Monday, April 13, 2009

ON OUR WAY TO TEXAS!!! (or...the day that wouldn't end)

After we our flight time and arrived at the airport just 30 minutes prior to take-off with 5 bags to check, two kids, and 6 carry-ons, we already had an inkling it might not turn out to be the very best day we've ever had. But after paying a couple of arms and legs to check in at the curb, we sped through security without an issue, and made it to our gate just in the nick of time! Or so we thought.

"Um...where's our plane, Mama? Shouldn't it be parked out there by now?" asks Chago.

And we waited...and waited...and waited...

Until finally, over an hour later, it finally arrived, and we boarded like hungry and prodded cattle. But at least we were on our way!!!

We watched BOLT on the inflight movie, but I found it a big ol' pain in the rear to have to explain. It just wasn't making sense to the kids, the whole idea that he was an actor who didn't know he was acting and then needed to be taught how to be a real dog. And because they were on either side of me, I kept having to take out my headphones and lean over to one of them, pull his headphones out, try to explain a scene, then lean over to the other side and do the same for her. And by the time I was done, we were already 3 more confusing scenes in, and I had to now answer questions about previous scenes that I didn't get to see because I was explaining a prior scene to one or the other.

Needless to say, I'm not a real BOLT fan right now.

And then as we were landing, I noticed the flight attendant who'd already been rude and snotty during the lunch service kind of casually skip over our connecting flight in Dallas as she was announcing gates. "For those of you I didn't mention," she says, "you'll need to check in with an agent as our slight departure delay may have interfered with your connection."

MAY HAVE interfered with our connection?

Plane lands, text Mommy, gather bags overhead and under, check under seats again, relocate fugitive power ranger for the 20th time, check under seats again, wrangle children out of seats, move entire family mass into the aisle, remove rolling backpacks off other people's toes, apologize apologize apologize, block increasingly irritated traffic for 10 minutes, apologize some more, run like hell to the monitor, run like hell to the skylink train (because OF COURSE our connection is in another terminal), make a never-as-quick-as-it-needs-to-be bathroom stop, grab a Chai along the way (shut up! a woman needs her sustenance!!), and arrive at the gate just as our plane is pulling away.


Another hour or so passes and we're checking into our next flight. Only some really really really smart American Airline person seats the children together and me by myself about 6 rows ahead.

And yes, I did think for about 45 seconds that it might be a really fantastic idea and wouldn't that vodka tonic be nice, but instead I got into a yelling match with a nasty troll of a woman who essentially said, tough shit, lady, and I was left to negotiate, overloaded with bags and children, with other tired and annoyed passengers for 3 seats together.

Obviously realizing he was waaaaay better off giving up his seat and moving 6 rows away from the crazy lady with the loud children, a very smart man indeed offered us a whole row. And we were off. Finally.

Arriving in Corpus Christi well after the airport had closed down, we waited oh-so-impatiently for our bags to be ejected from the carousel. And all but one made it. Thankfully, it was not the carseats nor Mama's suitcase, which surely would have driven me right over the edge. But it was the kids' luggage, which meant waiting for someone for over 15 minutes to finally come out so that I could file a claim, and let's not forget the arm and leg I spent to check it in at the curb, which I'd always assumed was kind of code for we'll make sure it gets on your plane if you tip us well, but is actually just another one of those things to file under suh-huh-cker-her.

And then we made our way over to the car rental place.

You'll notice at this point that the lack of photographic evidence of these last few events only serves to reinforce my utter frustration and exhaustion and sheer pissiness with our whole travel experience, but with American Airlines, in particular. We will not be flying your unfriendly skies again, my friend.

But I digress.

Keys in hand, luggage cart bursting with a mountain of bags, and two 6-year-olds clinging to my belt loops, we walked circles in the parking lot in search of our vehicle. After finally locating our eep in dark (the J had fallen off the hood ornament, apparently), I wrestled with their carseats, the luggage, and then the damn key for another 30 minutes!

On the key ring was a very skinny key and two electronic keylock thingamajigs. But the skinny key neither fit snuggly into the ignition nor would it turn. At all. Seriously. With the parking lot pitch black and the only illumination being provided by Saia and Chago playing Disco Duck with the overhead lights in the backseat, I was pretty sure I was going to start shooting blood from eyes in about 10 seconds.

So I finally resort to pulling out the freaking manual and started reading, and you know what, nowhere -- NO.WHERE. -- in that manual did it say anything about how to actually start the fucking truck!!! Not even under the chapter entitled "How to Start Your Fucking Truck."

Thoroughly frustrated, totally embarrassed, and dodging calls from Amy, my brother, and my dad, I finally unbuckled the kids and we walked back inside to find someone -- ANYONE -- who could get us out of here. And yes, I was mostly pissed because I hate these seemingly girly moments. Like the flat tire on the side of the road. Or the lifting a bag into the overhead compartment. Or the pumping gas.

It's not that I'm not perfectly capable of starting a vehicle, it's that THIS FUCKING KEY MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE AND IS DRIVING ME FUCKING CRAZY BECAUSE I DON'T UNDERSTAND IDIOCY!!!!

And let me tell ya, after the only person I could find, a rather hefty woman with a super thick drawl, said to me, "Oh, honey, that's not your key, it's right here," and proceeded to insert the plastic electronic thingamajig with the big red panic button directly into the ignition and turned it right on, I thought, this is it, this is where the cameras appear and I'm either being punked or I'm starring in the next episode of Snapped!


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear the trip was a nightmare, but even sorrier that it sounds oh so familiar. It seems that every trip we've taken in the last 5 years has been like that. (Delta is no better - just a warning as you do your airline shopping for the next trip.)

One trip we took, we paid full fare for our two toddlers ($400+ each for four seats). Of course, halfway through the completely packed flight, my little boy decided to test the limits of his diaper. I take him to the bathroom to find there is NOWHERE to lay a baby down to change him. Outside of the bathroom, there was not an empty seat and I certainly wasn't going to do it in an aisle with passengers on either side. So, I lay him down in the steward aisle. Within a half second the flight attendant was on me. Through gritted teeth and probably a few tears I yelled that we paid over $400 for his seat and there is no bathroom facility for him?!! The answer was that it was an old plane that wasn't designed for families (only middle aged business men, apparently). Blood shooting out the eyes - yup, been there. After that episode, we didn't fly for 5 years.

My children hate flying. They would rather drive 8 hours to Disneyland than fly for 1. And the industry wonders why it's failing. Wait 'til this generation grows up completely disenchanted with traveling by air.

nuckingfutsmama said...

Oh, dear God, do I feel your pain! Pain in the ass, that is, because that is the best way to sum up traveling with kids. My husband & I have decided that when you go away with kids, that is called a "trip." When you go away without kids, that is what is called a "vacation." Hopefully, your next getaway will be a much-needed "vacation"..... :-)


Hi D! (aka, anonymous)

Thanks for your commiseration. Sounds like you had an even worse experience, though. I'm so sorry.

At least our kids haven't been completely turned off to flying yet. Amy and I, however, well, that's still up for debate. We're trying to plan a family trip for later this year, so I'll get back to you on that one!

Wonder how long it will take us to just buy the damn aluminum airstream and start traveling by highway?


nuckingfutsmama, YES!! You are sooo right. It is NOT a vacation with or to visit family. It is a trip. Love that!!

Now I'm ready for a vacation.