Monday, June 20, 2011

Travelling Home (to the USA)...

Finally, the day was here!!  Hard to believe we waited 8 months and we were finally ready to go home for our vacation.  "Home Home" as Aidan calls it.  We had a 1:30PM flight out of Barcelona and so left our apartment just before 11 to grab a cab to the airport.  We had plenty of time at BCN airport and grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading to our gate.  There was a great play area (albeit very small, but it kept the kids occupied) right next to our gate.  So far with the exception of some bickering between the boys, this is going to be managable.  Or so I thought...

The flight was delayed with boarding, but I've got a 3 hour window built into our plans so I figured no big deal and hey, it means less time waiting around in Heathrow, right?  Wrong... we got on the plane in Barcelona only to find out there is bad weather in London and so the flight will be delayed for another hour... on the tarmac.  Seriously?  You knew we were being delayed and yet you felt the need to cramp us up into this little plane rather than delay the boarding a little longer? 

So now I get a little anxious because they "think" it will be an hour but not really quite sure.  My window is now down to about an hour and a half because we've already been delayed almost a half hour at boarding. 

We finally get on our way and I spend the whole flight stressed about making it to our connection.  I talk to the stewardesses who are kind but not super helpful.  They tell me that yes, the papers in my hand are correct and I really DO need 90 minutes between terminal 3 and terminal 5.  Ok, well at this rate, I'm not going to have that - do you know if they will hold the plane?  They say that the flight does not really take off at 5:10 but closer to 5:30 and that I will probably be ok as long as we land by 4. 
Liam using his "binocular" (really his ViewFinder) to look out the window as we leave BCN.  He LOVES flying and just kept saying how cool it was to be in the sky.

Well, we didn't land til just after 4 and of course it took forever to get off the plane.  So really it was 4:15 before we were on our way.  And we ran... like the wind!  We had to take 2 buses, several moving walk ways and a tram to get to terminal 5 plus we had to go thru customs and security all over again.  The boards stated that our gate was already closed but we were determined to make it.  Those kids ran for their lives and I was/am so proud of them for doing their best.  None of us wanted to stay in London.  Poor Liam kept falling and I just would scoop him by the arm and scream "keep running!". 

We finally made it to the gate and the attendants say to me, "where is Liam Marcus?".  Well, duh right here with me.  So they look at him a little embarrassed... "We have him as a random search".  Seriously???  He's 4!  But at that point I had no more strength in me and we need to get on that goddamn plane!!  So they very quickly pat him down (I assure you, non invasively) and we get on the plane. 

Here's the kicker... so we get on the plane, the plane that at every board I saw said gate closed.  They announce that the last passengers have finally boarded but that unfortunately due to poor weather here in London we will not be leaving the airport for at least another hour.  Fuck you!!  Yes, I said it and for those offended, I'm sorry... but yeah after running for 45 mins thru that massive airport and stressing me and my kids out, yeah I'm pissed off.  But the good news is, we're on the plane.  The stewardesses were super nice and gave the kids some crayons and coloring books.

Finally, we get in the air for our "long" flight home (as we've already done our "short" one from BCN to London).  I figure at this point it will be uneventful and the worst is already over.  But no, it's not.  About 1/2 hour into our 6 1/2 hour flight, Liam decides to return the favor of the pat down and puke all over their plane.  I wasn't prepared for him to do that and so had to catch it in my hand.  Yeah, good times!  I clean him up and thankfully had a change of clothes for him.  Again, the stewardesses were super nice and helpful here, and despite the weather issue, I really liked flying British Air (I've flown a different airline each time I've gone on this trip back and forth from Spain to the US so it was my first on BA).
Finally on our way "home home" and he's soooo happy, though you can tell he is sooo tired too...

Only one more puke to go about 4 hours into the flight but this time I was prepared.  The lady in front of Aidan was a bitch and she kept saying he was kicking her seat but he wasn't.  He would occassionally put his feet against the base of her seat in order to push himself back up in his seat.  I asked him not to do it and he didn't do it often but she gave me the dirtiest looks - I wanted to slap her since these kids were being superstars and she had no idea all they'd been thru during this trip.  I had actually planned to say something to her when we landed figuring we'd all be waiting to stand to disembark but she bolted from her seat so quickly that I didn't get the chance to. The kids ended up sleeping and other than being a slight mess when we were getting ready to land (after all it was 2AM Barcelona time by then), they were great. 

As we were flying, I kept thinking back to how long this day is and what wear and tear it is on us physically and emotionally.  It made me think... is it worth it?  Why can't everyone just come visit us?  And as I got off the flight to meet my parents who were just sobbing (and yes, I shed a few tears too) with happiness to see us, yes it was.  Aidan ran into their arms and hugged them like it had been years instead of 10 months (not that that isn't long too) since he'd seen them.  And to the surprise Sue said was waiting in my fridge when I got home (Monroe Dairy choc milk), yes, it was worth it.  And to Lisa who has been managing my house and move from afar?  And Dennis who has been taking care of the house and the car?  And the list goes on and on... yes, it was worth it.   But I have to say it was a shitty day and I couldn't wait for it to be over...

Only it was as I was leaving the airport and told my dad that Aidan's car seat booster was packed in the bottom suitcase that I realized that in my haste to get the hell out of dodge that I forgot Liam's carseat in the baggage claim area.  So I had to go back into the airport and into the baggage claim claim area where they were super helpful and after about 10 minutes they had Liam's car seat for me.  Whew!!!

It was on to my parents house for the night, finally!!  I vaguely remember the drive there and getting settled in.  The boys were hyper and excited to finally be back home home again.  We were all in bed by around 10:30 that night and all I could do was hope that they would sleep past 3AM (which is the time they woke up last year on the first night back - which really is 9AM BCN time so it was late in their minds).  Finally... back home...


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