Sunday, July 26, 2009

Travel Travails

Every couple of years, I head to Colorado for a conference. This year, to save money (and my sanity), I decided to leave five of my seven children at home. You'd think it would be easier to travel with only two children; you know, only two kids to get through security, only two kids to buckle into seats, only two kids to keep entertained and to keep track of during layovers. Well, I guess I picked the wrong two!

Having flown several times, I knew the whole security drill. At least I thought I did. You know, can't take anything that contains more than three ounces (including new tubes of toothpaste) everything has to fit into quart-sized zipper bags, and you can't take anything that might be used as a weapon; no crochet hooks, scissors, Texas toothpicks, or Bowie knives. I made sure we didn't need to worry about the zipper bags; everything like that was packed in the checked luggage. Flying with young children (a five month old and a two-year old), I had a bottle (it was empty), a sippee cup (it was also empty) and my drinking cup (also empty), two car seats, a diaper bag for the baby (but no diaper oinment - it was too big), my purse, and a backpack with some toys and snacks for my two-year old. But, it didn't take too long to get everything unpacked and ready for scanning.

Having thought ahead, both my son and I were in flip-flops (the baby was barefoot), so we could easily remove our shoes. What I didn't think about was what the all-metal Hot Wheels car would look like going through the scanner. Let's just say it didn't look good and required multiple trips through the scanner before finally being removed from the backpack and thoroughly examined. Maybe the TSA guys just needed to reconnect with their childhood. At least they gave the car back.

Air travel was only the first leg of the journey. The second leg began as, after about an hour's wait, we greatfully boarded a bus that would deliver us to our final destination. The huge bus windows provided a beautiful view of a thunder storm. It was awe-inspiring as we watched lightening illuminate the countryside. Funny thing about that thunder storm; it brought hail. The hail actually cracked the windshield of the bus. It also brought rain; lots of rain!

Funny thing about taking that bus; it didn't deliver us to the door of our apartment. It delivered us to a "transfer station." We had to leave the bus, in the middle of the downpour! Never having experienced such rain, my son was actually very frightened. I ran him to the van that would take us to our apartment and threw him in. His carseat filled with water in the few minutes it required to move it from one vehicle to the other! The baby made it without getting too wet; the sun shade on her car seat actually worked pretty well as an umbrella. And, of course, by the time we actually reached our apartment, the rain was over! We'd gotten thoroughly soaked - even clothes IN the suitcases got wet! I was completely soaked - it was like I'd just stepped out of the shower, seriously!

By God's grace, we made it to our final destination all in one piece. The wet clothes dried, my son survived his experience, and I'm enjoying my conference very much. If our two-year old remembers his traumatic rain experience when he is older, we can pay for his therapy. Best of all, I have a few more days to recover before we do the whole thing in reverse.

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