Monday, August 18, 2014

leavin on a jet pwane

what are the chances of making a connection with two small children and a 15 minute layover?

the answer is zero. zero percent.

we went to michigan last week. on the flight out the kids were angels. i know this has very little to do with me. (as one of my cousins quotes, when it comes to kids, don't take too much credit for the good or the bad.) but still. when people say to you after a painless 4.5 hour flight, "wow, your kids are SO GOOD," it's hard not to feel a tiny bit proud. of course i say thank you and laugh it off and chalk it up to luck and divine intervention. but in my head i'm thinking, yeah, man. dragging these nuggets on airplanes ten times a year since they were born, spending a small fortune on exciting new travel toys every single time, hours spent perfectly packing nutritious snacks and "busy bags" that will fit under the seats in front of us... yeah. i am getting pretty darn good at this.

as they say. pride go-eth before the fall.

on the day of our return, we get to the airport and find out our flight is delayed. if we miss our connection in minneapolis/st. paul, we'll have a five hour layover, and not get back to san diego until after midnight (which is 3am michigan time). we're watching the flight delay tick up by the minute, and our layover time sliced down sliver by sliver - 40 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 18 minutes... the alternative is to take a later flight out of kalamazoo, connect in detroit, and get home around 9:45. when we realized we would have less than 20 minutes to make our connection, we bit the bullet and made the switch. i'm really glad we did because we would 100% have missed the flight and been stuck at MSP for 5 hours with two angry babies which sounds like the ninth rung of hell. 

so we wait. (2 hours, not 5, thank you lord). the kids are already pretty tetchy at this point - it's been almost a week in strange hotel rooms, sleeping on weird schedules, and spending all day every day with lots and lots and lots of loved ones. they're just kinda loved-out. they were mostly super great, by the way, especially my mister "don't touch me." and i think they were just exhausted and maybe felt like they could finally let down their "best behavior" guard. it was just bad timing, as we were in a teeny tiny airport with great acoustics and every single person there was privy to the kids' theatrics. and of course, we still had over 6 hours of travel time ahead of us.

because we switched flights last minute, the seating arrangements were dicey. they were able to get us 2 and 2 for the quick hop over to detroit, which went fine. of course the girl fell asleep on my lap 3 minutes before we landed, but what can you do?

then from detroit to san diego, we had a row of 3, and then a middle seat seven rows up. middle seats make me homicidal so i chose to sit with the kids. it was supposed to be a full flight, but as they closed the doors of the airplane, the aisle seat across from us was open! "FATE," i thought. just as i reached up to press my call button to get DM into that seat, the guy who was in the middle scootched over and buckled himself into the aisle seat. i made my best sad-sack mom face and gave him the elevator version of our story, saying i was really hoping my husband could sit there and help out! otherwise this was going to be a long flight! pretty please??? [insert batting eyelashes here.] no dice. he said, "sorry, but i sat in the middle the entire way here and if i have a choice, i am not doing it again." i stopped batting my eyelashes and said, "well then, my husband will be taking that middle seat with a grumpy toddler on his lap." of course, i had two grumpy toddlers on my lap and no way to signal the seat subterfuge to DM so it was an empty threat.

before we even took off, a baby behind us started to cry. colby puts her hands over her ears and says, "DAT'S TOO LOUD." i said yes but sometimes babies cry and she should probably try to be a little more understanding as she was just pulling some ear-piercing mariah carey-pitched BS in the airport. the baby continued to shriek and colby pipes up, "dat baby is CWABBY.... diss is not a cwying ting!!...we don't hass to whine 'bout it."

and someone in front of us definitely has SARS.

then as we take off, jack's like, "DISS PWANE IS GOING TO AFWICA!!! Wait! No! we are going to CHINA! Wait! No! We are going to PWUTO!!! Pwuto is dah farzest away as awfica!!" the ascent was a little bumpy and he continues to narrate, loud enough for deaf people to hear, "OH NO! we are getting shotted by Ironing Man's REPOSTER BWASTS! oh no! we are going to CWASH into dah OCEAN! Pew Pew Pew!!! Aaaaahhhhh!"

the first couple of hours were less than enjoyable but definitely not the worst thing in the world. they were just grumpy and tired and hungry (but didn't want to eat anything i had to offer) and uncomfortable and bored of my bag o' tricks and super squirrelly. then they both wanted to go to the bathroom at the same time but there was no way i was going to try to pull that off so i walked them up to DM and said, "help." then i tapped out, trading seats with DM for the last 2 hours of the flight. i imagine it supremely sucked for him because they were already on a one-way train to crazy town, but i couldn't hear the kids from 7 aisles away, so it could have been worse, right?

DM warned me that i really wasn't going to like the other seat, but i didn't think it could be as bad as the seat i just came from. and i'm sure it wasn't. but it was not ideal. it was between an older couple who had seats on the window and aisle, and they were not slim, and they kept wanting to have conversations and pass reading materials and hot coffee and snacks across my lap, and i had a nearly uncontrollable urge to punch a couple of elderly folks in the "eye-bowls" (as Colby likes to say).

it was so hot and sweaty and uncomfortable and i was crawling out of my skin and i was just thinking to myself, there is NO WAY ON EARTH i could possibly fly to someplace like fiji or anywhere in afwica. and definitely not pwuto. which somehow made me feel even MORE claustrophobic because that basically means i am stranded on this continent for the rest of my life. (i did fly to europe by myself when i was 9 which completely boggles my mind. but that was before my complete set of neuroses was fully developed.)

i had no choice but to eavesdrop on the kids behind me, which at least took my mind off the all-encompassing sense of anxiety:

girl to boy: my birthday is march 28 and your birthday is august 28. six months apart!
girl: well a year and six months apart.
girl: once you turn 17 your are closer to 20 than 15.
girl: well, once you are 17 and a day.
nope. this is not giving me a great deal of hope with respect to san diego's public school system.

i tried to distract myself by watching a movie but then discovered it was going to cost $6 to watch cameron diaz in "the other woman," and while i'll spend more than that on red bull in a single day, i couldn't bring myself to do it. (okay actually it was just because i didn't have a credit card on me.) someone in front of me was watching that animated movie "9," with Japanese subtitles and frankly it was scaring the CRAP out of me. maybe it's less ominous when you can watch it with sound but that shit gave me nightmares. finally i discovered i could watch older/crappier movies for free so i settled for eminem in 8 mile. i fast-forwarded all the way until the final "battle," which is still one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

and i have to say, i sort of identified with eminem in that movie - except instead of using rap skills to overcome socioeconomic adversity, i'm using humor and glitter glue to overcome parenting adversity, and while these paths are accompanied by nausea and black eyes, in the end we both win ;)

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