I Believe I Can Fly

Because The Girl’s birthday comes right on the heels of Christmukkah, we’re trying to start steering her away from the big parties. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in a big way. On Sunday, she turned 9 years old and we commemorated the occasion with some high flying adventure at iFly Chicago, in Rosemont. A great time was had, though not without glitches.

We had just gotten in the car when my phone rang. It was iFly, telling me that if we weren’t there in the next five minutes, they wouldn’t be able to fly us that day as the rest of the slots were booked. Um. What?! No! The woman insisted we had a 2:30 flight time, and our pre-flight class was to start at 2:00. I said, “No, we are supposed to arrive at 2:30 for a 3:30 flight.” After some back and forth about this, she put me on with the manager, who acknowledged that there have been problems with the  new national call center who booked our reservation. She said she’d try to get us in if the 3:00 group arrives early enough. Otherwise, we’d have to wait until 4:30. Ok. I could breathe again. My child was not going to go all Menendez on my ass.

When we arrived at our originally scheduled time, there was another group checking in before us. An older woman in that group asked me if I was going to do it. I said, “Absolutely!” She asked if I was scared. I said a little, but I was going to do it anyway. I held back from saying, “Lady, I faced cancer. A little wind isn’t such a threat.” And really, thanks to that experience, I’m generally all in these days when it comes to really living.

Since it turned out that we would have to wait for the 4:30 flight, they allowed us free use of their party room while we waited. To kill time (we had an extra hour, after all), we took a trip to the Sugar Factory candy store across the street. $50 later (FIFTY DOLLARS FOR CANDY?!?! My husband is so sweet!), we headed back over to iFly to await our training class.

Finally, at 4:00, we were called to the training room to watch a cheesy video followed by review with Matt, our instructor. Then, it was time to suit up. We were all excited, and some of us were a little nervous (our entire group was full of first-time-flyers). Being of ample derriere and bosom, I worried a bit about the fit of the suit. I was so happy to find that not only did I not need the largest size (hooray for clean eating and strength training), the one that fit me was my favorite color – purple!

A few minutes later, we were geared up and ready to fly.  It was so great to watch how The Girl caught on right away and couldn’t stop grinning. Me? I would love to say that the feeling of floating in the wind tunnel was freeing, exhilarating, transformative even. But, honestly, all I could think about was  the wind blowing so hard up my nose that I could barely breathe. But, I started to get a better feel for it just as my minute in the wind tunnel was ending. Hubs enjoyed it too. Though I may have enjoyed his cheek flapping second only to The Girl’s ear to ear smile. Check us out in the video below:

Now, you may have noticed that The Girl flew 3 times, hubs twice, and I went only once. Well, there was the second glitch of the day. We’d allowed The Girl to bring a few friends with us, and one of them did not feel well after her first flight. In fact, she didn’t feel well all over the carpet, the bathroom, and the stairs. So, I kept her company while we waited for her mom to come pick her up. The poor thing. Thankfully, she did enjoy the whole experience right up until that point, and the instructor divvied up the rest of our paid time among the other kids, so it wasn’t a total loss.

I have to say, the staff at iFly was fantastic. They were mostly, 20-something guys, but they took it all in stride, were super-kind and made sure we had anything we needed, cleaned up after us, and not once appeared grossed out. One even told us that even the guys who train really hard sometimes berf after a session in the tunnel, so she shouldn’t feel badly about it.

After she was picked up and the rest of our group was in the minivan (thanks for the loaner, Dad), I popped back in to make sure I had all the info I needed to look at and download a video for each of us (part of our package). Considering our whole predicament, James (at the desk) was kind enough to send me an email with all of the media from our flight class, which was great because we were quite behind schedule and needed to get home to pizza and cake.

I started looking through all the videos on the page he sent me, and soon realized he accidentally sent me the link for the previous day. So, I called over there and spoke with Randi, telling her who I was and what was up. She was super nice, and resent the correct link. The videos wouldn’t load at first, but she said sometimes it takes a while (it was a back door page – not the normal click and buy page, so I was eventually going to get more than I paid for anyway, so I couldn’t really complain). If I was still having problems accessing the videos by the next day, I should call her back in the morning. I apologized profusely for being such a PITA customer, so It figures that I did have to call her a couple of times the next day due to one missing video and one corrupt video. But, we finally got everything straightened out. It may have not been the smoothest experience on the planet, but the people working at iFly did everything they could to make me happy.

Now, watch this insane video of our instructor – showing off what we might aspire to:

The Girl has already asked when can we go back. I’d give it another try – but next time, I’d spring for the full face mask helmet upgrade and keep that wind out of my nose.

 

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