The trip to Atlanta went as well as it possibly could considering that I was wrangling four kids, four carry-ons and a husband on crutches. The folks at the Austin Airport - from the Delta employee who had a wheelchair and assistant waiting for B, to the TSA agent who didn't freak out when Campbell ran back through the metal detector looking for his favorite hat, to the lady behind in line in security who helped me get all our stuff on the conveyor belt - were cheerful and friendly and beyond helpful. As an aside, if you're ever faced with a huge line at security in Austin (honestly, this was the longest line I've ever seen at ABIA), break your foot and ask for a wheelchair; you'll get whisked to the head of the line in no-time flat.
All four kids behaved beautifully on the flight, even Elizabeth. I was able to knit for a little bit, which was a good thing because I needed to finish a pair of yoga socks I was making for my best friend, whom I was going to see while we were in Atlanta.
Getting through the Atlanta airport was a bit hairier. Thank goodness Ella's coach was on our flight and hung back to help herd the kids through the teeming masses.
The trip home from Atlanta was tougher. The chaos started at drop-off. The hourly parking lot was closed, so my parents had to dump us at the curb-side drop-off, which was a zoo. We grabbed everything from the cars and waved good-bye as my parents sped away.
We were greeted at the baggage check-in by an exceedingly rude and impatient Delta agent. When I told her we needed to request a wheelchair, she waved off into the distance and told me that we could get one "Over there by the sign." When I wasn't able to see the sign because people were standing in front of it, her mood went downhill. She asked which tickets we were checking bags for, and I handed her the two boarding passes on top of the pile, which happened to belong to Elizabeth and Lily. And she told me I couldn't use them because she had to have a driver's license to go with the luggage. Which didn't make sense at all because I've checked luggage for the kids before. But I decided not to do anything to make her more impatient with me, and handed her my boarding pass and B's.
One of my suitcases was three pounds over weight. She told me that it would be $90 for the extra three pounds and asked if I wanted to pay that. When I said no, she told me we had to go wait in another line. I asked if I could rearrange stuff in my suitcase, she said I had to leave the area or TSA would come over to deal with me.
At this point, all four kids were pulling on me and asking questions, and I was ready to scream. We walked away, and I managed to shuffle us over to a corner where I rearranged things. Then we all shuffled back to the baggage check-in area and waited in line for a different agent. My big suitcase was still half a pound over the limit, but the nice man let it go through. I think he may have noticed that my eyes were spinning two different directions at that point.
We finally made it to the wheelchair pick-up area and were immediately assigned a very nice, very efficient young man who walked so fast that the kids and I couldn't keep up with him. We almost didn't get to go through the handicap lane at security because we were trailing so far back. The wheelchair guy lost us again as we walked through the concourse, but I wasn't as concerned with keeping up with him given that I knew where I was going. Plus, Campbell had decided that he needed to jump over every stripe on the floor and Elizabeth had decided she absolutely positively did not want to walk at all.
The flight home was miserable for me and everyone in earshot. B, Ella and Campbell were two rows ahead of us and had a grand time. But Lily and I suffered the wrath of Elizabeth, who had decided she'd had enough of all of this thankyouverymuch. With brief breaks now and again, she cried pretty much the entire time, and then came close to falling asleep just as the plane landed.
But we're home now, and I'm slowly putting life back to order and unpacking. Even though we left the house
clean, relatively neat, not disgusting, the children have already reduced it to a sticky rubble. The kids are also getting used to not being spoiled constantly by their grandparents, who have made it their mission to grant their every wish - from going to the pool for hours each day to taking trips to Babyland General and the American Girl Doll store.
My parents are busy cleaning their house up after the destruction and mourning the departure of the kids. B said he imagine my mother picking up legos and weeping silently as she wandered the quiet house.
Next up, Ella's climbing comp.