In a word? Don’t.
We made it back from our big Disney Extravaganza yesterday. Well.
Today, actually. If you wanna get technical. And I do. The kids did
great on vacation. But traveling was hard on all of us.
I’m going to save the warm and fuzzy details for my warm and fuzzy
posts about the trip. This post is for the Traveling. Which was
neither warm nor fuzzy. And may have included me having a nervous
breakdown in the Denver airport.
Going out was… interesting. I mean, all in all, it was pretty
smooth considering. But we weren’t used to traveling at that point
and the whole business just had us frayed before we even got on the
plane, I think. We left fairly early on Wednesday morning. Kile’s
co-worker who lives near us came by and rode with us in the van down
to the airport where we unloaded our junk and the carseats and she
took the van to work with plans to leave it at our house on her way
home from work, picking up her car which was parked there. Make
sense? Everyone with me so far? Good?
The carseats… were a pain. I mean, I know we needed to have them.
But lugging them through the airport was AWFUL. I had the bruises to
show for it too! We hadn’t purchased Evie her own seat (since she can
qualify as a free “lap child”) but were able to score her a seat on
the plane anyhow so we brought her seat on the plane with us. And
that was hard! Pushing a stroller and carrying a carseat along with
the other carry ons was a nightmare, but then having to carry Evie
(having left the stroller at the jetway) and the carseat on the plane?
OMG. There are no words. I’m already starting to block it from my
memory, it was so bad.
And the moment the plane started moving, Evie got upset. And I’m
talking pulling back from the jetway. The stewardess finally told me
as we were taking off that I could take her out of her seat and hold
her. So I did and that chilled her out. So much that she started to
fall asleep so I put her back in her seat and that was all well and
The boys were fine and dandy and other than Liam’s propensity for
kicking the back of Evie’s seat, he did pretty well too. Harry soon
discovered that flying was pretty cool and he liked ordering soda from
the stewardess and getting packets of peanuts and cookies.
We went first to Los Angeles, which seemed counter-intuitive. But
whatever. I saw the Hollywood sign as we were landing and tried to
point it out to Harry but he couldn’t see it. We landed and felt
rather smug for surviving our first (short) flight. We didn’t have to
get off the plane because even though it was stopping, we were riding
the same flight clear through to Orlando. Or so we thought.
While chatting with a fellow passenger, we found out that our plane
was busted. Oh yes. Busted. And at first, we weren’t sure when
they’d be able to find another plane for us to use since fixing the
current one was not going to happen anytime soon. But before I could
properly figure out how to react to this, they found us a plane. And
it was at another gate! Clear across the LAX airport. Soooo… we
unstrapped the carseats and tried to book it as fast as we could to
the other gate. We were following the flight crew and they promised
to get us on board. But at the gate, the agent there was a crabby
wench and made us wait and then snapped at us and was generally rude
to everyone she spoke to. We were finally let on board and scored new
seats and all was well.
The next leg was to Phoenix and was pretty uneventful. We landed. We
took off. Blah blah blah. The kids were getting used to it by now
and this time Evie only had minor complaints. But the flight from
Phoenix to Orlando was a long one and with the bumpy ride over the
gulf (wee!) I wasn’t sure we’d EVER get there! But we did, and landed
just as the sun was going down. The Orlando airport is all kinds of
awesome and we were easily able to find baggage claim. I hung out
there, grabbing our bags, while Kile went and got our rental car. It
was when we got outside baggage claim to get into the car that I had
full understanding of the heat and humidity. And this was after the
sun had gone down. GULP.
We found directions on my iPhone and drove to my parents condo for the
night. The whole toll road thing blows my mind. They really know how
to soak the tourists, don’t they? The whole east coast does that…
do regular residents/commuters find non-toll roads to use? Or how
does that work? Cuz I can’t imagine having to deal with that on a
daily basis. Bah!
The trip home was something else entirely. I made a decision that we
would check Evie’s carseat. I simply could not comprehend trying to
deal with it again. I had been having intermittent wrist pain all
week long (a result of not knitting? I have no idea.) the carseat
would have been too much. We had more stress than usual since we were
flying Southwest and they don’t have a sweet hookup with Disney like
some of the other airlines. Other people pack up their bags on the
boat and then don’t see them until they land at home. NOT US!
Oh, and we had to get off the boat at the asscrack of dawn. We were
up at 6am, at breakfast at 6:45 and then they made it clear they
wanted us off the boat ASAP. We tried to hang around as long as we
could but ended up on transfer bus around 9am. The trip to the
airport was quick and we were there by 9:30. We got our bags up to
the check in counter only to find out… you can’t check bags if your
flight is more than four hours away from taking off. Our flight was
scheduled at 4:20 so… yeah. We rented one of those Smarte Carte
things, loaded it up (you should have seen it! WHY didn’t I take a
picture??) and headed out. The airport is basically a MALL so we had
no trouble keeping ourselves occupied for a while. Especially once we
found the rest of my family hanging out. NO one had flights that were
leaving anytime soon.
Note to self (and anyone else planning a similar vacation): DO NOT
hesitate to schedule your flight earlier in the day! 12:30/1pm would
have been PERFECT. CURSE YOU, late flight!!
After Kile finally was able to check the bulk of our baggage, we
grabbed lunch at the food court (see? MALL!) and I was finally able
to try the infamous Chik fil-A. I had a chicken sandwich that was
mighty tasty. We browsed around the shops after that, and I was
mighty tempted to buy yet MORE Disney goodies at the Disney store
there. I showed restraint but even now, I’m sorta wishing that I
hadn’t. There was the cutest Tinkerbell coffee mug!
Anyhow, after that we braved security which had a whole bunch of
people from other countries going through. More than usual, I would
say. But by that point, I was so used to people from other countries
and foreign accents that I’m surprised I even noticed. Security was a
lot smoother than in Reno, simply because we were “old pros” at that
point. We found our gate and set up camp near some electrical outlets
so we could charge up our phones some more. We said goodbye to the
remaining family members and it wasn’t long before our flight boarded.
It went a lot smoother for me without the carseat. The bad news is,
it was a very full flight and every seat was taken so there wasn’t
much room to set her down or anything.
We took off a little late because there was some weather in the area.
But nothing awful and we were able to land almost on time in Denver.
Evie didn’t sleep a wink the whole flight and was extremely wriggly.
But we managed.
I have to say right now that I have extremely negative feelings about
the Denver airport. I like Denver. I do not like Denver’s airport.
There is ALWAYS turbulence (but then, there is in Reno too), but more
than that it’s the whole layout of the airport. The wasted space, the
inefficiency, the uselessness of the second floor “waiting” area.
This is where we realized just HOW stupid our flight schedule was. We
were on the last flight from Denver to Las Vegas, which was then
continuing to Reno. And as such, we had to wait. There was a flight
from Philadelphia that had been delayed by weather and as luck would
have it, 30 or so people from that flight were on our Vegas flight.
So… we waited. We already had a 2 1/2 hour layover (and ate at a
restaurant that turned out to be exceedingly expensive). Add on
another hour. On top of tired children and parents and we were just
ready to be home. I didn’t handle it well. I was frustrated. I fell
in the trap of counting up the hours we’d been awake, how many hours
until we could be home. It was overwhelming. Liam and Evie had had
it. Harry was exhausted. I was beyond tired. We were all just DONE.
We finally got on the plane and got up in the air. Evie fell asleep
before we even took off so she was taken care of. I still had to hold
her, which meant my arms fell asleep. But at least she slept. She
woke when we landed in Vegas, but fell asleep as we took off for Reno.
Praise be! Liam slept too, which was great. He had slept most of
the way from Orlando to Denver too so Kile made out pretty well on
that deal. Harry slept on my shoulder the majority of the time. But
as we landed in Reno, he was awake and had the biggest smile I think
I’d seen on him all week. He wanted to be up in his bed so bad and I
couldn’t blame him.
Baggage claim in Reno is notoriously slooooooooow. Harry and I waited
for bags while Kile went out to look for his co-worker who had again
graciously offered to ferry us. That was a small mercy, let me tell
you! We FINALLY got our bags and FINALLY were on our way homeward.
It was after 1am by the time we got home. I could barely see
straight. Evie was interested in a diaper change and then BED. She
was out before she hit the crib mattress. Liam complained for maybe a
minute before dropping off. Harry was dead to the world. It took
Kile and I NO time at all to fall dead asleep.
And that… as they say… is that. We made it there and back in one
piece. That, my friends, is amazing. Flying with toddlers is a pain
unlike anything else. It’s just damn lucky that this whole trip made
it SO WORTH IT. Details to follow!