We are less that 24 hours from the big family vacation, and I am DISTRACTED!
I took Rusty and Jerome to the kennel in Booming Metropolis this morning. I miss them already. I have driven that route at least twice a month for the last four years, and yet somehow this morning, I managed to miss my turnoff on the way there...and then again on the way back! My only excuse is that the fog was pea-soup dense this morning. And also, I am really stressed.
We're flying to North Carolina for the Captain's leave from Afghanistan, renting a car and taking a leisurely road trip designed to stop in on the three siblings I have in the south. So we'll spend our first weekend in North Carolina with Sister #4, make our way to Northern Florida to see Brother #2 and then finish up in New Mexico with Brother #1. We figured the kids would get more out of a road trip than an all-inclusive at this point. And I'm really looking forward to the road trip part.
But here's the kicker. The Captain, in his infinite wisdom, decided that it'd be easiest for us to all just meet in North Carolina. No prizes for guessing who that plan is actually easiest for! While he's relaxing on a nice long flight with movies, magazines and snacks, I'll be flying alone with two small children, having to make a tight connection in Minneapolis and having to make the two-hour drive to the airport here with no other adult around to pick up the slack and remember everything I forgot. For all my talk about how independent and strong military life makes me, when it comes to having to fly solo with my kids, I am the world's biggest wimp.
If we were driving, I'd be absolutely fine right now. I've been thinking about this for a few days, and I'm realizing that I am just not someone who likes to have to make a scheduled timing...for anything. There's a good reason my hair hasn't been touched by a professional since January 2005. I'm almost always ten minutes early for everything, but having to be somewhere at a specific time sends my brain into a frenzy.
However, escaping my comfort zone once in a while is good for me, so I'm doing my best to try to embrace this, and I've decided that the only thing I can do is to take care of the things I CAN control, and let go of the things I can't. Here are the questions that are currently running through my brain:
1. What if the alarm doesn't go off and I miss my flight?
2. What if the car breaks down halfway to the airport and I miss my flight?
3. What if I can't figure out those stupid automatic check-in machines at the airport and mess things up so badly I either miss my flight or end up on a different plane from my kids?!
4. What if my kids are horrible on both flights and I can't quiet them down?
5. What if flight #1 is late and we miss flight #2?
Here is how I've tried to control things:
1. I've set my alarm, checked that it's on AM, made sure the radio is nice and loud and reminded myself that it has, to this point, never not gone off when it was supposed to.
2. Had my car checked at our local garage and been assured that everything looks good, all fluids are topped up and the tires are properly inflated and in good condition. I also got myself a CAA membership as backup.
3. Reminded myself that there are still a few humans at the airport who are there to help me. Plus, no one at any airline anywhere is going to allow Rosemary's Baby on an airplane without me there to hold him down. And if they do, it's their own tough luck, and I will enjoy a margarita and 3 quiet hours to myself!
4. Packed every snack, toy and distraction I can think of (including headphones for the movie), as well as a full bottle of liquid children's Gravol to put them to sleep if necessary. I also have a giant bottle of regular Gravol to share with every other adult on the plane in case the kids' Gravol doesn't do the job. I'm always thinkin'.
5. If we miss our second flight, I've told myself that they will just put us on another one and I will use my cell phone to call and update everyone who needs to know. Not a big deal.
Putting these silly fears into perspective made me think that perhaps I could go further and become super zen about the whole thing. So I googled "tips for flying with kids" , only to realize I've pretty much already thought of everything. Well, everything practical anyway. Most of the tips were things like "remember to pack an extra diaper" and "bring some toys for the kids". Well, DUH!
And then there was the utterly ridiculous. My favourite: "Dress extra-snazzy, wear large sunglasses and pretend you're a celebrity jetting off on vacation with your little ones." Good lord. I can just picture myself when Rosemary's Baby inevitably breaks away and races off through the crowds to follow something colourful. I'll be tottering behind him on 8" heels, unable to see anything through my dark, non-prescription glasses, and dragging our massive red duffle bag and a six year-old behind me. This, of course, would come after I had to explain to everyone wanting my autograph why such a high-profile celebrity as myself is travelling economy class. I think I'll stick to my jeans and running shoes, thanks!
48 hours from now, I'll be reunited (read: bickering) with my main squeeze, have several extra pairs of hands available to manage my naughty children, and be enjoying temperatures that are practically tropical compared to what we've got here in Manitoba. Either that, or my aorta will have exploded and I'll have lots of time to blog from the intensive care unit. It's win-win! And that last one sounds positively relaxing!
Back in two weeks, my loyal subjects!