Friday, December 26, 2008

Again? Really?

Tuesday was Travel Day, Part 2, as we headed back to NC. After waking up and seeing no snow or ice on the roads, I figured we were destined to have a more relaxed trip back than we had on the way in (read earlier "Travel Day" post for more info).

Macie awoke at 6:15a, giving me plenty of time to get ready for our target 9a departure from Mom and Dad's house in Jeff City. Figured that leaving at 9a would get us to the airport by 11a, which is plenty of time before our 1p flight departure.

We actually left the house around 9:20a. Not bad considering the hectic last-minute packing of diapers, clothes from the washing machine, new toys, etc. The drive to the airport was reasonably uneventful, although Nina would probably not agree, since she had to entertain Ivie the entire way. Ivie in a car for 2 hours, without a movie to watch, and following a week of sleep deprivation is not a pretty sight. Shoot, it doesn't even have to be 2 hours. Even the 15-minute car trips around Jeff City the last few days were an adventure in trying to ignore the whimpers and annoying screams emanating from the "big girl" car seat up front.

Got to the airport around 11:30a. Dad stayed in the car with the kids while Dale, Mom, and I lugged the 2 50-pound bags into the airport (curbside check-in wasn't open - bummer). Actually, upon weighing them, one of the bags was 51 pounds, the other 44. We weighed them when the attendant wasn't looking, and I decided to chance it and not move some items over. Surely, with the long line of people behind us, the lady would see that we obviously had room left in the other bag, so she would just let the 1 pound go...

WRONG. She actually said to us, "You'll need to move 1 item from that bag into the other one." I wanted to look at her and ask her if she was kidding, but I could feel the stares of the people behind me, so we just cooperated and did what she asked. We then had to go get the girls out of the car, because they wouldn't give us their boarding passes unless they actually SAW the kids. Whatever. So we went out into the 40 mph winds and temperatures in the teens and got the girls into their respective strollers. After saying bye to Mom and Dad, we were on our way back inside.

After an adventure trying to get to the gate level via elevators (they really should mark the elevator buttons with at least 1 sign that says "Gates", instead of just assuming that people know that, at this particular airport, the gate level is the same as the "Baggage Claim" level), we finally hit the security line, which took just as long this time as it did on the way out. Longer, maybe even, since this time they had to have me open, one at a time, each bottle of breast milk (there were 5) and run a litmus test on each one of them that lasted about a minute each. That's a long time for 2 kids to sit still in their strollers and wait. Particularly when they are both starving...

OK. Through the security line by noon. And not too stressed, as we still had 30 minutes to grab a bite to eat and find a bathroom for me to pump. And since the battery pack had worked when I "tested" it after the last fiasco, I was safe to not have an outlet. We were still in good shape.

As destiny would have it, the only place to eat down our end of the terminal was Jody Maroni's. You guessed it, another hot dog. Which ended up being choked down yet again, this time without a bun (as the hot dog place had run out of hot dog buns - go figure). As Dale and I quickly ate, Macie was screaming for her bottle, Ivie was crying and claiming she didn't WANT a hot dog, and the clock was ticking...

Macie cried herself back to sleep, Ivie decided that she would eat a few bites of my hot dog along with her banana, and we were off to the gate. I took Ivie in her stroller with me to the bathroom to pump, and Dale headed to the gate with Macie to find out if there were any empty seats we could claim.

Ivie and I snagged the handicap stall in the bathroom, which is still a really tight fit for a stroller and a woman who has to pull out all the pump stuff and make it functional. But I got situated and began the process. For about 1 minute. Until the battery pack decided, yet again, that it wanted to stop working. So it did. I just sat there, looking at Ivie, with an apparently very upset look on my face. She looked into my eyes, very concerned, and patted my leg with her little hand, saying, "It's okay, Mommy!".

So I packed away all the stuff, trying to decide what to do next. After taking Ivie's stroller out to Dale (whatever I was going to do, I wasn't going to be able to do it with her in tow!) and headed back to the bathroom with my pump. In the corner of the bathroom, right above the last sink, was an outlet. So I swallowed my pride, sat the pump on the nasty bathroom floor, knelt down (because I certainly couldn't maintain a catcher's squatting position for 10 minutes), and, with my back to the people rushing in and out, set to work pumping. Thankfully, I wasn't able to see any of the looks on the faces of the folks wondering what the heck I was doing. The even better thing about this is that they didn't see my face, either, so I was saved from any future embarrassment that might result if they would have seen me in the terminal afterward.

By the time I'd finished, our flight was ready to pre-board those folks that "needed extra boarding time". Which we did, since we had both girls and, you guessed it, no empty seat for Macie. Boarding went fine. I had a pilot-in-training sitting next to me who had ear plugs and "a girlfriend who would be jealous" that he got to sit next to a baby. Of course it was freezing rain when we boarded, so we had an extra 15 minutes to sit on the plane and entertain the girls while our aircraft was de-iced (and the pilot-in-training had his training manual turned to the inclement weather page, studying up).

Then we were off! Macie ate her bottle, played for a while, and drifted off to sleep with about 30 minutes left to the flight. She didn't make a sound the whole time, so the man sitting next to me wore his ear plugs for no reason. Take THAT, pilot guy! Ivie watched a couple of movies, none for more than 20 minutes before asking Daddy to swap it out. And she only had to be told by the flight attendant one time that if she didn't sit down and put her seatbelt on, we'd have to head straight back to the gate. Lastly, instead of 3 poopy diapers, we only had 1. Macie. Which is to be expected when she eats a complete bottle on the plane.

We landed, got our luggage, and Dale headed to get the car with Ivie. We were then off to Hickory for more fun with Ivie's other "cuzins", Luke and Rod. Survived yet another chaotic flying experience. 2-for-2 on chaotic flights with 2 kids. I have a feeling the trend will continue. Maybe I need to lower my standards a bit. Either that or get to the airport 3 hours before the flight takes off...

I should mention, just so it's in writing for future memories, that Dale and I made it to Hickory by 6p, eastern time. Which was 5p in Missouri. My parents had dropped us off at the airport and headed back home by 11:30a. 5 1/2 hours later, when Dale and I were pulling into his parents' driveway, Mom and Dad were NOT YET home from the airport. OUCH. The freezing rain that caused the de-icing on our flight wreaked havoc on the roads that day. I-70 was closed down in their path, and the back roads were congested and full of other accidents, as well. Though it took them nearly 6 hours to get home, they made it there safely. And Mom got plenty of quality time with Dad. AND they got a Mexican dinner upon their return to Jeff City. So all ended well, both in MO and NC...

1 comment:

Stacy W. said...

The look Ivie noticed...yeah, I've seen that look! 'it's always going to be okay' and I bet if you were aren't the airport so early everyone wouldn't have been so suspicious of you. LOL next run into the airport in panic mode, it'll be much more believable. :)