Monday, December 11, 2006

We made it back to Wisconsin fine. The worst part was right at the beginning. There was a huge wind storm moving through Paris and they started boarding the passengers through a terminal where we had to walk about 100 meters across the tarmac. As usualm they asked me to leave the stroller at the desk- totally baffled when I said I needed assistance since I wouldn't be able to manage to carry a backpack, a purse, a car seat and a baby, through the hurricane winds and rain and up a steep staircase. After 10 minutes of my stubborn refusal to budge, they FINALLY found someone from the 8 employees standing on the side chatting who was willing to help. Then once we got ont the plane and settled, they announced that they had stopped boarding since the high winds made it unsafe for people to walk outside. And yet 30 seconds earlier, it was totally unreasonable of me to suggest that I shouldn't maybe carry a baby in one hand and 20 kilos of luggage in the other hand up a wet flight of stairs. After this many flights with Ella, I hardly even notice this sort of stupidity anymore.

Naturally we took off late- 2 hours late to be precise so I knew I would miss my connection (another thing that has become a standard part of our travel...) and called home to let them know. The plane ride was relatively painless, the only glitch being that I forgot to pick up my stroller at customs. I have to start calling around to see where it might be now, but honestly, dealing with the airlines is such a pain in the ass, I am tempted to just write it off and ask Santa to bring a new one- one without Ella's blood all over the seat from that day at the florist's when she mysteriously cut her finger. But because I didn't have my stroller, I had to carry the carseat and make Ella walk all the way through O'Hare airport to our connecting flight. What a little trooper. Remember that at this point, it was 1 am for her. I have to admit, she is such a good traveller it is amazing. Finally, the connecting flight was conveniently running 2 hours late as well so atleast we didn't have to spend the night at a hotel in Chicago.

We are dealing with our jetlag ok, as long as I remain zen about the fact that I spend more time on my feet between the hours of 2 and 5 than I do actually laying down in bed. Of course, you can get tons done when you are up hours before dawn. Yesterday, I made muffins and read three back issues of Living magazine. On the other hand, I was so spacey from lack of sleep that I forgot to take a shower. Efficient and filthy would sum up my first weekend home.

Went to my nephew's birthday party yesterday which was lovely. The thing I miss most, living in France, is being able to go to these little family dinners. I busted my ass all day Saturday to make this. I glued and I cut and I sewed on dozens of tiny jingle bells. Finished it just on time and then I forgot to take a picture of it. In theory I am going to make another one for Ella but, to be honest, I may have used up all my craftiness for 2006. I may have to go and visit my sister just so that I can take a photo and have photographic evidence that I actually made it. Its like that conundrum, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it make an noise?"


Beccy said...

Glad you arrived safely. I remember travelling with two youn children and not being allowed my stroller, a complete nightmare! By the time no. 3 came along you could bring the stoller to the plane and it would be potluck whether it would be there apon arrival!

My worst experience was travelling home from Olando. We were stuck in Gatwick for 8 hours so were 9 hours away from Dublin (1 hour flight) and 8 from Orlando having been awake for 24 hours. Not pleasant, it took us over a week to recover.

Sally Lomax said...

They once took our pushchair into the hold and when it came out, all the plastic fittings shattered - due to the cold. That was a bit of a nightmare. They certainly don't make it easy for children to travel. Secretly I suspect that they aren't too keen on it, so deliberately don't make it too easy. They don't like the coke spillages and the constant loo runs. We seemed to have countless journeys back and forth to home when we were living away leaving aeroplane seats covered in coke, sandwiches and anything else available to the kids on the flight. At eh end of the flight, we used to avert our gaze from the staff and leave very quickly, gathering children en route. Happy days!

Glad you arrived safely!

Have a great trip!


Nicole said...

I guess I never told the story here but this summer while flying through Schipol KLM wouldn't bring me my stroller and I wouldn't leave the help desk since I was just furious- this being the THIRD time it happened at this particular airport. The KLM customer service rep not only refused to do anything to help me, like let me ride on one of the carts for old people, but she said she was calling the airport police to arrest me for being aggressive (because the baby swatted a pen out of my hand and it flew across the counter. Not kidding). The reason I was holding Ella in my arms was because the woman actually slapped Ella's hand while she was sitting on the counter because she had pulled three brochures out of a stand. Thank god I had her name because I wrote to KLM afterwards and had all my mommy friends send letters as well. For all the good it did, I'm sure.

Sally Lomax said...

Wow. That's outrageous!!!!!

To slap a toddler!!!

KLM should have written back to you at the very least, and with a BIG apology. How dare she behave like that. Poor Ella, and poor you.