Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Misadventures of flying home

In case anyone didn't notice, we were on an extended vacation the last few weeks.  Because nothing says Rest and Relaxation like cross country flights, 9 hour drives (twice), baptisms, weddings, limited internet, and 2.5 weeks without your own bed and pillow. 

Tempting the travel gods' wrath

Obviously we were filled with patience and brimming with excitement as we prepared to fly home.  The night before was spent packing our suitcases and heading to bed early.  Or it would have been, if my husband and I had two brain cells left to rub together.  The night before was spent staying up all night trying to beat each other's high scores on various iPhone games. I think we angered the travel gods.

The morning was spent frantically packing bags, cursing iPhone apps, and putting bets on how many things we would accidentally leave behind.  Then we met Peter's sisters at a Mexican restaurant as a final goodbye lunch.  Yes, we chose Mexican before a FIVE HOUR flight home.  To ensure maximum stomach illness, my husband requested his food come "a little bit spicier" than the menu listed.  Did you hear me?  A LITTLE BIT SPICIER at an authentic MEXICAN RESTAURANT.  He ate two bites and spent the rest of the time trying to put out the fire burning a hole in his tongue and stomach.

Now we have gaseous children, semi-ill husband and a slight case of running behind.  Perfect preparation for flight.

How to get on a Terrorist Watch List

Luckily, the rental car handoff went well, as did checking the bag of 30+ golf clubs.

**What?  You don't travel with 5 sets of clubs stuffed into one travel golf bag?  Afraid of the adventure?  Especially if you brought the clubs to take the kids golfing and ran out of time?**

Anyway, we made it through security like pros.  Well, more like incompetent professional terrorists.  You see someone left a water bottle in his backpack.  (I won't name names, Joseph, so you're safe.) We thought we were getting off easy until the security worker dragged over one of our 6 roller carry on suitcases.

"Did you know there were two golf clubs in this bag?"

"Is that a problem?" You see we couldn't fit all the clubs in the bag, so we packed two of the younger kids' clubs in their roller suitcase.  Boston didn't care flying out, but Utah cared flying back.

And yes, it was a problem.  Golf clubs are a weapon, people.  Okay, fine, it made sense, but it's not like that is listed on the prohibited items list or anything. (Just checked, it is.  Don't try pool cues or ski poles either.)

The situation was made worse when yet another worker brought over yet another bag and told us it was riddled with evil liquids.  You see, in our attempt at savvy, we had bought most of our liquid type toiletries while out in Utah.  Our attempt to be frugal led us to try to bring them back with us.

"I'll just put it in the garment bag, since we're checking it," my husband offered as we frantically packed that morning.

"Good idea!"  I agreed.

How did neither of us realize we were checking the clubs not the garment bag?  Remember the lack of brain cells I mentioned?  Or maybe the travel gods were playing with our heads.

Now the {relievingly nice and understanding} worker is unpacking the bags to remove all the weapons we tried to sneak through, putting them into one bag we can check.  She even reminded Peter to grab a credit card to pay for said bag.  As Peter backtracked to luggage check in, I dragged his carry-on, my carry-on, and five kids to the gate.  Ethan's handle wouldn't extend so he was dragging his overly heavy bag a few feet behind me with his 3 year old brother behind him, valiantly trying to carry his booster seat without falling over from his overly heavy backpack.

It was a picture of tenderness ... especially the part where I told them all to get over it and hurry up, I wasn't waiting.

Sanitation Smanitation, That's What I Say

Finally at the gate, there were no chairs available so we, um, gently placed our suitcases and backpacks down.  Peter caught up and we began our preboarding drugging.  If you have ever had several children puke on you during a patch of rough air, you would understand the importance of this ritual.   What?!? Dramamine makes kids sleep?  I had no idea.

My five year old took one look at the Dramamine pill and declared it would make him barf.

"No, it will make you NOT barf."

Let me explain that he has taken this pill 3 times in the last year (this being our 4th flight) without any trouble.  Mind over reason; he puked ALL OVER THE FLOOR.  At least we know he only ate chips and salsa at the restaurant (and chewed well).

Despite the queasiness of the Peter's over-spiced stomach, he drew the chore of cleaning up the floor while I ran to the bathroom to clean up the boy.  You see I had my hand under his mouth to catch the said pill and not waste it, so I needed some major hand washing.

Good thing I packed wipes in one of the backpacks.  Bad thing I could not for the life of me find said wipes.  Three hours into the flight they magically appeared in the first bag I checked.  I suspect the travel gods were just poking fun at me by then.

The flight home was uneventful.  No one seemed to notice the odd smells left off by the, um, kids' gaseous digestive system.  Actually, they were extremely well behaved and the plane landed early.  The only sad part was when I dropped my brand new bag of Reese's Pieces on the floor, they all spilled out (ALL!), and I couldn't bring myself to eat them as I had just seen the quality work done cleaning up barf in the airport.

 A Parting Gift?

Two hour drive home was equally non-eventful.  Despite my trepidation, the car battery was still working.  We even found out there was a shuttle to the parking lot.  Something that would have been nice to know when we flew out and made the mile trek to the right terminal.

We pulled up to the house.  It was still standing, although an apparent growth spurt of the lawn and bushes made it look abandoned.

At three in the morning, with weary children, we walked into the house...

It was covered in spider webs.  Like all over the doorways and hallways and floor to couch to light fixture.  It was like wading through a haunted house to get to the beds.  We quickly brushed most of them aside and I spent the next day disinfecting and killing spiders.  And now I know: hell hath no fury like Charlotte's Web.  

Still better than driving.  I hope those travel gods are happy.

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  1. I will apologize now for any laughing I may have done about the trials heaped upon you by the travel gods...

    I made up for it by creeping out over the spider webs if that makes you feel any better :)

  2. It really is the curse of Murphy's Law. And seriously, those spider webs are gross.

  3. Like I needed anymore convincing, but I don't think I will ever fly with children.

  4. At least when Abe puked at the airport, they gave me a whole row all to myself! Glad you made it home safe, wish we could have been with you. And, I'm not sure I could have slept in that house!

  5. Wow! We just flew back from Utah with our kids and you just made our travels look like a piece of cake!

    SLC airport is way harder to get through! I noticed that too. But we flew out of and into Hartford. Hartford airport is super easy and always empty. You should try that airport next time! No trekking a mile.

  6. Sounds like a typical day at my house!! I am glad you made it home safe. It was so great to see you all.

  7. You know what happens when trying to read your post too fast?

    I read this "Now we have gaseous children, semi-ill husband and a slight case of runny behind. Perfect preparation for flight."

    instead of this "Now we have gaseous children, semi-ill husband and a slight case of running behind. Perfect preparation for flight."

    Great mental picture, no?

    Glad you are back safe!

  8. I'm so happy that you had a reason to creatively use your name in your blog! Those webs are kind of cool and really impressive--but that's because I don't have to sleep in their midst.

    I do always enjoy your airline stories. So sorry they are non-fictional.

  9. So the real question is..........who had the the better score on the Iphone game?

  10. SPiderwebs! ACK! I'm glad you're back, I've missed your stories :)

  11. Ack, coming home to the spider webs would seriously creep me out!

  12. Wow. I would think twice about ever traveling if that happened to me. Or at leats I hide a bottle of wine to help bomb the pain. That's not on the no-flying list, right?

  13. And people wonder why the word travel makes me twitch. Hilarious post though, and oi, crazy to come home to spider webs everywhere!

  14. Oh, my goodness! I'm laughing so hard! This is not good that I read this at work! Glad you are all safely back.

  15. Ew, the spider webs. Yuck!

    If I had known you were in UT I would have made you guys dinner or something. Seriously.

    Traveling with your 6 kids... you are a real woman!

  16. That is a LOT of spider webs. I don't think I could sleep knowing there were that many spiders in my house.

  17. Flying with children is awful. Blech.

    And the spider webs! Wow! I'm speechless.

  18. Haha! We've had our share of travel nightmares before, but nothing compared to the extra adventure all those kids must add! You are one brave woman :). Glad you all survived and are home safely!

  19. Wow, what a story! Glad you survived such a crazy traveling adventure! The spiderwebs would have TOTALLY freaked me out! Ick!

  20. This was such a well written, funny post though I know it wasn't all fun for you going through it.
    The spiders gave me the shivers. Hoping it's all taken care of now.

  21. Ugh…spiders are about the creepiest insects alive. I think I would have probably gotten a hotel that night.

    Or slept in the car.

  22. I want to cry. I hate spiders.

  23. Ughhh. I hate travelling with kids. You caught perfectly the horror of the last night of vacation. I hate that night. It ruins the whole thing! Welcome back.