If I added everything correctly–and I am by no means sure that I did–I believe I will have a free Southwest flight available to use sometime in May. The British Columbia tourism board will be glad to note that their relentless celebrity advertising (hell-lo Ryan Reynolds, won’t you come sit by me?) during the Olympics attracted at least one wandering eye and open wallet, and if all goes to plan Maggie and I will be flying off to Seattle and then doing an overnight in Vancouver this June. My childhood friend Michelle is working on a PhD at UW in some brilliant field related to the biological sciences that I only vaguely understand, having gained most of my scientific education from “Beakman’s World,” but she’s agreed to tolerate us for a few days.

Because I am an insanely paranoid freak when it comes to paperwork, proper filing of (well, personal travel paperwork, at least; all of my former bosses just twitched and don’t know why), I went looking for rules regarding crossing the Canadian border. In a ruiniously expensive turn of events this summer, Tom’s passport expired, I had to get a new one with my married name, and Maggie needed her own passport. Tragically, Baby Fu is not her passport photo, but a passport issued to an infant is like, the cutest thing ever.

Fig. 1: Would YOU allow this person to cross international boundaries?

Anyway, the State Department and the passport photo guy at Costco got a ridiculous sum of our money and we’re all set there. What I was worried about was being alone with Maggie. There have been some high-profile custody cases in the news of late regarding parents snatching kids and dashing to some exotic land. America’s Hat may not be Argentina or Tokyo, but it IS a foreign country. So even more paranoid than my note from the pediatrician arguing the medical necessity of Maggie’s boobmilk is the letter we drafted the other night. It is a notice of travel consent in which Tom establishes his relationship to us, his understanding that we intend to travel extensively, and gives his consent for me to both travel internationally with Maggie in his absence and to determine the dates/times/locations at my discretion. A couple bucks and a notary seal later, and I think we’re good to go. Like I’d ever leave him and take the baby anyway; I am far too lazy to hack the single parent lifestyle because single parents are the hardest-working people in all of ParentLand, god love ya, and I’m no more likely to snatch the baby than I am to spontaneously run a marathon in clear stripper heels (there’s a visual).

I will bet a maple leaf flag and a Celine Dion CD that nobody in Maggie’s entire life will ask me for that letter. But it makes me feel happy to have it. Even though our travel plans aren’t firm, we’ve got husbandly legal consent to frolic about the northern hemisphere. It’s well worth the peace of mind if you’re paranoid and hell, when dealing with border crossings you probably should be. Break out the sippy cup of sparkling grape juice! (For me. Maggie still doesn’t use them. *sob*)

Now, for suggestions: having read the NY Times’ “36 Hours in Vancouver” and “36 Hours in Seattle” and finding them mostly helpful but geared toward someone youthful and trendy and without a mammalian cling-on, what should I do for food and fun? Parks are good, museums are too (Maggie is pretty good like that…usually). IF we do this, I’m not totally sure yet, Maggie will be about 14 months old, so kid-oriented stuff is always a good call.

ETA: OMG, YOU GUYS, MY HEART JUST WENT PLOOEY: This has NOTHING to do with the post AT ALL but I just got a notice in my email about “Daria: The Complete Animated Series” being available for pre-order. I squealed like a piglet and clapped my hands in glee. I can’t wait to buy it and relive the series that was partially responsible for me being such an obnoxious shit in junior high and high school (the other part being a cussedly stubborn and socially anxious nature and a tendency to wear black). Meeeeeeemoriiiieeeeeeeeees.