Friday, October 29, 2010

Airport Insanity

Just when you thought you'd had enough of our summer adventures... I have another little story to tell.  This story doesn't have photos (thank goodness) but hopefully you'll get a little laugh out of my adventure. It's not the first airport adventure, nor will it be the last.

During our family reunion it became apparent (for the umpteenth time) that I am the uptight one of the family. There are other adjectives to use to describe my uptightness, but we'll stick with that.

We decided as we were planning our summer that Sophia probably wouldn't do well on a long car ride, so we booked a plane ticket for me to Portland and then home from Spokane (which is a couple of hours from my sister's house and the closest airport). Ryan loaded up the van and Olivia and Coleman and picked us up at the airport. Sophia did great on the drive between Portland and Spokane, so as the reunion was coming to an end, we talked a lot about just driving home and saving the ticket voucher for another flight.  It came down to the last minute, and I decided to stay the extra day with my family and send Ryan and the kids on their way.

My dad kindly offered to take me to the airport, even though it would mean leaving pretty early in the morning. My plane was supposed to take off at 11:05 and it takes at least two hours to get to the airport from Lauren's house, so I thought we should leave around 7:30 am. Everyone thought that was too early... who needs an hour and a half at the airport? It was hard for me, but I wanted to show them that I didn't have to be so uptight all the time... so I conceded and we thought we'd leave at 8:00, which still should have given us plenty of time.

That morning, I got up and got Sophia and myself all ready.  We were ready at 7:40--so was my dad--but we sat around and chatted for several minutes and got into the car at 8. Lauren said that her sweet mother-in-law wanted me to check something out on my way out (she lives up the street a ways) so I thought it would be a quick stop. We got there and she invited me in... "Come in, I just want to show you a mock-up of what we designed for you" (she has a wonderful business doing vinyl). I was happy to take a look.  Then she told me she needed to turn her computer on... and it took several minutes to boot up... so I was a bit nervous, but still trying to stay calm, acted like it was no big deal.  She showed me what she had made and I loved it... and told her I probably needed to go.

Finally, we got on the road around 8:15. I was starting to feel nervous, but didn't want to let it show.

8:30 meant a stop to fill up the car, and a quick bathroom break for my dad.

Around 8:45 we got into Sandpoint, and we stopped (again) for some breakfast for my dad.  Did I want anything? Yes! I wanted to get on the road and make my plane!

But, I stayed calm.

We got to the T in the road where you can go left or right. We had driven in from the way on the left, but the sign to the right said "Spokane" and my dad veered to the right. I wanted to blurt out, "No, it's the other way!" but since my dad had also come from Spokane a few days before and had in fact LIVED in Spokane (when I was very young) I told myself that he probably just knew a better way.

Twenty minutes or so into the drive, it became apparent that we were taking the back road... the long way... and going through many small towns, so the speed limit fluctuated from 20 MPH to 45 MPH (instead of the 70 or so that is allowed if we had taken the other way).

I was really starting to sweat it, but I stayed calm.

My dad started to wonder if we had taken the right road? Hmmm???

He tried to fire up his GPS on his phone, but reception was spotty.  We finally got enough cell service to call Lauren.  I was calm and asked, "So, if we took the back way to Spokane, we'll still be all right, right?"

Her response did nothing to calm me down on the inside (on the outside, I was still the picture of calm... I didn't want my dad to feel bad).

She told us that we were in trouble and we would now have to drive through the whole city of Spokane to get to the airport. There wasn't a link to the highway, and we were too late to turn around.

We kept driving, and I stayed calm.

She called again to tell us about the options with other flights and was trying to get a hold of someone at the airport.

We finally reached Spokane and it was going to be close. The GPS said we should arrive 25 minutes before the flight.

I was worried that I only had a small amount of extra milk for Sophia.  I had to make that flight!

Traffic was bad enough that we arrived at the airport at 10:55 am. Yes, 10 minutes before the plane was supposed to take off. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to figure out another way to make things work.

I grabbed Sophia (who had a messy diaper) and all of our stuff and calmly said goodbye and thanks to my dad... who was not as calm as I was... I ran to the counter and said, "I'm here for the 11:05 to Salt Lake... I'm not going to make it, right?" The kind woman smiled and said, "No, probably not, but you can try."

She called the boarding agents and said, "I've got a runner... with a baby..."

She hung up and yelled at me, "Run! Run! Run!"

So I did.

With a stroller and a carry on and a purse. I ran.

We made it through security (and of course I forgot to remove my bottle of water, so we took a few extra minutes) and we were haphazardly running, again.

We made it to the boarding area and got through... I folded up the stroller (and left Sophia's milk in the bottom of the stroller) and in a very flustered way boarded the plane.

I must have looked as crazy as I felt, because a really nice guy offered to help me with my bag.  He asked where I wanted it, and I told him to put it anywhere it would fit.  Then he asked where I was going to sit, and I realized that the only seat left was in between him and another man.  Lovely.  Sophia was stinky and starving, but it was the only option.

Both men turned out to be very, very nice and accommodating so I could nurse squishedly between them.  It was a tricky to not hit either one of them with the babe or an elbow, but it worked. Sophia was so good during the flight and didn't need any extra milk (thank goodness, otherwise I would have had a new wave of panic when I couldn't find her milk!).  We kept that blanket wrapped around her to prevent any leakage.

When it was all said and done, it turned out to be one of the most pleasant flights I've had. Both of the men were very nice (one was a dad of three, from Germany, so he was very supportive of my nursing... the other was a single professor who had a god-child and was pretty informed about kids needs) and we had a great conversation for the 90 minute flight.

Our first stop at the airport? We changed that baby's diaper!

I still can't believe I made that plane.

I don't think I mind being the uptight one in the family.


Janene said...

Now I'm wondering... am I uptight? Lets just say I hope I never have a similar story to tell. I've always got a prayer in my heart when flying solo with a nursing baby: please let me sit by nice people. :o)

Linn said...

I am definitely uptight too, because reading that story was about giving me the hives. I'm glad to made it, but seriously, talk about stress.

emilyw said...

That story was funny and so very stressful. I am considered the uptight one in my family, as well. Who knew? So I was so totally feeling your stress. Whew for nice people on planes!

The Rich Family said...

I was stressed just reading your story..holy cow...I loved reading it!.. thanks for a good laugh.

Kristi said...

You are I are two peas in a pod. I am definitely an "uptight" one. I am so impressed with how well you handled everything!! What a good mom you are. :) I think I would have been in tears on numerous occasions. :)