Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to lose 25 lbs by stress alone

We went on a little vacation to Utah last week. Left on Wednesday, came back on Saturday.

Tuesday night I packed everything up. And, miracle of miracles, I didn't forget anything. I know. Divine intervention.

We left a wee bit later than we wanted Wednesday morning--9:15 instead of 9:00--, but the day started out great. Grace was happy in the backseat while Emmy dozed (she started sleeping in the car again, hallelujah). About an hour in we stopped for gas.

When we got back in, the excrement hit the ventilator. Emmy wouldn't sleep, and Grace decided to scream. A LOT. The best part of her screaming is that her nose runs like a fountain, and it's totally disgusting, and then we get to our destination, and she's been rubbing her face, and she looks homeless as we scurry and sweat through the largest airport ever in the entire world (OK, I know O'Hare is not the largest airport, but oh does it feel like it when you're about to miss your flight and can't find the stupid gate).

Getting ahead of myself.

We made good time until we got to I-90. And then the last twenty minutes took an hour. Meanwhile, kids screaming in the back, clock ticking away, idiot drivers everywhere, and these are the three things in the world that make me the most anxious. It was the Trifecta of Suck. I've never wished so fervently for hard drugs.

FINALLY we made it to the airport. There we discovered that Wednesday afternoon was, for some reason, a REALLY BIG DAY at O'Hare. We parked out in the boonies. I had the double stroller loaded up with kids, a diaper bag, and a carry-on, and Jeremy had the suitcase with a carry on and the stupid car seat. People, I packed light. I really did. But Emmy requires a LOT of clothing, and then there were diapers and wipes and just a few things to keep Grace entertained, and before you know it, we have way too much luggage. Stupid car seats.

So we had to walk from Africa to the airport. And there were a lot of curbs. And cars parked too closely together, which mean a lot of weaving back and forth, and with all that weaving, we probably doubled the distance, and the kids were screaming, and it was 8000 degrees out, and the sun was beating down, and I started developing some very violent compulsions, which, thankfully, I kept under control. But it was hard. There were a few very bad parkers who almost got their windshields smashed in with an angry baby.

As we were racing through the last bit of parking lot, we noticed that they'd decided to open up a new section of the parking garage MINUTES after we'd parked clear out in Zimbabwe. I may have said bad words.

Then. THEN. We were seven pounds over on our suitcase. Seven pounds. Oh my gosh. While Emmy screamed and Grace sat there looking homeless and unhappy, Jeremy ripped a bunch of stuff out of the suitcase and shoved it randomly into our carry-ons. It added a whole thirty seconds to the process, but it felt like an eternity. And meanwhile, my baby is screaming bloody murder in the middle of an echo-y airport, and all I can think about is how glad I am that guns aren't allowed, or somebody would have shot the four of us by now.

Security actually went very well. I am grateful for that. But then we had to find our stupid gate. O'Hare is not user-friendly. At least, not when you're blind with panic and 25 minutes from boarding.

Here I'm going to stop and climb up on my little soapbox. People, if you must text message all of the time, STOP. SIT DOWN. DO NOT DO IT WHILE WALKING THROUGH AN AIRPORT. OR SOME CRAZY LADY WILL KILL YOU. At least a hundred people wandered aimlessly in front of me during that panicked trek through the airport, noses and thumbs pressed up to their cramped little keyboards, and I almost killed them all with my giant stroller.

We raced through the airport as quickly and politely as we could, me calling out, "Excuse me please!" to every moron who plodded directly into my path, mesmerized by the blue gaze of his phone display. Even the non-texting slow people we passed felt the need to plod slowly down the MIDDLE of the hallways, not off to the side like I thought everyone knew you were supposed to do. If looks could kill, O'Hare airport would have exploded in an angry maelstrom of fire and lightning. There were a lot of people I was angry at that day.

Our gate was at the very end of terminal 2. The gate number wasn't on the ticket. No, we had to stop and search each bank of monitors down that endless hallway until we found the Delta flights. I was starting to think we were in the wrong terminal when we finally found them. Almost the last gate in the terminal, but we made it! Ten minutes to spare until boarding.

And then, the cherry: Because of the way the oxygen masks are arranged (three on one side, two on the other, even though the plane was two seats on each side of the aisle), three of us had to sit on one side of the plane. Which mean a lone adult on one side of the plane while the other adult tended to Grace in her car seat AND Emmy in arms. And that meant ME, since I was going to nurse Emmy during takeoff and landing. Delta did not deem this important information to have ahead of time. No, we found out as we were boarding. So that was awesome.

Thankfully, the flight went so much better than expected. But that's next time. Because my fingers are tired, and my children are going to wake up soon.

(In case this was unclear, I wasn't barreling around, running over any reasonable person who happened to be moving a little to slowly. Momentum did make it very hard to stop in time for some people who stepped right in front of me, and I was mightily annoyed with people who walked as slowly as possible right in the middle of traffic. But I wasn't all, "I GOTS ME A STROLLER BETTER MOVE YO BEHINDS" or anything.)


  1. I've had airport trips like that, and they were plenty stressful enough with just me and my lone carry-on. I SO feel for you.

    I also really don't get that whole oxygen mask thing. It seems to make everything so needlessly complicated, especially since it only ever comes up when there's a lap baby involved. Since most people still have more than one child these days, it seems like it has a rather high chance of being a Big Fat Problem. You'd think they could at least alert you to this fact when you indicate that you're traveling with a lap baby, since it's not like they don't tell you which type of plane you'll be on.

    I'm glad the flight went okay, though.

  2. Next time, you should poke some holes in a box, package the kids up and mail them there ahead of time.
    I kid, I kid.
    It would be super convenient, though.