Floss-less in Houston.

The good news: Despite the fact that there were at least a dozen kids and babies on the first flight, there was no wailing or weeping. Not even from the grownups.

The bad news: They made me gate-check my bag after all, saying it was a little too tall to fit into the overhead compartment. That’ll teach me to over-pack an “expandable” suiter.

I’m in Houston for a four-hour layover, preparatory to a nine-hour flight. I had a swell plate of barbecue (beef and pork — why limit myself?) on the theory that a big meal should come in the middle of the day rather than right before I get on the plane.

They will feed us for free on the Houston-to-Heathrow flight, but it won’t be a huge meal. I pre-ordered the kosher meal on the theory that it won’t be overly heavy or greasy. Or what mystery author Sue Grafton memorably described as a “fist of chicken, covered with rubber cement.”

It’s OK if the kosher meal isn’t enough to stick with me, because I have a bagel and a couple of apples in my backpack. Am I the only one who always gets hungry on planes?

What I won’t have, sadly, is dental floss — a real drawback after a plate of barbecue. As I headed for the rest room to brush my teeth, it hit me: The toiletries are in the carry-on bag. The checked carry-on bag. So are the sweatpants that I’d planned to change into for the overnight flight.

If that’s the worst error in judgment I make on this trip, I’ll be sitting pretty. Just not as comfortably as I would be if I were wearing sweatpants.

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  1. Marcia Carli

    Best Wishes Donna. Have a wonderful vacation!!!!! I enjoyed reading this!!!

  2. Have fun! The Houston airport does have some reasonably good bbq. Is it sad that I have a favorite place to eat at several airports across the country?

  3. Cathy Sullivan

    Mmm. BBQ in Houston. Yum. I had that on the somewhat lame layover I had back in December. For some odd reason, I didn’t pay attention to the connecting flight location on my trip from El Paso to Seattle.

    Have a nice trip.


  4. If I have room for only one thing in my pocket, I choose dental floss! Have fun and say hello to Stonehenge.

  5. Oh, I always wondered if the expandable bags were a good idea on a flight. Now I know.

  6. Holly Samlan

    Kosher meals are still usually mystery meat. Heart healthy is usually a chicken breast. Other good option is a salad plate. Sometimes vegetarian can work-usually a grain and veggies (vegan).

    • Donna Freedman

      @Holly: Actually the kosher meal was pretty good — chicken morocco, side dishes of sauteed eggplant and some kind of peppery thing that brightened up the rice pilaf, a roll and chocolate mousse. I saved the roll and ate it with the quarter of a barbecued chicken I picked up for my lunch today. Saved the salt and pepper packets, too, and used those on the grape tomatoes I bought to go with the chicken.
      I’m all about the scavenging. 🙂

  7. Bon voyage, dear friend.

  8. Holly Samlan

    I collected condiment pkgs when a friend & I did 15 days in Vienna & Prague in 2005. Had an fridge in Vienna & full apt in Prague. We always ate breakfast in, lunch out and dinner could be either or. Aldi was 3 blocks away in Vienna. Market was a block away and Tesco 4 blocks in Prague.

    Now I just collect and keep using any sweet n low pkg I get when I have coffee. I only use a sprinkle per cup and will NOT wast 90% of a pkg.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Holly Samlan: I carried a plastic container with mustard packets, salt and pepper packets, butter packets (picked up when I bought bagels at Panera Bread), and a plastic fork, spoon and knife. I’ve been adding things to it, such as the extra salt and pepper and the unused tea bags from my airline meals. (On a flight that long, they fed us free supper and breakfast.)
      If I see any ketchup packets on empty tables at McDonalds (where I’m using wifi), they’re mine.

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