35,000 feet above somewhere, Colorado

After logging a week in Colorado for work, I finally jetted home Saturday. Prior to the first leg of my journey — on a 40-seater leaving Durango — the pilot unceremoniously booted off four passengers and their luggage because the plane was too heavy. As these unhappy souls were escorted off, the flight attendant and a ground-crew member removed several bags from the belly of the plane and stuffed them strategically throughout the cabin to “help stabilize things.” A little unsettling to say the least.

Fortunately, the Denver-to-DC leg was less eventful. Wedged in economy with my knees jammed up against the next seat (and among an inordinate number of camo-clad passengers returning from elk and deer hunts), I gazed out the window at the cloudless night sky. Below, the twinkling towns and cities looked like florescent paint splatters on an endless darkened canvas.

Martin met me curbside at the airport with the Boy, the Barbarian and the baby stuffed in the back seat and we drove home. In my absence he’d kept the house astonishingly tidy, but somewhere along the way the crib suffered a splintery crack and the bathtub knob that controls the water snapped clean off.

If Martin sustained the kids on McDonalds nuggets and pizza, he was smart enough to clear away the evidence. But I did confirm that at least one meal took place at an establishment better known for its buxom waitresses than its cuisine.

Really Martin, Hooters?¬†Please spare me the “I only go there for the buffalo wings,” excuse.¬†

But as the absentee parent I held my tongue. He was the one tethered to three kids. And survival’s the name of the game.

Besides, in less than 2 weeks I shove off for another work-related excursion.

And something tells me that orange nylon shorts and owl-emblazoned tank tops are in the kids’ future.