Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Travel torture survived, family returned

July was crazy busy!  Who goes to Louisiana and Washington state then Alaska within the span of one week?  We do, apparently!  

Picture-filled Seattle/Alaska cruise post to follow, but give me a few days as we just yesterday survived perhaps the crappiest day of travelling I've ever had.  Picture this - it was our first flying trip with all four kids (Eli and Wolfie flew out to Oregon for a fun-filled big kid week with Nic's parents the week before the cruise, so it was just me and Nic and Zeb and Opal on the way out to Seattle, which was grueling enough).  After a five hour flight from Seattle to Charlotte, NC, which arrived at 9 PM EST, the plan was to scarf some dinner then fly out to Philly at 10:30 to arrive at 11:59PM, which would have gotten us home at about 1:30AM with bag collection and driving back from the city.  Awful enough, right? 

But after scarfing said dinner and strapping on She Who Must Be Held for a quick walk, the departure time started creeping up and up and up, until finally around midnight the flight disappeared from the departure board.  Yet they didn't cancel it until about 2AM, at which point Zeb had passed out on some chairs with a Where's Waldo book harassingly placed over his face by his brothers and Opal was squirming angrily in my lap with a pantload of feces. 

It took forever for the airline rep to find us a hotel with two adjoining rooms and a crib, and once they did we went outside to wait for the shuttle and literally every other shuttle from every other Charlotte hotel passed by and collected people at least twice before our cigarette stinking busted ass van finally showed up.  And of course it ended up being a terrible motorcourt-style Days Inn, which I famously swore to never again patronize after the filthy disgusting crustatorium we stayed at in Williamburg, Virginia this past November.  This one was at least superficially clean to the naked eye, but it felt looked and smelled like it hadn't been stayed in since "The Shining" came out, which I bring up because it also felt similarly haunted.  Or maybe that was just the fact that it was three o'clock in the gad-dang morning by the time we walked through its doors and we had to get up at 6:20 for our flight to Pittsburgh.  Yes, Pittsburgh I said, because we had to route through there to get to Philly.  After checking the beds for bedbugs, Nic said he'd stay awake because he thought it would be worse for him if he fell asleep, and he wanted to take a shower, and someone had to call the airline because they accidentally printed out two boarding passes for Eli and zero for me.  So after dozing on top of the covers of the bed with Opal (because those "cribs" were busted gross looking unpacked Pack and Plays sans sheets, so yeah, those aren't getting used) , I had a feeling Nic wasn't in the room.  So I got up and checked and lo and behold, he was passed out on the bed next to Eli, buck naked, with the hotel phone in one hand on hold with US Air.  I'm sad to report he sat up with a start mere moments before I was able to frame the shot with my camera.

So three hours later, off we went on a (late) shuttle to the airport with three cranky dazed boys and a miraculously not that tired baby girl (she barely slept the whole cruise, so what's one more night of not sleeping, right?).  The flights went off without a hitch and the kids were actually very well behaved considering (especially Opal, who proved herself the worst baby flyer we've ever had on our trip to Oregon last month and our trip to New Orleans earlier this month).  Then when we got to Philly and met up with my parents who took the two big boys and our luggage because we couldn't fit all the kids and stuff in the car together, of course we then simply could NOT find our car.  So I sat there waiting for literally almost an hour for the courtesy car to come and drive me around the garage to find it while Nic walked around and I teetered on the edge of insanity.  I actually called my dad and found out he was home with the big boys before we even found the stupid car!  So the return time ended up being about 2PM, a mere twelve and a half hours later than we thought.  So yeah, lemme catch my breath!

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