Red Eyes to Halifax…

Sooo … I actually have a lame excuse for not blogging in ages this time.

Lee Aaron-rarities, studio & live-3 dvd setFor months now, John and I have been going through reams and reams of old Lee Aaron footage, trying to piece together a new DVD anthology. It’s been a painful process, really – watching me, me and more bloody me. True enough, anyone who gets up in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people nightly to perform and get approval is a bit of narcissist, but I think that part of me has well been beaten down by motherhood. A good thing, probably.

Most nights all I could think about was how much sleep I was sacrificing, never mind finding the time to blog. The good news is that it is finally done. The authoring part anyway. Masters were sent to the manufacturer this week and it will be available end of September.

LEE AARON rarities, studio and live 1981 – 2008: Volumes 1, 2 and 3

I had no idea there was so much stuff collecting dust in my basement. Right about 1987 – my hair was absolutely insane. Embarrassing and super big, but at least I’m singing in pitch.

Red-eyes to Halifax. Now there’s a thought. I promised to blog about that. It has long since become just a bad travel memory, but I’ll do my best.

It all started out cheerful enough.
It all started out cheerful enough.

It was going to be perfect.

I had planned the trip myself, down to the smallest detail. We would fly out in the evening from Vancouver, arrive in Halifax around 6am with the time change, get to the hotel by 7, and sleep till just before sound check at 4pm the following day. My logic was that we wouldn’t have to spend the entire day before the gig traveling and everyone could spend a little more time at home with family, etc.

Upstairs, God was snickering. I’m sure of it.

It all started out cheerful enough.

First, we had a short stopover in Calgary. Well, it was supposed to be short. The flight to Halifax would be delayed 2 hours. Argh. Okay, now we would be getting about 5 hours of sleep. None of us are 18 anymore, and I particularly DO NOT DO WELL on less than 7 hours sleep. I started to get a bit grumpy, but was still optimistic.

Three hours later, we finally boarded flight 221 to Halifax. In desperation, I popped a couple of sleeping pills to try and catch a few ZZZs sitting completely upright in my ultra-comfy, non-reclining, evidently broken economy seat.

Forty five minutes later, I was finally nodding off to a great episode of Mad Men, when the Captain’s voice came bellowing from the speaker above my head clean and sharp. I lurched forward, giving myself a neck-kink.

“Sorry to inform you folks but we are going to have to land in Toronto as there seems to be a malfunction with the navigational equipment on this aircraft.”

Off on a grand adventure?
Off on a grand adventure?

You’ve got to be @#**& kidding me!*!*!

“Well, if he can use ‘the Force’ to land us in Toronto, why can’t he just use ‘the Force’ to get us all the way to Halifax? It’s not like we’re running out of gas or something.” I blurt out. Everyone looks at me.

I think the sleeping pills were clouding my judgment.

We touched down in Toronto around 3:30am, and stumbled off the plane in space cadet-like fashion. I managed to tip my rolling carry-on over sideways a few times. Gracefully. They promised to put us on another aircraft as quickly as possible. Everyone was getting pretty cranky at this point and congratulating me on my brilliant travel arrangements. Thank you, thank you very much.

And then the final zinger.

With a new gate number and boarding passes in our hands, came another announcement:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the noise bylaws with the surrounding residential neighborhood we aren’t permitted by law to take off until 6am this morning. We know you are all tired and anxious to get to your final destination and we’re very sorry for this inconvenience.”

The look on everyone’s face was, well, not priceless. The tension oozed like a cloud of really bad gas that no one takes responsibility for. You want to point a finger but know that really, it’s no one’s fault. Flatulence is beyond one’s control, just like flight delays. Thank goodness for iPhones. We all ignored each other and surfed and texted and checked our emails, rather than exchange unpleasantries. Then a couple of us stretched out and actually attempted to sleep across those metal and industrial polyurethane seats under fluorescent lights. I am so jealous of those people who can just fall asleep anywhere. It’s such a gift. I have other talents, like singing and insomnia. I was getting a headache.

Bob, our limo driver.
Bob, our limo driver.

A lovely older gentlemen – our WestJet rep in the trenches- who had an uncanny resemblance to Rip Torn – passed out orange juice and little packets of cookies.

We finally arrived in Halifax around 10:45 am. It was barely above freezing and Bob, our limo driver – did I mention we had a limo? – had been waiting about 5 hours with the heat on. What a doll. We weren’t expecting a limo, so it was a nice surprise. Unfortunately they have regulations about “for hire” vehicles parking at the airport, and we needed to hump our luggage and equipment about a third of a mile to get to it. No kidding, and it gets better.

The rock star treatment circa 1987.
The rock star treatment circa 1987.

The limo as it turned out was an original from about 1987. Controls were broken, the stereo didn’t work right, and it smelled like liquor. Sadly, there wasn’t any. By this point we were all punch drunk anyway. Bob, contender for the friendliest guy going award, wanted to chit chat. He, of course, had had a full nights sleep. I asked Bob to turn the heat down from his end – it was a virtual sauna and the heat knob just spun around and around. He fumbled up front a bit and finally popped the trunk. He couldn’t see out the back window now so he pulled over on the side of the freeway as cars whipped by going 140kmh. I’m not sure which was more dangerous.

Heaven on Earth…
Heaven on Earth…

Thankfully, our rooms were stunning and I had a mosaic tile Jacuzzi tub in my suite. I collapsed into bed to get three coveted hours of sleep before sound check.

The show went off without a hitch. Great crew, great crowd. One minor glitch. In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, Tilden was the recipient of some pretty harsh love mail. That’s a whole other story.

The message notification on my cell popped up when I got back to the room. It was Nikki, our amazing nanny.


At first I was mad. How dare he choose the one night we are out of town this month to kick it. That stinky, hairy, drooling old geezer. How dare he?

Then suddenly I felt bad for being bitchy about flight delays and unappreciative about the limo. I felt bad for all the times I wished the dog would just die because he became incontinent and was peeing randomly. I felt bad for all the times I didn’t take him to the dog park. Then he got too old and rickety to go anyway. I felt bad for locking him on the deck because he smelled so disgusting, for putting off his last set of shots because we figured he’d die soon anyway. Yet here I was, shocked that he was dead. I felt totally guilty.

So, I have some pet issues.

When we got home we tried to dig a hole, but it was raining and kept filling up with water. No, we aren’t weird; we live on a big property. Besides, Moosie would have wanted it that way. The situation was a bit urgent because he was starting to smell worse – if that is even possible – so we ended up driving to the SPCA and paying $75 to have him cremated. He was really John’s dog and even though John never said, I knew he didn’t want to be the one to take him to the back lot. I started to cry when they rolled him from the tarp in the back of our van onto a metal gurney. They didn’t even cover him up or anything. I guess that’s just in the movies. Then they rolled him SLOWLY into the fire house. I started sobbing.

Rest in peace, Moosie.
Rest in peace, Moosie.

“What’s wrong Mommy, why are you crying?” chorused Angella and Jett when I got back in the van.

“Mommy is sad because Moosie won’t be coming back.” I choked, red eyes, tears streaming down my face.

“But now he’s in dog heaven and we can get a new puppy!”

Kids are so resilient. And smart.

“Can we go for ice cream?”

Nothing like an ice cream to chase away the blues … now there’s a bad song title.

“Aww, sweetie pies. I’d love an ice cream.”

And that’s exactly what we did.

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One comment on “Red Eyes to Halifax…” …

  1. Really enjoyed this story. You are a really good writer. You should blog more 🙂 I’d moved to Halifax from up north that summer, and missed your Halifax Casino show. I hope you return to play there someday. Keep up your writing 🙂 Greg in Halifax

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