I’ll be Embarrassing for Christmas

Six months ago, we moved from New York to San Francisco.  The flight out there was about as bad as flying with two children could possibly be.  Our daughter screamed and cried for about 95% of the 6 hour flight, and left us feeling like we never wanted to fly again.

So when we ultimately made the decision to fly back east for the holidays, we were not exactly thrilled at the possibility of reliving our previous flying experience.  I jokingly said to my husband, “Well it certainly can’t be any worse than our flight out here.  The only thing that could make it worse would be if Ella got sick on the flight”.

God must have a very sick sense of humor because that’s exactly what happened.

And what ensued was two weeks filled with enough embarrassing moments to last me a lifetime.


It all started on our drive to the airport, nearly two weeks ago.  Ella vomited three times on the drive to SFO, leaving me completely panic-stricken.  I had a literal nervous breakdown in the longterm parking lot: How can we possibly take her on a plane?  She is clearly sick.  But our bags are packed!  We are here at the airport.  What do we do???

By the time we got to our gate, she seemed completely fine.  She was totally happy and running around playing.  This was a good sign.  Maybe she got it out of her system.  We got on the plane and she still seemed fine.  She fell asleep in my arms upon takeoff and was sound asleep when, 15 minutes into her nap, the captain started talking.  And talking.  And talking.  Oh my God, will he please just shut up already??!!  Ella startles awake, now screaming and crying, understandably so, as she has been abruptly awoken by our captain’s need to give us a full play-by-play of how he’s going to fly the plane, what the weather is like in Newark, etc.  I don’t give crap about the jet stream or the fact that it’s unseasonably mild in New Jersey, just fly the freaking plane and stop talking, so my daughter can go back to sleep!

Five minutes after the pilot’s aviation dissertation started, he finally stopped, but by then the damage was done.  Ella was now wide awake, and very unhappy.  And I found out pretty quickly why she was unhappy:

She had to throw up.


All over me.

Oh my God, I am in Hell.  Is this really happening right now?  My husband took Ella to the bathroom to clean her up, while I did my best to blot chunks of banana and bagel off my blouse.

After our clean-up session, Ella fell back asleep, and she actually took a great little nap – about an hour – I was psyched.  I ordered a bloody mary, started watching a “grown-up” movie, and was actually relaxing.  Suddenly Ella woke with a start, flailing her arms, and knocked what was left of my bloody mary onto the floor and down my leg, into my boot.  Great, so now I smell like vomit and alcohol.  I started having college flashbacks.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.

My husband went to stand up with Ella, and she promptly threw up all over him and the seat he was sitting in.   Someone just shoot me now.  I am mortified.

Our only saving grace was that we were in the last row of the plane, so at least we didn’t have to shamefully walk by all the passengers with our vomit-covered toddler, apologizing to each one for the horrible smell.  We were a stone’s throw from the bathrooms anyway, so the passengers around us were used to bad smells by now.

One fortunate side effect of her being sick was that at least she was mellow.  No screaming baby this time around.  Just vomit.  Somehow, strangely,  dealing with the vomit seemed easier.


She may look cute, but don’t be fooled. She was a vomiting machine!


A week went by, and we were having a really nice time visiting with family and friends.  Christmas Eve came, and we went to my aunt’s house, a long-time holiday tradition.  We had a great time, until it came time to leave.  I thought I would use the bathroom before we headed out the door.  I entered the bathroom, pulled down my pants, and my brand new iPhone fell onto the floor.  No big deal, I’ll just pick it up when I’m done.  As I sit on the toilet, I notice that it feels kind of wet.

Yuck, did someone pee on the seat??  Gross.  Oh wait, shit.  The toilet is still running from the person who used the toilet before me.  And that water is decidedly not on the seat.  It is coming up through the seat!  Holy shit, the toilet is overflowing!!

I quickly stood up, pants still around my ankles, and fumbled for the valve to turn the water off.  But the water was getting higher and higher and higher, and the damn valve wouldn’t budge! Suddenly it started pouring onto the floor like a torrent, and I still couldn’t get the valve to budge.

Finally I managed to close the valve, and the water shut off, but not before the contents of the toilet left my aunt’s bathroom looking like Lake Superior.  It was in that moment that I realized the worst of it:  My brand new iPhone was sitting in the middle of that lake.  Every four letter word that I can’t say in front of my children came screaming out of me.

And my pants were still around my ankles.

Ahhhhh!!!  I ran to the closest towel I could find and wrapped my baby in it, trying desperately to keep the pee water from ruining my phone forever.  And it’s not even my pee, because I never got the chance to use the facilities.

Finally I pull up my pants and open the door, cradling my towel-wrapped phone, with a look of sheer panic on my face.  My mom is standing on the other side, waiting to use the bathroom herself.  She sees my face and immediately knows something is wrong.

“Are you ok?” she asks.

“NO!!!” I yell, looking down at the lake I am standing in.

“Oh my God”, she says, and then she calls loudly to the other room, “Uh we’ve got a situation here!”

Everyone from the party rushes to the bathroom to see the scene that I have just emerged from:  Water all over the bathroom floor, and me, standing there like an idiot.  Like I did it.  Talk about being in the wrong place, at the wrong time!

“It wasn’t me,” I tried to explain.  “I didn’t even get to pee!!!!”

I was convinced no one believed me, so I kept saying it.  Over and over again.  I was so embarrassed.  What a disaster.


This picture was taken moments before “the incident”.


A couple of days later, we decided to visit some friends of ours who lived in the area.  We hadn’t seen them in a while, and it was so great to catch up with them, have the kids play, etc.  But it wouldn’t be us if something horribly embarrassing didn’t happen.  At the risk of turning this singular blog article into a full length book, I will summarize.  Here are the following things that happened while we visited with our dear friends (by the way, this all happened at their brand new house, that they had just moved in to):

  • I spilled a full glass of water onto their rug
  • Jackson peed in his pants, and all over their son’s bed
  • Jackson spilled a glass of water all over their son’s bed, at the same time as the pee incident
  • Ella opened the spout on a jug of spring water, so that it flooded onto their kitchen floor
  • Jackson spilled (another!!!) glass of water all over their new table during dinner
  • Ella broke a glass candle stick holder
  • Jackson peed in his pants (again!!) later in the night (He has been potty trained for two years!)
  • Jackson drew on a decorative piece of theirs, that was definitely not designed to be drawn upon

Thank God they are good friends of ours, or I am pretty sure we would never be invited to their house again.

Here is Captain Destruction himself

Here is Captain Destruction himself


After 14 days of visiting the east coast, and countless embarrassing incidents along the way, we were finally heading home.  We were praying that no one vomited or screamed, as we made our way to the airport.  And luckily, no one did.  It was a surprisingly uneventful flight.  However, in our family of four, there was one person who had not done anything embarrassing up to this point: My husband.  So now, it was his turn.

After we passed through airport security, we were putting our shoes back on and getting our bags in order, when suddenly Tobey turned to me and asked, “Where is the green duffle bag?”

“Uh, I don’t know, what do you mean ‘where is it’??” I asked, in a panic.  “Didn’t you have it with you when we went through security?”


“Where is it???”  I asked, even more panicked.

“I think I left it at the check-in desk”, he said, finally.

Oh shit.

All I could think of was the countless airport announcements you hear: “Make sure your belongings stay in your sight at all times.  Unattended baggage with be searched, and possibly destroyed.”


Our bag with all of our children’s belongings, teddy bear and all, is going to be destroyed.  That’s all I can think of, as Tobey rushes back to the check-in desk.

Five minutes later, he is back, duffle bag in hand.

“What happened?” I asked eagerly.

When Tobey had gotten to the check-in desk, he noticed the line was quite a bit longer.  The line was backed up because they had roped off our duffle bag, and it was surrounded by police and airport security.  It was quite a commotion.  I was convinced they were going to haul my husband off to airport jail for attempting to bomb Newark International with a teddy bear and a pair of Spongebob underpants.  But luckily they just asked him a few questions about the contents of the bag, checked his ID, and sent him on his way with the bag in question.

“That could have been so much worse”, I said, with relief.

And it really could have been.  But luckily we were on our way back home.  And not a moment too soon.  I was truly afraid if we stayed any longer we were going to end up incarcerated or dead.

I have been debating for months now if we should stay out here on the West Coast or go back to the East Coast, but I’m pretty sure after the last two weeks, we won’t be allowed back.  So I guess for now, we will stay here, that is, until our friends and family (and the security officials at Newark International Airport) have forgiven our bad luck and stupidity.

Jackson was so excited for our plane ride home

Jackson was so excited for our plane ride home 

Pretty awesome shot of San Francisco as we were flying home

Pretty awesome shot of San Francisco as we were flying home


2 thoughts on “I’ll be Embarrassing for Christmas

  1. Jen, so enjoyed your blog, Can appreciate it even more since I lived part of it!
    Love you, love your writing. You will appreciate someday the importance of keeping a record of these memories. What a gift to your family! Mom.

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