Every time I return, I feel like a fish out of water for a bit. Two weeks later and I'm back in the groove: insulting everyone I come across, driving like a homicidal ape and happy to pay double for anything that I wish to purchase. It might be stupid to want to live here, but I am stupid so it suits me fine.
Anyway, back in Toronto and I'd booked us a night flight thinking that everyone would go to sleep and I could play with my new PlayStation. I hadn't consulted Stacey about the possibility that our kids might not want to sleep and turn into Chucky. So I played my second trump card: business class is two seats a block and my son Jackson is too young to get his own seat. So, if I played the check-in game correctly then Stacey and my daughter Parker would be given two seats together and share Jackson for the night.
Things went to plan and I managed to distract the family long enough to get the required seats; it looked as though I'd managed to pull off the bonus of an empty place next to mine. This could be good. I felt very smug as I slipped into my seat, necked a couple of glasses of bubbly and started to envisage a pleasant evening of Tiger Woods Golf. Suddenly, the wild card: I looked up to see an enormous granny with two broken arms being lowered into the vacant place next to me by two stewardi (surely the plural of stewardess?). I sank low into my seat and tried to look drug-addled and a potential granny killer but she dived in immediately.
"Hello dear, I'm Nanna, I've been to see my grandson, he's a big boy like you, likes his food. I've broken both my arms and can't do anything," gurned the old dear.
"I'm sure the stewardi will help you out," I muttered, still trying to look deranged.
"I can't hold a knife and fork, you'll help me have me dinner won't you dear?" Her little piggy eyes bored into my increasingly panicky ones. A large gloop of saliva dribbled down her wrinkly chin in terrifying slow motion.
"Of course," I replied trying to remember whether my Valium was in my hand luggage.
I looked over at Stacey and the kids. Parker was snuggled up comfortably, laughing away at Madagascar. Stacey was sipping a glass of chilled champagne and flicking through a copy EH?, a Canadian version of OK!, which features nothing but photos of Celine Dion and her gruesome husband. Jackson was curled up asleep on the floor.
Stacey turned to look at me and smiled. She knew exactly what was going on and was enjoying every moment of it.
Supper arrived and I tried to pretend to doze off by not getting anything from the stewardi. Granny piled her plate high and then nudged me continually with her left cast until I had to look over.
"Nanna's hungry. Will you mash it up while I get ready?" As I tried to think of an exit strategy, Nanna spat her dentures out on to the tray but they bounced off and landed at her feet.
"Oh dear, would you pick them up dear, they'll get all dirty?" she asked.
I leant down and gingerly picked her gnashers up off the floor. Looking at them I wondered whether it was possible they could get any dirtier? They made Austin Powers look like a regular flosser. I was really panicking now, and there was another eight hours of this before we arrived in London. As I shovelled a purée of lamb and potato croquettes into her gummy mouth, I glanced around the cabin. The plane was chock-a-block. Maybe the food would put her to sleep? Granny leant over and played her trump card: "My bag's full."
Across the aisle, I heard Stacey snickering