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 Read KWIBS by Kevin Noland

I hate to love, or love to hate flying

Iím a restless person, so when I travel long distances, I prefer to fly. Driving is too stressful and I canít sit still longer than about an hour before going crazy.

We flew to South Carolina last week to attend a military graduation for former Medicine Lodge resident Dale McCurdy. Naturally, we flew there. Itís 900+ miles.

Iím not afraid to fly, but I do get that nervous, anxious feeling on planes. I hate the feeling of being crammed in a seat designed for a 12 year old girlís frame. Most designers of airplanes donít include foot room either. Theyíre probably a bunch of "footless" designers sitting in a room punishing the rest of us who do have feet. A lot of times, Iíll hang my feet out in the isle. The flight attendants seem to always whack an elbow or drive that mobile concession stand right over a toe on every flight. Iíll bet itís a game for them.

Have you ever noticed that men who are flight attendants seem to be very, how should I say it, happy?

On our last flight home from Atlanta, I was really tired and my mind started paying very close attention to all of what the flight attendants were saying and doing. I was pretty sure that our female flight attendant was Mr. Bean wearing a blonde wig. I have illustrated this with the magic of photo shop.

The no smoking sign on the newly built airplane had me thinking too.

What idiot actually thinks he COULD smoke on the plane? It is probably the guy they froze in 1972, dieing of lung cancer and just thawed out, looking for the cure. Heís on his way home from the Chryo Clinic and needs a smoke really bad. This is for his benefit, right?

They stressed NO SMOKING in the bathroom, like we were a bunch of mischievous high school kids. And donít tamper with the smoke alarm or youíll get fined $10,000, the equivalent of the cost of about 3,712 smoke alarms.

There were no ash trays on the arm rests like I remember from years ago, but there was an ash tray on the door of the bathroom. It was like they were saying, "just try and smoke in here buddy."

Who could smoke in the bathroom of an airplane anyway? Thereís probably not enough air in there to make the combustion part of lighting the cigarette possible. The bathrooms are miniaturized. I can barely get my pants down in there. And if I do manage to do that, I canít stand up off of the stool without resting my chin on the stainless steal sink, trying to keep my knees from getting pinched in the accordion door, while pulling up my pants.

I always fear that I might accidently push the "Call Flight Attendant" button instead of the "flush" button. Everything is so close together in there. Thereís even a 110 volt outlet for passengers who carry in things like toasters on the plane.

While in Atlanta, we were grounded for some time while we were waiting our turn in line to take off. I sat and listened to the flight attendant as she flipped through the safety features of our airplane, specifically the emergency exits and the passengersí responsibilities of opening the doors in case of an emergency, i.e., crash....

She said, "If you are seated in row 14, this is an emergency exit. If you are unable to preform the duties or are injured and cannot perform your duties, please ask a flight attendant to move you at this time."

I thought, now if Iím in that row and an emergency arises, how will I know if I need to move because of an injury? Iím not currently injured and I really wonít know if Iím injured until the time comes for me to open the door.

Fortunately, I wasnít in that section, so it was someone elseís problem, unless of course, we were to crash, survive the crash and needed off the plane. Then it was everyoneís problem.

A guy sitting in that row raised his hand and asked to be moved. He didnít look injured to me. If I had a choice, Iíd want to sit there. Iíd be the first person off of the plane, if the plane was still something to exit from in the event of an emergency. Upon closer observation I learned he didnít speak English. So it was a good idea to move him.

"Sir, open the door. The plane is on fire." He just smiles and waves......

She showed us how the seat belts worked. This is something I didnít need instruction on, but paid close attention to anyway.

Just before take off, we had a problem with the main door. Apparently, Mr. (or Mrs.) Bean shut his tie in there or something and we had to wait. So I decided this was a good time for a bathroom break. I got up and asked the other flight attendant if I could go and she said, "Yes, but hurry."

Saying "Yes, but hurry" automatically tells my body to cease all function except respiratory and limited nervous system. I went into the bathroom, shut the door and instantly the plane started rolling. This did not help the "hurry" part. Then came the "sir, you need to take your seat. Weíre departing. That pretty much ended "hurry" all together.

"Iím trying to hurry," I said. Ah forget it... I returned to my seat, now very uncomfortable.

As soon as plane took off I heard, "ding, dong". I thought to myself, who could be at the door at this altitude? Then I realized it was the fasten seat belt sign. The flight attendant said I could now roam the cabin freely, like the buffalo on the plains I imagined.

I shot out of my tiny chair and ran for the bathroom, only to be beaten by someone in first class. Those jerks in first class think theyíre so cool. So, I asked the flight attendant if it was OK, if I sat down in first class while waiting my turn for the bathroom. Before she could answer, I clicked my seat belt, smiling to show her that I was paying attention earlier when she showed the passengers how they worked. I figured, sheíd have to let me sit there now. I was putting safety first. She agreed to let me stay there, but only until the bathroom was free and then I had to return to my peasant seat in coach.

These seats were awesome! They reclined way back and I could stretch my feet all the way out.

"So, this is what first class is all about," I said to the lady sitting by the picture window. She somewhat ignored me, only acknowledging that I was sitting there for a short period of time. This was done by raising one eyebrow and looking at me over her glasses. She had a bigger bag of pretzels than what we were given back in coach. Hey, come to think of it, we hadnít even been served back there yet.

The concessions cart rolled by. This time my hands, feet and elbows were comfortably tucked away in the Lazy Boy recliner-style seat in first class. The flight attendant glared at me, but I pointed to the "Occupied" sign on the bathroom door and she went on her way, reaching now for smaller bags of pretzels and bottled water for the less fortunate passengers. It seemed like she was throwing them at the passengers.

The bathroom door opened and I nearly knocked the old guy that was in there into the cockpit door on my way past him.


I practically had to stand on the stool to open the door while exiting and realized that the concessions cart was now blocking coach. I tapped the flight attendant on the shoulder, the one that was glaring at me earlier and asked, "Is it against federal aviation rules for me to hurdle the cart in the isle?"

She said, "Yes, it is sir. Please take your seat."

"I canít," I said, pointing 15 rows back.

She pointed to the first class seat and without hesitation, I plopped my butt down, stretched out and opened my pretzels.

Finally, after about 15 minutes, I looked back to see my seat was clear, so I gingerly walked back and sat next to Ronda.

The flight was only 45 minutes long so by the time I got back, we were preparing for landing.

The announcement came to put our tray tables up and our seats in the upright position, like there is any other position to the seats in coach. They only recline about 4mm - again, punishment by the "footless" airplane designers. This statement is for the benefit of those in first class who can actually recline. They were laughing up there, I could feel it.

Kevin Noland, Shoe Salesman, Fashion God

My kids say and do some of the funniest things. I need to remember to write more of these down to share with, not only my readers, but to keep and remember for when I am old and forgetful. Now, where was I? Oh yeah,. I treasure these things they say. My kids make me laugh.

Nicholas is four  and is at the stage in his life where it is important for us as parents to teach him that not everyone in the world is a good person. He understands that there are people in the world that may want to hurt him, therefore he has to be careful and stay next to mom and dad or other known grown-ups when he is in a situation where there are lots of people. A couple of weeks ago such a situation arose and he remembered his basic training.

He refers to people as "good people and bad people". Good people are helpful, kind or familiar and trusting people. Bad people are categorized as people that steal, are mean or may want to hurt you.

We were in Wichita and we had to stop at the mall to pick up a gift for a cousin who was celebrating a birthday. Nicholas immediately recognized that this was a place with a lot of people and he became alarmed that there may be bad people in the mall. I explained that there could be and that he needed to stay with mommy and daddy. This was a mistake.

After dragging him through the parking lot, I made several attempts outside the mall entrance to reassure him that everything was OK and he was with mommy and daddy and his older sister and brother. Nothing was going to happen to him. He was trying desperately to convince me there were bad people inside. He finally got a little frustrated and said in a very grown up and convincing voice, "dad, there are bad people and shoes in there!"

Ronda and I began laughing. We were laughing for different reasons. Ronda was laughing because it was cute. I was laughing because it was cute and, come to think of it, shoe shopping with mommy is pretty scary!

We went into the mall and back to the truck without being harmed by any bad people and we avoided all shoe stores.

? ? ? ?

Last week I was helping my oldest Daughter Breeann with her homework. She was getting frustrated with me because I was taking up a lot of her time making her understand her homework.

I admit, I was being a little too thorough in explaining things to her, but I wanted to make sure she understood. Besides, I was getting frustrated that she was more interested in trying on clothes and standing in front of her mirror than she was in her homework. So, I was sort of torturing her by dragging out the lesson longer than necessary. You understand what I mean if you have ever had a 13 year old girl in your home. The mirror is to a woman what a cordless drill is to a man. The fascination never ends.

She was growing tired of me and was ready to move on to the subject of fashion, clothes, boys, whatever 13 year old girls talk about. Everything is about clothes. Sheís growing up and some of her pants donít fit her like they used to. In fact, I thought some of the pants she had were too tight to fit her when she bought them new, but I am dad, so what do I know about clothes?

After sheíd tried on her third pair of pants and let out that little *groan* after she pried them on with some of my tools and a can of WD-40, she turned to me and said, "Mom is shrinking all of my clothes!"

This could be an acceptable theory. Ronda does purposely shrink some of my shirts if she thinks they would look better on her. I decided to listen to the shrinking conspiracy theory that my daughter was presenting.

"These things fit me the other day," she said in that little special tone of hers. Of course, I didnít think that these pants had fit Barbie the other day, but again, I am the dad and I donít know fashion or style. Maybe pants are supposed to fit so tight that when you bend over to touch your toes, your body snaps back up like a catapult?

I countered with, "Well, Breeann, maybe you have put on a little weight."

After all, she had been eating everything that wasnít nailed down. I canít believe that came out of my mouth though. Iíve been married for 14 years and I know better than to say that to a female.

She turned, put her hand on her hip, cocked her head the other way and said, "No dad... Mom shrunk these and I told her to be careful and that the label on my pants said Ď100% Shrinkableí and she didnít listen to me!" (she talks really loud and fast when she has a crisis).

Now that was funny.

My label on my pants says, "These pants are about an inch bigger than what you need, but youíll be more comfortable in them. If you watch what you eat, get some physical activity and your metabolism doesnít slow down any further as you get older, you might be able to wear these for a couple of years. If youíre lucky, youíll get a hole in the knee first and have to throw them away. Disclaimer: These pants donít make your butt look big. Your big butt makes your butt look big . These pants are to be used solely for the purpose of covering up your nakedness and protect you from the elements. For external use only. If ingested call your local poison control center or seek medical attention immediately."

Hey, itís a big label. Use your imagination. But seriously, I donít think I have ever read the label on my pants. Guys donít even read the instructions in the box with the cordless drill. Why would we know what the label on the pants says?

Again, I am the dad. My hips donít sway when I walk, my pants donít hug my hips, my voice isnít high and I donít wear shirts that show my belly button (thank God youíre thinking). If my belly button is showing, then that is further evidence that Ronda is trying to commandeer another one of my shirts.

So maybe I am wrong here, but I think maybe women should buy pants that are no more than say, like 10% shrinkable?

Hang On!

Have you ever wondered what that handle above the passenger side door in your vehicle is for?

Well I happen to know. The makers of my vehicle knew someday my 15-year-daughter would be learning to drive. Itís like a security blanket for scared daddies. Itís the "instructorís handle".

Itís something most adults take for granted, but there is a learning curve to driving. When I am in the vehicle with Breeann, I find weíre either going way too fast, way too slow or weíre in the wrong lane of traffic and people are honking at us.

While driving around the square the other night she asked, "Dad, when I turn left onto the four lane, which lane do I need to be in?"

"You need to stay in the far left lane," I told her.

She did.... the one with on-coming traffic in it.

But thatís why all the other cars have horns, brakes and steering wheels and their drivers have middle fingers.

We practiced parking that night too. I told her to pull up and park next to this little green truck. She did so closely I couldnít get my door open.

For the most part, she (we) are doing pretty well with driving. Thereís a few things we (she) needs work on like the bright lights switch. For some reason, there is immense fascination and confusion with this little switch. Itís like she uses it to make her own little dance club on the highway. If you are run off the road going north on Highway 281 some evening around 6-7 p.m. by some crazy bright light flasher, itís my daughter. I apologize.

In my opinion, the main components to driving are: Common sense and courtesy, the steering wheel, brakes, the gas pedal, turn signals and lights. My daughter also uses: The steering wheel tilt, the electric seats control, the makeup mirror, the stereo and of course, the bright lights switch all at the same time.

Breeann has a car. Her car is a 1992 Pontiac. When I first started driving they promised us flying cars by 1992. Even though her car does not fly, her car is a lot nicer than my first car - a 1966 Ford Ranchero. I could peel up my floor mats for ventilation. The only problem with that was when driving through puddles your shoes would get wet. Breeannís car, in my opinion, is a really nice car. She told me that for Christmas she wanted a new car. When I asked her why she told me that her car doesnít have a good stereo in it...... My first car didnít have a heater or air-conditioning, power steering, brakes, a horn, cruise control or seatbelts, but it did have a groovy 8 track tape player with a cassette tape adapter and one working speaker.

She is currently finishing her driverís education course, once the instructor is released from the institution where she drove him to. I think they were in the middle of the "Road Rage" chapter when he mysteriously became ill and needed medical attention.

A couple of weeks ago we were trailing a farm truck going home and it was obvious that she was going to overtake the truck. I was measuring the distance between us and the truck by counting, "one thousand one, one thousand two." I was also taking my own pulse for curiosity.

"Can I pass him daddy," she asked?

"Uh....," nothing intelligible came from my mouth.

The next thing I heard, over my heart pounding and pants soiling, was the roaring of my 5.7 liter V8 truck as we hit somewhere around the speed of light. If youíve ever seen the movie "Space Balls", I think we hit "Plaid or Ludicrous Speed".

Signs and fence posts began to blur by outside my window and I grabbed the instructorís handle above my door. I saw the face of the farmer as we flew by and he looked scared for me too.

My tires were as close to dirt on the left side of my truck as the tolerance of the heat tiles on the space shuttle and I think nearly as hot. I could hear calculators clicking at State Farm Insurance as they figured my new insurance rates. It would be ok, if I lived through this. I could afford them once the second mortgage on my house was approved or I could sell a kidney on Ebay.

When I looked back, the farm truck we passed had disintegrated into ashes. Poor farmer - he never knew what hit him. Heíll be missed.

Have a safe and happy new year!

110 N. Main - P.O. Box 127
Medicine Lodge, KS 67104

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