Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Have D, will travel

The other day I was reading this thoroughly funny and informative post about travelling with D and a baby by Kerri, when it dawned on me that I had never posted about our experience when we went to Portugal last summer. I think mostly because I blocked it out as a survival mechanism if I ever hope to get on a plane again.

For our trip (a 17 day excursion), we brought the following; a suitcase for Fred and I, a suitcase for the kids, a suitcase with a necessary baby paraphernalia, a suitcase full of miscellany, a car seat for Mattias, a hospital grade breast-pump (because of feeding issues with Mattias), a pack-and-play, a stroller, a bag full of extra supplies, a bag full of food, Elise's carry-on diabetes bag that was large enough to put a 12-can cooler in, a diaper bag and a boppy. We left the partridge in a pear tree at home.

The trip there wasn't all that bad. We left Dallas at 5:00 pm and the kids slept most of the flight... Mattias sacked-out on the boppy on my lap (I sooooooo love those contraptions!) and nursed whenever it pleased him.

Unfortunately, we had to transfer in Madrid which meant lugging the kids and all our carry-ons through customs. Our family gets quite a few raised eyebrows since we all travel on different passports (Portuguese, Canadian, and American). We often get asked, "sooooo, you are all one family?" Bahahahaha!

The trip home was quite a different story. In Lisbon, we ran into difficulties at check-in. The girl said we had way too many bags and she was going to charge us. I was prepared to throw a hissy-fit (I mean, we had the same amount of bags that we came with), but Fred calmed me down and we paid the 50 euros.

Then, at security (at this point we are in danger of missing our flight due to the bag argument and a very long security line), the guy tells us we cannot take the syringes through. Yousaidwhatnow? I was all primed and ready for hissy-fit #2 (never mind that he couldn't even understand me) when Fred took charge. He finally was told he could get a letter from somewhere in the airport giving him permission to carry the syringes through security, leaving me to wrangle two kids and our fifty thousand carry-on bags.

We ended up running for our flight and was allowed to board first. I think they felt sorry for us. At one point the gate agent remarked that we seemed to have a lot of carry-ons, to which I replied, "yeah... and?" Travelling makes me bitchy.

(keep in mind that two of our bags were considered medical and didn't count towards our total, and one was a glorified pillow)

Once in Madrid, it was snack time. When we went to Portugal, Elise was still on NPH, so we had to be mindful of the clock all the time. So once we got off the plane, we sat in the gate area so Elise could eat. By the time she was done, we realized that it was going to be tight making our connection to Dallas. We still had to go through customs, and the gate was in a completely different terminal that we had to take a train to get to.

So once again, we ran. By the time we got to our gate, they were announcing the final boarding call. Then, I heard someone absolutely murder my name on the intercom. To this day, I don't know how I even knew they were calling me. I finally found out from the gate agent that I had to go to a gate about 200 meters away for a secondary screening. I asked if just I could go, but was told I had to take my whole family (and bags) with me. Commence head exploding... NOW!

Once there, they asked me insane questions about packing my own bags (no, a dog did it), did someone give me something to take on the plane (just some nervous guy who gave me a ticking box), and other nonsense that would have been funny if we weren't about to miss our plane. They decided I wasn't dangerous (because Canadians usually are), and we *just* made our flight in time.

I carried Mattias onto the plane (Elise and Fred were still at the gate checking the stroller), and tried to find my seat. When I got there, it was occupied by some Spanish dude that did not understand the words "get your tapas-eating ass outta my chair!"

Finally, he moved, and as I'm trying to get myself, Mattias, the boppy and the three bags I was carrying situated, Mattias started kicking his feet, getting them caught in the waistband of my yoga pants, which yanked them down.

Yup, I gave my seatmate his own little peep-show. He had the decency to look away while I pulled my pants back up.

It. Was. Awesome.

To make a very long post not quite as long as it could be, we spent 18 hours travelling that day. We also spent an extra hour at the Dallas airport because Fred had lost his cell phone during the trip and we didn't have a way to call our ride to pick us up (I bummed a cell phone off my seatmate... hey, he OWED me).

And one last little post-script to this slightly-more-hilarious-now-that-it's-a-distant-memory, we had moved while we were away in Portugal. Rather, our realtor supervised the move for us. So we left our old house, and came back to a new one. With all our possessions in boxes, the gas turned off, and the house at a balmy 92 degrees inside.

It was travel-craziness at it's best. I think Elise ran in the 400s almost the whole plane-ride home. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. Next time I'll leave the yoga pants at home.


  1. Only you could make such a nightmare sound hilarious.... Your sense of humor in the face of adversity is awesome.

  2. Soooo funny! Love the yoga pants part! :)

  3. You are so funny...even in bad circumstances.

    I can't believe they gave you grief for the syringes. When we've traveled, no one even blinked when we said we were carrying syringes.

  4. I laughed. I'm sorry but it's funny. Especially since it was you and not me.
    Ahhh, family travel memories - stories like that stick around for a long, long time.

  5. Hi again-
    Had to come back and just say the video you sent me to was HYSTERICAL! Love it! Can't wait to show my daughter. Your cat story was good too- you are so much better than me. I guess I need to commit to educate too. I generally am more pessimistic and just assume they won't get it, so why bother.

  6. oh my...you my friend sound much calmer than I would have been, and the yoga pants...wowsa! Glad it turned out well in the end :)

  7. LOVE the story!! Especially knowing you had to live through it. "Tapas-eating ass..." Bwahahaha! I hope I can find a situation where I can use that quote one day. :)

  8. Too funny! Oh, travels with D indeed!

  9. We too had a harder time coming back from Portugal than when we left! You, Joanne are my Travel Hero...I can barely run errands with one kiddo and you were traveling with two out of the country with "D" to boot...I am in totally awe. Love me some yoga pants!

  10. The fact that you still have the brain cells to recount that story speaks volumes to your awesomeness my dear Joanne.

    I need a nap after reading this. I am not kidding.

  11. I thought traveled with a TON of stuff with diabetes, but diabetes AND babies! Yikes!!

    I have never had trouble with syringes or any other d-supplies. Nail clippers with a file on them? Yes. Syringes and vials of fluids? Nope.

  12. HILARIOUS! i am so glad you waited to tell the story b/c i'm sure t was funnier to you in retrospect as well.

    my fave part was mattias' kicky feet bringing your yoga pants down at that moment!


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