Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nomads, Day one and Day two

Well, who knew that traveling with two small kids could be so much fun!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure that when we get home this will all seem very funny, but today I was seriously ready to make a bomb joke at the security checkpoint just to end this folly of a trip.

It all started with the luggage. Now sitting at home, in the living room, looking at two large suitcases, a large duffle, a stroller, and three carry on and three personal items (e.g. diaper bag, laptop bag, and Violet toys bag) didn’t seem like that much. Heck even putting it in the back of the van was a breeze. All said and done, it took me ten minutes.

Then we got to the airport.

Suddenly what was so easy to handle at home, became something akin to carrying all our belongings along the Trail of Tears. I pulled up and started taking bags out of the van, and realized, “oh no, this is not going to work. I don’t have 15 arms.”

Two carts later (which you have to rent for $2 or $3 depending on the airport) we had everything loaded. Cindy was watching the kids, I parked the van, and took the shuttle back to the airport. I found her still standing at the arrival curb, because no amount of Super Human Cindy Willpower ™ is going to move to carts with 150 pounds of luggage and two small kids.

We get to the ticket line. There we are informed that our seats, Violet, Cindy and mine, won’t be together. We all get the experience of sitting in the middle of three-seat rows. Cindy and my jaw drop. Violet, 3, sitting by herself, the crying, screaming filling in an airborne sandwich, that isn’t going to work. The lady informs us that if we get to the gate in time, they MIGHT be able to fix this. Note to self – don’t buy tickets off those travel websites, you might get to pick your seats online, but the airlines just ignore that and put you where they want. If you purchase tickets through the specific airline, you can pick your seat.

All the bags were OK and weren’t over. Here is where things got even more interesting. Cindy decided that we needed to check the stroller (which folds up and has a nice cover so you can’t even tell it’s a stroller except for the two wheels it rolls on) at the gate. So it would be part of our carry on experience.

I have my camera bag, laptop bag, Cindy has a full-sized carry-on bag, a diaper bag, and Violet has two butterfly carry on bags, plus the stroller. None of these things really stack. So I am lugging everything but the stroller to and from the different gates.

We make it through security, with a mild meltdown from Violet who is convinced the metal detector is evil magiks (honestly I don’t know what her problem was with it, but it was “scary”). We get her through there, get the stroller through the scanner thing – it JUST fit – and walk to the gate. There we are told that once we get on the plane, they might be able to fix the seating SNAFU. Boarding we go.

Keep in mind at this point, I have had part of a Coke. That’s it. I figured I would eat at the airport or on the plane, because we ran out of the house in a hurry. No biggie right?

We get seated on the plan, each in a middle seat, acting like the filling of an Oreo – and Cindy finds a very nice lady to trade with Violet. Cindy now has both kids. She also is seven rows behind me, with my book, laptop, video games, and, as it turned out, sanity.

For four and a half hours I read… our ticket stubs. Being in the middle, and a bigger guy, sleeping was out of the option, heck, breathing was out of the option. The lady next to me horded the window, pulling the shade down and then only opening it enough so SHE could see out of it. She caught me trying to catch a glimpse and said, “I paid for this seat, it’s my window.” Wow.

Dude sitting next to me was pounding down screwdrivers (vodka and orange juice) and was watching the in flight movie, “Definitely, Maybe.” He had headphones. I had jack. So the flight attendants announce that lunch is coming up. Woo hoo! Food!

Lunch was $7 for a sandwich. Guess who: A. couldn’t get to his wallet because he was stuffed in a middle seat like those foam earplugs crammed into your ear canal and B. Didn’t bring any cash, and couldn’t get to Cindy because the cart was in the way.

We land in Philadelphia which I am convinced has the busiest airport on the face of the planet. I have never seen so many people, moving all at once, in different directions. That was amazing. Oh, and I got a hot dog. Yes, I flew to Philadelphia and didn’t have time for a cheese steak. I had a hot dog that looked like it had been cooked since January. Best. Hot dog. EVER.

Smaller plane to Providence, Rhode Island, two-seat rows, and Violet and I are sitting together, and Cindy is in front of us with Lilly. Nice flight, great flight attendant that took the time to talk with Violet. She even got to meet the pilot after the flight, Jennifer, and she showed her the cockpit while Daddy unloaded the 13,000 items of carry-on we had. Good memories for the kiddo.

Go to get the rental car – I wanted a Dodge Magnum because of the space in the back, but instead out rolls a Chrysler 300, with a truck that is about the size of middle seat I was sitting in from Portland to Philly. They also handed us two car seats and said, “Good luck.” We had to put them in.

Cindy and I got the car seats in – she fixed my carseat work – while I played Tetris with the trunk and our luggage. At one point I was convinced that it wouldn’t fit, then Cindy showed me again how I would be lost without her, and figured it out. Let me put it this way, we won’t be bringing much back from Boston, as I don’t think it would fit in the rental when we return to the airport.

Hookup my GPS and get rolling. No problem. Oh, except that Lilly has sat with Mommy all day and now is in the back of a strange car in the dark. I didn’t know she could scream that loud. My ears are still kinda ringing. After two stops at a parking area and rest area (where the bathrooms close at 8 p.m. – what people in Rhode Island don’t pee after 8?) we reconfigured our packing job, and had Cindy sit in the back. There was a small dust up between me and the missus, simply because at this point my blood sugar was a negative number and Lilly was challenging our patience. All was forgiven.

When Cindy booked our hotel, she credit card held the room, which from what I gather means you are getting a room. Not tonight. Our room at the Marriot Courtyard broke. We don’t know how, it just broke. So they told us that we could stay at the Sheridan about three miles away. They would pay for the night. The lady then gave me the directions that I blanked. I just didn’t understand where she wanted me to go. So I get in the car and drive around Milford for about five minutes. We tried the GPS. We tried 4-1-1 on our cell. We couldn’t find the Sheridan.

Back to Marriot we went, Cindy got directions and an address, and we drove right to it. Our room is on the fifth floor, and of course all of our stuff is scattered throughout the luggage, so guess who lugged everything up the room, to have to lug it down again tomorrow and then lug it to a new room Thursday? Hey, maybe the flight back in the middle seat will actually be comfortable – with this workout regiment I should lose the pounds like crazy.

So I am supposed to share a queen sized bed with Violet, while Cindy does the same with Lilly (in the same room). Which is why, at 2:30 a.m. EDT, I am writing this and not sleeping. Either Bunny or Laylula keep tickling me – I think they are jealous that I get to snuggle with Violet tonight.

Well, back to bed and hopefully to a better day that yesterday. It wasn’t that bad, really, just stressful and out of our comfort zone. I will tell you this, next time I travel with my girls I am bringing a Sherpa.

P.S. Twizzlers make an excellent dinner. All total I had a hot dog, two plastic cups of coke, a Pepsi and four Twizzlers. Tomorrow I am foraging for food.

Day Two

Woke up to room service we ordered on Marriot’s dime. Woo hoo. Was great free food and I will not complain about it.

The discussion this morning was if we should go to the Marriot, or stay at the Sheridan. Two things jumped out at us. First off, Internet connections are $10 a day. Yes, that's right, no free Internet at the Sheridan. Secondly, while playing with Violet I found three bottle caps, two hair scrunchies and some M&Ms that weren't ours. That sealed the deal for us.

We drove around the Milford area, it reminded me a lot of Wilsonville’s Stafford area, big houses and large lots and nice green trees and bushes. I can breathe here! I even had pizza today with Cindy’s family and could smell the pizza. Mmmmm.

We got booked into the hotel and this place is nice. We have a refrigerator and a nice bathroom. We are even on the first floor close the lobby. This is perfect.

Anyway, girls and everyone are sleeping, and I am trying to get the internet to work. If you see this message… I got on.

Pictures will come when I get settled. Finally unpacked today and now I am charging camera batteries, laptops and cell phones.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I couldn't stop laughing and exclaiming, "No way!" at all of the unfair things that happened to you on this trip (so far). Hi-Larious Hi-Jinx. Can't wait to read on. Safe travels!