Sunday, July 08, 2007

Isn't t'interweb wonderful ?

This is what its like being a father who has to pretend that he's unconcerned about everything in the world and his family because he thinks that its cool to be cool and unconcerned.

Last night Amanda (eldest daughter, 18) left these shores with her boyfriend for a week of raving and whatever else it is that the young and feckless do in the Ibiza-aen resort of San Antonio.

I've seen the TV documentaries of what goes on in San Antonio and believe me - I just don't want to know ok ? Its just my job to get her to and from the airport and make sure she has enough spending money for seven days - "enough spending money" for the females in our house means enough to ensure that they don't have to count it every day.

So with Suzanne (wife) and Jodie (youngest, 15) away in Newcastle for the weekend (they also leached me for spending money) and Amanda staying at her boyfriend's parents house I'm on my own for the weekend, wonderful news. Yesterday I arose early, took Jake to the vets (anal glands, oh to be a vet), went to the library, bought six titanium koi carp for the pond (she will do her nut when she sees the credit card) and then spent the rest of the day repairing and painting the garage door - there, that wasn't so exciting was it ?

And as the afternoon dragged on and I could watch the whole of the practice session for the Silverstone F1 grand prix and then watch the whole of the prolog to the Tour de France without a female coming in the room and switching either MTV or the Coronation Street omnibus on without reference to me, I started to wonder where Amanda was and whether or not she should/shouldn't be packing a suitcase yet.

Eventually I rang her and as always happens she was getting out of the car in the driveway so told me to stop bothering her, she had loads of time before she needed to go to the airport, an hour and ten minutes to be precise.

Now if it were me then I'd just need the ten minutes, but it takes Amanda at least a couple of hours to get ready just to take something out to the dustbin, but why should I care, its her missed flight not mine.

A few minutes after she'd gone upstairs she came back down again, "how much can I take" she asked, I checked the web site - only 18kg of luggage plus a handbag was the reply.

"Can I take cosmetics in the cabin", why do women always have to carry cosmetics, surely when you put makeup on it stays on doesn't it ?

"Yes" was the answer, but it has to be contained in a transparent ziploc bag so that security know that you are not a fanatical suicide bomber for apparently fanatical suicide bombers can't get their hands on transparent ziploc bags, must be something to do with their religion.

We didn't have any transparent ziploc bags in the house and with a temper tantrum threatening I got out the car and went to Tesco's to buy some - 50 minutes to go.

"Where are the bathroom scales" she cried from upstairs and I had to admit I didn't know, I hadn't seen them since we moved house, so I rang Suzanne and had to leave what was probably the daftest voicemail message on the networks yesterday - "what have you done with the bathroom scales ?"

With nothing to weigh her suitcase with she had to ring Chris, her boyfriend, and tell him to bring bathroom scales with him when he came, sure enough he turned up with a suitcase under one arm and some bathroom scales under the other - we weighed their cases, 20kg each, thats just the £20 in excess charges then, have to get their costs back somehow, they certainly don't overcharge on the prices, £170 return for two of them for a 1000 mile flight, at this rate we'll be having pop concerts every frikkin week to try and combat carbon emissions - what do you mean we already do ?

Fifteen minutes to go.

She took some things out of her suitcase and put them in her hand baggage, this is the completely stupid thing about air travel, they limit your main baggage to minute proportions then allow you to carry a half hundredweight of junk on board and put it in a locker above your head, especially if you've bought it in their expensive flight-side, captive audience, two hours to kill, former duty free shops.

Finally we were ready to be transported to the airport, the drive took exactly three minutes.

I may have mentioned before that we live on the peak of the biggest hill around these parts - well just across the valley on the peak of the next big hill going up towards Wharfedale is Leeds/Bradford Airport, if I were geeky enough I could sit in my bay window at home and watch the aircraft day and night, last night I was geeky enough.

Arrived at the airport to find security crawling all over the place with the drop-off zone in front of the terminal closed by heavy concrete barricades - this is what happens when a terrorist drives a Jeep Cherokee into an airport terminal frontage and tries to explode it and himself managing only to set fire to it and himself at Glasgow airport last week - everyone now has to be inconvenienced because the authorities are afraid that another one of us will get it into our heads that driving into an airport building would be a really funny thing to do, believe me guys, it isn't and it wouldn't be something that I'd be thinking of doing last night, honestly.

But to no avail, I was diverted into the short stay car park where I had to take a ticket from the barrier which merrily told me that it was going to charge £2.10 for the first 20 minutes of my stay, it fekking wasn't because I'd have removed the exit barrier from its hinges before I paid but fortunately they seem to have had the good sense to tinker with its gubbins and allowed the first 20 minutes for free.

So they were gone - two 18 year olds striding confidently to the airport departure lounge off on their own little adventure to Balieric hedomy, and I was left a little deflated, just a tad saddened, another link in the chain broken, my first born, the one that I can still remember holding just seconds after her birth, holding even before her mother got to hold her, the one that I did all the night feeds with as her mother snored in the next bedroom, the hours that we spent sitting in the rocking chair with all the world asleep outside the window, her sucking on a formula milk bottle, me talking gibberish - she's all growed up now and I've been reduced to money provider and taxi driver.

And still its hard not to be concerned, got home and loaded up t'interweb and logged onto the Leeds/Bradford Airport web site where you can view the live arrival/departure boards online and I'm ashamed to say, last night I was geeky enough to sit in the bay window with the laptop refreshing its departure board every minute until just after 9pm it indicated that her flight was boarding - then I did a really geeky thing.

I sent her a text message telling her that her flight was boarding.

30 seconds later I got one back asking me how I knew that, and telling me she was missing me already, not - sarcastic bugger, I wonder where she gets that from.

I watched as the departure board indicated that the gate was closed and then, because you can see all of this from our living room window, I watched as the 737 was turned around and taxied to the end of the runway nearest to us and I saw it start its run a few seconds before the engine noise arrived across the valley, it disappeared for a few seconds over the brow of the hill and then I watched as it climbed up into a glorious summer evening sky, at 9.33pm just a few minutes late, and I watched as it turned and headed off towards Manchester and the west coast north/south routes until it was just a speck in the sky, and then gone.

How geeky is that ?
How uncool is that for a dad who pretends to be cool and not bothered ?

And just for the record the Ibiza airport arrivals board shows that they arrived at 1.18am this morning, probably just in time to check in to the hotel and go straight out to a club.

Ho-hum, another day to fill on my own, more watercolour painting it is then and a quick wizz around with the vacumn cleaner before I travel up to Newcastle to pick the two females up and have my answer ready for the first question "of course I've kept the house clean, its all I've been bloody doing all weekend"

PS - 11pm last night and a text message arrives from Suzanne in Newcastle - "why do you need the bathroom scales you fat bastard", I'm just not appreciated around here you know.


But Why? said...

...just after 9pm it indicated that her flight was boarding - then I did a really geeky thing.

I sent her a text message telling her that her flight was boarding.

Definitely geeky. If you weren't so closely related, I'd be tempted to suggest that sort of behaviour qualifies as stalking...!

Gary said...

The funny thing is she hadn't looked at the monitors and still hasn't a clue how I could tell her when I was sat at home.

But Why? said...

Awww. Bless. Perhaps it's as well you're looking out for her!