BlogHer 2006 – My Traveling Nightmares Realized

I am still processing the insanity/inspiration/beauty/thrill that was my BlogHer 2006 experience. Until then? Why don’t I relay to you the awesome experience I had traveling across the country with and infant.

And by awesome? I mean that I may need intense therapy before I’ll ever take a plane trip with NikkiZ again.

FRIDAY: We got on the plane to Atlanta pretty easily. Between that and NikkiZ sleeping all the way to Atlanta, I was incubating a false sense of security about how the rest of the traveling would go. “This is easy!” After landing in Atlanta, we had to drag the baby, two laptop bags and two regular carry-on bags for about ninety miles to another concourse.It was then that I realized that an infant should totally count as a carry-on; if only but to keep morons like me from carrying two bags as well as an infant all over the country and back.

ME = MORON.

We ate lunch somewhere between the arrival gate and the departure gate. Paying way too much for way too little, of course. Lunch at an airport is not relaxing, especially when afterwards you find out that your already long hour-and-a-half layover was turning into a three hour layover. What do you do with a mobile infant during a long layover? You let them crawl around on the gross floor and contract god-only-knows what germs and eat who knows what crumbs all while you pop xanax and count the seconds until the plane boards.

You also say repeatedly to your life-saver of a son, “Why don’t you walk your sister around while Mommy drinks this beer?” You also may buy things like lotion from The Body Shop simply because it peaked your daughter’s interest for more than three seconds.

After an insanely long wait, and being hit with an incredibly aching back and shoulders from dragging my shit across the airport forever, we finally boarded and thank GOD, NikkiZ slept the entire flight.

SUNDAY: We left our rooms around 4:45am and drug our shit across the Hyatt complex because I’m too stubborn to ask for help, even from hotel staff. We left the hotel at 5am so I could try to get new seat assignments to get LilZ and I since we were actually about 15 rows apart. It was painfully early. The ticket lady when we checked our luggage pointed us in one direction to security. Because it was so damn early, I didn’t check the signs and just got in line at security. We made it all the way through security, even passed TWO people checking our boarding passes. Then? Some maintenance guy stopped us and pointed out we were on the wrong concourse.

I am such a dumbass.

We re-crossed the airport (dragging much lighter carry-ons this time) to the correct concourse and after we went through security, I realized there was no food past the security checkpoint. LilZ hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and in one hour we’d be getting on the plane for 4+ hours with no food in our bellies = EVIL. LilZ, being the best kid in the world just said, “It’s okay, Mom. I’m not really hungry.” I’m betting he knew my emotional stability was at risk so he was trying to keep me calm. Smart Kid.

I was feeling bad for starving my child but I couldn’t fret for long as I had to get in line to get our seats changed. As I was sitting in line there was a huge verbal war between two people on either side of where LilZ was sitting. He looked incredibly uncomfortable as I just mouthed to him, “I’m so sorry” for the nine hundredth time of the trip. I felt so bad for him and I think it was at that moment that he started considering finding another relatively sane looking woman in the concourse and offering to be her new son.

As I was in line, and the crowd for other seat requests was gathering behind me, NikkiZ decided to start screaming. Like – SCREAMING. The kind that made everyone give me dirty looks and scowls. I heard one person say, “Well, this ought to be a fun flight.” I wanted to shoot them in the face. Then, when the employees started making announcements over the loud speakers, no one could hear them over the screaming. He had to pause and spit out what he needed to say between her screams. It was AWESOME.

The computers were down, the lines were long, the crowd was rude, and I was on the verge of shooting myself. They finally took my boarding passes and promised to get our seats changed. As I was just about to burst into tears, Angela (a blog idol whose blog I’m sure you read) stopped me and asked if she could help in any way. Even though I considered handing her my screaming daughter and running for the hills, I declined her offer politely. However, the offer itself and the kindness it showed, rejuvenated me so I didn’t feel on the verge of an anxiety attack any longer. We eventually made it on the plane and I kept my boob in NikkiZ’s mouth the entire flight so she’s sleep – and she did. Much to the pleasure of the passengers of that same flight.

We were pleased to only have an hour layover at the Atlanta airport and planned to grab lunch to go to eat on the short flight home. HA! Can you guess what happened?

The hour turned into 3. Of course. And when we finally boarded the plane? We sat parked for another 45 minutes because of fueling issues. So, if we had rented a car when we landed from San Jose, we could have been home faster than flying.

So, the moral of the story? If I ever have to travel with NikkiZ but without MrZ again? I’m either hiring anyone someone to escort me or I’m shipping her with UPS. Depends on the time of year because I’m betting a box gets hot in the summertime.

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15 Responses

  1. Jezer says:

    LilZ=The Best Kid in the Universe. Here’s where I would have a really hard time not buying him anything he wanted.

    I’m glad you all survived. If it’s any consolation for the travel woes, you looked FABULOUS in all the photos.

  2. Gigi says:

    Air-conditioned “baby boxes”! That’s what moms need for those long flights.
    Poor NIkkiZ. Poor LilZ. Poor Zoot. What a rough trip. But you made it!

  3. Bev says:

    We travelled to Phoenix from Edmonton, AB, Canada when my son was 6 weeks old, and my daughter was 4. It was a NIGHTMARE!!!! We were nearly late for a connecting flight in Las Vegas, and were running, dragging, across the tarmack, get in the plane, and WOOF! My project vomiting infant DOUSED me! Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to sit beside me for 3 hours??? It took me until those kids were 8 and 12 to get my ass on another plane with them!

  4. Silly Hily says:

    Oh.my.gosh Zoot! Bless your little heart. I wish I could have been there with you b/c I would have had serious words for the idiot who had the nerve to make such a rude comment about NikkiZ screaming. I admire you for holding it together and not crying. I would have turned into a basket case. If nothing else, just to make that man feel horrible for saying something.
    I am so glad you finally made it home and I can’t wait to read more about BlogHer.
    (And yes, you look amazing!)
    (And one more thing, please let me say how sorry I am for typing “LittleZ” in some comments I have left instead of LilZ. I don’t know when or how I realized I was doing that but I promise I’m cool enough to say LilZ.)
    (And still just one more thing, DUDE don’t hate me for saying this but when did LilZ become old enough to be “good looking” instead of “cute”? Hmmmm? When did that happen?)

  5. MrZoot says:

    Did you just say that next time your husband doesn’t go w/ you on a trip that you’re hiring a professional escort?!?!!

  6. WOW!

    1) YOU GO GIRL!

    2) LilZ is AWESOME! and thoughtful, and polite! what an angel and more kudos to you for raising such a great boy!

    3) i would have smacked anyone w/smart a$$ comments…like we really have control over when babies decide to cry / scream.

    4) even all stressed out, you somehow kept it together and managed to look great! and, from your comments section, you kicked major arse in your presentation…niiiiiice!

    can’t wait to hear more about your adventures :)

  7. countrymom says:

    Your son is awesome!! What a trooper – and I’m so glad you had fun when you were there even if the travelling sucked!

  8. Michele says:

    LittleZ=Awesome kid! You should be so proud.

    NikkiZ, poor thing.

    You, poor woman.

    Despite the bad, I know it outweighed the good.

  9. European says:

    Wow! That sounds like the trip from hell! Glad you made it back in one (or rather, three) piece(s).
    Sounds like LilZ deserves some sort of a medal!

    I can’t stand it when people make rude comments about screaming babies. Do they think you’re making her scream on purpose??!
    I wrote about just that here: http://girlwithgreencard.blogspot.com/2006/07/open-letter-to-two-old-ladies.html

  10. 31 Girl says:

    I was pretty sad about going out to San Diego next week and leaving my family behind but after reading about your horrific travel experiences I am so glad that I will be going cross-country alone. I have never flown with either of my girls and now I never plan to. If we can’t get there by driving then we’re just not going.

    (Hope Mr. Z’ and his family is all doing well after his grandma passing away.)

  11. shokufeh says:

    Does sound like a fun time.
    But, seriously, I’m hoping my MrMan grows up to be as kind and understanding as LilZ.

  12. callistawolf says:

    Hand the girl a medal! I’m still way impressed that you even tried this alone so bravo to you. And I’m sorry to hear you had SUCH A FREAKING AWFUL TIME getting home, but glad to hear you got home all the same. Our trip home was no walk in the park either, but after reading your account, I refuse to complain. :)

  13. brit says:

    Dear MrZ

    I totally heard that too

  14. Tara says:

    Dear God, what a nightmare. Glad you made it. And LilZ? Totally an angel and deserving of big rewards for doing his part to save your sanity!

    As horrible as the plane trip was, at least you had the option of keeping your boob in NikkiZ’s mouth. That’s the big drawback of travelling by car–no breastfeeding, at least not while you’re driving. My son hasn’t been on a plane yet, but last year I saw how a breastfeeding 5-month-old can turn a 3-hour car ride into 5.5 hours. I am so glad we are beyond that now, and that Teletubbies videos make long car trips bearable for all of us!

  15. Warren says:

    Does sound like a fun time.

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