I feel like I have recovered from out trip to the Dominican Republic. It's funny how much a "vacation" takes out of you, especially traveling alone with the kids. The trip there was quite eventual, to say the least.
As you know, I was traveling stand-by. This type of travel stresses me out. So when we left for the airport on Tuesday, I was already highly stressed. This definitely did not help the situation. We woke up early that morning. I wanted to leave the house by 7:15 giving us time to stop at Starbucks on our way to the airport, knowing that I would need that caffeine. We left with plenty of time. We arrived at the airport at 8:00. The flight left at 10:15. I felt confident that we were there in plenty of time. This was before I saw the lines at ticketing. We tried the e-ticket booth. It was a no go. Maybe it had something to do with the Ibrahim last name. So we got in line. Sophia was strapped into her stroller. We had one suitcase, a stroller, a car seat, my carry on bag, Sophia's backpack and Samuel's backpack. It took us forever to find the end of the line. It curled around and around. We finally found it. George waited with us for awhile. But he had to go to work and really there was nothing he could do except be miserable with us. So he left. The line was slowly moving. The clock was ticking. I was worried. It's one thing when you have a ticket. It's a whole other ballgame when you have no idea if there our going to be seats for your family. We waited in line until around 9:45. Thirty minutes until the plane leaves. I was loosing hope. We got to the ticket agent.
"I can't check your bag, it's too late. And the plane is full."
"Just let me through. I won't check a bag."
You've read how much stuff we had. George was gone. It was just me, the kids, and our mountain of stuff. And thirty minutes until the plane takes off. The lady looked at me like I was crazy but handed me my tickets. Of course, no boarding passes yet.
The Atlanta airport is huge. It's a hike to the international gates. And we still had security to go through. I carried the car seat like a backpack, put my carry on across my shoulder, stuffed Sophia's backpack in the stroller, pushed the stroller with one hand and pulled my suitcase with another. Samuel was in charge of his backpack. You should of seen the looks I got. And, we were moving fast. Security was a nightmare. You basically have to undress yourself and the kids, put everything, including the stroller, through the scanner, get dressed again, make sure I've got all the stuff and head out to the train to the gate. At this point, I almost gave up. I had no idea if we would even get on. But I decided to continue on. When we left security it was 10:00.
In order to get to the train, you either have to take the long, long escalator or the elevator. The elevator had around 15 people in wheelchairs waiting. How was I going to get all my stuff and the kids on the escalator? This is when the first angel came to help us. A man saw my plight and took my suitcase and the car seat. I put the stroller on the escalator and turned around to check that Samuel had gotten on. I was going down and he was at the top, scared that his Crocs were going to get caught on the escalator. With the help of some sweet strangers, they helped him on and I met him at the bottom. We hopped on the train. The five stops that it took to get to the international gates, seem to take forever. I knew that at this point we had to run. I told Samuel that once we were off the train we were booking it and he had to keep up. Now imagine the sight. Running with all that stuff, the car seat banging my back with every stride, trying to navigate between the hundreds of people. We got to our gate at 10:15. I ran straight up to the desk. He must have known that I was flying stand-by and a little bit stressed. One look at us and I'm sure he knew.
"It must be your lucky day. A connecting flight is late. There are three extra seats on the plane."
I literally fell to the ground in relief, tears in my eyes. I hugged the kids.
I could go on and on. We got on the plane and had to wait for over an hour for the pilot. We had the three seats in the very back of the plane. The ones I'm sure they save for mothers with young children. No window seat, extremely loud, and right next to the stinky bathroom. It was not pleasant. Sophia had been sitting for over two hours in her stroller. Then she had to sit for four more hours. She was not happy. And we had gone through all the fun special snacks before we even got on the airplane. Not good. But we got on the plane. That was all that mattered.
We got to the DR, tired, dirty, but very grateful for the opportunity to be with my family.
Adventures like these are what make life fun. If it had been smooth and easy, it certainly wouldn't make a fun blog entry. I will post pictures tomorrow.