United Airlines


Underdaddy, Supermom, and Lady Bug took a trip to partly cloudy California last week. A dreamy wedding in San Jose. It was a really good trip and I will probably have a couple of blog posts that reference it in the future but for now I wanted to share some of the more interesting discussions/sites/situations that we encountered.

The only natural place to start would be the flight out. Our secret lair is in middle earth where the temperature fluctuates between hell fire of a volcano in Mordor and that icy mountain pass place. (Someone fluent in Lord of The Rings please give me some help here.) Currently the temperature is somewhere between 30 and 50 consistently while temperature in California was projected to be 50-70 each day. So warm clothes and a light jacket would work. Awesome.

One problem. The layover in Denver was in nine degrees of wintery pain. Adding to the pain is the fact that United Airlines runs the most ass-backwards boarding program I have ever seen. They board the plane in groups 1-4. Groups one and two appear to be special needs, priority club, and first class. Groups three and four are the economy class passengers. United loads the planes from the front to the rear to make sure that each and every passenger is loading an overhead bag and slowing down every other passenger still waiting to board. Maybe there is a reason for this? If someone knows some inside information please comment so the rest of us can stop having a brain bleed while we watch the madness.

Landing in the San Jose airport was like stepping into a space terminal. Denver was nice and big and technological but San Jose had a minimalist feel that seemed like some dystopian empire type building.

Oh I almost forgot, before we even left the airport we encountered a man on the Interstate who was playing a horn while driving. He would play for a second and then put it down and then do it again. Really kind of strange. Anyway back to the trip.

I have a checkered history with travel so I go everywhere with this deep gut feeling that I’m going to be screwed by a reservation, a flight delay, or some other unforeseen problem. I go up to the rental car counter and the young man helping me starts reading out the facts on my reservation to confirm.

“Okay let see here. I have a five day reservation. A standard vehicle.”


“That will be one of our two door models.”

“Wait it was supposed to be a Sedan, I have a baby who needs a seat. Here is my confirmation. See it says Ford Fusion or equal.”

“I don’t know why they do that? We don’t even have Fusions.”

Here we go. Took all of thirty minutes for this party to get started. I was about to lose some religion in the lobby but the CSR kept talking, “I guess we will have to upgrade you for free.”

“Wait what? Okay what is the upgrade?”

“We have a Dodge Challenger.”

“Sounds good.”

One disaster averted and the rest of the trip was ahead of us.
The first day the grooms party went to play golf. The course was beautiful and overlooked the valley. There were a few notable things about the golf outing.

Complimentary gift?

Complimentary gift?

A hidden treasure in our golf cart. A complete skull from a ground squirrel. I don’t know what they are really called but they travel around in burrows but look like squirrels.

So close.

So close.

I hit an awesome shot from 165 yards out to set up for a birdie putt that I totally screwed up.

After golfing I had an interesting conversation with a new friend about guns. He looked at me with sudden seriousness and asked, “So is it really like everyone has a gun in the South?”

“Pretty much.”


“Well not one hundred percent but enough that I assume everyone might have one.”

“Are there a lot of deaths from people arguing and they have guns so it goes too far..”

“We have a lot of gang shootings and hunting accidents but I can’t remember too many manslaughter cases from arguments.”

“Hm. Weird.”


I never really thought about it but it was interesting to hear an outside perception.

At some point I was in charge of watching the house for a few minutes and our gracious hosts had a small dog and a big cat that lay around the house pretty self-sufficiently so I didn’t worry much. After a few minutes of quiet reading on the internet I hear this wheezing noise coming from the living room. I know the dog is around thirteen which isn’t super-old for a small dog but still some age. I jump up and go into the living room to investigate. The sound is louder and I am thinking heart attack, poisoning, choking on some baby toy, or some other kind of death that I will have to explain and will probably be blamed for through negligence.

Instead I find this and video while I try not to laugh too loud:


The cat was awesome too. He didn’t hump anything but he is the biggest cat I’ve seen. He is fat but he is a big cat too. His body is built like a low-rider truck and when he eats he just sets it down on the frame and pulls up his wheels.


Jose Canseco lost a finger? Now it is for sale on Ebay.

On our last day we went to the Redwood Forest in Big Basin National Park. The trees were amazing and this was truly a bucket list type of sight. Some of the trees were up to 1,400 years old. I could have walked around all day just staring up into the canopy and feeling small.


Then I stepped in poop. It was a large wild animal or an inconsiderate hiker. Either way it made the ride back down the mountain unpleasant.

I did learn about Banana Slugs and that they can look like an accurate depiction of a yellow penis.

Left handed banana slug

Left handed banana slug

That night we went to a mall in California to see if it was different. Some of it was different. Some of it was the same. While we were walking around we passed an area being prepped for Santa. There was a huge Christmas tree shaped cabin that housed what I had to assume was Santa’s chair. I could see inside part of it and the walls were lined with lights and reflective surface like an inside out disco ball. The sign at the entrance summed up a lot of the culture of California for me.


I wonder if anyone sits back and thinks, “We are paying money to save time to see a fairy tale figure whose entire gig is bringing free stuff.” Then again that line looked huge so maybe it would be worth it.

Don Henley knew what he was singing about, “You can spend all your time making money or you can spend all your money making time.” It is probably the same whirlwind culture that inspired Hotel California. Good job Don.

The next day was our flight out around noon. We dropped off the rental car early and one of the employees offered to drive us to the terminal in the car we had just returned. It was about a ten minute walk so that was a nice gesture.

We all get back into the car and the employee leans forward as he gets into the car to avoid bumping his turban on the edge of the door opening. I think the gentleman was Indian and the turban is part of his culture but I don’t see that every day so I noticed it as different. Then as we are leaving the garage I notice the radio is still on an playing, of all songs, Alan Jackson – Where Were You?. If you aren’t familiar it is a song about the 9-11 terrorist attack.

I was instantly panicked. Even though I knew this man was totally separate from radical Islam all I could think was, “he thinks that I think he is a terrorist because of his turban.” How strange that I had assumed he had a prejudice towards people who look like me because lots of people who look like me have a prejudice against people who look like him.

Read that last sentence twice.

So here, in the midst of an Alan Jackson song with an Indian man in a rental car, I was able to cement in my mind the true battle of bias. Weird huh.

The flights back went fine and Lady Bug cried for an entire hour at the end of the trip. Then the plane landed and we were back to the real world; getting home too late, waking up in a rush, and going to bed exhausted the next night.


-Underdaddy to the rescue