Friday, August 11, 2006

Goin' back to Cali

I just booked our flights, confirming that Mama, Solomon, and I will be goin' back to California for my high school's 20-year reunion, and we could use your help. We have two big questions:

  1. Got any tips for traveling with an infant? 3B will be about eight weeks old at the time and we have concerns from all the mechanics--What do we take? How do we carry it? What about security checks with strollers, slings, and a car seat?--to health and safety--Anything we can do to make it safer for him when we take him into a plane filled with 100 strangers' breath, germs, and foot stink?

  2. Got any suggestions for music at the reunion? We're setting the wayback machine to 1986 for the reunion, and the invitation solicits song requests. I figure that anything from the years we were in high school are fair game, which means 1982-86. The only catch is that they limit it to five songs. So there's your challenge: which five songs from 1982-86 should I request?
Here are some reminders, to help jog your memory:

1986 Grammy Awards
  • Record of the Year: We Are the World (subtitle: We Are the Western Northern Hemisphere, whose egos--and hair--are as big as the world)
  • Album of the Year: No Jacket Required (subtitle: No Music Required, just bring that drum loop and some insipid lyrics . . . although I shouldn't be so hard on this on, since we know that Dutch will be voting for it)
  • Song of the Year: We Are the World (ferchrissakes, we get it already . . . all you pop stars are so generous and moral--did I mention that Michael Jackson cowrote this?--not to mention good at following pop trends, although not so good at writing songs as the Brits)
  • Best New Artist: Sade (OK, I got nuthin' here. I actually like her. Then again, Enya makes me cry, so who am I to judge?)
  • Best Music Video, Short Form: "We Are the World - The Video Event" ("Video Event"? It's a freakin' video-- mass-produced magnetic particle sculptures on cheap plastic. Proof that it didn't take nearly as long as I thought for music videos to develop self-conceit.)
  • Best Music Video, Long Form: Huey Lewis & the News - The Heart of Rock 'n' Roll (Later, this video was at the heart of the Guantanamo Bay controversy, when the U.N. declared that forcing prisoners to watch it was inhumane treatment.)
  • Best Polka Recording: Frank Yancovic - 70 Years of Hits (Do I really need to say anything here?)
  • Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female: Whitney Houston (See comment for Best Polka Recording)
  • Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male: Phil-Freakin'-Collins (Is there nothing we can do to stop him?)
  • Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: We Are the World (Again with the egos like hairdos . . . hey, that's a good title . . . oh, wait, Ani's already got it.)
  • Best Pop Instrumental Performance: Miami Vice Theme (Jan Hammer! Jai alai! Cigarette boats! Cops wearing Italian waiters' jackets! It's all so cool! We're all so cool for watching it! Then again, "everybody knows you'll live forever, when you've done a line or two.")
  • Best Reggae Recording: Jimmy Cliff - Cliff Hanger (Now I have to admit that I agree with Grammy voters on something. Bummer.)
Seriously? That's the best they could do? Those are all reasons why we all made mix tapes and avoided the radio. Where's The Cure? Elvis Costello? Dead Kennedys? Depeche Mode? The B-52's? The Smiths? Joy Division? The Psychedelic Furs? Black Flag? Talking Heads? Tears for Fears? The Art of Noise?

While I'm going through all of my mix tapes, taking a trip back to the future, send me your top-five lists to make sure I don't miss anything. Next week, I'll let you know which five I picked; and, of course, after the reunion, there will be a full report.

Oh yeah, and those tips about traveling with a baby--don't forget those.


  1. Yeesh. I've only got 217 songs in iTunes from 1981-1986. I'll send you a file. So you need Top 5? Problem is the wealth of possibilities. Not all these tunes are right for a party, but I can list five great albums and still not be able to narrow down the songs to five.

    How about Repo Man, Purple Rain, Stop Making Sense, Rain Dogs, Licensed to Ill?

    That leaves out Songs from the Big Chair, Graceland, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Rum Sodomy & the Lash, The Unforgettable Fire, Love Over Gold, Night and Day, a few Peter Gabriels, and a whole mess of other albums.

    Which still ignores great single tracks like Mexican Radio, Welcome to the Boomtown, Keep Your Hands to Yourself--the list goes on.

    Good luck narrowing it down. Oh, and don't plan on washing your hair midflight.

  2. Question #1:
    Hopefully you booked a non-stop, it's the way to go with kids, gets it over with in one shot. If 3B were older I would suggest a red eye flight, but since he's probably still in random schedule mode it won't matter so much. I would bet that 3B will spend most of the time asleep; it's so noisy and overwhelming in a plane that he'll probably just check out to dreamland for awhile.

    I know some people who actually travel with cloth diapers, but they're insane. I pack as many paper diapers as I think I'll need for 1-2 days and then plan to buy some when I arrive, since they're too voluminous to pack enough for the whole trip.

    I have no idea how to change a diaper on a plane, our kids just slept through most of the flight or were old enough to stay dry until we landed.

    I haven't had trouble with security checks and baby stuff, just make sure you're there even earlier in case they do hand search the enormous diaper bag.

    You can ask to have your stroller checked from the gate and brought out for you at the arrival gate, I think actually into the jetway (this was JetBlue). That way you don't have to carry the car seat and everything else all the way through the terminal.

    One big health concern is baby's ear pressure during landing. I've had good luck either nursing or giving a bottle. If you're comfortable with it (some would say that baby should be strapped in at all times), Jess could nurse 3B in a sling during descent.

    If the airline does pre-boarding for people with children (JetBlue and Southwest did this but American did not) then you are in luck. It's no fun trying to install a car seat while the seating frenzy is going on.

    We've used a big backpack as our diaper bag carry on; that works well since you need your other 5 arms to carry the car seat, stroller, etc.

    For the general stress of traveling we use Rescue Remedy homeopathic spray, for the grownups and kids. It's alcohol based so you probably won't want to give it orally to 3B, but you can also spray it over him in the air. I know, sounds kooky, but it's homeopathic so there isn't really anything there anyway, right?

  3. I also heard that you should nurse while traveling.

    Let them know you have an infant w/ you so you can pre-board.

    gate-check the stroller. That way you can pick it up at the gate when you land.

    Have a baby sling? those are mega-helpful during travel.

    carseat...if you are buying an extra seat for 3B, then take the carrier. If not, just dont forget to take the darn thing! Yes, I saw a family at the airport in Dallas, and they parked in Atlanta, got out of the car & hopped on a plane w/o their carseat. Once they tried to catch a cab from the airport in Dallas, the cabs wouldnt transport the infant w/o a carseat.
    So--just make sure you dont forget it!

    Going to use a pack-n-play or portable crib? Get 3b used to napping in it a few times before you launch these new sleeping arrangements on him. Gage is NOT a fan of sleeping in the pack-n-play. He'll fall asleep there....eventually...but we never really acclimated him to it prior to travel (Papa---LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!)

    Diapers & Formula...only pack enough for the travel time & first night. You can buy more when you get there, and wont have to lug them around the airport. ...but if 3b is may not need formula...

    Music for your comment.