Five o'clock rolls around and Ryan and I pop out of bed. Well, I pop, Ryan needs five minutes of prodding before he fully wakes up. Same with Brad and Noah - I'm shaking them, poking them, talking to them, even yanking covers off them before they wake up. With all that, every few minutes I find Noah back in his bed - that boy really wanted to keep sleeping. Didn't we all.
I swear we all went as fast as we could, getting out the door. We had packed the night before, so we threw clothes on, had a slice or two of cold pizza for breakfast, rushed through everything, but didn't end up leaving until six. Bad, bad news. Thirty minutes to the Hertz return area, 10 to pay $4.39 a gallon to fill the tank, 20 for the shuttle to the airport put us at the check-in kiosk at exactly 7:00. Which, for a 7:30 flight, is too late. I knew we'd be late while we were driving, but I kept praying that the flight would be delayed or some miracle would make the security line non-existent. Hey, the Amazing Race squeezes contestants onto planes at the last minute all the time - I don't see why they can't do the same for a family of six with two strollers, five carry-ons, and a car seat.
I hate to say it, but when each employee told me that we couldn't make our flight, I started crying. It wasn't that I wanted to be home so desperately (although I AM wanting to be home, more every minute) but I was upset by the failure of our day to work. I was upset by the waste of it - if we were going to pay to reschedule our flight, why didn't I do it the day before, and arrange for a reasonable departure instead of the insane one I couldn't make? I was super upset about the change fee - $60 per ticket. It's completely ridiculous to be leaving from a week's vacation in Disney World and say I can't afford $360, but to be honest, we just went on a week's vacation in Disney World - their motto is not "The Cheapest Place On Earth." If I had an extra $360 laying around, I could have come up with plenty of more fun ways to use it than trading our free, direct flight for a 4 hour layover in Cincinnati.
I think the crying garnered me some sympathy, but not a reduced price, dang it. We ended up on a flight that left at 8:00 and we still barely made it. The kids are testy because they are so tired; Darcey and I are the only ones who didn't sleep a wink on the plane (Darcey caused my wakefulness, of course). I tried to lay down in the airport, but Darcey decided to keep me awake by pulling on my eyelashes. I am not joking about that - she pulled my eyelashes. Trying relaxing enough to sleep on the floor of the airport when you've got potential blindness hanging over your head.
I paid for wi-fi access, ostensibly so that Ryan can send some work emails that needed to be done today, but also so I could whine to you, my friends, or at least to you, the lurkers, who may not comment on my blogs but at least lend me a listening ear. I only have 3 hours on my laptop battery, my ipod is out of juice, and I don't have power cords for either (which is what happens when you rush). We've got the portable dvd player and cord, and we've set up camp at our gate, having taken over a good three rows with assorted junk, spilled pretzels, toys, lollipops on the ground, etc. Every few minutes Zack provokes a random sibling and all eyes are on us while they scream at each other, until I can calm everyone down.
The next time I think going on vacation would be a great way to escape from our boring life, make me read this. It'll remind me that vacations are regular life under a microscope. Minor problems are full-blown public crises. It's worth it, but only in hindsight, when the pain of travel days and other miseries are forgotten in favor of the good memories.
That's it for now. I'll keep you posted.
Update - The gods of travel and technology have smiled on me - when I threw my charger in a suitcase, it turned out to be Zack's carry-on suitcase. So I have power, and the magic of the internet for another 1.5 hours, plus I will have power so Darcey can watch movies on the plane. Oh, and Darcey stepped in Noah's ketchup and smeared it all over the floor. That's okay, it wasn't so clean before, either.