Monday, May 5, 2008

We made it to Orlando!!

Unfortunately, someone at the SATO office dropped the ball during the process of making our flight arrangements from Kodiak to Orlando. The trip was carefully planned around naps and meals. The good-byes were already said. We arrived at the airport absolutely ready to leave Kodiak. Only to find out that we had not been ticketed correctly all the way through our flight. I wasn't able to get in touch with anyone in the SATO office, and the Coast Guard was having one of it's made-up holiday celebrations which meant that nobody was actually in their offices to help with resolving the problem. So finally after being on hold with SATO for nearly an hour, and missing the deadline to board the flight that we were supposed to be on, we had new reservations for later that night.

Fortunately for us, Becca and Jason came out to the airport to say good-bye. They invited us back to their house to hang out until our later flight. We played some Mario-Kart and hung out for a bit.

We made it back to the airport for our 7pm flight. I must have been frustrated and not thinking clearly when I agreed to fly an Era flight out of Kodiak. I absolutely do not like flying Era, much less with the kids. The Era flight usually feels like it is going to fall out of the sky with any little bit of turbulence. The take-off was beyond rough and quite a few people gasped, and the children began crying. Daniel said, "all done, let's go, we're all done".

Then we had a 4 hour layover in Anchorage. The kids and I walked around the airport looking at the planes and the stuffed bears. Then a couple of hours later we went to Chili's for dinner. We had the best waitress ever! Even after having just come from the restrooms, Megan cried that she needed to use the potty again just as our food was served. I asked if there was a restroom in the restaurant, and there was not. However, the waitress said it was a slow time and that she'd be happy to sit with the boys while I took Megan down the concourse to use the restroom. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.

Our overnight flight from Anchorage to L.A. was pure heck! Joshua slept like a champ. Daniel and Megan not so much. Megan was content to sit in her seat and look at her princess books. Daniel was livid that he was in his carseat. We had two adorable young men for our flight attendants. They absolutely loved Daniel. And since we were sitting 2 rows up from the galley, they kept coming out bringing him snacks. The finally took his carseat and strapped it down in the galley (and gave it back before landing), and that seemed to make Daniel a little more comfortable. They also gave me a free little DVD player to try some cartoons, which Daniel had little interest in. He didn't really cry on the flight, he just whimpered and was miserable.

When we got to L.A., we had to leave the concourse we were in and walk down to another one. The not-so-helpful person that gave me the directions failed to mention that it would take me nearly 45 minutes to walk there. And that was with all three kids in the stroller (I should have gotten a picture!), and me walking very fast. We had to go to the ticket counter to get our boarding passes, which meant standing in line again. We were down to 30 minutes until boarding time, and we still had to make it through the gigantic line to get through security and make it to our gate. I stopped a security officer and explained that I was concerned that we were going to miss our flight, and he took me to the TSA agent at the end of the security line and explained that I needed to be moved up, and she rolled her eyes at him and told me to get in line. The entire line could not believe it. And older man in line was trying to be nice to the kids and was asking them if they were going on vacation, and they explained that we were going to live with Grandma. I explained to him that my husband is in the Coast Guard and that the kids and I are traveling by ourselves to the next duty station, and he'll be joining us in a month or two. This man was so funny, he kept getting angry at the mean TSA lady and scolding her for treating a military spouse so poorly. I was slightly embarrassed, since it's really not like me to pull the "military spouse" card.

As our luck would have it, when our boarding passes were scanned into the security area, we were randomly selected for an in depth screening. Which meant all of the kids backpacks needed to be swabbed and manually inspected. The man behind me was still raising heck and kept reminding the TSA agents that our flight was boarding in 15 minutes. All of the spare TSA agents ran over and put the kids shoes back on and loaded them into the stroller. Just then, Daniel (who had not had his diaper changed since Kodiak - for lack of time) leaked through his diaper all down his pants and onto the floor. The TSA agent changed him up and found a t-shirt in my backpack to put on him, and he spent the rest of the trip in a Cookie Monster USCG t-shirt and a Dora the Explorer pull-up. The TSA agent that changed Daniel's diaper grabbed the stroller and took me through a back hallway where she had to scan her ID card a couple of times and we went up an elevator and came out right at my gate. Whew...with 5 minutes until boarding.

On the plane from L.A. to Orlando, Joshua had to sit in the row behind me, in between a Dad and a Grandpa that were traveling with the rest of their family in the next row. Joshua fit right in with the guys, and I think he talked their ear off the whole time! Daniel and Megan were both asleep before the plane taxied to the end of the runway. Everyone was fantastic on the last of our three flights. I'm sure glad it's over.


Rachel H. said...

HOLY COW! What a trip!!!! WOW! I am SO impressed you made it through and got there safe! Judging from your pics, you are ALL enjoying the FABULOUS florida sun! :) Will have to go back through and read those now...just had to make sure you got there okay!

Anonymous said...

I'm tired just reading this post! Hugs to you - what a crazy trip!