Hi, it’s Jen Pastiloff here. I never blog on the site anymore but here I am in New York, breasts engorged because I am without Charlie (cry cry cry), hanging with my friend’s adopted toothless dog, Benji and I thought, I feel like sharing my story so, pour yourself a cuppa and settle in. Or pour yourself a glassa. I won’t judge. I have a headache because I drank too much wine last night at Cafe Cluny in the West Village but it was worth it. I had a 5 hour flight without Charlie and it needed celebrating. I can’t tell you how joyous it is to fly without him. I miss him so bad that it hurts (and it hurts my boobs) but I do not miss flying with him, not for one stinking second, no sirree Bob as my dad, his namesake, would say.
I truly think mom and I should have a reality show. We are literally the worst travelers in the world together. I am embarrassed for us 99.9% of the time. We would make a great show. We would have so many haters who would think we were annoying but we would have some ride or die fans that would just laugh at our mishaps and foibles and squabbling and people would take to Twitter and ask how in the hell do they have their own show? And it would be like a train wreck you couldn’t look away from- so it would stay on the air, just because it was so bad. After the HELL journey (truly you guys, I’m not a good enough writer to EVER describe the terribleness from Rome to NYC with a sixteen month old) and after we decided to stay in Queens at the Fairfield Inn and delay getting home just so we could NOT GO CRAZY AND SO CHARLIE WOULD NOT MAKE AN ENTIRE PLANE GO CRAZY… when we landed in LA, this happened.
But wait, before I tell you what happened in LA, let me tell you how I had a nervous breakdown on the flight. Charlie would not stop screaming and crying and yelling and wanting to escape. The woman in front of me kept turning around and asking if he could not touch her seat. She would get so angry that she would stand up and file her nails by the bathroom and the nails bits would fly all over and land on her black sweatsuit and I thought, Lady, you can’t deal with a baby but your are putting your shavings all over the plane? Fuck the fuck off in your black tracksuit, eating carrot sticks and wearing your travel pillow like it’s a necklace. He’s a fucking goddamned baby and give me a break and I am doing the best I can and I hate you and breathe, Jen. Breathe. The woman next to her who was not as mean but still sort of mean, turned around and asked me if I would give him whiskey to quiet him. Listen, I am not above putting a tiny bit of whiskey on his gums when he is teething (spare me any lectures) but we didn’t have any. Why? Because mom gets up and asks flight attendant for alcohol for THE BABY. FLIGHT ATTENDANT DECLINES.
Then my mom says, well, what if it’s for my daughter? So the woman gives her a shot of limoncello for me. Meh. Guess what though? I was such a mess I downed that shit. And I hate limoncello.
(Mom I know you are reading this so once again I ask: Why would you tell the flight attendant it was for the baby? Answer in comments or text me.)
I will spare you how traumatic the flight was but some other highlights: flight attendant yelling at me and pointing in my face to JUST SIT DOWN after another one had told me to stand up with Charlie and hang out by the water station to see if it would help him. Sit down. Just sit down! Screaming at me. Another woman from first class comes out and yells at me and Charlie that people are trying to sleep! You guys, it was like noon. They had all the shades pulled down and lights out though. Why are they acting like it is the middle of the night? Help! Ugh! I had nowhere to go. I started crying and begging Charlie. Please, I’ll do anything. Please. I also told my mom that I did not like my son. And you know what? At that moment I didn’t. For those ten hours I didn’t.
Mom and I (mainly me) thought it would be a good idea to have a layover to stretch Charlie’s legs out and NY was on the way home. NOT! It was such a pain in my ass and the whole flight I’m going, “We are so stupid! Why did we not get a direct flight to LA? What the hell were we thinking?” and the more I started panicking the more I couldn’t stop and Charlie was crying and Benadryl didn’t work and my boobs were about to fall off from him nursing and I was sure I was going to die. We had a two hour layover in NY at JFK before we would have to fly to LA (another 5 hour flight.) Oh, hell no.
Me: Mom, I don’t care if it’s $10,000, I am not getting on another plane. I don’t care. (like I even have that kind of money but when you are desperate and 30,000 feet in the air you say things.)
Rome. The morning we’re leaving. We had to buy another bag because we had so much crap. Yes, yes, me who told everyone not to overpack (don’t be an asshole and not take your own advice.) I warned everyone coming to my retreat not to overpack and I packed entirely too much, including an entire suitcase just for my baby. My mom went out in Trastevere in search of a street vendor to buy a cheap suitcase because we had so much stuff that we had to BUY ANOTHER SUITCASE. I mean, what? I stayed back and let my son watch Italian television while I lamented what fools we were. How many times have I traveled? How do I STILL not know how to pack? Who even am I? How come I suck so bad at this? Why am I such a packrat baglady?
Mom comes back with a basic black suitcase that she dragged for ten blocks from the River. So, I found these stickers someone at the retreat had given me and I stuck the PERSISTER stickers all over said bag so I would recognize it. Persister they said. How cool! I felt cool.
Luckily, Delta came through (what up Delta!) and let us get on a flight the next day with no extra charge. I happily paid $169 for the Fairfield Inn and The JFK Airport. Mom even got us a senior discount. It might as well have been the Ritz Carlton. We all passed out. I fell asleep mid-bite eating my dinner my mom had brought up from the restaurant below (which was surprisingly good.)
We finally got to LA a million hours later. In LA, mom was watching C with all out carryons and stroller and purses and camera etc etc and I went to fetch our 4 (yes, 4) suitcases. When my husband arrived we couldn’t fit. I had to sit in the back with the new suitcase on my lap. I was curled up like a small dog in a crate. Charlie was crying to get out of his carseat) poor kid had been cooped up for so long and I was squashed under a suitcase and a stroller.
I get home finally and I’m emotional from being tired and oh yea I am officially freaking out about my book. Did you busy see that I got a book deal? I sold my book on proposal to Dutton Penguin so now I have to write it lol lol lol. HELP!!!!
I open new bag to divide mom and my stuff because we shared the real estate of the bag. As I start to open it I say, wait for it, “Where are the PERSISTER stickers?”
“Mom!! I took the wrong bag!”
Mom: didn’t you check to see?
Mom: you put all those stickers on it!
Me: I forgot!
We open it to find a teddy bear and skateboard and, wait for it.. two Trump dolls?!? I debated even returning it but for the sake of kindness and karma we did and I’m hoping the dolls were a joke?
I lose it on my sofa. We have to go all the way back to airport and drop off the swapped bag and pray our PERSISTER bag is there.
Luckily mom and Robert go because I was delirious and I passed out at 7. They returned mistaken TRUMP teddy bear bag and got ours back and apparently got IN AND OUT burgers and fries and were home hours later while I was dreaming of this question, “Omg what have I done? What have I done? I can’t do this book!”
But wait. I’m a motherfucking PERSISTER. So I can. And what have I done? I’ve done love. And mom and I are like Dumb and Dumber but I think it would be a hilarious show and I’d totes watch!!!!
I love you all. Keep persisting.
When I get to the end of my life and I ask one final, “What have I done?” Let my answer be, ” I have done love.” Not, “I have done perfect.” I am so far from perfect. But I will persist and I will write this book and I will keep listening and telling the truth and I promise, on all things Italian, that I will always check to see if I am picking up the right bag, forevermore. And I promise that if our show goes and we get famous like the Kardashians I will stay totally grounded and I will donate all my money to help those in need and I will not overpack.
I am sorry I did not take a photo of Peristser bag. I was far too upset to see the humor in it at the time. But here is a photo of my group from the October Tuscany retreat which was perfect. Yes, perfect. I wish I could share the picture of us dancing naked in the rain under a full moon. But alas, here ya go:
My workshop on Saturday in NYC is sold out to the max. I am expecting like 100 people so hold on while I go vomit. I am always so scared but I am doing it anyway. Watch me. Just watch me. pps- my retreat to France in May is sold out but I just started booking Sep 8-15, 2018 in Tuscany so email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject ITALY.