Because of our pro status, you would think we would look like pros! However, we have always thought we looked more like a three ring circus. You see between the children and the luggage we are constantly doing a juggling act. There have always been more bags than 2 humans should be able to physically carry. The girls have always been too small to really be much help. I would often find Clark with a grin on his face humming the circus theme song. Getting out of the house, to the airport, and checked in are just the opening acts. They are kind of amusing, but not nearly what you came to see.
Our first main event is going through security. Taking off shoes, coats, and getting the computer(s) out of the bag(s) takes up all three rings of our circus. The line behind us starts to back up at this point. Because of my SLR camera, or the MP3 players, or the portable DVD player...not to mention it could be an oddly shaped toy...we always have one or two bags that have to be run through security a few times and ultimately searched and even swabbed. The stroller going through the luggage scanner is always a sight for sore eyes as well. We often have the dog with us too...which just adds a whole extra demintion. Of course, in all the commotion, one of the girls is likely to have a melt down at this point causing even more stares and a bigger back up behind us. Then Clark will have to get searched because, well, I guess he just looks like a trouble maker...ha ha ha! While he is getting searched I am now alone to deal with the melt down, get shoes and coats back on gather all the bags that are not humanly possible to carry and then wait while he goes through the search (thankfully it has never escalated to a strip search). Everyone behind us has now been waiting patiently...or not so patiently at times for over 15 to 20 minutes AND the security guard knows us by name and thanks to our outgoing child they also know our entire life story!
Then we have a small lull as we wait for the boarding of the plane. But don’t worry, when we board it is a sight! Getting the stroller gate checked and then carrying all the carry on items and getting them stored and the girls seated takes all the energy I have left. Walking to the seats I must apologize to every single person that I wack in the back of the head with a bag or step on their foot. All the while trying to stop Cali and Melisa from sitting in every seat that is unoccupied. At this point, the grin is off Clark’s face and I am glad I can’t understand what he is humming or muttering. Once we do get to our seats we back up everyone behind us for a good 5 minutes as we store our luggage (which usually DOESN’T fit in the overhead bin directly over us). I then I have to search for empty spaces in other bins and as I find them I make a mental diagram of where all of our carry on luggage is now located throughout the plane. Then I find my seat and have to apologize 20 times to the person in front of us as I jam my overstuffed carry-on under the seat making them look like a human bobble head!
Ahhh, sweet relief, we are settled and the plane ride can go on without having to juggle much. Well, that is until we have a bathroom run OR food service and then it starts all over again! Have you ever tried to fit in one of those portable bathrooms with two little girls? Let me tell you, people are probably wondering what is going on in there as I am tripping over myself and the girls. I am surprised I have never left with a blue foot and soggy pants like you see in the movies.
I do think I have had at least one drink spilled on me during every flight we have taken! I laugh at the people who are all dressed up when the fly and there I am in my sweats. WHY, am I dressed like that? Because I know that something will be spilled all over me, staining my outfit! I don’t do it for comfort, I do it simply to save my good clothes!
And of course, the bag that I REALLY needed under my seat is the one in the overhead bin on the other side of the plane over the grumpy old man (an no Dad, I am not talking about you). Clark without saying a word, begs me with his eyes "Do we REEEEAAALLLY need it?" Thankfully, he is sweet enough to do it anyways! Thankfully, we have never dropped a bag on top of someone...but we have come close!
The flight always lands, just as we have gotten settled, the girls are playing happily and I am ready to close my eyes and take a short nap. I put the ear phones in to listen to some calming music and I hear we are making our final approach and all electronic devices need to be turned off and carry-ons stored. At this point we are sure to have a bathroom run because the fasten your seatbelt sign is on.
We finally stopped trying to get off the plane first (except for when we have a close connecting flight). We wait until everyone else has left and then we start to gather our gazillion bags and head off the plane last. Of course, we still have to wait for them to bring us the stroller at the gate before we can leave (because ours is ALWAYS the last one off).
Baggage claim is always fun. Melisa wants to talk to every single person trying to find their bags and loved ones. Cali wants to climb on the conveyer belt and take a ride. Clark can’t remember which suitcases I packed THIS time or how many there are. I am torn in 3 directions and this is usually when I think I am about to have MY melt down!!
Thankfully, we usually (and i say usually because we have had lost bags before) get all our bags and family or friends are usually waiting to help us from this point on. As we wait for the car to pick us up and load our luggage, we take a final bow to our crowd because the Three Ring Circus has officially left the building!
****Now, I want to make a note here. I may have made the girls sound rotten...but on most flights the flight attendants have commented on how well behaved the girls are for traveling. They are amazed at the manners and how quiet they are and polite of others. So, as much of a three ring circus we are, they are still well behaved!****
Now, as you read in my title...we are no longer a 3 ring circus. Somehow, we have overcome our status this trip! We only had 3 checked bags (that we all UNDER weight and required NO redistributing of items). We checked in with no problems.
We saw the security line and I got nervous. I dreaded turning into the Three Ring Circus. We had no stroller, only 3 small carry-ons, and no jackets. Cali and I made it through and she was excited to get to take her shoes off. Melisa went with Clark and was told that she won the award for having the prettiest carry-on. She walked through proudly and forgot to tell our life story as she was focused on her pretty bag! I took care of the girls and Clark took care of the computer. We had no searches (of humans or bags).
We boarded the plane without event and only had to make one apology for Melisa pulling on a guys seat. All of our bags fit under the seat with ease. The girls sat quietly and played with their petshop toys, their markers and paper, their playdough, and ended the flight with books. I was able to read a magazine and listen to about 10 songs on the iPod. We had no spilled drinks. We only had one bathroom run, with one munchkin...not two! We were even able to de board the plane with the masses instead of waiting until the end.
We found our bags with ease and didn’t even need a luggage cart (or 3 like we have before) to get our bags to the car.
Oh could it be...have we overcome the status we had found ourselves in. Has the Amazing Traveling Three Ring Circus finally retired? I can only hope and pray it is true!!!
You all remember that we are driving a rental car this week right? We are waiting patiently for our car to get fixed and driving around the cute little black Mazda.
However, that cute little Mazda has NOTHING power...absolutely nothing. Each door has to be individually locked and unlocked by hand. Each window has a crank handle. The trunk has to be unlocked with a key. The mirrors have to be adjusted by hand (no easy little button to adjust them). I personally never realized how much I have gotten used to all the power windows, power doors, and power EVERYTHING in my car.
The part that kills me though is my daughters reaction to this. They do not have the slight annoyance that I do by the extra effort. In fact here is what Melisa had to say about them: "MOM, I LOOOOOVE this! Look at how I can make it go u of it all!p and down! You can't even lock it and it goes ALL the way down! I wish our car had windows like this!" I honestly think that Melisa and Cali would sit in the car all day long and roll the windows up and down over and over again. It never even crossed my mind that my children had NEVER seen a manual window in a car! Ohhhh, the wonder of it all!!
Well, I haven't mentioned the saga from the last 2 weeks or so and I think it is finally time to blog about it after the turns that it took today!
You see about 2 weeks ago we were at the post office when a lady came running in and asked who had the car with the GA tag and after no one answered her we asked if she meant a FL tag (yes, our car still has a FL tag and it is a good thing because we are heading back to FL soon, lol). Anyway, it was our car and she informed us that 2 guys in a plumbing truck side swiped us as they were pulling out of their parking spot. They got out, looked at the damage and then DROVE OFF! Yep...we got hit and they ran! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
Thankfully, the kind lady had the name of the plumbing company and their phone number off from the side of their truck. She also said she would gladly testify or give a testimony of what happened if we needed her to. She gave us her name and number and was very kind!
We asked a few people what action we should take and most agreed that we should file a report at the police station since it was a hit and run. It took two different trips to the police station to finally get someone to "help" us. They took the report and created a police file for it. When we asked what they were going to do they said that it was really hard to catch people like that and it would be better to just file a claim with our own insurance company and take it from there.
Since when did having a witness AND the phone number of the person who hit and run make it unlikely to catch the person who did it???? You just gotta LOVE Mississippi! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!
We followed the police "orders" and filed a claim with our insurance. It took 2 days of phone calls with the agent but finally got all the info. we needed. Our insurance rates are NOT going to be raised because it was not our fault! However, there is a $500 deductable that we must pay out of pocket even though it wasn't our fault. She made an appointment for us at the body shop for tomorrow morning at 8 am and arrangements for Enterprise to pick us up and give us a rental car until ours gets out of the shop. However, the $500 deductable will be paid to the body shop upon completion of the work. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
She did say that she was going to try to call the witness and the plumbing company to see if they will give up their insurance information. The witness was very helpful and gave enough information for our agent to feel comfortable calling the plumbing company. The man who answered the phone happened to be the man that hit us and this was his response to being questioned about the hit and run (notice the spelling that reflects the Mississippi accent he had): "Weeeeeeell, Ah r'member dat day. Ah was leavin' da post offus and hurd me an awwwwwful sound and felt me a big ole' bump. Ah asked my buuuudy to luk'out da winder and see whut we done hit. He said he din't see nuttin' so ah jus' drove on off." Oh yes, he sure did!
Needless to say, he took the blame and gave up his insurance information. Thankfully he uses the same company as we do, so we didn't have to go through the whole claim process again. They just sent the claim our agent had filed over to his agent and kept all the arrangements the same EXCEPT the $500 deductable! PRAISE YE THE LORD!!
So, this saga is almost over. Tomorrow morning the car will go in the shop and we will get the rental car (hopefully it will all be uneventful). Then by the beginning of next week, the wheel well will not be peeled back, the dent will be gone and all the black scratches will be a thing of the past! WHEW, it has worn me out!