Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Final leg

The last 30 hours of our trip had some bumps and bruises. Here's how it went down:

Saturday:

6:15 am: Wake-up call on the cruise ship. Mickey's voice is saying, "There's lots of things to do today, so let's get started!"

8:05 am: Get through customs, claim our luggage, and go to meet our ride to the airport. Difficult to keep the girls contained on the sidewalk.

8:55 am: Van arrives, all 11 of us pile in and take the 45 minute ride to Orlando. David naps in the car seat.

10:00 am: At the airport, check-in and check our bags.

10:30 am: Settle into a corner near the shops and restaurants to kill some hours before going through security. Diaper changes, snacks, coloring, browsing shops.

11:45 am: Quiznos for lunch in a crowded food court.

12:30 pm: Go through security.

12:45 pm: Ride the tram to our concourse and walk to our gate.

1:00 pm: Pull out the portable DVD player to keep the girls in one spot. Our departure scheduled for 2:50 still says "on time," but we are skeptical because every other flight is delayed because of severe storms and tornados all up and down the east coast.

1:30 pm: Now delayed until 3:30. I discover that Katy has diarrhea. I change 5 or 6 poopy diapers in the next hour. David manages, by some minor miracle, to take a nap in the stroller.

2:30 pm: I send Brian on a hunt for more diapers. He pays $10 for 14 diapers (gasp with me, fellow bargain shoppers) that are size Medium. Not the standard 1, 2, or 3, but Medium. We go with it. He also buys snacks because we assume we'll be sprinting to catch our connecting flight in Atlanta, if we make it at all.

3:30 pm: After several explanations for the delay, they begin boarding for our flight. We are excited to finally get moving, but I am nervous because Kathy and John (Brian's folks) reported that they were taxing for 1.5 hours before taking off. This is my worst nightmare.

4:00 pm: The captain stands at the front of the plane and delivers the news over the PA. Three problems: 1)There's a long line to take off here in Orlando. 2) We can't even get in that line for another 30 minutes because we need a tire change on this plane. 3) Atlanta hasn't been letting anyone land for the past 2 hours, so even once we get there, we'll be circling for a while. Oh, and it's going to be a bumpy ride, so if you have to go to the bathroom, go now.

4:05 pm: Another minor miracle: Katy curls up and goes to sleep in her seat. Shear exhaustion.

4:15 pm: CNN is playing on the monitors in front of us, and it is reporting ground delays of 1.5 - 2.5 hours at all major airports. The captain comes back to the cabin and casually tells us that this has been the worst day for air travel he's seen in years.

4:30 pm: We're still at the gate, mind you. The captain comes on the PA and says he has more bad news. While changing the tire they found a problem with one of the brakes that will have to be repaired. This will take 2 hours. They are going to ask us to deplane and wait for further instructions. Everyone stands up to gather their things and I lose it. In front of everyone on the plane I am sobbing.

5:00 pm: Back off the plane, there are incredibly long lines at every gate, and we learn that our flight has been cancelled. Everything on the monitor is cancelled or very much delayed. Brian, my knight in shining armor, walks over to the phones that say, "talk to a Delta rep" on them, where no one else is standing. He calls and books us on the first flight for the next morning. He then immediately calls the hotel that is IN the airport and makes us a reservation. Our travel insurance, he tells me, will cover this.

6:00 pm: We check into our hotel room, which is fabulous, and I feel a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm throwing up the white flag, and we'll give it another try tomorrow.

6:30 pm: Brian goes down to baggage claim and learns that our luggage, including the car seat and stroller that we had put under the plane with a valet tag, have been checked through to our final destination, so we are set up with Survival kits. Thank goodness we bought those diapers.

7:00 pm: We order room service (again, Travel Insurance) and set up portacribs. Our cell phone chargers are in the luggage so we make very short phone calls to family.

8:00 pm: We attempt to put the kids to bed, but they keep disturbing each other because we don't have our sound machine. They aren't quiet until 9:30.

Sunday:

6:45 am: The kids wake up and we start the process over again. Check in, security, breakfast, boarding.

9:20 am: Finally, we're on a plane and it's taking off.

12:00 pm: Layover without a stroller, and no highchair in the food court: urgh.

2:40 pm: We arrive at our airport and call Aunt Mel to come and rescue us. I am elated.

3:00 pm: We are reunited with our car seat, stroller, and 2/3 checked bags. The third bag, they tell us, will be delivered to our house the following day (it was). That, of course, is the bag with our blasted phone chargers in it. (Note to self: always put phone chargers in carry-on.)

3:30pm: Walk into the doors of our beloved home. Proclaim that I am never leaving again and immediately donn my pajamas.

3 comments:

Charity said...

I want to go home fter reading this. Oh wait- I am home. Maybe bed then.

I'm so glad you made it home. Sorry about all the chaos. Sounds like one of our family's days! :-)

Pam said...

I did the same as you during my trip home from hell, i.e. finally lost it and went to pieces. Our husbands are both pretty laid-back aren't they but they can certainly deal with a crisis! Glad you are all home okay.

Susan said...

Emily - I can almost identify with your trip home from Orlando. I had a CRAZY trip home from Italy earlier this year - delays, missed flights, flying around the country to get home & a very short night in a less than perfect hotel. Glad you're back. I hope you feel better soon. :) --Susan