Saturday, December 15, 2007

Feliz Naviblah

So where was I? Oh yes, Thanksgiving travel with an infant. The day started out well enough. We had splurged on the extra luxury of actually departing from the teensy tiny airport in Whooville, as opposed to driving 2 hours to BigCity to fly out as per usual. The flight left around 9, so we got to the airport and checked in around 8. No baggage to check (thanks to Mr. Whoo), but I did have my (oh so stylish) breastpump, a diaper bag, and a 14 pound infant in the baby bi.jorn. The first two puddle-jumping flights were great. I had a bottle of freshly pumped milk so that I didn't have to get half naked in one of those itty bitty planes. Bean had his second breakfast and filled his diaper in that order, and all was right with the world. We arrived in the BigCity airport with just enough time to change Bean's pants and for me to grab a quick bite to eat. Our next flight was scheduled to go out on time (a first for me on this particular carrier with the letters N and W prominent in the name). Then it all started to unravel.

The flight was full, not unexpected for the day before Thanksgiving, so I had to check the breastpump planeside and the diaper bag was too fluffy to fit under the seat so I took as much as I thought I would need (diaper, blanket, burp cloth) and jammed the bag into the overhead compartment. I was seated near the front of the plane, window seat, next to a rather portly gentleman. Being of an ample posterior, myself, we were very, ahem, cozy (read jammed together with very little room to move). Bean was sleepy and cranky, so most of my attention was focused on getting him settled. It took a while to notice that we were taxiing a little longer than usual. Then the announcement from the pilot, inclement weather in our destination was forcing them to delay departure for approximately 30 minutes, so we were going to sit on the runway until we could take off. Ummmm, WTF? They didn't know that the weather was bad before they jammed us on the plane? The cessation of movement awakened the Bean, so my last weapon in the arsenal, the almighty boob, was offered in the most awkward and uncomfortable way....ever. We got through the wait on the tarmac, and he fell blissfully asleep once we were in the air. The remainder of the flight passed uneventfully, until we reached the destination. Then, for some undisclosed reason, we then proceeded to circle the city, unable to land for an additional hour and a half. I *had* to pee, and Bean needed a new diaper. When it became evident that we weren't landing any time soon, I braved the airplane bathroom, infant in tow. Of course I was very near the front, and the bathroom was all the way in the back, so I did my best not to whack each and every aisle seated passenger with either my arse or my baby's feet. Peeing in that laughably small restroom with the baby in the baby bi.jorn was effort enough, but changing a diaper in there? Damn near impossible. I put the burp cloth down for a minute on the only available counter space (the sink) only to have it get sopping wet. Bean screamed throughout the whole ordeal, for extra fun, and I was near tears myself by the time we had finished. I did my best to avoid the disapproving eyes as I headed back toward my seat with my overtly vocal, unhappy child, wedged myself back in between the window and Mr. Portly, offered Bean the other boob, and willed the plane onto the runway, like, yesterday.

We did finally make it to the ground, a grand 10 minutes after my connecting flight had departed. (No, of course, I wouldn't have the *good* fortune of the flight being delayed!) I want to know, if the weather was so terrible, why flights were still leaving on time?? It was about 1:45 pm (felt like midnight) and the next flight out wasn't available until after 7 pm. With the darkening skies and this carrier's oh so stellar reputation, that wasn't a gamble that I was willing to take. I had been scheduled to arrive at my destination city at approximately 2:30 pm, my sister in-law, niece, and nephew were to pick us up, and then we were to drive 3 hours north to the Grandparent's house. I phoned my sister-in-law and we both agreed that she could drive to my present airport and pick me up before my next flight even left (ha, ha!) So we estimated that she was a little less than 2 hours away, so I took myself to the Chili's and ordered fajitas and a margarita. All was right with the world once again....until Bean blew out his diaper and needed a full wardrobe change, bunting and all.

Flash forward 3.5 hours when my sister-in-law finally arrived, having underwent a small circle of hell, herself, involving ice storms, driving rain, and holiday traffic to get to the airport. As we settled in the car, I thought, surely, things would get better from there. Fate laughed loud and long at that assumption. The weather went from driving rain to freezing rain to blizzard-like snow, the traffic got increasingly snarled, and the three children got increasingly testy. What should have been a 4-5 hour drive turned into an 7 hour drive. We had reached a tenuous peace, with all three children finally asleep. We turned the radio to an all Christmas music station, and proceeded to laugh about how horrific the entire journey had been. Just after we had reached the last 30 minute leg of the trip (through snowy, country back roads), my nephew began to cry to get out of the car seat. Then my niece awoke and cried because she was still sleepy, my poor SIL was doing all she could to see the road through the blizzard, and there was no placating the children. As we turned onto the final road to the Grandparents house, Bean awoke to complete the trifecta, the screaming escalated, the road was icy, we were behind a car going precisely 2 miles an hour, and playing in the background? A cheerful "Feliz Navidad." Delirious from prolonged travel with children, my SIL turned the volume up over the throng of screaming voices, and we sang along at the top of our lungs....either to save our sanity, or because we had completely lost it, I am still unsure. We slid past the driveway just after midnight, arriving safely but insane, a mere 16 hours after the journey had began (it takes 11 hours to drive the distance between our houses). I vow to never, ever, fly anywhere ever again. That is all.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart, honey. Next year just tell 'em to come to you, you'll have two little children for heaven's sake! And put the family in a hotel if necessary (or better yet, go their yourself and hide out from them). If you really play your cards right you can arrange to be on call--the kids won't care, they're so little they'll think Christmas is whenever you tell 'em it is. This is the voice of experience, I have 2 grown daughters 15 months apart. Being on call for the holidays isn't always bad.....

Amanda said...

That is a pretty impressive travel nightmare tale!

Shelly Burke said...

And I thought MY T-Giving was bad, starting with a flat tire and including one kid spewing vomit all over my mom and dad's bathroom (a 15 year old kid--and do you know how much he'd eaten that day??? I do!!!), two days later, daughter throwing up all over mom and dad's car (there was at least an inch of vomit on the floor . . . thank goodness my perfectionist grandpa helped clean it up) and that night my niece coming down with the same thing!My sister and I decided to drive home anyway, before WE got whatever it is and were STUCK at mom and dad's (did I forget to mention my have-to-control-every-move sister and drunken brother-in-law?). After 8 stops in the first three hours for various kids to spew various excretions from various orifices, we DID get home . . . I got sick about 12 hrs. later and so did my sister but AT LEAST WE WERE HOME!

I do hope your vacation improved after you got to your destination . . . !!

Bean said...

That my friend deserves a medal...

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Oh my. What a wretched, wretched trip. That is EXACTLY the reason I refuse to fly alone with my children. I have told my parents that I have no problems flying out to visit them--but someone has to come out and fly with me so I have help on the aircraft. Having one child in my lap and a potty-trained almost three-year old, there is NO way I can manage myself. What do I do if she needs to go to the bathroom? What do I do with the baby? Or if I have to pee? What do I do with the children? Uh uh. I think you were incredibly brave to go it alone. And I am sorry it went so badly.

Fat Doctor said...

OMG - I just peed laughing. Now, I do have a nasty case of urge incontinence, true, but this was quite amusing.

And it also made me wonder what the hell we are thinking trying to have another baby. Just got Son out of diapers and now we want to do it all again?

Yep, we do. We definitely do. :)

Anonymous said...

OMG, I thought this stuff only happened to me:)
I just stumbled across your blog & love it!
I am also the mother of two, boys ages 7 months and 5 yrs. I also work in healthcare, but I am a hospital pharmacist.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving after all the "fun" of travelling:)
Or at least a good stiff drink when you got to your destination!

GingerB said...

I hope the moral of this story ISN'T that when you went to return you found that your flight was cancelled because you had been a no-show on the last connection.

Some nightmare's never end.

Overall you did very well though. Traveling with snacks is very important when traveling with children.

ditzydoctor said...

hullo dr whoo! sounds like a terrible trip. but i'm glad you made it safe and sound! :) merry christmas! :)

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, hope Santa is good to everybody in Whoville. And the best present he could bring you is next year the family comes to you. And stays in a hotel. Or maybe you can leave them at home and stay in the hotel.

CNH said...

See, I had this insane urge to fly home with my four children (the oldest of whom is 5) and then decided that my brain was addled by too much pregnancy and not enough sleep so I went to lie down in a dark room until it passed. And that was only a 2 hour flight!!!! I can't say the 10 hour drive would be any better though.

Hoping you and the Whoo's had a very Merry Christmas and that your pager was indeed silent.