Saturday, March 24, 2007

Traveling With Children

WARNING: I'm about to rant here. Normally, I'm a happy girl who can make the best of things in undesirable circumstances. A half-full glass of water is on my table. But sometimes someone knocks the glass over and I just have to complain about it. And then I wipe up the mess and go on.

Two days without internet makes a garden geek girl like me crabby. I'm not a big fan of our internet provider anyway, and having our service go down a full two days before leaving on a vacation trip isn't my idea of fun. Today, one hour before we walked out the door, it came back up again. But being the Queen of Procrastination, there were lots of other things to do besides checking e-mail.

Jack went missing last night. One minute he was there, being his adorable self, peering down at us from the roof, and then he was down, wending his way around our feet. We were chatting with our neighbors, and Jack didn't want to be left out. "Me! Look at me!" he chirruped. And we did. Then the neighbors went back home and we went into the house. Half an hour later, when it came time to put the kitties inside for the night, Jack was gone. I continued to call for him all evening, but he never came. I thought maybe he would be waiting by the back door this morning, but he wasn't. And he didn't show up all day. It came time for us to leave for the airport, and we had to go without knowing that all the kids were safe at home.

We got to the Fort Wayne airport in plenty of time before our 7:40 p.m. flight, so we decided to look around the gift shop. A cute cat picture frame tempted me, but I resisted. There was much more to look at, but the gift shop was closing. In fact, they wanted to close five minutes before, but they didn't want to kick us out of the store, so we left of our own accord. And don't you know, just as they locked the door on the store, I spied an adorable hat that would have been perfect for both the beach and the garden, but I wasn't meant to have it, because I couldn't get to it. It sat there on display and taunted me like the proverbial carrot for the next half hour. It was probably out of the range of my budget anyway.

We boarded our Allegiant Air flight to St. Petersburg, Florida, and we were on our way. The plane held 130 passengers and I'm pretty sure 112 of them were under the age of six. Before the two hour and twenty minute flight was through, I wanted to strangle the screaming screeching child that sat directly behind me three times and his mother was going to be next. "He's so excited to be flying," she announced to everyone around, as we all held our fingers in our ears to prevent permanent hearing loss. And we were expected to share in his excitement.

I'm not opposed to children traveling with their parents, as we have done this many times during the years we raised our own two. But unless they were in pain, our girls would not have let out the repeated blood-curdling squeals of 'delight' we had to endure this evening. Thank goodness it wasn't an overseas flight.

This was a no-frills flight, which meant no leg room, no free snacks or drinks ($2 for a bottle of water), no pillows or blankets, no free choice of seats ($11 each), no free checked luggage ($4 each bag), no nothin' extra. This was mostly fine, but when Grandma went to the restroom, then wanted to take some medication, there were no cups in the cup holder for her to get a drink there. I went to the front of the cabin and asked the flight attendant if there were supposed to be cups in the holder and she said, "Oh no! Don't drink that water!" She then proceeded to pour a cup full of bottled water for me to take to Grandma and it was FREE! Well, okay, the glass was half-full once again.

We picked up the rental car, which was supposed to be mid-size, but they were out of all compact, mid-sized, and mini-vans, so we got a 'free' upgrade to a Toyota Highlander. Cool. Except that my four-foot-nine Grandma has a difficult time getting in and out of such vehicles. That's why she loves my Volkswagen Beetle. She can just turn around and sit down in that one. We'll just have to get the step-stool out when we get to my aunt and uncle's place, which will be our residence for the next week.

My rant has officially ended now.

At midnight, we eventually made it to Beautiful Bradenton, at the confluence of the Braden and Manatee Rivers. I love this place, because it holds a nostalgic spot in my heart. My mom first brought me here in 1961, when I was four years old. My grandparents had this winter home then, and for the next forty years. My grandpa passed away in 1968, but Grandma continued to spend her winters here until 2001. Now my aunt and uncle do.

We didn't waste much time in falling into bed and if I were still in rant mode, I'd tell you how sweaty hot it is down here. But being the positive person that I am, I'll tell you that it's gloriously warm and I'm glowing.

UPDATE: Kara and Jenna stayed at the house this weekend, and when Jenna arrived, Jack was home. :-)


Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

I'm glad you're glowing again, crabby is so not you! But oh boy, that kid in the plane would have tried the patience of a saint.

Kylee Baumle said...

Well, you know what they say, "Men sweat, women glow." LOL

Carol Michel said...

Ugh, I hate flying anyway. But to fly under those circumstances... at least you are now in Florida and can enjoy your vacation.

Kylee Baumle said...

I enjoy flying, but that was not the most pleasant trip. It's spring break time, so we're likely to have very much the same situation when we fly home on Friday. Oh well, we ARE having a great time, including a trip to Marie Selby Gardens last Saturday, which I'll report on when I get home, with lots of wonderful pictures! :-)

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