Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kids on a Plane

I think it is funny that parents who travel with small children figured out the zip lock bag collection the quickest. I'm just glad that Will is finally at the stage of his life where he can be entertained by exciting new toys packaged in plastic bags. And Alex is at the stage of his life where he doesn't know the joys of mobility, so he is perfectly content to hang out on my lap during long flights. Those are the secrets to traveling alone with 2 kids on a plane.

Here are the kids enjoying their hats on a plane...

Will thought Alex looked hilarious

Eating makes Will happy, and funny looking

Crazy Trip

Of course, while the actual travel on a plane part went splendidly, the rest of the trip was pretty much a disaster. Here is the rundown...

Original flight: Saturday from LA to Denver to Charlotte. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time. However, the Denver weather did not cooperate. Our flight to Denver got delayed longer than our Denver layover. We stood in line for over an hour at the customer service desk with very little line movement since some flights to Hong Kong were messed up and a couple of people were taking all of the time of the 2 representatives at the desk. Finally, closer to our flight, we were able to talk to the agent at the gate, Sean, who helped us figure out that it would be better to leave the next day and fly through Chicago. Although my suitcase was already checked and probably would beat me to Charlotte.

Next day: Sunday flight from LA to Chicago. After flying a few hours, the pilot announces that the amount of delay to get on the ground in Chicago is at least 2 hours (the amount of layover time we have). Since we don't have enough fuel to circle for that long, we are going to divert to Indianapolis to get some more fuel.

Collect Information: After we land, I give Dan a call and ask him what is up. Since Dan knows many things, he tells me that it looks like, yes, I will probably miss my connection in Chicago, and that the rest of the flights from Chicago to Charlotte seem to be full. It is possible that I will get stuck in Chicago overnight. To get even more information, I also speak with the flight attendant to ask if it is possible to get re-booked from Indianapolis to Charlotte. She says it is possible and that I should speak with an agent in the airport to figure things out. However, the news from the pilot is that most likely people won't be allowed off the airplane. But, a survey is taken to determine who is interested in getting off in case it is allowed.

Sudden Deplane Event: After hanging out on the tarmac for a little while, the flight attendant comes up to me and says, you can get off now if we are quick. So, myself and 5 other passengers quickly deplane. We get off in the middle of the tarmac as there was not a gate available and get into a non-airconditioned van for transport to the terminal.

Crazy government agency rules: The driver of our van takes us over to a gate that leads to the terminal. However, a certain government agency representative says that we can't stay on this side of security because we have "luggage." You know, our pre-screened carry on bags. He directs us to another gate that leads outside the airport. We get dropped off near baggage claim.
Oh where are the airline representatives: The kids and I go to the airline counter where ticketing takes place. No one is there. We stand in line for a while, no service. So, I decide to talk our way to the concourse even though I don't have an Indianapolis boarding pass. Government agency allows us to go through security. However, on the other side of security there are no airline representatives except for one stressed out gate agent who is very rude and can't help me. So we go back out of security and ask what line we should be standing in, Check In or Ticketing. We are told Ticketing. No representative shows up.

Poor Kids: By this point both kids need new diapers, both kids need food, and I need to use the bathroom. However, I don't want to lose my place in the line that doesn't move on the chance that a representative will actually help me. So I try to call the airline and talk with someone on the phone who might be able to help. First call... busy signal. Next call... actually get a representative after being on hold for more than 15 minutes. She is working on the issue, then... I reach down to try to comfort poor Will who is tired and trying to rest his head on his car seat and I lose the cell phone signal!

Re-Book Success: Soon after the phone attempt to get re-booked to Charlotte, I am told I am in the wrong line and that I need to go to the extremely long check-in line to get help. So, I go to the end of that line, continuing to try to call the airline representative to see if something happened before I got disconnected. I finally get through and they tell me that they re-booked me on the 5:15 flight with another airline, but that I need to check-in to get boarding passes before going through security. However, it is 4:55 already. Once I get up to the agent at the other desk, they say that the plane door is closed and that they have to rebook me. Unfortunately the person who does re-booking found out that my first airline incorrectly re-booked me, so it is kind of a mess to fix. However, seeing that I had two hungry children on my hands, and knowing that I had spent more than an hour standing in the other airline's line, she said she would take care of it while I went to take care of the kids. I could come back once they had their needs dealt with.

So we go through the dealing with kids needs process and return to the counter much happier. We go through security once again (the 4th time of the trip) and get food on the other side of security, then hang out and play with toy Hummers near the gate. All else goes smoothly.

Will loves his backpack and moving walkways

Actually in Charlotte
We made it to Charlotte! I worked at a customer site during the week while the kids hung out with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Tim, and Aunt Debbie. Except for a few backwards diapers, they had a great time!

Um, Disney picture and diaper tabs go on the front
Silly new-fangled diapers!

Dan arrived for the weekend. Here are all of the Kroboth boys.

It was really hot during the trip, so it was good that the kids got to go swimming...

Will sporting a hot pink life jacket and a pink noodle to help him float

Alex swimming with Grandpa

Alex hanging out at customer site during testing

We hope to avoid any long trips between now and Tamarra's NY wedding in August, but you never know. Perhaps one quick trip to Minnesota for work before Alex starts crawling, thus ending his happiness at hanging out on my lap in a plane.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

What does This Mean?

I took these pictures last night on the floor of our living room...

plastic star-shaped slinky and candy necklace

expandable with water fishie towel


coloring book and crayons

train hat and train suckers

lots of fun stickers and crayons

glow bracelets

2 knitted hats (made by Aunt Robin)

glowing, spinning led top

2 tic tac boxes with tic tacs

play-doh, bear and alligator shapers

magna-doodle with 2 push pin magnets

toy car and hummers in bag

So what does it mean?
  • Will and Alex prefer plastic bags to their normal toys?
  • We are trying to protect the toys from germs?
  • CSI: Toybox
  • Something more sinister?
Obviously it implies that we need newer, more modern carpet. We know that part. It's part of the master house plan. But in addition to the carpet, what does it mean?