Friday, February 28, 2014

the shit show, part twah [?]

monday. our last day. our flight is at 2:45. at this point, we are bummed we aren't staying longer because the kids are back to their normal only slightly psycho selves and we are finally having a good time. such is life. we spend the morning at the pool and get lunch at the palapa pool bar. the plan is to leave at 12, which should give us plenty of time. but, as they say, the best laid plans...

due to an unfortunate series of events, we arrive at the airport counter at 1:48. i am not saying this to make a better story. it is literally 1:48. just a word to the wise, when spirit airlines says the cut-off for check-in on international flights is 60 minutes, they are not fucking around. the flight was oversold, and they had already bumped us. i know that this is our fault. i'm not asking for sympathy. okay. maybe i am. a little. anyway. the lady is not having it. it looks like we are going to get our wish of another day in mexico. i wish i could say i just rolled with the punches and took advantage of an extended stay in paradise (lost), but i can't miss work, we have no place to stay, and the whole situation is less than ideal. luckily, DM the charmer works his magic and convinces the woman to let me and the kids on the plane, but he has to stay behind and take the next flight. which is the next day. when she says this, i feel a little part of my soul die. flying alone with kids. and baggage. and customs. and the parking shuttle. and bed time. and breakfast. and drop off. and pick up again. and dinner. i know people do this every day of their lives and i bow down to their superhuman strength. but just the thought of it makes me want to cry. which i proceed to do. after some finagling, DM convinces them to give him a gate pass so he can at least help us up to the gate and see us off. on our way through security, with the clock ticking, one of the carseats gets lodged in the x-ray machine. i shit you not.
that would be a mexican-TSA agent reaching into the x-ray machine
in attempts to dislodge the car seat that the other agent forcefully jammed in there,
despite DM's protests that it was not going to fit
at the gate, the kids are already squirrelly and the outlook does not look good. as we line up to board, i whisper to DM, "whoever took your seat is going to be very sorry." we get on the plane. we have a middle seat and a window seat. colby is on my lap, which she perceives as a grave injustice to her budding independence. i'm trying to get everyone situated. jack has globs of snot running down his face and needs help IMMEDIATELY. he does not abide plain old tissues though. oh no. the prince demands that only the finest organic hemp fiber woven wet wipes grace his strong persian nose. i pull tissues and crayons and a "dusty crop-hopper" and a mini etch-a-sketch out of my backpack before i find the wipes. i then notice that my hands, and everything else i just touched, are covered in brown goo. being a mother of small children, i immediately assume the worst. it is not completely outside the realm of possibility that there is a hidden pile of shit in my backpack. i quickly realize that it is only melted chocolate, thank you baby jesus. i had stashed some of our lifetime supply of pillow mints in my backpack for bribery on the trip there, and forgotten about them. left in a hot black car with quote-unquote-air-conditioning, they had melted into chocolate mush, which was now everywhere. i proceed to clean the chocolate off of me, the airplane, my backpack, the toys, and the children, and i am holding a small mountain of melted-chocolate-stained wet-wipes in my hands when our seatmate finally sits down, gaping at me in abject horror. honestly, i'm secretly a bit pleased, because, eff her. seat stealer. she is simultaneously mauling a greasy smelly bacon-cheeseburger-mess from mexican jack in the box and i do not feel very sorry for her at all.

the flight goes shockingly well until the very end. with about an hour left i break out the ipads, and my seatmate makes some snide remark about "kids these days." i inform her that she is more than welcome to entertain them for the rest of the flight "the old fashioned way."

then, for whatever reason, the customs forms are written entirely in spanish. news travels fast that i am the only gringo who can (sort of) read the forms, and am thus elected the spanish language translator for rows 15 through 20. which is fine. it's not like i have my hands full or anything.

then the flight attendants start talking about how it's somebody's birthday. they have the whole airplane do the wave. twice. ("this time with feeling, folks!") then one of them sings happy birthday. colby gets really excited and starts clapping and singing along "hap, hap, hap berfday! hap berfday!" then she has an "Aha!" moment. she looks at me and says. "berrrfdaaay? i wannn IFE CWEAM!" me: "lovey, it's not your birthday. it's someone else's birthday. there's no ice cream." her face starts to melt. "i. wann. IIIIFE CWEEEEEEEEEAM!!!! wwwaaaaAAAAAAA!!!!" so, that was fun.

then, as we start our descent, the flight attendant comes and tells us we have to raise our window shades for landing. the reason we had them down is because the sun was at such an angle that it caused searing white light to stream in, which rather upset my sensitive son. but who am i to argue with arcane rules and regulations? so we open the shades. at which time jack begins to scream, AAAAAHHH, MY EYEEESSSS! I AM GETTING BLINDED BY THE LIGHT!!!! AAAAAAH!!!" luckily, i had a stash of fruit snacks to get us through the last gasp. we deplaned in an extremely ungraceful fashion. people really are so nice when you are clearly a walking melted-chocolate-covered biohazard. while we were in the air, DM had called his sister, who happened to be at the airport in portland. she is generally awesome and specifically super amazing at getting shit done, and arranged for a spirit airlines representative to meet me at the gate, free of charge, to help get me and all of my baggage (including the mini humans) at least through customs. unfortunately, wrestling three bags and two children, i do not see this message until i am past the gate beyond a "No Re-entry" sign. i'm not sure if the person just didn't show up in time, or if they didn't know which one i was, and i didn't know to ask? in my defense, i was pretty clearly identifiable as the "hot sweaty mess who needs a great deal of help." i check my phone while we take a pit stop and see the arrangements my super-sis-in-law had made, but i can't walk back to the gate, and i figure, oh well, we're almost there, i'll just deal. but then the kids start spazzing out and i'm thinking, maybe i do need the help. so i crouch down to get my phone to see if i can call or at least get the confirmation number or whatever. suddenly, a CBP agent is standing directly over me and he yells out to the entire room: "ATTENTION, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! THE USE OF CELL PHONES IN THE CUSTOMS AREA IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED BY FEDERAL LAW!" so there goes that plan.

the kids had been running laps along the bay of windows but once i got further up in line i tried to convince them to fall in. colby wasn't having any of it. in my best threatening mom whisper, i was like, colby jean, come here right now please! she yelled back, "NO! I POOPING!" oooooooooof course you are. i switched tacks and tried bribery. no dice. i even sent big brother over as a friendly ambassador of tic tacs and fruit snacks. it was actually pretty hilarious to hear his attempts at diplomacy. i had promised there was something in it for him if he could get his sister in line without making her cry. but she held steadfastly to her line rope pole, red-faced and grunting for all to see. finally i had to just undo the lane divider and walk over and throw her stinky butt over my shoulder. it was quite the show. (apologies to my dear daughter's sweet cheeks marinating in poop but i am NOT waiting in that line again.) eventually we get up to the customs guy and he's talking to me and then he says, "so you have two little ones?" me: "yep." him: "'the youngest one in curls?'" me: "uh, yep?" him: "ugh, really??? you don't know what i'm talking about, do you?" me: "ummm... well... that does sound kind of familiar....???" him: "aaaah, c'mon!" me: "sorry!" him: "google it."

good lord. i didn't realize there was a pop culture quiz as part of the customs inspection!

then the escalator almost ate my eldest child. don't even ask me wtf i was thinking trying to get on the escalator with three backpacks, two tiny children, and two sweaty hands. thereafter, jack and i formulated an addendum to the Cheese Family CC&Rs: no escalators unless the parent-child ratio is 1:1.

then i forgot the car seat on the baggage carousel and wouldn't have noticed until i got to my car if it weren't for a helpful customs agent who brought it over. (they knew it was mine because we were THE ONLY PEOPLE LEFT.) plus one point for CBP.

then i get back to the parking lot in a shuttle that is packed to the brim with impatient people and i have no idea where my car is. i mean, not a fuckin clue. i think i see it so i ask to get off but it turns out that it is not, in fact, my car. i angrily text DM: "remember how you said the parking lot is not that big and we would easily find the car? WRONG. the parking lot is actually quite fucking large, and my car is LOST INSIDE OF IT." thank god i had forgotten the car seat (again) on the shuttle and the nice driver was driving around looking for me and finds me wandering forlornly around the parking lot dragging two grumpy babies behind me. he insists we get back on the shuttle, then drives back to pick up the luggage i had abandoned two aisles away, and then he drives us up and down the rows until we find my car (on the second-to-last row, naturally). and he won't even accept an extra tip. then, DM is able to get a flight on another airline and gets home in time to tuck the crazy baby nuggets into bed. there is goodness in the world :)

so, yeah. that happened. and if you would like to see us, feel free to come visit, because we are never leaving the house ever again. haha, just kidding. we are various permutations of out-of-town for the next 6 weeks. FML. wish us luck! (and patience. and humility. and kindness. and a commercial supply of fruit snacks ;))
at least it looks like we had fun in pictures ;)
i am actually already suffering from momnesia.
give me another month or two and i will probably be looking back at this trip fondly
and scheduling a family vacation to maui ;)
just joining us?

read "the shit show," part I and part deux, here.

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