Thursday, June 20

day 1: turbulence.


we just wrapped up the worst traveling experience of my life.
spoiler alert: we made it.
it just took us 24 hours to get here.

we left our house at noon on tuesday to catch our flight. both girls slept on the way, which was great because ellie had been up since five in the morning (excited much?). we asked for a gate pass for daddy so he could help us to the plane, but unfortunately they wouldn't allow it. we actually made it through okay, considering. i expected at least one tantrum and a lot of squirming and distractions and general slow-going. i also packed light - a backpack for each of us, everything else was checked. i didn't kid myself into bringing a stroller because i knew that there would be times when i would just end up carrying a kid in each arm. that's how we boarded the plane, actually.

 the nook was a lifesaver

we got off to a bad start. as we got on the plane we heard at clap of thunder like a gun going off. then we were put in a line behind 50 other planes waiting to take off in the weather. it worked out somehow and we didn't wait too long, though. the girls were so good on the flight from atlanta to houston. ellie didn't really use her quiet voice very well, but i had picked the seats at the back of the plane and it was so loud that it didn't matter. poppy slept just a little.

then, at the end, all hell broke loose.
the stuff hit the fan.
it was BAD.

poppy woke up feeling awful and looking green. we hit terrible turbulence on the way in to houston. ellie loved the bumpy ride, she yelled "wheeeeeeeeeeeee!" and screamed like she was on a rollercoaster. poppy added her own, weak little "whee..." but it was obvious that she was miserable. then she puked all over me. the flight attendant was in the jumpseat next to us and tried his best to help despite being strapped in, but we really just needed to wait until we landed.

just as i thought we were going to touch down, we started going up again.
"uh oh," the flight attendant said. "they just aborted the landing."
apparently there was some sort of problem caused by the weather and we had to circle around and try again. can you guess what happened next?
puke 2: revenge of the puke. she got the whole other side of my shirt. and her hair.
poor thing, she was crying and moaning "oops! oops! yuck! yuck!" like it was her fault.

second time was the charm for the landing, but i was sure we had missed our connecting flight. our flight attendant checked for me and said that he thought it was delayed, too, because of the weather, and we could maybe still catch it.

we got off the plane quick and the attendant at the gate said that, yes, it was still in the airport but we needed to take the train from terminal b to terminal e and we only had about twenty minutes. we had to make it by 7:15. she said we could try and run. so we ran.
 (when i thought about it later, i realized that she really should have called our flight and told them we were coming. i mean, what's a couple more minutes after an hour's delay? but she didn't.)

if you've ever run with a preschooler and a toddler and all their stuff you would know that you can't run fast. we went up and down escalators, on and off the train, through endless concourses and finally got to the gate.
at 7:19.

there was nobody there and nobody at the surrounding gates, either. i was covered in puke and literally dragging two exhausted kids when i finally found someone a few gates over.

she looked at me and said "i can talk to you in about five minutes."
(i can't help but think that that this was another moment that could have changed everything.)

i didn't know what to do. so i waited. and the girls ran amok. a nice guy made small talk with me about his three-year-old and tried to make me feel better. when the woman finally got to us, she called the plane and they were just too far out on the runway to come back for us. but they were still on the runway. sigh.

we waited forever in the customer service line, where they issued us toothbrushes and food vouchers and set us up in a hotel. i let the girls cover themselves with stickers while they waited. we had tickets for a flight at 9:30 that next morning. after some french fries, i bought myself a new shirt and we went out to catch the hotel shuttle. we walked out the doors just to watch it drive away, then waited in the dirty, sweaty houston night for another hour as every other shuttle came and went at least twice. 

gross airport meal

 gross wait for the shuttle

we made it to the hotel at 10 pm (11 our time). oh, that was the best hotel room i've ever seen. i washed the girls, wrapped them up and put them to bed. then i showered and never, ever wanted to get out of the shower again. when i finally fell asleep i couldn't even think about our final destination. my only thought was getting out of houston alive.

to be continued...


Tom and Juli said...

Oh my goodness Bradie! I know I'm pregnant and a little ridiculous right now anyway... but I totally cried while reading your post! You poor thing! I can't even imagine. I've flown once with all 3 kids, and it was only a 45 minute flight. We got stuck on the plane for nearly 2 hours because we couldn't take off... but like that was no biggie. No bodily fluids, no rushing to get to the next plane, none of that yucky stuff. We just ate snacks and complained. If that ever happens to you during a layover in Phoenix call me and I will come and pick you up and take care of you! You poor thing!!

Ashley said...

Oh, you poor girl!! I know what this is like and I am so sorry you had to go through it. If nothing else, it makes for a great story and when your girls are older they'll love hearing it retold. I sincerely hope your return trip is far more calm!

Paula said...

Soooooooooooooo sorry. How miserable. On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing as beautiful as a sleeping child!!!!!!