Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Travel Redeux

As great as the first flight was with all three boys, the return leg was not nearly as smooth. It is difficult to key in on where it all started to go wrong, but I would have to say it started upon arrival at the MSP airport. I have nothing against MSP but, it is no Austin Bergstrom (AUS). Notably it is significantly larger, so everything takes longer during check-in . Once we were dropped off, we were able to get through the ticketing process without the previous problems. In Austin, there are only 2 security checkpoints that always seem empty; a person can progress to the gate in less than 15 minutes, this is not the case at MSP, or at least that is what we thought. Upon receiving our tickets we proceeded to the nearest checkpoint and discovered a line looking like it belonged at Space Mountain rather than an airport. No way were we going to last in that line with three fussy boys, luckily we just kept walking to the other end of the terminal, and discovered that the furthest checkpoint didn’t have anybody checking in. It looked deserted, expect for the TSA chumps standing around waiting to invade my personal space. We sailed through the checkpoint in record time, and proceeded to the gate. Mrs B and I are the type of people who like to walk up right about boarding time to walk right on the plane, and this even more the case now that we have to entertain multiple children during downtime. We were so efficient through security, we were now faced with more than an hour before boarding was scheduled to begin. Between keeping the Twinkies happy and entertaining “the boy” we also had to get our seat assignments. As anybody who has traveled with kids has experienced, you don’t just get to checking when you get your bags checked because there are all these special rules for parents of little kids, and especially so for parents holding a child on their lap, as Mrs B and I would both be doing, so we needed to check in at the gate to ensure everybody was together. Apparently the ticketing agents don’t have any idea what the actual rules are when it comes to seating people with kids, because I didn’t actually get a boarding pass, they just told me the seat number I was sitting in and then pushed me down the walkway.We were finally seated on the plane and with Mrs B sitting next to “the boy” and holding a twin, I was situated across the aisle, also with a twin in my arms. I think we would have been fine at this point if it wasn’t for a “minor mechanical issue.”

The way I look at it, we have about 10 minutes from the time we get on the plane to finally be in the air, anything more and you are pushing your limits with any kid under the age of 3.
The “minor mechanical issue” proved to take about 20 minutes to fix. I know my immunity to child screaming and tantrums’ is higher than most, especially when it is my kid, so in my opinion “the boy” did just fine, I however don’t believe the SXSW hipster seated directly in front of him in 1st class shared my sentiment, so I will now detail the next section of the flight from her perspective.

Skinny Jeans Hipster Chick (to friend upon arriving in the ATX): You will never guess what an annoying flight I had all the way from the land of Frozen Tundra

ATX friend: hmmmmmmm

Skinny Jeans Hipster Chick: We got on this dump of a plane that was broken and I had to sit next to this old lady that smelled like lutefisk and Premium Grainbelt beer, you would think that 1st class would have a better quality of individual. After I have the stewardess get me my first Cosmo, I look up and see a traveling circus of barf and noise getting on the plane, and wouldn’t you know it, they are seated directly behind me. I promptly ordered another drink. This couple who looks like they haven’t slept since the 90’s is carrying a couple of drool machines and have a blonde ankle biter in tow. I took one look in the kid’s eyes and I knew we were in for a long trip. By the time I had finished my second Cosmo that kid was starting to revved up, and just as we are pulling away from the gate that little S@#$ starts screaming at the top of his lungs. "NO MAMA NO MAMA" like she was boarding the last helicopter out of Vietnam in 1975, and leaving him behind. In reality it appears that she was not letting him use his portable electronic device, and wanted him belted to the seat. Now I am all for airline safety, but TSA should reconsider the electronics rule for takeoff and landing when it comes to kids. I will take my chances with the DVD player bring the plane down, because the alternative could be the berserker rage that was building in me. I didn't pay for 1st class only to have my ears bleed for the entire flight because of some stupid kid. This screaming when on for about 20 minutes. At one point, I look behind me and I see both parents laughing, like this crap is funny. I am pretty sure that nobody thought it was funny especially me. Once the kid finally ran out of air, he finally shut up and I didn't hear from him for the rest of the flight. I did however see him, numerous times, because apparently he was allowed to run back and forth between his seat and all of 1st class. If I ever decide to have my own little hipster baby my kid will never act that way. I will just explain to hipster baby that her behavior isn't "COOL" with me and they will shape right up, because I was perfect as a kid.

ATX Friend: Who are you kidding, you are never going to have kids.

Skinny Jeans Hipster Chick: Ya you are right, because then I wouldn't fit in my skinny jeans.

With a couple of stories from dad on the way in to ATX we avoided a similar meltdown.

I am extremely proud of my lovely bride, because when faced with everything each boy can throw at us, she never loses control and takes it all in stride. I am constantly amazed at how Mrs B refuses to let having kids be a reason to not do something.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Traveling Caravan

Spring Break has started and we were lucky enough to get out of town to the lovely state of Minnesota (more on this to come). This story starts about two weeks ago, when the packing actually started. Preparing to go on a trip with three kids requires a person (i.e. Mrs B) to start packing way early. I started to see piles of stuff, that didn't look any different from all of the other piles. These piles, unbeknownst to me, had already been "packed", so when I tried to take something like clothes out of these piles, I received a stern reminder that I should look elsewhere because these clothes were already "packed". Pointing out that the clothes were in fact "piled" rather then "packed", (which would have required them to actually be in a bag) didn't seem to make Mrs B happy.

Flash forward to yesterday. I rush home from work figuring the car would be packed and we would hit the road for our flight in 2 hours. The car wasn't packed, so I rushed in and started grabbing bags to putting them in the car. In the rush of packing, I removed "the boy's" jump seat from the stroller. I then promptly loaded the stroller, without the seat for "the boy". Unfortunately we didn't discover we were missing a seat until we were half of the way to the airport. The ensuing discussion about how we would be better off with out the seat and how lucky we were to make such a mistake to start our trip was filled with the usual "No, it was my fault" "No, it was actually my fault". Being the gentleman, I was willing to finally agree with Mrs B and concede it was actually her fault.

On to check in and security check. I dropped Mrs B off at ticketing with the Twinkies and the stroller, and "the boy"and I went to park the car. Mrs B got all checked in without a problem, but things got interesting once "the boy" and I got to the check-in kiosk. I got my boarding pass without incident, and then the guy turns to me, and asks about "the boy". The ticket jockey wanted to know if I had a confirmation number for "the boy's" ticket. AHHH NOPE, not on me. The he turns to me and ask, and I quote, because you can't make this stuff up, "Do you have and ID or credit card with his name on it." I responded that he currently only had his learners permit right now and he only carries cash. Eventually the baggage guy was able to print up the last ticket so we could proceed the fun of security.

I don't want to go on one of those rants about all of the reason the security check in at the airport is ridiculous, so here is just a short summary of the experience. After removing nearly every article of clothing and putting it in the little gray bin, I proceeded to put "the boy" on the counter and begin removing his clothes as well. The TSA agent (maybe we should start calling them TSA chumps - because they don't seem worthy of the title agent) tells me I can't have him up on the counter.....I ignored her and continued. Once I got everything off, I started to help Mrs B get herself and the twins ready to go through the checkpoint. "The boy" took this opportunity to sprint between the security guards and into the terminal. I run after him and grab him moments before a certain airport lock down because somebody had broken through the chump line without a proper invasion of privacy. We eventually got on the other side and got to the gate without much additional drama. The Twinkies slept most of the flight, and "the boy" watched a movie the whole time and seemed very content to do so.