Josh and I had an amazing trip planned for last week. I was flying to San Francisco on Friday afternoon, taking the kids to my parents' house and getting them all settled in. Then on Wednesday morning, I was picking Josh and two of our closest friends up from the San Francisco airport and heading off to Napa/Sonoma for a wine trip that culminated in another dear friend's wedding.
Our plans were fabulous, and we were so excited, and I planned and researched and planned and researched on best wineries and best restaurants and best locations and most fun things to do. We were all giddy with excitement, especially Josh and I because it was our first ever kid-free vacation since having Josie. We couldn't wait.
Friday came around and I packed everyone up, got the kids ready, Josh took us to the airport, and we boarded the plane as planned, and then sat on the tarmac. First, we sat there for an hour when they announced an ice storm in Atlanta (our connection), although I called my friend in Atlanta and she reported no ice storm, but whatever. Then it was two hours. Then it was three hours. After three hours, the crew announced that by law they are no longer allowed to keep people on the plane for longer than three hours, so we were allowed to get off the plane, but although they had to allow us off, they didn't have to wait for us to get back on. So if they got the call allowing the plane to take-off, they were allowed to LEAVE PEOPLE in Boston. They would make a quick announcement at the gate, but if we went to the bathroom or to grab a snack, they were permitted to leave us.
Now, if you have two or more children, you know even a trip to the bathroom can take forever, so I, of course, stayed on the plane. I thought the odds were pretty high if I got off the plane with my two maniacs, we might get left behind while I was chasing one or the other around the terminal.
The wait turned into 4, and finally 4 and a half hours, when the pilot finally announced we were allowed to take off. Now, at this point, we haven't moved an inch, and the dvd player has already run out of batteries and everyone is tired and frustrated. I have to admit, though, the kids were still doing really well at this point. We fly to Atlanta, I'm freaking out about our connection, but at least I've secured a place to stay that night if we can't make it to San Francisco.
We land, and sit on the tarmac for another 45 minutes because there is no gate for the plane, but finally, FINALLY, we are parked and allowed off the plane and we run through the Atlanta airport, board the train, jet over to another terminal, and are thrilled to find our connection also delayed. I grab chicken nuggets for dinner at the first food stand, rush onto the plane, without even having time to change anyone's diapers or take a bathroom break or charge the life-saving dvd player. We get settled onto the plane, and the crew announces- there are no pilots. The pilots are missing, no one can find them, they think they are on some delayed flight that hasn't even landed yet. Now, why we're all boarded on the plane and sitting here, no one knows.
I have to laugh or cry, so I laugh, and try to get the kids calm and settled in. We eat dinner, and wait, and wait, and wait. 2 hours later, they announce the pilots have landed. Another hour later, the pilots show up on the plane and everyone claps. Half an hour later, we are completing our safety check and finally heading out.
By this time, we're at 2am Boston time, the kids are losing their shit, and frankly, I'm losing my shit too. We're all tired, annoyed, stir crazy, hungry, bored, and did I mention tired? Oh, and no one has napped.
We make it through the flight by the skin of our teeth, and I tell you, it is a good thing you aren't allowed to beat your children in public because I had my moments during that flight. Josie wouldn't stop crying, and when she finally fell asleep, Gabe kicked her in the head because he was frustrated he wasn't sleeping also. She fell asleep again and Gabe announced he had to poop. I held both children in my arms for most of the flight, and if I moved an inch, one or the other would cry. My patience was being SERIOUSLY tried. Seriously. We landed, and I finally got everyone settled into bed at 7am Boston time, and were up for the day a little less than 2 hours later.
I will say, however, after those first two days of recuperating from the flight, we had a great few days. We spent quality time with grandparents, checked out the sights, played at playgrounds, I had dinner with friends, and the kids were happy.
I was anxious, but left the kids in capable hands, picked up Josh and our friends, and started our vacation off optimistic that we'd be having a terrific time. We tasted wine, ate great food, laughed a TON, ate delicious cheese, laughed a TON, and hung out with our fantastically fun friends. There were multiple times during those first couple of days where we commented to each other that vacations like these were what made growing up worth it. We were having so much fun, and the wedding weekend hadn't even started yet.
Friday came around, and we met up with the bride and started the wedding activities. Friday night consisted of Sex and the City 2 in the afternoon, and a casino night including dinner and lots of gambling for all the guests. I left Josh lounging in a square full of shops and excitedly went into the movie, until about 15 minutes in, he ran into the theater, grabbed my arm and told me he'd gotten a call from my mom that Gabe had hurt his finger and was in the hospital.
I ran out of the movie theater, our friends grabbed all of their stuff out of our car, and we jumped on the road back to Sacramento. We were in Healdsburg, about 3 hours from Sacramento on a good day, and we were leaving in the heart of rush hour, right at 4pm. We were a mess.
10 minutes onto the road, the doctor called and told Josh she was hopeful Gabe wasn't going to lose his finger. And that was when I lost my mind.
Part II to come...