Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wow, was I ever right!

It's really weird to be sitting outside at 10 pm your local time and have the sun shining down on you. This has been a looong day.

It's been a number of years since I was last in Southern California. Last time I came, my friends and I took the redeye, slept, and then napped throughout the day after we arrived. That was life in college. Sleep, eat, and have a good time. Or at least it was on spring break.

This time, making the flight with an almost eleven month old was very different. Seth is a great baby, and I tried to pack light, but I couldn't forego the diaper bag, a small backpack with toys/food, and Seth's carseat. Yes, I am one of those parents (Or should I say one of those Child Passenger Safety Techs). My kids will not ride without their own airline seats and appropriate restraints. Yes, I know that if the plane goes down we're all goners, but that's not the point. Have you ever been on a plane ride with bad turbulence? I certainly have. Simple turbulence has cost lap babies their lives, believe it or not.

We left early this morning and stopped to get gas on the way. Luckily, I happened to look in my wallet and realize that I didn't have my ID. I started panicking immediately, picturing myself at the DMV begging them to reprint my license so I could make a 10 am flight. I knew it would be ugly. We rushed back home and ransacked my clothes to find my ID (thank goodness!) then headed BACK to the airport, 40 minutes late.

I then headed into the airport, all proud of myself for packing so lightly. I checked our bag, then practically skipped to security. Oh yeah. Security. Take carseat off stroller base. Fold stroller base Remind workers that Seth can't go through the x ray machine. Get patted down for my troubles. receive all of my things, rifled and mixed up, as a reward. Ugh.

Luckily, I figured out a good system for getting on and off the plane. It was super fun. Four times today, I went through this drill. (Well, twice like this, twice in reverse as we deplaned).

1. Lay baby in backpack carrier.
2. Smile and say you have it under control when someone freaks out at the way you pop the baby onto your back.
3. 4. Layer diaper bag and backpack over/under/around your back, since the baby is taking up your back.
5. Push carseat/base (orbit system) down the jetway, then pop carseat off the base, fold base, and proceed to carry carseat onto the plane, inadvertantly hitting the person in front of you over and over  because you apparently have no depth perception, until they literally leap into an empty row to escape you and say "Go ahead, please!"
6. Hit every single seat with the baby's leg/backpack/diaper bag as you go by, significantly slowing everyone down.
7. Find your seat and sigh in relief, then simultaneously crossing fingers that the carseat fits.
8. Install carseat, baby lolling on your back all the while. Swing baby off your back and into the carseat.
9. Sit down and wonder if the airline seats are smaller than the last time you flew.
10. Try to figure out how in the heck to nurse your baby when he can't even sit in your lap without overflowing into neighbors seats. Seriously consider leaning over carseat vertically to nurse.
11. Nurse self consciously because you are 2 inches away from your single, childless seat mate, then get very annoyed for feeling self conscious.
12. Realize that the plane is still on the ground, and cry a little, on the inside.

Finally, we got to Burbank. My bag was the last to come out. My rental took the longest to retrieve. Just after I got in and drove off, my beloved GPS stopped working. The exit for the hotel was closed. The GPS on my phone, which I tried to use as a backup, was possessed by the devil and told me all the wrong things. The hotel had lost our reservation and was booked solid. It took 30 minutes to figure out.

From the time we landed, it took me three hours to step foot in my hotel room, most of which was spent driving aimlessly and listening to Seth miserably whine "Mama!" to me from the back. RIDICULOUS, California!

I'm exhausted. It's not 11:30 pm my time, and I am about to keel over. But I'll tell you what saved the whole day, the whole trip, what made buying a new GPS in an emergency Target trip totally worth it.

Del Taco, that's what.

I have a huge, unhealthy love for that restaurant, and it wasn't until I was driving aimlessly down the highway tonight, convinced my hotel and I were never going to meet, cursing California, that I remembered. Del Taco.  The place I learned that tacos and fries go together in a way I'd never understood before. Del Taco. Del Taco. It brought a smile to my face, and I was able to soldier on through my day. Sitting in my hotel room tonight, eating my Chicken Soft Tacos and Fries made it all worth it.


Laura said...

I know the trials of traveling with a baby by yourself and you pretty much hit it dead on with your description of boarding the plane....too funny. As a California native but now an Oregonian I must tell you that you have to go to In and Out! It's a must! That is one of the places I visit every time I go back home. Hope you get some rest and tomorrow is an easier day. :)

Taking Heart said...

You are a rock star.
Enough said.

Analiza said...

You crack me up and inspire me all at the same time! LOL!

I hope you call me because I live right here in Valencia! I promise I'll bring Del Taco, LOL!

Cathy said...

Congratulations on making thus far! I know the ride home HAS to be better. Have fun and eat LOTS of tacos. They are God's food.

Shanda said...

Your plane adventures are so true for all of us who travel with little ones. They sure don't make it easy...hopefully the purpose of your trip will overshadow the hassles in the end!

Sonya said...

My goodness. I am sorry you had such a tough time getting there. I hope that the rest of your trip goes smoothly.

Mandy Hornbuckle said...

Wow. Traveling with a kid sounds AWESOME.

Jennifer W. said...

Wow...I'll just thank God that you two made it safely! :)

Amy said...

Thanks for a hearty laugh and some great travelling tips! I remember that feeling about having to nurse Ava with some strange man touching elbows with me.......

Madison Sanders said...

Well, at least the tacos were a bright spot to your day. The only bright spot, but still.

Laura said...

I try to educate as many as possible about the dangers of lap children and encourage them to book children their own seats AND take their car seat on board - NO checking it at the gate event - it can get damaged!

We are taking a trip to the UK in September - two kids in car seats! Going to be fun! We are using the go go kidz system for the first time and I am contemplating using a Radian for the older one as he should in theory be forward-facing by then (4 years old and hovering around the RF weight limit).

Sorry it was such a long trip filled with frustration though. But, you've made me craze a taco now! ;)

Ginger Lamar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginger Lamar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginger Lamar said...

WOW!! Sounds like you had a TERRIBLE day!! I hope it gets better for you!! You are a REMARKABLE woman to be able to handle all of that!

Ginger Lamar said...

WOW!! Sounds like you had a TERRIBLE day!! I hope it gets better for you!! You are a REMARKABLE woman to be able to handle all of that!

Carol Amie said...

Yum. I had totally forgotten about the joys of Del Taco. I recall when they put a franchise in my little AZ town...the CA transplants were thrilled and I thought they were a little nuts. Then I enjoyed the yummy goodness that was a Taco and fries. Together. Wow! I have moved 3000 miles away and now have to make due hitting the McD's drivethru immediately after Taco Bell but your post brought it all back.

Now, if you just grab a double double animal style at In-n-Out while you're there you will have enjoyed all the best that CA has to offer. ;)

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