WARNING: This is NOT a short post!
One of the ten most stressful days of my entire life happened just last week. Doc Sci flew to Deutschland 10 days ahead of me. In that 10 days, I was blessed by so many people who offered to watch my boys (or said yes when I pleaded), help me clean, pack, etc. I now have such a new appreciation for single parents. Are you a single mom or dad? God bless you, wow your job is so much harder than mine.
When the departure date finally arrived, I had packed six, fifty-pound bags to check and two rolling suitcases, two car seats, a Kelty hiking backpack, a DSLR bag, a car seat bag, a toddler backpack, and diaper bag to carry on. And let’s not forget I had a very tired Screech and a very hyper T-Rex to corral too. Despite what you may think after reading that list, no, I am not the octo-mom. Thank God I had Roadrunner and a smiley Southwest flight attendant friend to go with me through airport security. I needed two Lufthansa agents just to get me on the plane.
Doc Sci told me to put eye masks on the boys. Screech protested a bit but sleep eventually won out. T-Rex couldn’t take his eyes off his very own personal cartoon screen. Why sleep when there’s airplane food to eat, Mama? After some bubble-gum “airplane medicine” and announcement that Mama would be going to sleep and therefore be off-duty, T-Rex caved and snored next to Screech.
To be courteous to other passengers that had to listen to the Screech before and after sleeping, we were the last ones off the plane. Oh yes, and I wanted all those prim and proper flight attendants to help with the luggage too. That is what I paid an exorbitant amount of money for, right? It certainly wasn’t the haute cuisine.
The stroller bag (gate-checked) did not make it on to the tarmac with the stroller. I cannot remember the last time I actually exited a plane in Europe into a gate. It’s always a bus. I loaded all 52083 kilos of luggage and child on to the bus. In the terminal, I kept looking for Waldo, I mean the lift. Really, this just means I kept getting lost. There’s no following the crowd because the crowd was smart enough not to bring their two children and half their life without help across the Atlantic.
Luckily, we found Passport Control and entered the country (boy, wouldn’t that have been a real problem). But speaking of real problems, the only elevator I could find to baggage claim came out on the wrong side (ummm that would be after customs). But no matter, Doc Sci would be there to help, right?
Wrong. Doc Sci was nowhere to be found. I must have had a blinking, flashing, blinding, construction cone orange sign on me that said clueless American because a Lufthansa agent came up to me in the middle of a crowd and asked how she could help. I explained I couldn’t find my husband. Well, duh, ducky, just have him paged. Paging husbands is for annoying housewives who drag bored husbands to the mall and then forget where they left ‘em. No thanks. But after 20 mins of looking around the only possible place he could have been waiting, I caved. And then I cried a little bit. I had 52083 kilos of luggage and a T-Rex (and Mama) that had to pee.
As I waited for Doc Sci, I rehearsed my sorry-to-be-so-ridiculous speech in my mind for a few minutes. And then a few more minutes. Before you know it, he was at least an hour late. Horrendous Rescue 911 scenarios were flashing in my mind. And no, I did not have a number to call him. T-Mobile, I don’t care what you say, my phone does not work in Europe!!!
Both boys were about done with this whole circus act thing we’d been doing for the last 12hrs. I decided to take Screech out of his cage and throw some lunch at the T-Rex. As I was playing with Screech and trying to make the best of things, Screech laid it on thick. Oh yes, you know what I mean. A diaper explosion like I have not seen since he was a newborn. A complete and total blowout – Pampers, you totally let me down. I was covered with not just juice, but an absolutely thick & creamy spinach layer. If you’re eating a baloney sandwich on your lunch break and reading this, my apologies. That would be the moment that I lost it and started sobbing. I used every wipe I had to start picking handfuls of it off my pants.
A well-meaning German lady told me to take him to the toilet (at least all I understood was toilet). Umm, would you like to hold the poop machine while I clean myself up enough to even touch the handle of my stroller containing tens of thousands of kilos? I am such a germophobe.
A sort-of clean and definitely half-naked Screech sat on my lap while T-Rex did who knows what. My sobbing subsided to a halted breathing pattern while another, more sympathetic German lady put my what-if-my-husband-is-dead-on-the-side-of-the-road fears to rest. Whoever, you are, thank you.
Just then, Doc Sci came running toward me. Sobbing again. Another poop to clean up. Seriously.
Doc Sci’s story is just as good, only without poop. He went to pick up the van at the rental car place at 730am. Enough time to make a two-hour drive to pick us up at 1130am and allow time for traffic, figuring out how to drive a manual tranny, etc., right? The van he previously rented was in an accident and therefore not available. You have been requested to drive to an alternate location and pick up the vehicle there. Whatever, should be okay.
Only the alternate location did not have the van either. No problem, just call a third location, all the while waiting ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, etc. Okay, now you must drive to a third location. Well, if Doc Sci was German and knew how to get there, maybe. So Enterprise gave him a GPS to use for free and even programmed it. How nice. Well, except for the part where the agent programmed it to the middle of the woods. No really. Make a left into the trees.
After reprogramming the GPS out of the trees and making it to the third location, a van was finally located after more waiting, checking, double-checking, and re-checking. Ah, German efficiency. Here you are, finally, your van. At 11am. The time that I was set to arrive. With no mobile phone or way to contact me. T-Mobile, when the phone says “Emergency Calls Only,” you should know that this instance would have been an emergency!
Do you have a horrendous travel story? I’d love to hear it!