Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting Back From The Beach

Whew! What an awesome week that just was. Honestly, the person who thought we should all have to work 40+ hours a week just to have a place to stay and some food to eat should be identified, found and introduced to the business end of a pummeling stick. (As if there's any other end to a pummeling stick.)

I figure since the last post was about our trip to the beach, I'd follow it up with a post about our last day on the beach and the trip back. Then go back and fill in the other days once we have a chance to go through  our pictures and videos. Our final day at the beach was split in two: the beginning where we had a great last couple hours playing on the nearly abandoned beach; and the end, where the universe conspired against us to make everything that could go wrong with a flight - short of crashing - go wrong. Every time it seemed the departure was going to right itself, Murphy's Law jumped in the pilot's seat and showed us what was up. But first, let's start with the good, because I've learned from Angie that it's best to eat your dessert first.

Our flight didn't leave until 4:45 yesterday afternoon which meant we had the whole morning to get in some beach time with the kids. Everyone else drove off around 6 AM to head back home which meant we had the beach house to ourselves. (It also meant all the pictures of the last day had to be taken with my phone since we sent our cameras back with the family.) It was great for the kids, who were exhausted at this point, to have a little down time before a long day of travel back home. We also discovered that most of the island had the same plan of leaving in the morning, which left pretty much the entire beach just to us. The added bonus of low tide gave about 9 miles of sand too.

Patrick went straight away to puddle jumping with Madelyn close behind him...

Then we ran in the waves, built a small city for the dump truck, dug lots of holes, poured sand in every crab hole we could find (one of Madelyn's favorite things to do this week) and just generally had a fun beachy time.

Then we got snacks, got dressed and headed off to the airport. That's where things went crazy...

We should have known we were in for a fun time when we realized Patrick's shoes had accidentally been sent back with all the other bags. Luckily the cab service we used was great and they gladly stopped on the way to the airport so we could get Patrick a new pair of Crocs (breaking my cardinal rule of parenting: never get your kid Crocs. Mostly because, you know, nobody should be wearing Crocs. Those things are hideous.).

I think the rest of the day's events work better to be explained in a list of sorts rather than me rambling on and on. First though, let me set the stage: the kids went to bed the night before after 10 PM because we were up late enjoying our final night with everyone. We all woke up at 5:30 AM that morning. We left the beach house at noon even though our flight wasn't until 4:45 so it could get cleaned for the next set of guests. We exhausted the kids playing on the beach that morning then only gave them an hour long car ride to attempt to nap. We got to the airport at 1:30 PM. And here's how the rest played out...

  • We rode the escalators about a million times and walked all over the airport for 3 hours till we finally went to our gate to try to board.
  • The flight was delayed because of rain in Myrtle Beach and the flights before us being delayed.
  • Rather than boarding at 4, we boarded around 5:15. After getting settled on the plane and getting the kids setup with snacks and such and a bit of waiting, we are asked to get off the plane due to delay from thunder storms in Atlanta.
  • We wait for a while by the gate again as we're told it'll be another hour or so before we can attempt to leave. After that hour goes by, they say it'll be another 90 minutes. We decide to eat.
  • After ordering in the airport restaurant, our drinks arrive, the kids are excited about food, I'm wishing there was rum in my coke and we suddenly hear over the intercom that there's a break in the Atlanta thunderstorm and we're going to attempt to fly in. All passengers need to board immediately. We cancel our order, pay for the drinks, grab our bags and rush to the gate.
  • On the plane. Kids settled. The normal taxiing around the airport for 30 minutes goes by. We're getting ready to head to the runway to take off and we're informed there is an engine problem. We need to go back to the gate to have somebody check it out.
  • Back at the gate, we wait another 20 minutes or so then are asked to once again get off the plane so they can fix the engine. Kids, bags, high hopes all de-plane.
  • It's now 7:45 and we're told we'll get an update at 8 as to what's happening with the engine. I take this as a good opportunity to get some dinner since we still haven't eaten anything other than fruit snacks and Nutri-Grain bars.
  • I wait in line for a while at the Pizza Hut, order some pizza and drinks and pay. Almost as soon as I pay, an announcement is made that the engine is fixed and all passengers need to board immediately. I decide that if something goes wrong with the flight again, I'm just going to order Chinese delivery from the plane since apparently us almost eating dinner is what gets things moving.
  • Amazingly, we take off and the plane doesn't blow up mid-flight. We land a little after 9 PM in Atlanta.
  • We then taxi all over the place because we're looking for a parking spot in the shade or something. I don't know. But it takes way longer than anyone wants.
  • Once we finally park the plane, everyone stands up and crams themselves into the aisle to sprint off the aircraft. But we wait for about 10 minutes with nothing happening. The pilot exhaustedly tells us that the bridge from the gate to the plane is malfunctioning and a repair man is coming out to fix it. I contemplate pulling the emergency slide because a) it would get us off this plane and b) it seems like it'd be pretty fun to bounce down in a non-life threatening situation.
  • We're finally released from the plane and we all scramble to baggage claim. There, we find our car seats, soaking wet. At this point though, we really don't care. After taking the pre-flight parking shuttle back to our car, we throw the kids' clothes on the car seats (since we changed them into pajamas while we were flying) and assume they're both too tired to care about being a little damp. After all, it is now after 11 PM.
  • We manage to make it home around midnight with no flat tires, spontaneous combustions or other acts of God.
Despite the string of bad fortune along the way, I can tell you that there are few times we've been more proud of our kids. Their behavior was AMAZING. We didn't have a single break down from either one. They took every change in schedule in stride and their personalities bubbled to the top: Patrick asked me forty-thousand questions about what was happening (at least half of them were just "Why?" in response to whatever my last answer was) and Madelyn was silly and funny and made friends with everyone in the airport. It was confirmed that we weren't just imagining the good behavior when almost every person on our plane that had kids or grandkids stopped us and told us how impressed they were with Patrick and Madelyn's behavior. We told them in the car on the way home they could both have ice cream for every meal today if they wanted. Luckily they were both sound asleep within minutes of getting in their car seats :)

We broke out an episode of Diego on the iPad for the last part of the flight. Patrick loved his new head phones!

Madelyn taking a short nap on Mommy before we landed.
So now we're back home and going through unpacking and laundry and all that good stuff. The kids are still catching up on sleep and we're enjoying our last day of vacation before work starts up again. We can't wait to look through all the pictures and video from the trip! We had such a fun time and miss everyone a ton already. Hopefully we'll have a post up soon!


KBBean said...

Um, that is horrible. I mean, you're all home & safe & the kids were great, but what a looong journey to get there! I think I would have cried at some point in there. Good job to all of you--can't wait to see more pics of the week!

Aunt Mollie said...

It's amazing how much you and Toby and the kids go through. You and Toby give them so much every day of there lives, and when events like these happen, you both grasp them and cary on like you are experts! You both amaze me!!!