favorite line in the song: “It’s cold out there, but it’s warm in bed. They can dance; we’ll stay home instead!” I love sleep, but I don’t do it very well anymore…despite the fact that I used to be a professional sleeper. If it’s really cold outside, for some reason, it’s easier for me to sleep. Thus…the line from the song.
  • “I didn’t sleep well last night.” This one is a good one. Lots of times, it’s legit. I rarely sleep well, since I usually wake up at least three or four times a night. Most people would consider my average sleep night a terrible night’s sleep. For me, waking up several times is normal. A bad night is when I wake up and can’t go back to sleep, or when I am awake more than I’m asleep. A good night is when I wake up two times or fewer. So, I could use, “I didn’t sleep well last night,” as a reason to sleep in on almost any given day…legitimately.
  • “The Barometric pressure is off.” Lol! This means absolutely nothing to my husband, but it totally sounds good. In reality, barometric pressure changes can trigger migraines, but for me to use this line is a total ruse. Yet, I’ve used it on more than one occasion. Like I said, I enjoy a little extra sleep.
  • “I spent the whole weekend at our daughter’s sports tournament.” This one goes a long way, because there is no way he wants to be the parent who has to go to the out-of town sports tournament. He knows if he lets me stay in bed a little longer after a weekend in Rocky Mount, NC, for a lacrosse tournament, he won’t have to go to the next one either.

If you’re like me, and you consider sleep a hobby, you might want to keep this list next to your bed. Or maybe you have your own reasons (excuses) to stay in bed?

Happy sleeping!

Now I lay me down to sleep…

 

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Ahhh…sleep. Remember when your bedtime routine as a child was to say a prayer before getting in bed…and that was it? You’d fall asleep. Some of us said the classic prayer that started with, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” I thought it was creepy, because the next line was, “If I should die before I wake…” What?! How scary is that to a six-year-old?! I was probably five or six when I thought about the meaning of it, and it kept me up all night! I stopped saying that prayer and didn’t want to hear anyone else say it, either. Without that creepy prayer, sleep came easily.

Oh, how times change. Adulting can be hard, especially the sleep part. My original plan was to write about sleep later in February, but because one of my favorite sleep aids has received some media attention in the last few days, I decided to do it today. If sleep eludes you, stick with me. Even if sleep doesn’t elude you, stick with me.mpho-mojapelo-109897

As adults, “Now I lay me down to sleep” doesn’t keep us up at night, but other things do: work, family, worries, TV, social media, etc. Here’s where I should tell you no one values sleep more than I do. It’s listed among my favorite hobbies. But when I turned 30, little things could gnaw away at my brain and keep me awake, or for some unknown reason, I simply couldn’t fall asleep.

Around my 40th birthday, I discovered one reason I had trouble falling asleep was Restless Leg Syndrome. (If you suspect you have RLS or any other sleep disorder, talk with you doctor.) I started taking a medication for RLS, and it helped me immensely, but often I still had trouble falling asleep, despite the fact that my legs were no longer “restless.”

I needed help but was terrified of Ambien, because a friend took it one night and woke up the next morning in the backseat of her car in a parking lot with no recollection of how she got there or what had happened. Yikes. I have a history of sleepwalking, so there was no way I was going to try anything that might make me sleepDRIVE. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is out, because it makes me hyper. Weird, I know. What to do?

I’m no sleep guru, but I have finally found what works for me. Three things: EXERCISE and two PRODUCTS I love. I’ve never been the person who would fall asleep while reading a book. My whole life, I would realize I was getting a little drowsy and close the book before trying to go to sleep. Now, I’m the person who can fall asleep WHILE reading.

FIRST: It was purely accidental that I noticed the exercise/sleep connection. I can’t exercise after 7pm, because that just wakes me up. As long as I exercise earlier in the day for 30 minutes to an hour, it helps me get to sleep at night. Lots of people know this…no big surprise.

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SECOND: This product hasn’t been featured on the Favorite Things Instagram page yet, but since we’re talking sleep, I’m putting it out there: OLLY BRAND RESTFUL SLEEP GUMMIES.

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This discovery happened because I accepted an Olly vitamin sample in Target. I tried it that night, and the next day, went back just to check out the Olly products. The health aisle can be daunting…lots of colors, brands, and lots to read. I focused on the OLLY products, and I saw the purple jar with RESTFUL SLEEP on the front. (Yes, I noticed the pictured jar says “20% more fun,” which is odd for a sleep product, but at least you get 20% more gummies.) It’s an herbal melatonin supplement, no big surprise, but having never taken melatonin, I asked the pharmacist, who said it would be fine to try.

That night, I fell asleep faster and slept more soundly than I had in years. I’ve been taking it since. It makes me drowsy FAST, so you should not plan to operate any machinery (like automobiles!) after taking it. I’d love to hear your feedback if you try it. You can purchase it in your local Target or on the Olly website for $13.99 here. Sign up for their emails on the Olly website and get 15% off your first purchase, and they offer discounts if you subscribe quarterly.

THIRD: Now, THIS product is the reason I’m posting this earlier than planned. It’s the one I’m most excited about! Again, it’s one of those chance discoveries. Over the holidays, we were on vacation, and the hotel placed samples of this product on our pillows. Why not, right? It’s THISWORKS BRAND DEEP SLEEP PILLOW SPRAY.FullSizeRender-17

We posted on Instagram about it from the hotel on December 22. I liked it that much. It’s part of the bedtime routine at our house now. Yesterday, as I was looking through my Facebook timeline, I saw one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills opening her latest Fab, Fit, Fun Box, and you know what was in it? YES! The Deep Sleep Pillow Spray!

The label says it’s a “fast acting, natural way to restore normal sleep,” and I have found that to be true! It also says it’s “expertly blended with essential oils of lavender, vetivert, and wild camomile.” It must be the lavender that has relaxation properties. Try it, and let me know what you think. It has an added benefit too: your hair will smell terrific the next morning! Even if you don’t have sleep issues, you might want to use it for that! In fact, you might want to try more ThisWorks sleep products. You can order the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray for $29 (2.5 fl oz) and check out their other sleep products here.

So, from now on, do all the things you’ve always been told to do: don’t go to bed mad; tell your loved ones you love them before bed; brush your teeth; and clear your mind. Then add these to your bedtime routine: get some daily exercise; take OLLY Restful Sleep Gummies; and spray your pillow with Deep Sleep Pillow Spray.

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***As always, read all directions before using any product, and take only as directed. Ask your physician before trying any supplements. ***

Please look for the next post Thursday, February 8, when I offer some Valentine’s Day gift ideas for men and women! Also, we love feedback!

Sweet dreams,

Kelly