Sunday, July 10, 2011

To Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and back again Pt. One

We got home today from our incredibly long, brave and ambitious vacation around....well, the entire midwest it seems.
The trip was long, especially for a vacation with two small kids, totaling 11 days.
Eleven days away from our home
Eleven days away from our beds
Eleven days away from the kids normal routine
Eleven days with no privacy
Eleven days with someone else's family who, to put it simply, is nothing like anything I am used to
Eleven days in very. very. very. small towns.

No big deal, right?


The trip was good, don't get me wrong, and I am very very glad that we went. The kids don't get out much, and this was an awesome experience for them. They got to see and do a lot of stuff that they have never seen or done before, and I am sure they made many many new happy memories. But their kids. They don't know what went into that awesome time they had. What it took to make that happen.
I do.
So let me tell you....
Our story starts on Wednesday, the 29th of June. We're supposed to leave that night, and since we're flying on The Roomie's flight benefits, we're flying standby, which means we have to pick a flight with the most open seats to try to get on, show up, and hope we do actually get on.
The problem here, is that the flight we were planning to take, the flight we've been watching for a week, the flight that has been wide open, is suddenly full. No, overfull. Overbooked, completely. Well...fuck. So we start looking at other flights. Maybe we can fly into Indiana, or Chicago, or somewhere, anywhere we can get a flight to. It's all full.
There is one flight that looks halfway decent, and it only has 3 open seats. There are 4 of us. It flies into Kansas City, Missouri, where luckily The Roomie's sister lives, so she can pick us up and take us into Greenville the next day. The flights a long shot, but we try anyway. We race to the airport, haul the kids in, get their hopes up, deal with their bubbling over excitement and borderline crack addicted monkey level of hyperness, and run to the gate, hoping we can get a seat for all of us, but knowing we might not.
There we are, standing at the gate, and The Roomie tells us there are three seats. One for me, and my kids. He can't get on this flight, but maybe, (MAYBE?!) he can get on one to St. Louis and meet us in Missouri. Maybe. Ummmmm so you're asking me and the kids to get on a plane without you, fly to Missouri and chill with your family, just hoping you can get a flight out? Awesome. So the kids and I are moving toward the gate, looking back at The Roomie all sad and dejected, while I freak out because I suddenly realize: I am going to be flying alone with two kids. ALONE. Sure, I know it's possible, but I am not very good at traveling. I am sort of travel retarded, and this is a huge step for me...two kids, one airplane, alone. Shit! We get on, and the plane is packed. They put us (of course) in the very back, so we have to bump and shove past a completely full flight of people, me carrying all three bags, and trying to keep my kids from knocking some helpless old lady down or stepping on someone's luggage.
Finally we sit down, and what do you know? There, in the front of the plane, is The Roomie, loading his bag in the overhead compartment, and taking the very last seat in the front of the plane. Hallelujah! Somehow, a friend of his who works the ticket counter got him a freakin seat, and my life is saved. I am literally still in shock that I didn't burst into song, I was so happy and relieved.
Once the plane took off though, I was still sitting there with two kids by myself. The Jedi was beyond excited, and could not resist playing with, pushing on, kicking and banging the back of the seat in front of us, occupied by a poor lady who was trying so hard to sleep and not turn around and smack him. By the time we landed, there were safety pamphlets and magazines all over the floor, 3 empty water bottles, 2 empty juice cups, half a personal pizza and most of my sanity on the floor in front of our seats, and I was in tears.
The next day, we all packed up and got ready to go into Greenville with The Roomie's sister and her two little ones. And when I say little, I mean tiny. Her daughter is two this month and her son....her son was two weeks old. Yeah. One car, four kids between two weeks and seven years old, and 3 adults. Her husband had to stay behind to finish a job he was working repairing a roof.
No problem! I think. We got this! Then The Roomie looks at me and says "It's only a five hour drive to Greenville." ONLY?! Keep in mind, Roomie has no kids of his own, and has never traveled with young kids that weren't his siblings. This should be a real treat for him....
The trip to Greenville wasn't so bad, except that it took more like seven hours, there was lots of crying and tantrum throwing, and when we stopped at a McDonald's in Boonville Missouri, The Jedi shit his pants.
There was a moment, while standing in the Men's room in McDonald's, cleaning my 3 year old sons shit covered ass, underwear and pants, crying and trying to keep him from screaming and throwing a tantrum, where I wondered if this trip was a little too ambitious for us...
Once back on the road, we cranked the music and hit the gas. We were so ready to get there.

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