Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My 24-Hour Utah Sojourn

by Sariah S. Wilson

(Before I begin, does anyone else feel gypped that we haven't gotten a recap of Julie's awesome triple signing party last Friday?)

Sometimes you make sacrifices for family that they won't appreciate for many, many years to come.

My brother got married this past week in the Salt Lake City temple, and being the good sister that I am, I decided to go.

I had to take my daughter and 1-year-old son with me. My husband was in the middle of finishing up a hugely important project at work and couldn't take the time off to watch the little ones. I'm sure I could have asked someone in the ward, but it seemed like a lot to ask.

I tried to plan for every eventuality - my daughter had a backpack full of new, fun activities and toys, my son had his in the diaper bag, both were laden with snacks, and I brought along the portable DVD player and some of their favorite DVDs.

Of course, the best laid plans...

It all began on my first flight with an airline, that I will avoid mentioning here, except that I will give you this hint - the name rhymes with MUNITED MAIRLINES. Anyway, there was some sort of technical glitch with an electrical panel on the plane. Nothing that would have any effect whatsoever on the operation of the airplane, but they apparently couldn't fly because on the pilot's dashboard thingy it says "fail." (Fail's right. Epic fail.)

And as always, there is apparently only one mechanic in the entire state of Ohio capable of fixing this thing, and we sat there for over an hour waiting for him to show up. In this period of time I discovered that my number one plan for distracting the kids, the DVD player, did not work. The battery had stopped functioning. (I discovered later that I could plug the adapter directly into the DVD player and it was fine. That, however, did me no good on the plane where there was a distinct shortage of electrical outlets.)

This delay made us late arriving at Chicago O'Hare, where I had a connecting flight to Salt Lake City. I asked the flight attendant if they planned on contacting the connecting flights so that they would wait for us. She repeatedly told me and the other passengers that the other flights would know exactly where we were, what had happened, and would wait.

I had 20 minutes to get from the far end of the B terminal to the low numbers of the C terminal. They are of course as far away as they could possibly be.

This would be no problem for me - I had been doing free step on the Wii. I was certainly in good enough shape to run, right?


My shins were killing me after about oh, 30 seconds.

But I made it to the plane a few minutes before it was scheduled to depart.

Where I had a great view of the plane sitting at the terminal. They refused to let me on, despite the fact that the plane was still attached to the walkway/gate. They could have opened the inner door and let me on, but they didn't.

Instead, in their vast wisdom they decided it would be better for me to sit in O'Hare for six hours waiting for the next flight to Utah. While entertaining my two little ones.

I was so grateful when I was finally able to go and board the plane (where I boarded with everyone else since MUNITED MAIRLINES doesn't allow parents with small children to board earlier), and as I tried to collapse my stroller and keep the kids next to me, a group of eight missionaries returning home to Utah from the Ukraine offered to help me. I tried to hand them my baby, and they told me they weren't allowed to hold children (which my brother confirmed when I saw him at the temple).

They did fine on the next flight when it finally happened. I've always noticed that on flights to Utah people are more talkative and friendly than on almost any other. Including the crazy drunk lady who downed four beers in quick succession and made best friends with two older gentleman and the male flight attendant. She also turned her attention to me and kept coming back to "help" me with my children. Her intent seemed good, but it was honestly the weirdest conversations I've ever had. She asked at least ten times where we were from, what my daughter's name was, kept telling her how cute she was. I considered changing my answers just to amuse myself because she wasn't retaining any of the information I gave her.

As the plane began its descent, she got up out of her chair to help me again. She started to complain about how the only hot guys on the plane were those missionaries back there and with a lot of choice swear words on what she thought about people serving the Lord, it suddenly occurred to her that I might be Mormon. When I told her I was, it was at that point she left me alone. If I'd known that was all it would take, I'd have superglued the Book of Mormon to my forehead. Both flight attendants apologized to me afterwards, but the whole thing had been pretty stressful.

By the time we got to Utah all bets were off. Thanks to Daylight Savings and the two-hour time difference, it was only 7:30 in Utah, but 9:30 to them (and they're both typically in bed by 8:00). Then we had to drive to the middle of nowhere, also known as Eagle Mountain, to my parents' home.

And understandably, everyone was excited to see the babies, waking them up, and the 1-year-old got so overloaded with all the stimulation that he was pretty much unable to sleep the whole night (which meant that I didn't get to sleep either).

They had fun with their cousins, but their schedules had been so demolished that they were both constantly sleepy for the one day we spent in Utah, where we got to attend the wedding and have all of my siblings in one place at the same time (including my missionary brother who wouldn't pick up his nieces and nephews because of that no holding kids rule).

The next day our early morning flight left at 7:05. Everyone assured me this would be no problem - that early on a weekday would find the Salt Lake Airport practically empty.


I took American Airlines home, and it took me a few minutes to figure out their checkout procedure (I miss the old days of people getting your boarding passes and taking your bags), and when I got in line for security, it went all the way from the machines to the airlines' ticketing counters. Crazy.

Fortunately an attendant saw me and told me that there was a special lane for families and it made it much easier for me to get through the whole process and as a result, I did not miss my flight. Where they let me get on the plane first so that I had time to do everything I needed to.

The kids handled that flight pretty well, too.

But the fourth flight? They were done. They fell asleep and slept for most of the way, but the flight attendants were flirting pretty heavily with some young men in our general vicinity and they woke up my daughter. Who had a 2-year-old tantrum. She was done. Nothing I offered her soothed her. She wanted her seatbelt off and wanted off of the plane. When she woke up, she woke up the baby who cried for a little while but took a bottle and calmed down. When we could finally get off the plane, I couldn't get her to move. Despite being in the second row, I decided to let everyone else get off and then worry about getting her up.

A rather corpulent man informed me on his way out that if I'd thought ahead that I would have brought gum for them to chew on, because she was obviously crying because her ears hurt.

Really? The pressure in airplanes affects your ears? Seriously? Is that what's been happening to me all these years? That must be why I brought them bottles and sippy cups and food so that they could SWALLOW. And what kind of moron gives an infant and a preschooler gum?

Too exhausted/angry to respond, I just glared at him. What makes people think that strangers want advice?

Of course, when I got off the plane with her still crying, this was one of those valet flights where you gate check your bags, so the entire hallway was lined with people waiting for their carry-ons.

I hate traveling.

I enjoyed seeing my family, but I'm so exhausted. One more reason to move to Utah so that I won't have to do this ever again.

This wasn't the worst traveling experience I've ever had - just the most recent. What's your worst traveling story?


At 3/21/2010 6:37 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

When my husband was stationed in the Philippines we decided to take a trip to Korea by "hopping" on a military flight. At the time our two oldest were 2 and 1. Unknown to us our 1yo suffered from motion sickness and threw up all over my husbands uniform. Since this was a military transport plane and we were sitting in "jump" seats there was no bathroom where he could clean up.

At 3/21/2010 4:46 PM, Blogger Tamara Hart Heiner said...

oh my heavens, bless your heart! traveling with a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old!!! and that sounds like a horrible journey. what a nightmare! I hate traveling with kids. Yikes!

At 3/22/2010 10:58 AM, Blogger Janice said...

We flew to Colorado with my 2month old son for my brother-in-laws graduation from the Air Force acadamy. We flew with my sister-in-law who had the flu. She went to the hospital instead of the graduation while I tried to nurse a fussy infant in a scorching hot stadium filled with secret service men because president Clinton was speaking. I got the flu the night before we flew back, became dehydrated, couldn't nurse the baby - who refused to take a bottle. I starting blacking out at the airport and spent the entire flight home in the bathroom. Once we got home, my husband defrosted some milk from the freezer and the baby ate after sleeping all day and then I went to the hospital. Fun fun fun.

At 3/22/2010 1:31 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I flew from Hawaii to LA with a 9-month old. He was fine on the way over and on the way back, he literally screamed for 90 minutes straight. I was standing up by the bathroom area the whole time. But it's the same thing--his ears were killing him--but there's only so much a 9 month old will let you do.

Stayed tuned . . . I'm taking my four kids (by myself) to Israel in May. No babies though--youngest will be 6--so I'm hoping that ups my survival chances.

At 3/22/2010 4:16 PM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

Reading this, I am flashing back to many of those wonderful (do you hear the sarcasm?) cross country trips with little ones. I'm just thankful that my husband refrained from opening the exit hatch at 35000 feet on one particularly horrible trip when we (and everyone on the plane) were suffering the effects of a monster tantrum.

At 3/22/2010 6:38 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

Ladies, really ... is that your best traveling horror story. Here's mine, slightly different in that I'm traveling by car. We are returning from British Columbia. That is me, my uncle, my aunt and my aunt's two children (the youngest still in diapers). We're coming over Lost Trail Pass (Idaho-Montana border just north of Salmon) when a foul, atrocious odor hits us. Well, my aunt changes the little feller, but is hesitant about what to do with the diaper. Environmentally conscience or just didn't want to litter, I can't recall, but soon my uncle and I noticed the odor still gagging us with its awful power. Finally, with tears rolling down our faces we queried aunt/sister as to the diaper. She mentioned the reasons for her hesitancy to dispose of the diaper. To heck with the law and the Geneva convention, I told her. Get rid of that gull durn diaper before we die. Moments later the window rolled down, the diaper flew and the rest of the trip was fine ... except for the next time


At 3/27/2010 6:10 PM, Blogger UTMomof4 said...

Oh wow, what a nightmare. I have never flown anywhere with my children, and after reading that I don't think I want to!! You are one strong woman. Wow.


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