Well, I have finally returned from my trip back home. The time there was low key itself, however, trying to get there was quite eventful.
My poor husband who is suffering from lack of sleep as it is while continuing his grueling course in Infantry Unit Leaders Course, got Madison and I to the airport at 4:15 am. Why so early? A- He had a scheduled phone meeting at 4:30am and B- He had to be to work shortly after.
After waiting around for the agent counters to open so that I can check my car seat and luggage, I make my way through security and to my gate. We wait around for quite some time as my flight isn't until 8:30. As we are waiting I am approached by a four year old little girl who plops down beside us on the floor and exclaims "My Mommy said I could play with your baby". I look over at the Mother who is paying absolutely no attention to where her daughter is and soon come to the realization that she was probably relieved for her daughter to take interest in someone else, as I soon endured the marathon of questions she posed to me. She also offered a very dirty ratty toy to my daughter which I had to combat. Finally it is time to board the plane.
I fold up my stroller and check it at the gate and am a little nervous for the flight with a wiggly 8 month old. To my relief, I am sat next to a college age girl and her mother who are quite friendly. We are also in a window seat which Madison finds very amusing. Whatever works! After sitting on the plane for over an hour, we are told our flight is now cancelled due to a mechanical issue and that we would need to de-board, collect our luggage, and get in line to be reticketed.
Great. I arrive at the carousel and collect my daughter's massive car seat as I am waiting and waiting for my luggage, until I am the only one left at the carousel. I approach the baggage personal as it takes them a mere 45 minutes to locate my luggage. They inform me that it is already in Madison, WI.
I get in line to be reticketed and find out when the heck I can get to WI, where we do not move for a good 20 minutes. Suddenly a man who must be employee of United says nothing but waves for me to come up all the way into the First Class line, along with another couple with an infant.
As I approach the ticket counter, the unfriendly woman scours as she states the obvious "you aren't first class". What I wanted to say was yes, however, there is NOONE ELSE in this line and your employee pulled me up here so deal with it! Nope, I was actually very kind and patient as I could hear other passengers raising hell at the counters next to me. As she looks through she finally says "The soonest I can get you a flight is Saturday". Just a note: It is Wednesday.
"Fine, I’ll take it." As I sit on the floor of the airport waiting for a ride and trying to entertain an 8 month old, I take a look at my tickets. They say September 2nd. That is a Friday. This makes me wonder what other mistakes the woman made.
My hero Melissa arrives to transport Madison and I and all our stuff home. I am very thankful as it would have been one long day at the airport otherwise. When I get home, I decide to get online myself and check available flights and find that there is a flight available for the next day!! So I immediately call United and get my flight changed once again. Now to find a ride.
My wonderfully fabulous, always entertaining friend Leigh picks me up in the morning after dropping her daughter off at school and takes us back to the airport. I approach the ticketing counter thinking 'here we go again'. The woman at the counter says "we request that you check your stroller". I look at her a little confused and say "why?" She goes on and on about some safety issues. At this point I am no longer friendly and say "I didn't have to check it yesterday, why would I have to today?" "Ma'am, I need to check your stroller."
Great again. I love walking around lugging a 25 lb baby. I survive the tasks of going to the bathroom and ordering food without the use of my stroller to hold my baby and begin to notice several strollers at my gate. Then our flight is delayed. I know this could be an issue as my connection in Chicago has a short layover as it is.
We board the plane and I am pleased to be blessed with an open seat next to me. It was a blessing as my child decided to pitch a fit and squirm to her heart’s content for the nearly three and a half hour plane ride.
When we touch down in Chicago, the captain announces the current time and gate assignments for connection flights. I have 15 minutes to unboard the plane and get from concourse B to concourse F, without a stroller.
Why is it that people insist on walking slow or even standing on the moving walkways? I'm pretty sure these are meant to get people to their destination faster not slower. Never the less, I end up walking as fast as my body possibly can past these idiots, with a baby and backpack through 4 terminals. I arrive just in time, the last one to board the plane, using Madison's blanket to wipe the sweat from my face. I wait for the woman to exit our row so that I can sit in our seat (window seat) and get all situated. Time to breathe.
A flight attendant approaches me and says "I'm sorry ma'am, but you can't sit here." You'll have to move to the back. Great. Let's do that. Like the last flight fortunately enough, I have an open seat beside me. For some reason, at this point Madison is in a great mood and enjoys the short flight. I happily arrive to see my Mother and gather my undamaged items all at the airport minus a toy that has detached from the stroller. No biggie.
What I have learned is to say "No" to checking a stroller and to either never travel with a baby again or to buy a seat next to me to save sanity.
I had a great trip in the end. I was so fortunate to have friends and family that went out of their way to come see me and spend time with me. It really made me miss home and made me think of all the more time I could spend with these wonderful people.