Notes from south Texas:
So which part of my journey has sucked the most? (and, for the record, things are quite peachy now so it’s not total suck)
Let’s start with the flights, shall we?
Flight #1 was late and crowded but short. Bearable. Amelia pooped during takeoff and I had to change her in the tiniest lavatory ever. There was nowhere to change her properly so I laid her down on the toilet lid and worked as fast as I could. She was hella-POed. I was going to ignore the poop but Ella declared “Mommy, you had better change Melia…sher smells TERRIBLE” She said the same thing on flight #2 when the enormous man in front of her farted.
Flight #2 involved a long walk in a large airport (MSP) with 2 hungry kids. We were the last ones on the plane. If we had stopped to pee, we would not have made it. The flight attendant didn’t believe me that Amelia actually had a purchased seat and declared her a “lap baby” and told me that I should call the airline and get my money back for her ticket and that she just couldn’t sit alone in the seat. The flight was nearly 3 hours long from 5pm-8pm.
Stopping for a minute to talk about airline travel. First of all, everyone complains about the cost of a ticket but, to my knowledge, the price really hasn’t gone up all that much since I took my first flight at 12 years old. The only things that have changed are the service and ammentites. On a 3 hours flight with probably 200 people on board, I saw 1 flight attendant. There was a snack but it was pathetic. Crackers (4) cream cheese, summer sausage (6 little slices), trail mix, M&Ms (funsize). So, pretty much not anything my kids would eat.
Back to flight #2: They were beside themselves. And everyone around us was annoyed, I could tell. The guy in front of us kicked his seat back and then was turning around to glare at Ella when she would bump the seat or when Amelia and I couldn’t get comfortable enough to nurse and Amelia turned into a melted mess. It was late. We were up early. None of this was my fault and, yet, I felt awful for everyone else. Not that they have any right to peace and quiet. Last I knew, the only thing they have a right to expect is to be transported from point A to Point B. Since when did plane travel equal library conditions? When did it become quieter than church?
We got of the plane about a half hour after we were supposed to land. So, time to hoof it again across the airport. I stopped about half way to confirm the gate number to make sure it was the same as was on my boarding pass.
Flight #3: Cancelled.
Let’s paint the whole picture. Houston airport (read: large international airport). An unnapped, walking 3 year old. 17 month old in stroller. All 3 of us are covered in chocolate and sweaty. And not in a good way, either. I have a backpack large enough to make me look precisely like a turtle. Ella is whining for a hot chocolate even though we are still sweaty and chocolately.
I called ILs. They already knew. Airport closed due to heavy fog and radar malfunction (which they need in the fog).
It’s now 9pm. So I slow down, stop at starbucks and get some cut up fruit, a pumpkin spice latte and a hot chocolate for Ella. and head to customer service.
They put us up in a motel and gave us meal vouchers and a ride on the little cart to where the shuttles are run. No flights out until 11am. Neat.
Here’s where it gets fun. We are standing outside. Everybody around us is speaking Spanish and smoking. Everyone. Amelia is content in the stroller. Ella is trying to break away from me at every chance. She is covered in chocolate again and I realize, just now, that she really needs a haircut. We wait in the smoky dampness for 45 minutes. There are probably 8 people standing there waiting for the shuttle to this particular motel. The shuttle pulls up. It’s a Ford econoline van with the back bench seat pulled out for luggage. The driver gets out which turns on the dome light.
The shuttle, for which we had been waiting for almost an hour, is full. He can take (stuff) 3 people.
A middle aged couple and a single, professional looking woman lurch forward and hand off their personal effects. I ask politely, although probably too quietly, if my babies and I can get on. Nobody stops. Nobody even looks at us. Not a word. The driver said that he didn’t know how many people he had to pick up and that he’d be back in an hour. It’s almost 10.
I cried. I stood on the curb while the other people waiting dispersed and I cried. I looked at my ragamuffin, tired and hungry children with new resolve. And I knew that I could not wait.
We walked over to a taxi and got in. The driver loaded my backpack and stroller which was the nicest thing anyone had done all day. It cost me $35 and was worth every penny. We made it there before the shuttle. They rolled up just as I was checking in and I had a little mental “huzzah” as we walked past the crowd to our room. We had a little pizza roomservice courtesty of Continental Airlines and the girls passed out right after 11 pm, wearing nothing but a diaper. I did not pack for an overnight. I had a change of clothes for them and a clean shirt for myself but nothing else. No toothbrush. I couldn’t take out my contact lenses. I barely had enough diapers with me. We were completely out of snacks. My meds were on the plane (that part was entirely avoidable…dumb in fact).
Flight #3 the next morning was without incident. It was short and we had all the room in the world (relatively). Grandma and Grandpa were waiting. I handed off my children and it’s been pleasant enough so far. Not really any time to be horzonal yet but still restful. They are really good at chasing the girls and have spent enough time with them in the last year that they do fine. There are pictures of Stephen all over the house. StepMIL hardly knows what to say to me.
All in all, it was kind of like labor. When you are in the thick of things you vow to never do it again but after it’s all over you think, that wasn’t so bad. I just don’t want to do it tomorrow. By next week, I will have forgotten completely but then we will do it all over again.