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September 28, 2023

Window on the World Column | The Dog Noodles and Other Sad Stories

Something just crept up inside my tiny brain and said, “Oh, you have vacation coming up next month with a lot of moving parts. Maybe you should check on some of those pieces?” I do listen these days when the female intuition kicks in, because she seldom steers me wrong. When I was young and knew everything, I rarely listened to that quiet, but firm voice; but that’s a whole other story we don’t currently have space for.

Three hours into my investigation of the moving parts of my vacation — that also involved two other people — I was informed “there is something wrong with your flight.” The mature me just nodded its head repeatedly and said “uh huh” a lot; like I already knew that. Come to find out, not only was there a problem with our flight, the flight no longer existed. It had been canceled, annihilated, placed in the buried archive of flights that would no longer be flying.

If I had not had this particular inkling of some kind of issue, I would still be trying to check in 24 hours prior to us leaving on this mega trip and there would be nowhere to check in to. I shuddered at the thought. Why was I just now finding this out? I had received nothing, nada to that effect.

Back when I booked this dream vacation, the post-pandemic flights were still a bit — ahem — dodgy, and you needed to do creative things like fly out of one airport and back into another, but still via the sourcing carrier. Apparently not. Though I made the booking through one airline, and they had to outsource to a partner airline, somehow no one is to blame, and I am still $1,700 the poorer.

We were going on our trip, whether or not I could plant the blame on either one of them, so I quickly rebooked the flights and figured I would sort out the other stuff later. What a palava! Days later and still, no one wants to help me. People, I am not done yet. You are talking to the self-acclaimed Queen of flying and she doesn’t tolerate this type of treatment.

I will no doubt be spending another several hours of my life, that I cannot spare this week, trying to get some kind of justice for my bank account. Word to the now wise — check all your travel itineraries are the same as you thought they should be. This is not 2019 and likely won’t be for a while.

So, what’s this got to do with dog noodles, you might be wondering. Oh, absolutely nothing, except that it maybe accounts for some of my absent-mindedness this week. I was juggling a whole lot of eggs and a many were getting broken.

We were going out to have dinner at my daughter’s place in Arroyo Seco — nothing wrong with that, except that they were providing the meat and we needed to bring the sides — and we didn’t have any of those things. I also needed to work. Hence, I go to my place of business and hit a couple of landslides I hadn’t anticipated.

Being the people-pleaser I can be, instead of barking orders from my fire desk at the real estate office, I still finished up what I needed to and went off to the store to get the sides for dinner. (There were other people that could have done this.) Then we are in a bit of a hurry. But I wanted to cook noodles for my dogs — long story, but the top ramen noodles and the noodle spices help to keep the fleas off the canines.

Could be all in my mind, but this is year two and I am here to tell you my pups have only had flea treatment maybe twice since the beginning of the year. Plus, they love the dog noodles — true story. I figured that I would cook my dog noodles and then we would feed the farm when we got back from Seco, except then I got busy doing other things and off we went.

Fortunately, it was after dinner — and a very delicious one too — that it hit me in the head. I had never turned off the dog noodles. The stove was on when we left. I flew into major panic mode, and we whizzed home, as quick as a VW bus will ever whiz. (“Today is not the day to try and be funny and break down, Vandura,” I told her sternly.)

I called around my neighbors with my feeble tale. Luckily someone’s son was home, and they thought he might, possibly, drag himself across the street to my place to see if there was anything still standing. Funnily enough my biggest concern was my old dog who was in the house. No, not funny at all. I would never have forgiven myself.

The boy texts his mother a one-word “off,” which leads me to believe that he had turned the burner to the off position and there was no immediate need to call the fire brigade. We got into the house and the smell of burnt dog noodles was overpowering. Wow, had I really been that careless? I was furious with myself.

I blamed my busy self, number 1, anyone who looked at me, number 2 — my daughter-in-law who foolishly confessed she had seen the stove was on and then promptly forgotten about it, number 3 — and then, also, the pesky airlines that had got me so wound up during the week, that the brain had turned to oatmeal, soup, slops. Yes, they were majorly to blame.

“If I have dementia,” I told my daughter, “and this is just the beginning of some really wretched stuff, take me to Big Sur, have me drink some really good wine, and then push me over the cliffs.” How could I, Ms. Organized, Ms. Dotted I’s and Crossed T’s have forgotten to have turned off the blessed stove. That’s what Grannies do, not me. Wait, I am a Granny! (Insert confused emoji.)

The saving grace from this whole thing was that I told anyone who would listen I was going to have to take things a little more slowly and carefully from now on — and they might be called upon to help me.

Also, I am now poised, with renewed vigor, to attack those blooming airlines with a vengeance and remind them of who the customer is and that she refuses to be treated like some low-brain nitwit who would do silly things like leave the dog noodles on the stove and go out for dinner, or forget the airlines owed her $1,700 for their lack of customer service and horrific response to my dilemma.

Yes, that. All of that.

Lucy Jensen
Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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