Tuesday, November 19, 2013

weekender

"It is better to travel well than to arrive." - Buddha

Well, shit. I'm basically screwed then because these days I consider it a successful trip if we all manage to arrive at our destination in one piece without attracting the attention of TSA, FAA, CPS, SDPD, or any other acronym that could land my ass in jail.

Anyway.

Before DM and I started a family, we loved to travel, and we swore that (among many other things) we wouldn't let having kids slow us down. Not only did we want to continue to explore, we hoped to foster the same wanderlust and sense of adventure in our children. We wanted them to see and appreciate life beyond the bounds of their own backyard.

And that's all well and good. But. Holy Mary Mother of God. Have you tried traveling with children? There's no two ways about it. Traveling with kids slows you down. Like, a lot. I mean, take the amount of time and baggage you think you'll need, and multiply it times three. Or maybe five. I'm not saying we've changed our aspirations, or that we can't still achieve them, but like most things having to do with children, it's definitely going to look a little different than I originally intended.

We started our travel immersion progam early-on, and we take baby steps. This past weekend we went to visit our old besties (not that they aren't our besties anymore, but they moved 400 miles away, so they're on probation ;)) Because Jack had T-ball and DM is the coach, the plan was for Colby and me to fly out late Friday night, and Jack and DM to join us after T-ball on Saturday. Jack was aware of this plan, and was fine with it, until three minutes before Colby and I were about to leave, when he threw THE EVER LOVIN' MOTHER of all fits. He literally acted like I told him he was never going to see us ever again. He tends to the dramatic, but this was a whole new level of distress. It was such that I actually called the airline to see if it would be possible to switch his flight from Saturday to that night (like, 2 hours hence). Jack, sobbing, asked, "Arwe you weally calling da pilot to get me a ticket, Mom???" The ever-helpful Alaska Airlines representative was more than happy to switch J's ticket, for a change in fare AND a hefty fee. I was like, eff that.

So, we loaded Colby and our bags into the car. Jack continued to scream bloody murder, which got both Colby and the dog going, while DM and I were hollering at each other to be heard over the ruckus. I got in the car and started to back out of the driveway but for some reason the vision of DM physically restraining a sobbing, kicking, screaming, heartbroken Jack was just too much for me, so I stopped the car. I got out and told DM to put Jack in the car and drive us to the airport, so that I could fly, by myself with two kids, at 9:30pm on a Friday night (and DM could coach T-ball the next day even though his own kid wasn't present, ha!) I am ridiculous and insane. On the way to the airport, Colby starts losing her mind (I WANT MY SHOES ON AND OFF! I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND BUT ALSO I DO NOT!), and I busted out an emergency pacifier that we'd nixed two months ago. Oh well!

We got to the airport, got our boarding passes, got through security, and got to the gate with very little fuss. (Almost) everyone is so kind and helpful when you are a hot sweaty mess with two baby giants in tow. One guy about my dad's age who was traveling with his wife asked what he could do to help, and they were kind of my real-life guardian angels the entire trip. After hand-checking our stroller for explosives, the sweet TSA agent brought it over and said: "I tried to empty the sand out of it, but there was a lot." Ha. Story of my life. (Do you remember learning about asymptotes in geometry? And how they will never actually be zero no matter how close it looks? That is like sand in my life. And pee. And snot.) Then she gave the kids sticker-badges which was a big hit. God/Allah/Yahweh/Buddha bless their kind souls.

Things went so smoothly (relatively speaking) that we got to the gate with over an hour to spare, which, if you have kids you know is not ideal (though still preferable to being the last a-holes on the plane!) Luckily it was late enough that the place was pretty deserted, and they were tired enough that they'd lost some of their fight, but not so tired that they were in "the danger zone." For a while they were pretty content to stand at the window and watch the goings-on out on the runway.

This might be a good time to mention Colby's recent habit of calling out each and every vehicle she sees. She particularly loves trucks. Only, she pronounces it "phuck." Now, this hasn't yet been much of a problem, and I'll even go so far as to say we find it pretty darn hilarious in the comfort and privacy of our family sedan. But. I can now attest to the fact that it's more than a little embarrassing when it happens in a well-populated but nearly silent public place. "PHUCK! BIG PHUCK! BLACK PHUCK! WHITE PHUCK! WHERE DAT PHUCK GO?! C'MON, PHUCK!" O. M. G. What can you do?!? I was just like, "Ohhh, yes, truck. Yes, I see that truck!" I guess I should be thankful she didn't simultaneously want to "shit" [sit] and drink her "douche" [juice]. *Sigh.*

Meanwhile, Mr. J took his little die cast Southwest Airlines airplane out of his backpack and started to play with it. Then he began narrating, as he is wont to do. "Dis is not a Souf-west Aiowlines aiowplane. Dis is a Alaska Aiowlines aiowplane. It's bwoken because it doesn't has a tail wing. Dis bwoken Alaska Aiowlines aiowplane is gonna cwash and burin and all the peopow arwe gonna get dead." WTF?!?! "Ummm, that sounds really scary and awful, let's not talk like that, okay?" J: "I'm just pwe-tending, Mom." Me: "Okay." J: "I'm just pwetending dat dis Alaska Aiowlines aiowplane is gonna cwash and catch on fi-ow and die." Me: "Hey guys! Wanna read a book?" OMG. I have NO CLUE where he gets this shit?! And if I were to provide closed-captioning for the thought bubbles of the people around me, I imagine it'd go something like "May I please sit in a row that does not contain a mini sociopath? Super, thanks!"

When we got on the plane, the guy in front of us, who had apparently just changed his seat, looked back at me and my baby/luggage juggling act and said loudly to his travel partner: "Ugh. Maybe I should switch back to my other seat." Hey, twat-waffle! News flash! You were a kid once, too! And you were probably a dick even then! Why can't you be like the rest of civilized non-breeder society and just quietly give me the stink-eye?!

There was one other kid on the flight, probably about one-and-a-half, the same age as Colby Jean. I generally like it when there are other children on the flight because it decreases the odds that mine will be the a-holes, but this time it wasn't really working out for me. They were letting their kid run up and down the aisle, and in between, the dad alternated between tossing the kid up in the air and "flying" him around in a vigorous game of "airplane." Really it was a veritable circus act on a Bombardier Q400. I was like, Dude! Do you not realize that the only reason my children are sitting still is because I have told them that if they get up the pilot will come back here and arrest them put them on a time-out? You are completely destroying all suspension of disbelief here. Normally I subscribe to a live-and-let-live, "whatever you need to do to keep your child from screaming his face off and ruining everyone's day" mentality, but when your antics f*ck up my ability to blatantly lie to my children in order to get them to behave, we have a problem ;)

Anyway, we arrived in one piece (no fiery death or dismemberment, I am pleased to report), and I didn't even have to break out the electronics, so that ought to give you some indication as to how smoothly things went! I pray our cross-country flight to the east coast for Thanksgiving is as painless!!!

Even more importantly, we had as perfect a weekend as you can have with five rugrats under foot, cementing our conviction that traveling with children is worth it, even though the journey is infinitely more painful than the destination.

More travel quotes, if you're into that kind of thing:

"Not all who wander or lost." (My fave) - JRR Tolkien.

"He travels the fastest who travels alone." - Rudyard Kipling. You're tellin' me. God have mercy. Honestly. Somebody could cure cancer in the time it takes to get through security with toddlers in tow.

"Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and we had to live on nothing but food and water." - W.C. Fields. That sounds almost as bad as parenting without alcohol.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - Saint Augustine. Granted, if you're traveling with small children, the other pages might be laced with tears, ear-piercing screams, boogers, and mean mugs from your fellow travelers. But then you get to the really good parts ;)

"A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." - John Steinbeck. Ain't that the truth! And a trip with kids takes you by the throat and nearly strangles you to death, but when you get through to the other side, you really appreciate being alive!

More Steinbeck: "A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." Wait. I can't control my marriage??? ;)

"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton. I'm learning that travelers with children see public bathrooms. Lots of bathrooms. Incidentally, G.K. Chesterton is my most favorite quotee ever, because it is he who said "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

And this -
Photo by Seattle Dredge of SeattlesTravels.com
This and several of the quotes found on Voyage Vixens
J: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!
C: PHUUUUUCK!
 

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