July 23rd, 12:36AM
A Long Hard Journey
I am waiting out the last hour before we board our plane, freezing under the air conditioning they really need to turn down. Sister is curled up somehow on the airport chair, it makes my body ache to look at her- I would never be able to get that kink of my neck if I were to contort myself that way. Brother is actually laying down under the chairs, his backpack is serving as a pillow. I wish I had blankets right now and am wondering if the Hudson News store carries any. Of course the little ones are asleep so I can’t walk away to check.
My day started at 6 AM, yesterday. We ate breakfast, loaded up the truck with 6 suitcases, and several boxes of miscellaneous crap. My mother in law took all the of the stuff I was leaving behind- the vacuum cleaner, mouthwash, a garden hose, a bottle of Jose Cuervo pre-mixed margarita- I could go on. We took brother to get his retainer- the day before he went in to get his braces removed. Of course the mold didn't set right the day before so they make another and we wait another 20 minutes- thankfully it works this time. After his orthodontist appointment we started for the airport- the same one we had been to the day before when I drove down to pick them up, as they flew in from Colorado with their grandparents. We arrived at the airport at 11:00 AM, our flight is scheduled to depart at 2:50AM, the NEXT morning. My in-laws are driving the truck to their home in Colorado and have to be on the road.
Saying it is going to be a long day is an understatement.
Our first stop is the USO, were they promptly tell us we can’t bring our luggage in- but we can go downstairs and use the luggage storage service (but the limit is two hours). As it turns out, there is no limit, but it is going to cost us $59 to stow away 6 suitcases, a make-up case and a booster seat. We say goodbye to grandma and grandpa and head to Seattle’s Best Coffee for a snack. After that we hang out at the USO where I enjoy the free WiFi service. After checking email, and making a few calls to the utility companies, I find a comfy seat to sit down and read. By 5PM we are all antsy and decide to go for a walk around the airport. We buy brother a sandwich, go check to see what time we are supposed to check in for our flight. Brother drops his hot pastrami sandwich before he even takes a bite of it and so we head back and I buy him a new one.
The kids are starting to get testy.
It is now 8:20PM. The sign we read earlier regarding our flight said that they would begin checking us in at 20:30. My tired mind forgets how to tell military time and is thinking 10:30 instead of 8:30. We see people lining up, so I ask a gentleman in line where he is flying to. He refers to me as “m’am”- which tells me he is a Marine, and says he is flying to Okinawa. We are going to Yokota so I think this is a different flight.
But now I am getting nervous, are we supposed to be in line? Did they cancel our flight? After checking with the actual people in charge, we find out yes we can get in line now to check in. So we go down and get our bags. The kids are even more grouchy- it is getting close to bed time. Every time I ask brother to be quiet or to stop playing with line ropes- he gets all bent out of shape. It wouldn’t matter what I said to him- he is getting ticked.
We get in line behind a woman who is bitching up a storm about the whole process. I so want to tell her to shut up- we are all tired and stressed out- she is NOT helping! I look around and everyone is in the same boat. We are all tired and the kids are whiny. I feel like a ring master in charge of unruly monkeys. I think the circus would be a breeze after this. I talk to one woman and find out they had already flown from Philadelphia to Seattle, and now she is getting on another flight to Japan. That beat our measly 45 minutes drive to the airport! There are kids crying, there are dogs in kennels. Everyone has a Smartcarte piled mountain high with luggage and car seats and strollers. I made the comment that without the Smartcartes we would all be a bunch of really angry people- everyone agreed. I can’t imagine having to try to maneuver the children with our carry on and the 6 pieces of luggage! Thinking of this I hear a big "crash"! One of the kids of the lady who I mentioned before had knocked over their luggage- they actually had two carts. I look over and I see a pile of luggage that has fallen on his younger sister- thankfully she is ok. Mom and dad were NOT pleased.
We finally make it to the main line- they had us roped off across the lobby (or whatever you call it)- there are too many of us and too much luggage for us to stand in the standard ticket counter lines. For the second time I hand over our port call (serves as our ticket) and also our passports. The gentleman that is checking me in cannot find my name. OH MY GOD. As I am preparing to have the biggest hissy fit of my life- the guy working next to him takes the list and find my name right away. When we get to the ticket counter we have to weigh our bags. My biggest one comes in at 61 pounds- 7 pounds short of the limit- one more worry checked off my list. Then we each have to step up on the scale with our carry-ons. With my bag and laptop I weighed 180 pounds- I would like to think that my bag and laptop weighed in at 50.
Now we head for the security check in line. The kids are actually not doing too bad at taking their shoes and jackets off and sticking everything in the bins. Then we head for our gate- which involves taking a train to the concourse. By this time the kids are feeling hungry- everything is closing down. Burger King is still open so I get a VERY long line. I have to confess I am not a patient person when it comes to lines I don't have to wait in. Sister was acting up so I just got out of line.
The kids are exhausted, as I am, and in a very foul mood. Why can't we just get on the plane already?
So we head to Hudson news and grab soda and candy- I am trying to keep the kids awake long enough to get on the plane. Lord knows I can't carry them on! Sister only has a little bit of soda and promptly falls asleep. Brother is bored so I give him $20 to find some cards or something to entertain himself with. He comes back with three Seattle mugs. It is not what I wanted him to buy- but he is so proud of his purchase so I tell him I love the mugs.
We are getting ready to board the plane. I woke up the kids and found a spot to camp out that is closer to the gate. I am trying to keep sister awake but she is very drowsy. She starts to complain about her stomach hurting. I try to get her up to take her to the bathroom, and then she tells me she is going to throw up. I just know we aren't going to make it so I find a plastic bag- she promptly throws up in the bag. Oh dear Lord. When I think she is done we get up to walk to the bathroom- I tell brother to watch our stuff and stay there. There are other families around so I feel fairly safe leaving him there- but guilty too. Sister throws up again in the bathroom. Remember the lady that was putting up a fuss in the check in line? She shows up and asks what she can do to help. She wanted to give sister something to settle her stomach- turns out she is a nurse. Sister refuses and I tell her I think if she just goes back to sleep she will be ok.
Thank God I was right! We got on the plane- I took advantage of the pre-boarding for those with small children. My children aren't exactly "small" as in toddlers- but damn it I am by myself with two kids- I am getting on! No one said a thing to me either. *smile*
Finally we are on the plane! Yippee! I never thought I would get there... the kids are happy and promptly fall asleep. I just sit back and relax- I am hoping we can just sleep the whole 12 hours...