Monday, December 17, 2012

1 Dad, 4 kids, 2 flights.

I have traveled many times through the airports around the world and seen mom's with several kids in tow. Every time I think to myself, "Oh man. I am soooo glad that is not me!" Well, besides the mom part that was me on Sunday. In order to save a whole bunch of money we needed to travel this way. Jeanne-Ann has work and couldn't leave till Wednesday.

A 6:07AM flight meant we left home at 3:30AM! Of course that means I only gave myself 3 hours of sleep (classic). Jeanne-Ann dropped us off and we started our journey into the underground world of single-parent travel. It's a scary world if you are jumping in for your first time. It's not a world that many are eager to join, but one that many decide to because they have to. Thankfully I am only visiting this world. This is not a permanent trip.

We got through security relatively unscathed, although I was worried they were going to take away the sippy cups. Those are worth more than the guys' Rolex in front of me on a trip like this. They just needed to test them for whatever they are worried is potentially inside. Then to the gate with some tired kids and Pappa.

We got on the plane and were seated. Me on the aisle, then Haak and Nyah. Then right behind us was Karston on the aisle and Kynzi. I told the Littles it was time to go to sleep. Haak made it about 45 minutes and Nyah about 1 1/2 hours. Not bad. Then it was time for some games and  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad. It was a 4 hour flight to Chicago and Karston and Nyah switched for the last hour or so. They were perfect. Seriously.

Nyah is pretty much potty trained but we put a pullup on her just in case. When she has to go, there is not always an infinite amount of buffer time. She had to go during a bumpy part and so she kind went through her pull up and onto her cute tutu.

Changing kids inside of an airplane bathroom is not all! Haak gave me a present too, thank you. Such givers, these kids of mine. There is a "table" you can pull down to lay them on, but when they are 2 it isn't as easy as it was when they were 8 months old. Crammed in with my head sideways to fit into this tuna can we somehow made it.

One of my regular flying "habits" is to bring a box of chocolates to the flight attendants. When I fly with the kids they always give it away. This has resulted in a lot of wonderful conversations over the years. When the kids do it the flight attendants always come and shower them with love and thank yous. This time they brought us fresh baked cinnamon roles from first class. Lets just say the kids were pretty excited (me too). Sometimes I feel bad for all the eyes that are watching as these kinds of things happen. I may have heard the guy across the aisle slurp up some drool from these delicious smelling/tasting morsels.

Then it was off to a 2 hour and 10 minute layover in O'Hare airport. I knew we had a chance of getting bumped and so I wanted to hurry over to our gate and get in line first to offer up our seats. We landed at concourse B and my phone had not updated the gate. I got onto the concourse and saw we were at gate F10...allllll the way on the other side of the airport. No trains, just lots of fast walking. At one point I decided to carry the Littles and have the Olders take the bags. We made it to gate F10 and there was a gate change. What!?!? Yup. Gate C22. We passed that a long time ago! NO!!!

So back we went. A little slower than round one, but still a pep in our step. We got to our gate and they had one open seat. They would not need the five of us to volunteer our seats. Lunch time then. We went to the food court and ordered Manchu Wok. Something for everyone. Yay. After I put the order in Nyah let me know she had to go. This time she was back to her underwear. I had a moment of panic. Do I just walk away from my order, grab all of our stuff and rush everyone to the bathroom? Do I send Kynzi with her to the bathroom and get the food and met her there? Do I tell Nyah to hold it? Do I use a lifeline and call Jeanne-Ann and pray she actually has her phone on her (lowest possibility)? This is where the veterans would know just what to do.

I sent Kynzi on ahead, paid for our food and realized I now had all of Kynzi's luggage and 2 things of food to add to what we already were carrying. Somehow Karston and I pulled it off and met them outside the bathrooms. We sat down by our gates to eat and when I opened the first box it was like a feeding trough. We all grabbed forks and started shoveling in what we could get. We got to our second box and and suddenly it started falling toward the ground. It was all slow motion. Somehow in mid-flight I grabbed it and pulled it back to safety. That was not before a 1/2 pound of rice made it to the ground. Not tragic by any means. I found a custodian and they took care of it and then we got onto our 2 flight.

It was a pretty uneventful flight as Haak and Nyah both slept the ENTIRE WAY!!! We arrived in Charlotte and headed to baggage claim. We waited for a while and then someone from United said that was it. What?! We didn't get a single bag! There were 25 others in the same boat so I thought something had to be missed. As we waited in line for 10 minutes he finally said, "Sorry. They just found a cart with several more things." Finally our bags began to arrive. One suitcase. 2 suitcases. 1 car seat.......Where is the other car seat? "Sorry folks. That's it." WHAT?!!? "Sir, do you understand that I am missing a car seat and I can't leave the airport until I have it?" "You will have to go to baggage claim and they can have it delivered to you." "Did you not hear me? It's not like a suitcase is missing and I can just go without brushing my teeth for a couple of days. My 2 year old can not ride without a car seat. It's illegal and dangerous. Yes, I know. I NEVER had a car seat when I was a kid either. You are right, I survived just fine. But it is almost 2013. That is how it is now." (no, I did not really say all that out loud).

As I stood in line for about 15 minutes a lady comes rushing in with the car seat and says, "I guess my radio isn't working. No one responded when I said I found this car seat." Whew. Now to find Granny (I can't reach her on her phone...perhaps she has the same issue as my wife...haha). Then we will be golden. Just a couple of minutes outside and there she is!!! Grandkids are happy. Son-in-law is happy. Granny is happy. Great reunion! What's this? You guys got a new truck? It only seats 5?! My text to Jeanne-Ann was replied to surprisingly quickly and it was just what I needed.

Well, I think the statutes of limitations are low on minor traffic violations, but I will just say that Kynzi and Karston fit "comfortably" or perhaps "snuggly" is the better word, between the Littles. It's amazing how a common enemy (lack of space) can bring people together. They sat on laps and did great for the 3 hour ride back. An almost immediate stop was needed for Nyah to go to the bathroom and then it was off to Chick-fil-a!! We were all SUPER excited for that!!! We get ready to pull up and...OH CRAP! It's Sunday!

With Jeanne-Ann's words ringing in my mind I turned the truck around and found the closest Waffle House and we enjoyed some yummy waffles! (not a bad alternative). With only 1 spill of a completely full glass of water it was a good and filling stop. We loaded back up and headed to Granny and Poppy's and made good time through the rain and fog. Vacation, here we are!

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