Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's a Lion, It's a Bear....It's Just Mel

In an effort to not spend a gazillion dollars getting home this holiday season, I started my airfare search early.  At one point Mom (Gammy) and I had discussed driving cross country again like we did last year (circumstances being that I was too sick, unable, and not allowed to travel by plane).  In an effort to get home for my grandfather's funeral service and have Christmas together in addition to allowing me some ample supervised recooperating time from surgery, Mom plopped me in the back seat of my Toyota Echo (at 106,000 miles) and set off ahead of a snow storm (go Momma Bear!).  Our car ride was fun until Day Four when we were both going stir crazy in the teeny tiny, itty bitty Toyota Echo...and we hit snow in Flagstaff, AZ.  Mom even made me wear a pink birthday ribbon and tiara on our drive through Tennessee last December 4th.
(Anecdotal side story:  We crawled into an Ihop after a long day of driving, Mom relentless about me wearing my tiara and ribbon to announce to the world that it was my birthday (mind you I could barely walk at this point) and the server (who also told my mom that he had no idea what the soup of the day was, but that it smelled) asked, "Is it really your birthday?"
"No," I replied, "I wear pink ribbons and tiaras that say 'Birthday Girl' every day."
"Really?  Where are you from?"
"Not East Tennessee."
But I digress.  And I actually love East Tennessee.)

And Mel actually LOVED the car ride.  She sat on my lap almost the entire drive from coast to coast.  The snow we hit in Flagstaff was of particular curiosity to her.  She kept batting the fluffy monster flakes of snow as they splattered on the window and windshield.  When not keeping my lap warm, she was perched behind the seats in the back of the car, keeping a lookout for us. 

So this year I thought, both Mom and I are feeling better and we can make better time.  I want to take Mel with me because I refuse to pay $40-$50 per day for someone to spend 15 minutes throwing down some food for her and probably running out as fast as possible so as not to be eaten alive by the Lion Hybrid Diabolical Beasty.  And I think I've tortured my friends enough with asking them to "take care" of her (IE risking their lives to make sure my house is in one piece).

Well all in all, I worked out the cost and with hotels thrown in, it was still $700 plus whatever mom would have to spend flying both ways anyway to help me drive.  When I found a nonstop fare for the same cost I booked it and booked Mel.

Then I thought, "Oh shit.  What have I done?"

I'm going to have to take Mel on an airplane.  With other people.

I called the airline desk to see what the stipulations were.  $100 each way for Mel.  Will have to check my bag because Mel is my baggage.  Mel is my baggage.  Har har. Har har har.  HAHAHAHAHAHAA.  Never was there a truer statement.   30 day health certificate in advance.  Oh, and they reserve the right to refuse aggressive animals.


"What's considered an aggresive animal?"  I asked, trying to feign stupidity and make it sound like I was only curious, not that I was asking because I own one.

"I mean... she's going to probably be hissing because she'll be scared."

Nice recovery - Mel as a scared little petunia in an onion patch.... right.

"I would recommend a tranquilizer," said the representative.

I simply ended the conversation at that point (tranquilizer?  yeah right.  Can I get a tranquilizer to tranquilize her please?).

So I'm a wee bit concerned about getting Mel on the plane.  On the other hand, they accept people who pay for one seat and take up two, and screaming ill-behaved children.  My little dumpling will be just fine.

But just to be safe, I think I'll call the animal control shelter and see if they have any leftover bear tranquilizer darts that they'd be willing to sell me.

Oh and the whole thing about not spending a gazillion dollars was such a joke.

Mel riding in the car on the drive home last March.  

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