Friday, August 21, 2015

stuck at the airport

I'm fresh out of witty titles for yet another family "vacation" post. We went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina last week. No one got chewed on by a shark so I'm going to say it was a success.

This gets me every time.
The trip out there was pretty painless. I'm at peak mom performance when flying with my kids in the bulkhead behind a bunch of baby-hating first class bastards. Cultivating exemplary behavior in your children is fucking exhausting. I've never actually defused a bomb but I sort of imagine that being in enclosed public spaces with small children is basically the same thing, every three-to-five minutes, on endless repeat. Except instead of "Shit! Is it the red wire or the blue wire?!" it's "Please, for the love of God and everything holy, choose a snack/game/toy/book/movie/beverage that I have readily available in my handy-dandy backpack."

The kids were amazing but by the end of the day I was about to lose my shit. After twelve hours I was just SO OVER being on high alert, and the noise and being touched and grabbed and sat-on and the sticky hands on my face and having to carry a shit-ton of baggage, human and otherwise.

We finally got to our hotel in lovely Norfolk, Virginia, at about 1 a.m., and DM, sensing my fragile emotional state, went down and paid $40 for a bottle of cheap wine from the hotel bar. That's love.

The next day we started our drive to Duck, North Carolina. The Google told us the drive would only take an hour and a half which was much better than we expected. We stopped for lunch and groceries, and headed on our way. Unfortunately, approximately 2.1 billion other people had the same idea, and the drive that should have taken 1.5 hours took 4.
This should be interesting...
We stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break and snacks. DM is not averse to feeding the children things like Cheetos and Doritos on occasion, but I usually balk at that crap. (Not that I'm against junk food in general or edible items that are a shade of orange that does not occur in nature. It's just that those particular neon orange snacks gross me out.) However, one exception to my Dorito-ban is when Google Maps informs you it is going to take an hour and a half to drive 12 miles. Jack picked Nacho Cheese flavor and Colby chose Cool Ranch, which she aptly refers to as "The Smelly Ones."

Made it.
The actual "vacation" itself was pretty glorious, except for the part where I got food poisoning one day in. At least I had an ocean view while I sat on the toilet with a barf bucket between my knees. I was laid out the next day, which is the day I had ordered a cake for DM's 40th. Poor guy, I made him pick up, and pay for, his own birthday cake. Normally I like to shield him from the pesky little details such as the obscene amount of dollars I spend on themed party goods. Anyway, I let the bakery owner know that I was sending DM for the goodies in my stead because I had food poisoning. She asked, if I didn't mind, where I had eaten. When I told her, she replied, "Oh God. No wonder!" Great.

In addition to the important life lesson of "Listen to Yelp," I had a few other profound revelations:

Nutella + coffee is like a hot steaming cup of heaven.


And, ever notice how other people's drunk husbands are hilarious, but your own is annoying as hell? And how the converse is true of children? Like, nobody thinks your kids are as cute and charming as you do. And vice versa.

Lastly, it's super easy to make DIY exfoliating soap: Step 1: Take kids to sandy beach. Step 2: Put kids in bath. Step 3: Give them a bar of soap. Voila!


Unfortunately, the trip home ran a little less smoothly.

First, we had to make the drive and the cross country flight all in one day, which was ambitious. Then, after (mostly) being on their best behavior for seven days, the littles proceeded to lose their shit (literally and figuratively) approximately nine minutes into our fifteen hour travel day. We stopped at four different public bathrooms so Colby could attempt to poop. Whee. At least there wasn't traffic though! We got to the airport four hours early, which wouldn't have been terrible (gave us time to eat, run the kids, etc.), except...

All of the flights at Norfolk (and everywhere within a 200 mile radius) were grounded because the FAA server was down and thus air traffic control was rendered useless. Our flight was delayed indefinitely, which would cause us to miss our connection in Chicago, which happened to be the last flight out to San Diego that day. The next available flight out of Norfolk wasn't until Monday. (This was Saturday.)

Luckily, we did end up making it to Chicago that night. Of course, our baggage didn't. The kids weren't too stoked on not having their PJs, or their Star Wars toothbrushes. We got some cheapo vanity kits from the hotel, and Jack said, "That's nice they gave us these, but what would have been better is if we had packed our own things in our carry-ons. We should try to remember that next time." Yes, thank you, son. We should try to remember that.

I actually used to be really good about that. At least carrying-on toiletries and a spare pair of underwear. But I guess I got out of the habit now that our carry-ons are stuffed to the brim with blankies and lovies and iPads and crayons and coloring books and games and toys and a smorgasbord of non-Dorito snacks. (I'm actually really proud of myself, I made these adorable little travel boxes for the kids out of retro metal lunch boxes and those magnetic spice tins and all sorts of goodies. I am so Pinteresting right now!) So, yeah, not much room for emergency overnight supplies. Maybe next time.

I was texting with my two besties and one of them was having contraction-y type pains (at 22 weeks pregnant, so, no bueno), and the other one was about to undergo super scary back surgery, but obviously the most pressing problem was the fact that I had to wear the same underwear and stinky t-shirt the next day, and worse, I had to spend a day in public with NO MASCARA. (Um, by the way, as to the latter, did you know that there is now a MAC store in the Chicago O'Hare airport? Score!) As to the former, I tried to wash my shirt and underwear in the sink (< apparently, according to my brother and sister, this is very strange). Anyway, the shirt didn't dry overnight, so I spent twenty-minutes blow-drying it in the hotel bathroom, which I'm pretty sure only succeeded in me heat-sealing the BO into the fabric.

But. We were halfway there. When we got to the airport the next morning, we accidentally went to the fancy VIP security line and the agent let us in because I was giving off "good vibes." Maybe she assumed I was generating good vibes because I smelled like a dirty hippie? ;)

Because the flight was switched last minute, we had four separate seats strewn about the plane, and until about 20 minutes before we boarded, it was looking like we were going to have to rely on the mercy of strangers to get seats together, which I loathe doing, or, in the alternative, just leave our 3 and 5 year olds sitting solo with randos, which actually didn't seem like a completely terrible idea. But ultimately that got worked out too. Phew.

By the way, I think people who claim you shouldn't fly with kids are dicks, but I sympathize a little bit because I kind of feel the same way about people who fly when they've got SARS and shit.

My face when my neighbor on the plane apparently has Ebola.
As if 36 hours of travel wasn't enough, we had to drive straight from the airport to a final walk-through for our NEW HOUSE that we closed on the next day. This week has been so hectic we haven't even had a chance to celebrate! Should've saved some of that bourbon :)

But the kids have been great. Barely any vacation-hangover at all, despite the fact that Colby started a new class in preschool and Jack was in camp for a week which is way outside his comfort zone. (Come to think of it, this might be because, due to conflicting schedules, we had a babysitter picking them up every day and navigating "suicide hour" (as one of our friends calls it). Ha. Whoops. Thanks and apologies, J!)

PLUS, one of the TSA agents who patted me down at the airport told me I should "eat a cookie once in a while," so I'm going to mark the whole debacle down as a win!

Oh, I forgot to mention the part where we hired a dog-sitter and then she decided that she didn't really like taking care of our dog so she dropped Feta off at boarding and stayed at our house for a week anyway?! WTF?!

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