From time to time around here I share, what I like to call, a misadventure. Since our family just survived the worst conceivable airport luck ever…what better time to share a little laughter over our plight. We were flying back from Dallas after my sister in law’s wedding (yay yay yay!) with Lyric and Lily (since Fletch is still so little he stayed back with some awesome friends). Our original plan was to fly out of DFW to Chicago O’hare at 4:30pm, grab our stuff, grab dinner on the go, drive home, and pick up Fletcher.
Here’s what actually went down.
We pull into the car rental return and Marilyn, the kindest rental agent EVER, offers to drive us and drop us off AT OUR GATE since we have little ones with us. HALLELUJAH!! Amazing! We have the BEST AIRPORT LUCK EVERRRRRRRR!!! WEEEEE! YIPEE!
We make it to our ticket counter with our tickets already printed out. Look at us, so prepared, so diligent. So naïve. Our two checked bags total 44 and 46 pounds. Perfect.
Oh wait? What was that sir? Spirit airlines actually only lets you fly with 40lbs in each checked bag even though said bags cost us an arm and a leg and a couple of teeth to check? Well, that can’t be right because we were at 42lbs each on our way down to DFW with Spirit Airlines and we did not get stopped. Shrug? Shrug??? SHRUG!?!
Austin asks me what we can throw away and I remember that we hadn’t utilized all of our carry-on options. We scooch all our stuff over to adequately sort it out (which includes two massive checked bags, two car seats, and two very playful children with arms full of blankies and toys they have taken out). I pull out my empty tote; cue the stress sweat. I would not throw away one single hotel soap if it killed me. When you find a hotel soap that smells as delicious as the Westin Chicago soap smelled…you don’t just throw it out, that would be a soap tragedy and what kind of person is ok with a soap tragedy?! So I fling open our first luggage bag and hello panties and bras! That isn’t embarrassing at all, and no one is staring at us and our adorable/crazy children…oh wait. I assess our weight issues and immediately make the call. It’s the shoes. The heaviest shoes get shoved into my carry-on along with other random heavy things. Bag #2: the same routine. Only one little problem, all these shoes take up way more space than the Spirit Airlines approved carry-on will hold. Now flush with a fresh layer of stress sweat I notice that the sandals I’m currently wearing are lightweight and realize my feet could do what my carry-on couldn’t. So dressed in a boy-ish, grey v-neck and a pair of floral shorts that are two sizes too big…I proceed to switch into my heavy albeit adorable, multi-colored, splatter pattern, peek-a-boo toe, platform shoes.
Now I’m THAT girl. The girl who is wearing heels at the airport. No…the girl who is wearing platform heels with shorts that clash in color, pattern, and style at the airport.
It didn’t even look cute y’all. It was so bad on so many levels. Meanwhile Austin is herding our children in a holding pattern (which is basically trying to achieve the impossible). Thank the Lord the agent to the left of Mr. Luggage Stickler saw fit to show mercy to our family even though we were still each two pounds over. He gave us a nod and said, “I’ll put you through. Don’t worry about it.” It might have been because the sweat from both Austin and I could have been smelly at this point.
Stress sweat don’t even play y'all.
So thank you Lord, we move on to the security line. The security line is where you really know how much people hate children isn’t it? We quickly unshoe and unload. I’m fairly confident we used like 6 bins to get through that line. Austin and Lily go through the security check thingy and I push the rest of our bins through on the conveyor belt. As I start walking through Austin looks back and says, “You got my computer right?” “Yep!” I’m such a good wife. Lyric and I go through the security check thingy and it’s all roses and rainbows. We go to the end of the line, bins 1-5 accounted for.
Austin says, “So you didn’t get my computer?”
“Yea I did, it’s right there,” I point to bin with all the computer stuff and computer bag in it.
“My computer is not in this one. It had to go in it’s own bin.”
“What?! You have to communicate with me! How was I supposed to know that?! I can’t read your mind. Why would I know that?!”
Such a shining moment for me and such a great time to have the communication fight. We weren’t even re-shoed yet. (In my defense, we had left behind or lost….like a ton of junk on this particular trip, most of which had been my fault and I just couldn’t handle my junk failure anymore.) Austin looks back to the tolerant people who had been several spots behind us in line and asks if they can send his computer through for us. Miraculously neither the line people nor the security people saw any problem with this and all went well. (I’m not sure I would have done it, I’ve seen the 1999 mystery/thriller “Brokedown Palace” and I’ll never trust a stranger at an airport again.) At this point we were sufficiently on edge.
I know what you’re thinking….so far it’s just been a lot of close calls. No true calamity had come to pass. Just wait.
So we begin the descent to our gate. We had to walk a long heck of a way and then descend down to our area of the terminal via escalator. During this walk the kids’ blankies had become great burdens to our children and they no longer felt they could walk without dragging them across the airport floor behind them. So since I already had a smoking hot look about me I added a fluffy baby blanket around my neck. And I’m officially THAT crazy woman. We approach the escalator. Austin is carrying Lily, and Lyric and I stroll about ten steps behind them. Lyric has never (since turning 1) had any issues with escalators so I gleefully approach the steps while holding his hand and explain that we will go together on the count of three.
“One. Two. Threeeeeee……Lyric…Lyric…come on. Lyric go now. Lyric just step. Lyric just step out to me.”
That’s right. I went on three. He on the other hand…did not. Now I’m turned facing him and the NEVER ENDING STAIRS that keep coming at me. I’m literally climbing as fast as I can and still can’t get anywhere. So with arms reached out and continuing to jog up the stairs in place I try to coach him. “Ok, go now. OK…..now! Come on baby. Step…now!” No such luck. So I climb faster, but to no avail. At this point I LOSE my mind and just start yelling “This is my nightmare! This is my nightmare!” As I try to beat the stairs unfolding beneath me. They never seem that fast when you are just standing there, but climbing them in the opposite direction while in platform heels….lightning fast.
So I make the call. I have to get up to him. Here we go. Big strides, fast jumps. Step. Step. Step….leap. I made it…without the layer of skin from the top of my foot…but no blood so…we’re good. I calm myself down and then make sure that I don’t get on without Lyric this time. We make it to the gate, and Lyric and I leave our stuff with Austin and head for a potty break. As I leave I say “What do you want from Starbucks cause I’m getting something.” Usually I would ask Austin or at least kind of discuss getting something…but not this time. And thank the Lord my soul’s mate was thinking the same way. “Coffee and pumpkin loaf, and you should know I’m not sharing.” Lyric and I do our business, head to Starbucks, wait in line to order, wait in line to pick up our drinks, and then head back. As I round the corner I see Austin kind of hunched over a bare-footed Lily.
“Bad news. She had an accident and I could do nothing but watch it happen. It was literally like she was pouring a bucket of pee down her legs onto her shoes. Oh also, our flight is delayed.”
I take Lily to the family bathroom and change her into clean undies and shorts (which clash brilliantly with her top, so we were a match made in heaven). But no shoes. Of all the shoes I crammed into my carry on, not one of them was Lily’s. And what better place to be barefoot than an airport?
We return to our gate, divvy out the pastries, coffee, and chocolate milk for the kids and all is right in the world. Before 30 seconds have gone by Lyric takes a huge drink of his chocolate milk and simple spits it out onto his shirt. All of it. The boy is soaked with chocolate milk. I’m sure we responded in love and patience. Austin takes him and changes him into his superman pajama shirt, which is the only thing we have in the carry on.
And in one last moment of hedonism Lily dumps out an entire bag of goldfish on the floor.
Thankfully it was time to board our plane. So we board, disperse the necessary books, toys, and blankies and we wait. And wait….and wait. And then we deplane. So we find a secluded set of seats and set up Austin’s computer with Jake and The Neverland Pirates and just blop our kids in front of it in the middle of the aisle. Tired parents. Don’t. Even. Care.
Lily dumps out more goldfish. We throw the goldfish away for crying out loud. We re-plane.
On the plane Austin is on one side of the aisle and I am tucked in on the opposite side with a kid on either side of me. He can see that I’m totally done and graciously offered me his seat. He later admitted it was half out of his co-parent sacrificial love and half out of his desire to get as far from the crazy lady in seat 22B as he possibly could. Side note: the “done” point of parenting will drive you to choose the crazy lady over your own flesh. Beware.*
Aside from Lily being the most talkative she’s ever been in her life and giving me the pleasure of sharing a seat with her (even though she had her own), the ride was fairly uneventful. Chatty Lily + crazy 22B lady = breaking even. They kept each other occupied until Lily fell dead asleep upon hearing the phrase “Crew, prepare for descent.”
We land and off the plane we go to collect our belongings. And thus began the longest trek of my life with two zombie children in tow.
Bag #1, check! Bag #2, check! Car seat #1, check! Car seat #2…..fail.
More than anything I wish it could have been my bag stocked with shower stuff, cute clothes and favorite shoes. I would have gladly given them my mailing address, tossed up my peace sign, and proclaimed a sassy “Peace out O’hare.”
But no. No, instead we had to stay there until some sort of safety travel gear was produced for Lyric to ride home in. Oh…and by home I mean the next morning because we gave in and booked a hotel through hotwire.com for a steal (my beloved Westin, so at least there’s the soap).
After learning how to hold a sleepy little boy and beyond exhausted toddler in both arms while sitting in the smallest baggage claim chair ever…a replacement booster seat was given. We were free…well once we HIKED to the pick up point for our parking company, drove through McDonald’s (breaking news that you read here first folks), and got to the hotel…then we were free. Poor Lyric had the misfortune of taking a fall on the way in and one of us, who shall remain nameless, rolled their eyes and walked into the hotel….that’s just how done we were.
Thankfully, each time one of us was done the other was running on just enough fumes to pick up the slack. Because sometimes that’s what marriage is, it’s picking up each other’s slack when you’re in the suckiest day of your life.