A few days ago, I returned from my dreaded trip to Oregon. You know, the one where I had to solo-parent my way through cross-country travel with two tenacious toddlers in tow.
If you read my last post, then you know I spent a lot of time anxiety-ing over all of the things that could go wrong. I had hoped that if I planned for the worst, there would be no surprises. I hate surprises.
So how did it go? Let’s just say that things went repeatedly and horrifyingly wrong at every turn (with, of course, a few scattered saving graces). So wrong, in fact, that I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one post. So let’s just dip our toes in, shall we?
Day 1: Friday, May 11
The first day of our journey was probably the easiest. At this point, it was not yet undeniably apparent that the whole trip was, in fact, straight-up cursed.
So things started out with a 6 a.m. flight out of our dinky airport here in Upstate NY. We were to change planes in Newark and then take a 6-hour flight to Portland.
Because I didn’t want to wake the kids up any earlier than necessary, I cut things a little close at our local airport. I was horrified to find a long line at check-in, and had to be one of THOSE PEOPLE who gets special treatment and cuts the line because they are about to miss their flight. I always roll my eyes at THOSE PEOPLE because come on, get your life together.
Getting through the security line was a bit bumpy. I was treated like a terrorist because I forgot to take my shoes off. I was also treated like a terrorist because I didn’t take my iPad out of my backpack and put it in a separate bin (apparently I’m supposed to intuit brand new security rules). I was ALSO treated like a terrorist because one of the milk bottles I brought was not see-through. So finally, after all of the terrorist treatment, I had to sprint with the kids to our flight. Gotta love that feeling when you run up to an empty gate and see “Final Boarding” flashing on the screen. Cue heart pounding.
But then, our flight to Newark was kind of a dream come true. K-Man was adorably narrating everything that happened out the window. “Are we driving? Is that a plane over there? Are we going faster? Are we gonna take off? Are we flying? Is that the ground?” I can’t say for sure that the other passengers thought his loud and persistent questions were adorable at 6 a.m., but obviously they did, right?
The layover was uneventful. Other than the entire mile we had to walk to our connecting gate. And the trip to the restroom to let K-Man have a pee, wherein Ell-Bell screamed her head off because she didn’t want to be in her carrier. And the second trip to the restroom, five minutes later, to let K-Man have a poop, wherein Ell-Bell screamed her head off again.
The six hour flight to Portland — the one that gave me nightmares just anticipating — that was actually pretty good too. I let the kids watch as much TV on their tablets as they wanted. I mean, I was a little annoyed that I purchased and downloaded the entire 4th season of Paw Patrol and they both suddenly decided that they have no interest in Paw Patrol. But whatevs.
And then we landed in Portland and I felt this overwhelming relief wash over me. We did it, the hard part was over! My sister and mom were there are the airport to pick us up, so I was finally ready to let my guard down and enjoy my trip.
(Let me just say here that my sister was amazingly awesome and lent me her extra car, already installed with two borrowed car seats from her local mom friends. So that’s like an entire travel headache that I never once had to worry about. Amazingly awesome.)
We casually hung out at my sister’s for a while, and my heart swelled watching K-Man play with his two cousins.
After a bit, my mom announced she was going to go home and give her dog a little attention. We promised to text each other and figure out dinner plans, and when I requested an “early dinner” for my kids’ sake she nodded in agreement.
After a little more time at my sister’s, I took the kids to our hotel. I had booked a place that was a good 20 minutes away from everything because it had a suite option with two separate rooms — a sitting area and a bedroom with a wall in between. Anyone who travels with kids knows that this convenience is pretty clutch, because those little turds will NOT go to sleep if you’re sitting there hanging in the same room as them.
So we check in, I drag my kids and luggage up to our room, and I enter to find … two beds and a sofa, with no wall between. I was sure there was some mix up, so I called down to the front desk and told them that I had booked a room with a separated sitting area. And then the clerk told me that I couldn’t possibly have booked that kind of room, because they didn’t have that kind of room at the hotel.
WTF? After looking back at my reservation I realized that the room description was just vague enough that it could be read either way. So I guess I’m just a big dumbass.
After choking back a minor panic attack in response to the room situation, I decided to pull out all of our devices and get hooked up to the wi-fi. I am, after all, a responsible data plan user (at Hubby’s repeated urging).
But the wifi, yeah, it didn’t work. Not even a little bit. After multiple calls down to the front desk, and repeated attempts over the following days, I never once got the internet to connect. Which was kind of a nightmare. Because K-Man lives and breathes those stupid YouTube kids videos. And WTF was I supposed to do with myself after the kids went to sleep? I had so much Facebook to scroll, and so much Jane the Virgin to watch! (Needless to say, we ran out of our data for the month before the trip was over.)
So things weren’t going so great at the hotel. As dinner time approached, my sister and I started texting with my mom about plans. Except my mom wasn’t responding. For a really long time. 5:45 p.m. rolled around and my mom still was MIA. WTF? We had talked about an early dinner, what did she think that meant?
Turns out she and her husband had taken their dog to the dog park and forgot to bring their phones along. Old people, amiright?
My sister and I finally just made plans to meet somewhere at 6:15 p.m., hoping my mom would catch up with us when she figured her life out. (She did figure her life out, and showed up only a few minutes late).
Meanwhile, it was 9:15 p.m. body time for my kids, after they had woken up super early for the day. So needless to say they were completely toasted, and dinner was not so easy. K-Man was running around the entire restaurant, army-crawling up to strangers’ tables, trying to sprint out the door into traffic, asking to go pee and then refusing once we got to the bathroom. Towards the end of the meal, Ell-Bell just sort of gave up trying. She started wailing, and did not stop until well after we had left the restaurant. I’m not usually one to sweat it when my kids make a scene in public, but I could tell that my mom and her husband were pretty uncomfortable with it, which made me uncomfortable.
Finally, finally, we said our goodbyes, and I drove back to the hotel. By this time it was 8 p.m. local time, 11 p.m. body time, and I was SURE my kids would go right to sleep. Because they had been up for freaking 18 hours. But alas, the very-slowly setting sun was blasting through an uncorrectable gap in the blackout curtains and it was basically daylight in our room. And my kids were overtired and wired. And obviously they didn’t want to go to sleep with me sitting right there in the same damned room as them, trying not to make eye contact. Ugh!
After repeated attempts (and me choking back some exhausted sobs), the kids finally passed out at 9:30 p.m. local time, 12:30 a.m. body time.
I stayed up for about 15 minutes longer, and then I also hit the hay. “At least they will sleep in a little bit tomorrow morning,” I murmured happily to myself as I drifted off.
What a long-assed day. And yeah, that was the “good” day. Stay tuned tomorrow, when the saga continues.
Until next time,