Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Babies in First Class...take your ghetto baby back into steerage!!!

Ok...I promised 3 posts on our NYC trip.  #2 is going to be about babies in first class because I like to complain.

So...for Kim's birthday, our friend Tom gave us a couple guest upgrade passes for our return trip home from NYC.  Tom flies a bazillion miles each year.  Because of his status, he gets a certain amount of guest upgrades.

(Aside: my time at Climate saw me make it to Alaska MVP status...it's pretty darn rad, IMHO).

Kim and I were very much looking forward to our 6+ hour flight home to Seattle seated in First Class.

That is, until we saw the family of 4 take their three seats in first class.  Mom, a toddler and an infant in the same row from us, across the aisle.  Dad in the window seat behind them.

Now...you may have noticed.  I have a kid.  And, very soon, I will have another kid.  An infant, in fact.  Kim and I are discussing potentially flying this new kid at some point during the first year of his life.

Let me assure you...under no circumstances will we fly with Owen in 1st Class.

Why not?  I mean, either you pay for the upgrade or your dedication to the airline rewards you with the better seat.  Why not take advantage of the extra legroom, larger seat and attentive service?

Well, let me tell you.  Because everyone else in 1st Class has paid for the same thing.  And, one of the other perks of 1st Class is limited craziness.

I understand flying with infants is a pain in the ass.  I've done it.  And, generally, I sympathize with parents who do this.  I try to help them when I can with luggage or, if I am sitting next to them, juggling all the baby stuff.  And, I put all of my patience to good use because I know that no matter how annoying a crying baby may be to me...it is 100x harder, more awkward and often more embarrassing for the parent.  They have my sympathy.

When they sit in coach.

Flying with your kid is sorta like a right of passage for parents.  You have kids, you deal with the consequences of that.  You don't get to stay out late, anymore.  You don't get to take that extravagant vacation.  You don't get to go to the movies.  And you don't get to fly in 1st class.

Perhaps you are wondering if our 1st class companion was well behaved.  The answer is a big fat NO.  Not only that, but mom and dad we're rather on the annoying side as well.  The toddler would literally crawl over her seat to get to her dad.  The infant (who was dripping snot everywhere) was crawling up and down the aisle to the point that the flight attendant had to tell mom that she needed to keep the baby in the seat.  Crying, complaining, moving about.  You know...all the things that babies do that folks paying a premium for seats don't want to put up with.

Dad was almost no help.  He was sharing a row with a stranger who I have a ton of pity for.  At one point, Kim told me that mom and dad had switched seats, but both kids were still with mom.  So...three people sharing a seat next to a stranger in 1st class.

Not to mention that mom was making a ton of demands on the food.  "Is this gluten free?  Can I get another roll for the baby?  I know it comes with bacon, but please take it off before you bring it out."

This isn't Red Robin, lady.

You may be wondering at what point it IS okay to travel in 1st class with a kid.  So, for you, I now present:

Jason's Things to Consider Before Flying in 1st Class with Your Kid


  1. If you say "Stop that" and your kid doesn't stop, you should not fly 1st class.
  2. If your kid is a crier or a screamer, you should not fly first class. 
  3. Kids occasionally need to move around to stretch their bodies.  If your kid does this on all fours, becoming an easily kickable obstacle in the aisle, you should not fly 1st class.  
  4. If your kid is an asshole, you should not fly 1st class. 
  5. If YOU are overwhelmed by traveling with your kid, you should not fly 1st class. 
  6. If you have any intention of changing your kid's diaper at the seat instead of in the bathroom, you should not fly.  Period.  Practice changing in a small space.  Nobody wants to be next to your kid's exposed excrement. 


Basically, if your kid is old enough to walk, listens to you and is able to be at least somewhat self sufficient (here's your water, you hold it and pick it up if it rolls under the aisle), then you're good.  This can mean 3 years old.  It can mean 5 years old.  Heck, if your kid is a douche, it might mean 13 years old.  

Again, if you're in coach, you have my sympathy.  Kids need to fly.  I get that.  You can't go visit Grandma for Christmas without bringing Jr.  I get it.  But, that's what coach is for.  

When we fork out money or reward points for the fancy seat, that comes with an expectation that I don't have to put up with annoying babies or their annoying parents.  If you are one of those parents, you are totes rude!!!!  


Image result for spoiled baby

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New York City! (get a rope)

Just got back yesterday from my very first trip EVAH to New York City.  Took Kim with me.  Primarily, I brought Kim along because it was her 40th birthday and I thought it would be rude of me to leave her behind while I was enjoying myself in the Big Apple.

You are going to get 3 posts out of this trip.  The first is this one!  A basic run down of our trip.  The 2nd is my review of Aladdin, our first official Broadway show!  Finally, a ranting piece on how annoying it is when people bring their babies into first class.

Ok, part 1: GO!

So...Kim turned 40.  Months ago (I swear, it wasn't 2 days before her birthday) I started thinking about what to do.  40 is kind of a milestone.  I mean, I know people say 50 is really the new 40 and that you don't really hit middle age until 50.  But, I think that's BS.  I know darn well that I ain't gonna live to see much past 80, even if I make it that far.  So, let's stick with 40 being "Over the hill."
I bounced around a couple ideas.  Either, throw a big party in Seattle.  Maybe rent out a dinner cruise or a winery or something.  Or, maybe a fun trip somewhere.  Hawaii, again?  Europe?

Then, I had to remember that there was a good chance Kim would be pregnant.  Surprise!  That turned out to be true.  So, let's not do anything involving drinking (winery out) or anything that would be too difficult to do pregnant (long trip to Europe or even sitting around pregnant in the sun in Hawaii out).

Hey, neither of us have ever been to NYC.  Let's do that!  We can rely on cabs so we don't have to walk any more than she can handle.  And, everything is pretty darn close.  So, NYC it is.

Fast forward 6 months.  Her tri-cities besties decided to join us.  One of them currently lives in NYC so we also had a rad tour guide.  Here are some pics.



We flew into Newark, NJ.  Immediately on decent, I could tell that New York is just a little bit bigger than Seattle.


Since there were 5 of us that needed transportation, I figured I would just rent us a car.  That car became a limo.  After a bit, the driver pulled over so we could hit up the liquer store and the 4 non pregnant people could put back a couple bottles of bubbly on the way to the city.



Our first full day, we began by visiting the 9/11 memorial.  Now, I could not get a good shot of this to save my life.  For such a powerful monument, my little phone simply could not do it justice.  Here is one photo, but this scene was so so much more amazing than this crumby picture portrays.



We were discussing the significance of the memorial.  If you haven't seen it, I'll try to describe.  There are two fountains.  One in each of the footprints of the Twin Towers.  There are two layers.  The top layer, waterfalls splash down into the second layer.  From there, there is a square hole.  Water falls over the edge into the hole.

Someone suggested it symbolized the waste of life.  Someone suggested the emptiness left from the attacks.  I suspect it's both of these.  As well as the silence of death.  You couldn't hear the noises from the city in this place.  I admit...I teared up.  I don't believe I have ever teared up at a memorial.  Granted, this is the first tragedy of my lifetime that I have reflected upon at it's memorial.  But, it was very very powerful.

Then, there is the Freedom Tower!  The new World Trade Center.  Wow, what a building.



After the World Trade Center, we headed over to 30 Rock to see Jimmy Fallon rehearse his monologue for that night.  Pictures are strictly forbidden!  And, given that it was Kim's dream to make out with Jimmy Fallon, I didn't want to jeopardize their meeting, so I didn't take pictures.  The experience was fun.  Was it worth the hour and a half of standing in line to watch a 15 minute rehearsal...mmmmm, I'm not sure.  Maybe for Kim.  If we had been able to get into the show taping, it would have been worth it.  It was pretty cool to see Fallon.  He seems like he really loves his job.  He gave us a quick history of the Tonight Show and of the studio where it's filmed then went into his jokes.  Most were hilarious.  Some were so so...the best part was watching him strike a line through the ones that didn't get the biggest laughs.

That night, we had dinner at Buddakan.  Apparently, it was on Sex in the City.  Michelle (NYC friend) made us reservations.  I admit, going in, I was a little, "I'm probably going to spend a ton of money and leave hungry."  But, boy was I wrong.  I mean, it wasn't cheap, but it could have been worse.  And I was definitely NOT hungry after.  This place was Bomb!  Highly recommend it if you're in the neighborhood.

Ok, moving on.  Saturday morning, we took a 3 hour tour (just sit right back and you'll hear a tale) of  the Hudson River and New York Harbor.  Here are some pics:

NYC Skyline


Unfortunately, Kim couldn't see anything because her hair was in her eyes.



Not sure which lady is prettier, here.


Empire State Building


UN Building



I know, I know...I'm 12.  But, I couldn't resit.  #YuckTheFankees


We also saw Ellis Island, tons of bridges, the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn, and more stuff.  All while enjoying a 4 course meal and booze!

Hung out in Central Park for a bit after.  And, I managed to only take 1 stupid picture:


Why did I post this?  I'm not really sure.

But, one of the girls got this one on her phone from the fancy pants overpriced bar at the park:





The final noteworthy event...Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre.  Our very first "Broadway" show actually performed ON BROADWAY!!!



Overall...it was a total blast!  Kim handed it like a champ, despite being 12 months pregnant.  Great food, great sites...LOTS of people.  I had to close my eyes in some of the cab/Uber/Lyft rides because I was convinced we were going to crash or kill someone.  Would totally go again.  

Desmond really wants to go.  Very glad he wasn't there on this trip.  Not because I don't love to travel with him.  But, because I got detached from my adult counterparts at times in the crowd.  I would have a panic attack trying not to lose my kid there.  I told him maybe when he graduates 8th grade.  I still remember doing a tour of Washington DC in 8th grade.  Maybe we'll lump the 2 together.  

Speaking of Desmond...he's already 60% done with the gift we brought him.  The box says 12+.  But, that's not stopping him.  




 And, I shall close with this adorable picture of my lovely wife and me in Times Square.  Ain't she adorable!!!




Monday, February 13, 2017

Getting old sucks

In my reflections on 2016, you may have noticed that I said I am getting older, faster.  Let me shed just a little light on what the heck I meant by that.

My body does not like me so much, anymore.  I totally jacked up my back this week moving a changing table.  Granted, it was a large changing table.  But, it wasn't particularly heavy.  Still, somehow, while loading it into the hatchback, I threw something out.  Like legit threw it out.  Not a "ugh, my back hurts" kinda threw it out.  A "OMG!  I CAN'T MOVE!  I can't sit down!!!  I'm going to die!!!" kinda threw it out.

To emphasize how much pain I was in, I actually went to see a chiropractor.


Image result for Chiropractor Meme

I believe it was Ross Gellar who once said that Chiropractors go to the Community College of medical school.  I've just never understood why I need to pay someone hundreds of dollars to jump on my back.

Anyway, went to the chiropractor.  He jumped on my back.  Slowly, it got better.  Didn't fully go away, but it got better (was that my 3 chiropractor appointments or the heat/cold rotation and pity party my wife threw me?).

Then came Quincy's vet appointment.  Yes...a trip to the vet jacked me up again.  Quincy has eye problems.  This appointment involved a lot of prodding in his eyes, so I had to hold on to him.  The weird angle I was holding him at, bending just a little, not a lot, threw everything back into disarray.  I'm a total mess.

So, please send me your pity!  I need lots of sympathy!  It's been about 3 weeks now that I've been hurting.  Maybe a trip to Hawaii would help.
 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Just chatted with someone impacted by the travel ban

I just had a conversation with a fellow Amazon employee about the Trump Travel Ban.

As part of my job, I get to highlight stories of people at Amazon.  It's one of my favorite parts.  Interacting with employees and learning about how they got where they are and what they're most excited for next.

One question I always ask is, "What is something that makes you proud to work at Amazon."

Her answer to that invoked the travel ban.

Her highlight was the number of people from the company that reached out to her to offer their support.  People she hasn't worked with in years.  Her boss's boss from 2013, for example.

She says that, because of this ban, she is unable to see her family.  She can't return to Iran (she doesn't yet have her Green Card, but she's working on it) and her family can't come to the United States.  Oh, she also has a 2 year old son (an American citizen).

I live in Washington.  My family is in Arizona.  My mom visits about twice a year to see Desmond (and soon Owen).  It hard for me to imagine what it would be like if we were told we can't do that.

I know the people that agree with this ban say it's for safety.  I know that, deep down, they're intentions are good (although, I think Trump is a bigot and his intentions are to show off the fact that he is the most powerful person in the world).  But, it's clear to me that this isn't the way to do it.

We have just told 7 predominantly Muslim countries that they are not welcome here.  7 countries that haven't actually produced terrorists that have hurt us.  It seems to me that we're giving ISIS exactly what they want.  Another reason to hate us.  Another reason to rally young impressionable Muslims to their cause.  It seems like we are killing some of the freedoms we are supposed to love and cherish in the name of supposed safety.  Will this actually make us safer?  Or are we just adding fuel to the fire?
Either way...we're hurting our own people with this.  We're hurting our own friends, our own coworkers.  Our neighbors.  Personally...I think it sucks.  


Friday, February 3, 2017

Our Baby Registry!

Here it is!

https://www.babylist.com/kim-pankow

Oh, and I just learned that the nursery colors are Navy, Grey, Mint and White.

This registry is important for a few reasons. One...when people ask, what do you need, we can send them here!

Also...when certain people *cough*grandma*cough* discover an adorable little baby safe lava lamp or a collection of Elmo In Grouchland collector edition lithographs, we can point them to this and say, "We only need stuff on our list, please."

Poor Kim.  Kim doesn't like "stuff."  She doesn't like clutter of any kind.  She says her goal is to have a "minimalist baby."

I responded with "HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

So far, I have purchased a onesie set in Griffindor colors that says "Snuggle This Muggle," another with a Stormtrooper logo that says "Storm Pooper."  And a knit greet hat with Yoda ears.  Kid needs to stay warm, right?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jason's view on Trump's Supreme Court Pick

Since I know you all are totally wondering!

Ok...first of all, how do I feel about the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court?

As a nomination, I don't have any problem with it.  I am a Constitutionalist in that I don't believe in the "living, breathing document" point of view that many liberals hold.  I maintain that the Constitution was drafted in a way that makes it changeable.  Therefore, if you don't like something, change it.  The amendment process isn't easy.  Nor should it be.  But it is possible and it has been done when circumstances warrant.  With the limited info that I have read on this guy, so far...it seems like he's someone I can get behind.

Hobby Lobby is a significant case in his portfolio.  I support his decision.  I don't think there is a fundamental right to birth control.  I don't oppose birth control.  I don't agree with the Catholic Church's position on it. If you want to use it, use it.  I have.  But, I don't support mandating that someone pay for you to purchase something that they fundamentally disagree with.  If you are that unhappy that you can't get birth control, go work at Michael's.  There is nothing in the Constitution that says your employer MUST provide your birth control.  If you want this to be required, amend the Constitution

Anyway...with all that said, let's discuss the actual issue being talked about now regarding Neil Gorsuch.  Should the Democrats filibuster because the Republicans blocked President Obama's nominee.

No.

But, wait, Jason...the Republicans were obstructionists.  They were the Party of No.

I agree.  Republicans have been stupid for a while.  The epitome of which is the election of Donald Trump.

But, here's the thing.  They played politics.  And I promise you that if the party roles were reversed (Lame duck president of the party not in the majority) the Democrats would have done the same thing.  Do I agree with their decision?  Not necessarily.  But, when I really think about it, my reason for that is that Merrick Garland was a moderate.  If he were in the vane of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Steven Breyer, I probably would have sided with Mitch McConnel, if I am being honest.

But, Jason...Neil Gorsuch is super conservative!

Is he?  Maybe he is.  I don't know yet.  People say he's a lot like Scalia.  I, personally, think that's a good thing.

Here's a great article about "Originalism."  The view that the Constitution should be interpreted as written.  I share this view, as I mentioned above.  If you don't like what the Constitution says, change it.  Don't create a bunch of grey areas.  Originalism doesn't necessarily equal super conservative.  When justices go outside of this Originalism idea (saying that gay marriage is illegal, for example, when the constitution doesn't talk about this at all), it's hypocrisy.  Not Originalism.

My point doesn't have to do with how conservative he is, however.  It has to do with the Democrats being stupid.

"If Republicans jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?"  That's what I want to say to Patty Murray and the other Dems who want to block this because the Republicans blocked Garland.

There will be many times much more important than this one when blocking may legitimately be needed.  A Muslim registry, anyone???  This is small potatoes.  I don't care how conservative you think this guy is.  Trump has 4 years.  Is the plan to block every nominee for 4 years?  That's a lot of blocking.  And, as bad as the Republicans looked, it will make the Democrats look worse.  Because, this can be one of those "coming together" moments.  Doesn't seem like this guy has much to complain about.  The Supreme Court was a major issue for people and a significant part of why Trump won.  He could have nominated someone much much worse.

Trump won.  To think he wouldn't nominate someone "conservative" is foolish.  And, it's probably time to admit that the overall country likes a conservative leaning court.  Rowe vs Wade isn't going anywhere.  So, stop with the fear mongering.

Now...it's still early.  Maybe the confirmation hearings will happen and something will come out that makes this guy look horrible.  (They're already trying to say he founded a Fascist org in High School due to a tongue-in-cheek comment he made in the yearbook).  I'm not saying you must support him under all circumstances.  But, this early talk of filibustering is frustrating.  You're not going to help us come together.  In fact, you will only further mobilize the right.

My bottom line point...this isn't worth it.  Be the bigger party here, Democrats.  You have a great opportunity here.  This is a prime chance to show all those centrists you lost that that you're actually listening.