They Don't Pay Me Enough

There is no other way to say it. International airline travel sucks.  I had two flights each way.  There, it was 5 hours plus another 8. On the way home it was 10 hours plus 6.  I splurged on a pricier neck pillow, and the recline angle was pretty decent, but sleeping while sitting up is no fun.  It's just not natural to sit in such tight quarters for that long. Ridiculous even. Like how? But if you want to walk the cobblestone streets of Paris it's what you have to do. When your husband is living overseas it's what you have to do. 

Rome, Italy
This trip wasn't planned, but if I was a regular wife it would have been. You know, the kind of wife who says, "Sure I'd love to honey! When do I leave?" when her husband asks her to come to Germany and stay at a romantic lodge in the mountains of outer Bavaria.  Who wouldn't want to get away and enjoy that with their husband?

Well not me, because I'm not a regular wife.  We talked about it in August. Well, texted about it, because sometimes you just don't get around to talking about all the things you mean to when your husband lives nine hours ahead.

"Impossible," I said. 

Because it was. There isn't any possible way that I can get away for that long during that time of year.  I have one job! And it's showtime. The work floods in on the 18th, and I have a hard deadline on December 2nd.  Like really hard, as in the most important and biggest deadline of the year.  We lose 2 days for the holidays, but if I went to Germany when he wanted I'd have exactly four days (Tuesday to Friday) to do five times the amount of work that I would normally have 10 days to complete.   Impossible.  I could swing an extra 2 days max, but who spends 15 hours and a cool G on a flight for a 6 day visit?  I really wanted to, but it was impractical, and I am nothing if not practical.  

I would see him two weeks later for Christmas and that was that because that's life and you simply don't always get what you want.

We didn't talk about it again until much later. We had a nice week together in Hawaii, but as Thanksgiving approached I knew something was wrong.  We don't argue, but for two months I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach I couldn't shake. Something was wrong, and when I flat out asked him what it was, I found out he had stronger feelings about the situation than he let on.  Election day was hyper emotionally charged for more reasons than one.

"Well, it's too late now," he said.

"Probably, but it wouldn't hurt to look."

So I looked, and my heat sank, because the cost was $600 more than when I was "just browsing" in August.  Yes, there was a total breakdown in communication.  We should have had that conversation a heck of a lot earlier, but the bottom line is that I should have known. I should have known that it was not okay leave him alone for Thanksgiving, and I had to fix it.
"It's way too much money," he said.

"I know.  Way too much, but I'm tempted to do it anyway."   

I mulled it over.  I talked to my mom.  I called my boss at home.  What would the lead girl in the Rom-Com do in this situation? She would cancel her airline ticket to Vegas and book the damn ticket to Stuttgart. She would do whatever it took to get to her man.

I'm not the type to say screw them, they'll figure it out.  That's not me.  I'm the girl who tried to come back to work 2 weeks post op, stretched it to 3 because I was told to stay home, and then worked in pain all week because of the very same deadline that was keeping me from my husband.  I offered to work from home while I was in Germany, and I still didn't know how I'd get all the work done, but it was the only option I could come up with.  Mind you, it doesn't really work like that in our office, but desperate times called for desperate measures.  I had to make this happen.  I booked the flight on Friday and one week later, I was on a long ass flight to Stuttgart.  No easy task for someone who suffers from travel induced anxiety.

At least they keep you occupied on international flights. Plenty of movies to choose from.  I watched four on the way there, and five on the way back.  Five!  High Strung has to be one of the most cliche dance movies that ever lived.  Dance battles in the subway station, spontaneous dancing on table tops, a scholarship at stake, and a love that depends on winning it all in a dance competition.  I was ready to try for a nap until I saw that and it passed another 1 1/2 of time.  

My meal after I demolished the chicken

You get hot towels before meals, and there were two (plus dessert) sandwiched between 3 beverage services giving me the opportunity for two glasses of wine plus coffee. I had three on the way home, and those flight attendants are not nearly as stingy with their pours as bartenders.  The food is good and perfectly designed to fill you up.  They offered it, and I ate it.  Eating is something to do.  They feed you on short flights too.  We had quiche on the way to Rome.  They make you feel so cared for, and then you get on a domestic flight and feel like a squatter who is lucky to have a bag of peanuts tossed in your direction.

Stuttgart, Germany
I imagine that in the movies the girl would have surprised her man. She would have booked the flight without a word and showed up at her husbands apartment triumphantly, suitcases in hand, and a loving smile on her face.  But this is me we're talking about, and as romantic as the idea of a surprise trip across the country is, I live in reality.  I needed his input just to get the flight booked.  The sappy music montage cutting between me navigating the transportation system of Stuttgart and my lonely husband on the couch drinking hard alcohol straight out of the bottle,  would never happen.  It turns out that his apartment is pretty secure.  You can't get past the outer door without a pass key.  Also, I am so directionally challenged that I would have been lost and stranded somewhere in Stuttgart, and if by some miracle I managed to find his apartment he wouldn't be around.  My husband isn't one to sit idly or drown his sorrows in alcohol.  He would have made other plans and been long gone. 

It was still pretty perfect.  I headed through customs, then into baggage claim and looked for him in the crowd standing behind the glass.  He waved.  You guys, my husband is so cute.  I waited for my luggage and when I saw him in new cold weather active wear I'd never seen before I knew I made the right decision and that whatever I had to deal with to make it happen was well worth it.  He made a similar sacrifice for me, because he knew how important it was to me that he be in Hawaii, and I needed to do the same for him.

The price of that last minute ticket was utterly outrageous, and totally impractical, but the most practical choice isn't always the right one. Once I decided I needed to get to Stuttgart, the price didn't matter.  What mattered is that I was there for my husband, and we got to be together.  I got a chance to see what his life is like in Germany.  We ate Italian food in Italy, drank beer in Germany, and got to sleep in the same bed for nine nights.  You can't put a price tag on that, and when it comes down to it, they don't pay me enough to put work before my marriage.


Faith said...

Yes, yes, yes! Such a great post. So glad that you did it and made your relationship with your husband the priority.

Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

Long haul flights are never fun, but I'm glad you enjoyed your break. And yes, nobody can pay me enough to put work in front of my marriage either! Thanks for the handy reminder and also about communication. People bang on about it being key but... it actually is. Shame I suck at it. Lovely post :)

Carly Blogs Here said...

I love that you decided to do this at the last minute- it looked like an incredible trip combined with getting to spend time with your husband.

Pegster said...

You made the absolute best decision, family always comes first. I enjoyed following along on IG

Catherine Gacad said...

priceless! i'm so glad you did it. are you going to post more pictures? would love to see.

as much as i love to travel, i detest flying. like you, i gorge on movies. when i wasn't a mother, i used to take sleeping pills. sleep straight through the flight. my friends would be amazed at how knocked out i was.

BKCsquared said...

I always forget how great of a writer you are!! Love the comparisons to the rom-com movie girls & I think what you did is just as romantic if not more. It really showed that you wanted to be there! P.S. LOVE the pours the flight attendants do ;) And you're so right about choosing your job over your husband. It's so easy to think we have to work our butts off and make sacrifices, but I'm guessing life at the office went on & the only thing you would have regretted is not going. So great choice!!

xo, B

Machu Picchu said...

wow! so great post

Caroline said...

Ooh, gotta love a good story about the grand gesture! Your post read like a realistic rom-com, that's for sure :) Very happy that you and your man got to spend some much-deserved time together. And you're absolutely correct - international flights treat you SO much better than domestic, but I guess that's the way it should be!