Disclaimer… longest post ever, inappropriate language, and my personal experience and attitude problem
Saturday June 8
The ease to which we conquered our first flight was an anomaly
We felt relatively unscathed; matter of fact we thought we were brilliant. We upgraded our boarding passes to be two of the first 5 people to board the plane. Acquired a row of seats to ourselves in the front; no one dared to brave the middle seat between us for our two and a half hour flight to Vegas.
We were prepared, armed with enough recommended tips and tricks to gorge our, lovely hipster carry on’s, petunia pickle bottom abundance boxy backpack and wistful weekender. Pistol slept soundly and Bell, well we kept her busy with our talents and wit and holy shit our plane even arrived early.
We encountered our first hurdle at the Vegas airport; although we had opted out of checking a stroller, as we were perfectly happy with ergo wearing our newly walking twins… they were not. They wanted down immediately and were off; this is when we began to realize the hipster carry on’s were HEAVY.
With that said If I read your blog or article on tips for flying with toddlers I want to say a big FUCK YOU; yep, it is like that! I will put it out there…. preparation is futile; flying with toddlers SUCKS and I would suggest never doing it… specifically with 18 month old twins.
We attempted to eat lunch at a Mexican Restaurant in the Vegas airport, which was challenging, as the nifty invention of a high chair was non-existent. Once again we were super brilliant and upgraded our boarding passes ...A5 and A6, oh hell yes!
Oh, I mean hell no… this was the first of three flights from hell. First let me give two of three big FUCK YOU’s to Southwest airlines. As I have highlighted our brilliance on numerous occasions, on paying 40 dollars a ticket to upgrade boarding for piece of mind, never in the discourse with southwest employees about the flight to Reno being over booked did they let us in on pertinent information, but first…
As two of the first six to board the plane, and yet finding out upon boarding, the flight had people still on it from the previous flight, we scored upfront seating. Knowing we would have to share I took the window and Brennan took the middle. Once situated we noticed it was extremely hot on the plane, there was no air.
Lets recap, Bellamy refused to sleep on the first flight, was tired of sitting, and no air on the plane with outside temps being 100+… disaster. Bell freaked out, I mean full tantrum in a very small space meant mom getting hit and kicked in the face. I wanted to cry, as there was nothing I could do to redirect her, nothing in our magic bags of preparation worked. A small break arrived when a man boarding looked at Bell and said to her “all she needs is a handsome Norwegian to look at to make her happy”, or make her think for one moment “how can I get louder”, because yep.
Rocking her she finally calmed down and relaxed as the plane lifted off the ground… and this is where Southwest Airlines failed us as patrons. As we were getting our safety lesson a flight attended approached us and told Brennan he would have to move. Wait, what, yes this is correct.
You cannot have more than 4 people seated in a row and we had 5. I am telling you, drink orders had already been taken and my husband with my son had to trade places with someone and if you can believe it, people refused to give up the aisle seat for a middle seat. Luckily the lady sitting next to us on the aisle took the middle so an asshole could sit in the aisle seat. I understand, I would hate to move but it was an emergency… which Brennan and Pistol moving, set Bell off for another 15 minutes. I held her tight to my chest and she finally passed out from heat and exhaustion. I could not move, not to get gum to help my ears, not to get a drink… I sat clutching my daughter fearing her wrath and cried for the hour flight to Reno.
Now here it is… the moment I admit we failed as parents.
Yes, this was the thought perusing my brain as I wrangled Bell as we awaited our baggage, cursing the weight of our carry on’s, and lingered in 104 degree heat wondering where in the fuck our rental car shuttle was. Boarding the shuttle I was exhausted and emotionally void of feeling; people it was rough. It just got worse… I will spare you the details and tribulations of our hotel in Reno and say that we got to have dinner with great people.
Sunday June 9
The following morning we said goodbye to Reno and headed an hour to Lake Tahoe to yet another hotel and to bare witness to a wedding, well at least Brennan and Pistol did. See it was raining at this outdoor wedding, in Tahoe, out of nowhere, and Bell could not be confined, so we walked along the lake looking for bugs and collecting dandelions.
Monday June 10
Once again, do you see a theme… after having an impromptu breakfast at a lone picnic table at the lake we set forth on a two and half hour drive to Chester, California to visit my brother, his wife heather and my 6 month old niece, Juliana. Chester was lovely, and my babes had the opportunity to play in Lake Almanor.
Wednesday June 12
Let me revisit the statement… we failed as parents. How the hell did we ever think it was appropriate to subject our babes to so many transitions? Leaving at 7:00am Wednesday morning to drive the 2 hours to Reno Airport my anxiety was active and I was ready to start crying. We were about to get on two planes with a total of 4.5 hours in the air with the longest stretch being the second flight with only 30 minutes to get to our connecting flight.
We arrived early to the Reno airport, which was a mistake as unlike Vegas, there were no true restaurants to get appropriate food for the babes. We attempted to feed them premade sandwiches but they refused to eat the ham or turkey, which normally is what they eat. In addition, there was no milk anywhere and they had just finished what we had brought with us. Bell screamed through the exhausting wait at the security check point as she wanted down from siting for hours in the car.
Once again we upgraded our boarding to A7 and A8; as we awaited boarding I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I told Brennan I wanted to rent a car and drive home. I did not care how long it would take I did not want to fly. We attempted to contact car rental agencies and were quoted prices 1000+. The plane began to board and we decided it was a must to fly and get home as quick as possible.
As we were waiting in line, knowing we would have to get aisle seats across from each other to sit together, here is number 3... FUCK YOU to southwest airlines, a lady asks us what number we have. We say A7 and A8 and she says well I have A8 too. The lady walks over to the ticket collector lady and shares her discovery, to which her and Brennan are sent to the ticket counter as we are boarding. Once again I start to cry out of pure frustration. We paid 80 bucks for this inconvenience.
Once again, someone was looking out for me, as the gentleman who was supposed to be in front of me had let me in front of him saying “go ahead I have 3 of those and I know how hard it can be”, I thanked him as my husband ran off. As we started to board the lady returned and said her ticket was correct and his was wrong and he is still at the counter. I lost it, another over booked flight and only 30 minutes to catch our connecting flight, the same gentleman says to me, “why don’t I take the aisle across from you and when your husband gets on I will let him sit there”. I was dumbfounded by his kindness, I could not believe it and as the plane filled he kept his word and took a seat towards the back of the plane.
I sat rocking Bell, who was freaking out, until she fell asleep… crying softly.
Upon landing, due to the Reno flight being late, we had even less time to get to the gate with no time to get any of the necessities that would include milk, food, or a diaper change. Once again, I felt sick. Bell wanted down and it was not a possibility, I was feeling completely overwhelmed as we boarded. The three hour flight was thus far the longest moment in time ever. Luckily, I had two wonderful row mates… women who shared they sat by me on purpose to help as they have been there. They helped me keep Bell occupied and minimized the embarrassment and anxiety that came with her 15 minute tantrums as she kick and hit me wanting to get down. The last hour of the flight was the most brutal. Yet, we survived.
Let me tell you, kindness of strangers, knowing your babes favorite things which in our case, we packed straws, target dollar sticker books, and IPads which were all that was helpful in my futile attempt to be prepared. Luckily, we lightened our load on the return flights as I left one of my hipster carryon’s in the hotel closet in Tahoe.
What I wish someone would have said to me is… what the fuck do you think you are doing. What do they say about hindsight, well fuck that, foresight is where it is at and this includes purchasing an RV and driving, with weeks to spare, to any future destinations.
Oh, and just in case you did not think this was ridiculous enough… shout out to my amazing husband who thought it was a good idea to leave the key to the car in the suit case. The shuttle for the airport drops us off at our car and all I want is to get home. However, I am chasing my son around the parking lot, while my daughter is screaming because I will not let her out of the ergo. My clothing is strewn about the parking garage as my husband is frantically searching for the key to the car. After 15 minutes, of forgetting where he put it, he locates the key and we are off. Yep, it is all about love, right?
With the bad and the ugly you inevitably find some good. There were some beautiful moments... simple moments for all of us to breath and acquire some personal space which mainly took place in the lovely Lake Almanor.