Kristen, Ruthie, and Maddie came up for a visit two weeks ago. It has taken me that long to recover. You might have read my post about my mother purchasing (or not purchasing) her ticket to fly down to Nashville. As I mentioned in that post, my sister "problem-solved" her way up to New York for our cousin Myriah's graduation. She was going to return to Nashville the next day (Sunday) by herself with the twins - no problem! she said.
Mom and Kristen left Nashville on time and ready to go. I tracked their flight on Southwest like I normally do and everything was on time when they arrived in Baltimore for their layover. That's when I get the call from mom. "There is no way your sister can do this on the way home. Do you think you can fly back down to Nashville with her and return the next morning?" "Mom, if Kristen says she can do it, she can do it." Kristen, yelling in the phone from about 5 feet away: "I can do it mom, relax." Mom, yelling at Kristen in the phone to me: "No you can't, this is ridiculous. Katie, this is ridiculous. Her diaper bag weighs 50 lbs, she carries Maddie on her and Ruthie in the carrier, there is no way she can fly by herself." "Sure, I can probably fly back down if I need to. We can talk about it when you get here."
Their flight arrives late, but at least it arrives. If our flights arrive at all we're thankful. Delayed? We don't care as long as we're where we're supposed to be. Why do airlines even bother posting schedules? They should just post where the plane is going on a certain day and you get on. If arrival and departure times are disregarded by the airlines, why do we even bother? But I digress...
The Scene: The Albany International Airport (It goes to Canada. That's as international as we get)
The Cast: me, Lily, Jamison, mom, Kristen, Maddie, and Ruthie.
Supporting Cast: 1 double stroller with two carriers, 3 large suitcases, 1 baby bjorn, (1) 50lb diaper bag (actually less now that Kristen ran out of diapers in BWI. Many thanks to the kind stranger who donated diapers to the twins. If it weren't for you it would have been McDonald's napkins for those girls), and 2 carry-ons for Lila.
I arrive at the airport with my two kids except that one of mine refuses to be called by her name. I am to address her as Snow White. This is obvious not only because she has demanded it to be so but because she refused to take off her Snow White costume at the house. I debated struggling with her to drag her out of the costume and into her regular clothes but Jamison was near the edge of a breakdown and the plane was arriving. So I did what I told myself I would avoid at all costs - I went out in public with my child dressed up as a woodland princess. She was decked out head to tow. From red bow to sparkly princess slippers.
The people in the airport didn't help my case. "Hello Snow White, where are your dwarf's?" "Hello princess Snow White" and on and on. This only encourages her to say to me: "See Mama, everyone loves this gown." Me: "grrrrrrr."
Once we meet up with the other part of our crew, we go to wait for the luggage. We're talking about our trip the next day to Rochester - all the relatives we'll get to see, how to schedule the drive with the kids schedule, etc... By this time we have arrived at my truck in the parking lot. And this is when Kristen's GREAT-IDEA-TO-COME-TO-NEW-YORK hits it's first snag.
Apparently my EXTENDED ENVOY is not large enough for all of the Cast and Supporting Cast. We only discover this as we are packing up the truck. Kristen and I prioritize the packing of the truck. Kids in first. My two are in the third row. The twins in the middle row with Kristen in between them and mom in the passenger seat. She actually called dibs on "shotgun" while we were waiting for the luggage.
Next the luggage. Kristen's two bags in the back. Carry-ons surround my children in the third row. Jamison looks terrified. "Why am I in the back seat?" "Why are there so many bags around me?" "Can I get into these bags and eat something?" "Why are all these women talking so much?"
Mom climbs into the passenger seat. It's at this point that we realize we have no room for mom's bag and the huge double stroller. I contemplate calling Brian at work to see if he can meet us here and grab those items but Kristen is positive that WE CAN DO THIS!
We put mom's suitcase on her lap. She can't see over it but she's lived her for decades, what does she need to see? Kristen climbs over Maddie into the truck to squeeze in between the two carriers. We devise a plan to lay the double stroller over the tops of the carriers and over Kristen's lap. Her chin rests on the stroller as we start the car. I try to shift into reverse but mom's suitcase is blocking the gear shift. I have to shove it into her face to shift. Kristen tells her to get over it and we're off.
(Maddie is trying desperately to see around the stroller. Her missing shoe was put in the diaper bag.)
Here are mom holding Maddie and Kristen holding Ruthie at Myriah's graduation. The reason I love this shot is because of Kristen's lazy right eye that only happens in pictures.
As we drive to moms house for dinner we realize that there is no way we can drive to Rochester this way. Not only do we need all the items already packed in the car but we also need to add three pack-n-plays for the babies to sleep in at the hotel. That would be one miserable 4 + hour trip across the state.
We get home and I get online to see if we could rent a van. There are no vans for rent which isn't a surprise since it's graduation weekend for the whole state. Problem-Solver-Master-Manipulator Kristen suggests a U-Haul. No matter what that woman is going to get all of us to Rochester even if it means we have to rent a piece of moving equipment to get it done.
I have no desire to drive a U-Haul behind my already large truck for a number of reasons:
1. More gas
2. It would slow me down
3. I wouldn't be able to pass anyone easily on the thruway
4. REALLY?!?!? For a one night stay we have so much junk we need a U-Haul?!?!?
So here's the U-Haul. It held three pack n plays, three suitcases, and two strollers. It was more narrow than my car so I couldn't even see it behind the truck when I was driving. This picture was obviously taken at night outside of a McDonald's but that story is for Part 3 of this trip. By 9:30am the next morning we're off on I-90 heading west.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 - The TRIP. The very long trip.