It’s official, I am back in Phoenix and I already miss my family. My family had not yet met my son and hadn’t seen my daughter since she was about two years old (7 years is a really long time in the life of a child). The kids were very well-behaved and enjoyed being with their aunts, uncles, grandfather and cousins. Liam was adored and played it to his full advantage. At one point he had 8 people seated on the floor around him, being entertained by his antics. Meghan impressed everyone with her wit and sense of humor–sarcasm runs deep in my family and is ALWAYS appreciated.
There were three things that I could have done without, however. First, the kid’s unfortunate medical emergencies. Liam fell off the bed and cut his forehead open a trip to the ER and stitches. Holding him down while the doctor did the stitches was a very bad experience. He fought so hard and when it was finally over, I wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. Luckily Frankenbaby, as we had taken to calling Liam, only cost me $50 at the time, but I fully expect to have to shell out more after my insurance pays for some of it.
Meghan turned out to be very allergic to my Dad’s adorable new dog and had a very bad asthma attack requiring a trip to Urgent Care who treated her but did not accept her Dad’s insurance plan (which makes no sense since it’s through the federal government, the Naval Depot is one block down the street and dollars to donuts people that work there carry the same darn insurance). So I paid $400 for a 20 minute assessment, nebulizer treatment, and a scrip for liquid steroids. Her allergy forced us to relocate from my Dad’s house to my sister’s two bedroom apartment in Carlisle. My sis Karla is a very generous and tolerant soul and I am very grateful for the hospitality.
Second thing I could have done without was the flight there. I should never have bought tickets that left so early in the morning and had a layover to boot. It was still dark when we arrived at the airport and there is much ongoing construction that I couldn’t find the long-term parking lot. I drove around and around until we got short on time to catch the non-refundable flight so I gave up and parked in the garage. What I didn’t know was that the garages charge $25 per day and don’t cap the amount. I could have sworn that they used to cap it at something reasonable….I ended up paying $200 for parking. For that much money, and in hindsight knowing how much money was spent on medical emergencies, I sure wished I had tried harder to find that darn economy lot. So we rushed in and checked in fine and the first flight went well for the first three hours. By hour four Liam had had enough and boy did he let Mommy know it. Even so his temper was not anything too horrible. I can say this because I have had the worst experience ever with a child on a plane already. Flying from AZ to SC once with my daughter at the same age, she literally screamed for 3 and a half hours until she vomited. The man in front of us had blondish-red hair and pale skin. As her screaming escalated I could see the blood rising up the man’s neck until he looked like a tomato. I thought that he would either have a stroke from his elevated blood pressure or he would turn around and murder us both. You parents who have experienced similar things can sympathize how mortifying you feel and how helpless you are to do enough to comfort a child so far gone in their temporary insanity. But I digress…by the time we landed in Philly my son had fallen asleep. Then had to carry a 30 lb child from one terminal to the next in the hottest and most crowded shuttle this side of the 7th level of Hell in Dante’s Inferno plus two large shoulder bags, while pulling my daughter along to keep up. Oh, did I mention that my son’s diaper leaked twice in exactly the same spot twice during the flight? And that we had to get something to eat while in Philly, which my son flatly rejected knocking a fork full of pasta and tomato sauce all over us? Good times….
Third and last thing I could have done without was the flight back. It was a straight through flight, which I thought would be an advantage….oh how naive I am. My former step-Mom (what the heck do you call someone with this kind of relationship? friend isn’t good enough and Aunt isn’t right either, closest thing I can come up with is my “second mom”) drove us to Baltimore. Meghan was starving to death no matter how much I kept feeding her (growth spurt?) and Liam overtired from lack of a nap. We get on the plane, find our seats and I see the guy sitting on our row by the window is simply disgusted that he has to sit next to an overwrought and sweaty middle-aged mother with her two kids, one of whom couldn’t say much more than “No”.
I semi-jokingly said to him, ‘Maybe someone will switch seats with you…’. Not bloody likely. Anyway our not so friendly neighbor and Liam fell asleep soon after take off (apparently they both have the same bedtime). Liam slept the entirety of the flight with maybe 6 squawks of protest from being jostled over the 5 hour flight. In contrast our neighbor snored loudly for at least 2/3 of the flight so that poor Meghan, who was right next to him, couldn’t sleep. Maybe we should have switched seats instead of him!
Meghan experienced really bad stomach pain and cried some out of exhaustion and pain so I stood up with Liam for about an hour letting her lay down across our seats and get some rest. Now standing up with a 30 lb child in your arms for that long is hard but holding him comfortably while sleeps for 5 hours is altogether much harder. It was something I clearly hadn’t thought about beforehand but should have. A very nice lady across the aisle offered us her neck pillow and it was a lifesaver. besides the worlds most annoying snoring man we were also treated to some fun turbulence, the smell of vomit from a child seated somewhere behind us, and of course the ever-present stench of the toilets a few rows back.
So we arrive at Phoenix and this time I have not just the two bags and two kids, I also have a car seat and a stroller from the gate to somehow get downstairs to baggage. We looked for signs of the elevator in vain and in my exhaustion I made a bad call. I decided to attempt the escalator. About half way down, Liam fell and scratched his poor little face just near his stitches (which were thankfully fine). He cried loudly and some airport policemen heard or saw us. Once off the escalator I checked Liam and he was okay. In the meantime three policeman and an EMT kind of person surrounded me and began to scold me for attempting to go down the escalator with so much stuff. I was already terribly embarrassed and at the very end of my rope. When the one officer said he wanted to take me upstairs to show me where the elevators were for next time, I told him there would be no next time and promptly started crying. Feeling they had done their official duty by pushing me over the edge they bid us goodnight and finally let us continue on to baggage claim. Everyone had gotten their baggage except for us. We grabbed them, threw them onto a cart and put the baby in the car seat and that on the stroller and set out to find our car.
Both Meghan and I were certain we had left the car on level 4 section A. We went there and could not find it. We circled the entire 4th floor and couldn’t find it. We went up to level 6 to look thinking we might have been mistaken. After circling that level once I felt like jumping off the side of the garage. I admitted defeat and called parking assistance. They sent a semi-truculent young man with what look like a wad of chaw in his cheek to drive us around until we found it. We went back to level 4 section A and there the darn thing was. We probably walked right past it (why my key fob clicking hadn’t revealed it earlier I have no idea). So we load up the car and at the exit I received the $200 parking fee. I believe my reaction started with “Holy Mother of God….”.
But wait it’s not over yet! Oh no, the Universe (God, Karma, FSM or whatever) still intended to mess with my head. I got home unpacked the two carry on bags and could not find my phone-my ONLY phone. I remembered that I had sent out a text before take off, then turned it off and set it in my bag. I realized at that moment that it had probably slid out of the bag under my seat and it was probably gone forever. Isn’t out a bunch of emails and finally collapsed into bed at midnight and the baby had me up again at 4:50 am. Like I said, good, good time.
Thankfully, the clean up crew found my phone, turned it in to the airline and I drove down to the airport today, waited an hour and a half to get my phone, and had to pay the same a$$hole parking garage system another $7. I wouldn’t have known where to go or what to do if I hadn’t had my sis Kathy and my 2nd mom, Bobbi, feeding me info thru Facebook chat. From now on I am supergluing that phone to my hand.
And you know what? It was all totally worth it to see my family again after so long out in the hinterland of AZ all by myself. Home sweet home, indeed.