Saturday, 3 February 2018

Travel Turbulence

Kiddo and I were scheduled to visit my parents for two weeks. A two-hour drive from Kingston to Ottawa, two-hour flight from Ottawa to Saint John, and a short jaunt from the Saint John Airport to my parents' house. Totally manageable. But some restrictions applied. Specifically, travel both ways must occur on the weekend so Husband can drive us between Ottawa and Kingston without missing work.

No problem. Travel day booked for Sunday, January 7th. Flight time 2 pm. Keep Kiddo awake on the drive to Ottawa, increasing the likelihood he'll sleep on the flight. We'll roll into Grammie and Grampie's house right around supper time. Perfect.

Tuesday before trip: I experience stabbing pain in my ear. What is it they say about flying and ear infections? Don't worry about it, it'll clear up by the weekend...oh crap what if Kiddo gets an ear infection and I don't know until we're in the middle of takeoff and he's screaming his head off...Ok, stop catastrophizing...but what if...seriously, stop it.

Saturday: Kiddo pukes on Hubby. Cue images of being puked on all the way to Saint John...Or what if I'm the one puking while trying to take care of a toddler...at the airport...all by myself?! I was all set to reschedule the trip right then and there. Exorbitant fees be damned. (I've never purchased the insurance or more expensive 'flexible' ticket in my life.) My husband and mother's combined efforts talked be out of changing my flight.

Sunday morning: Bags were packed, everyone was healthy, the sun was shining. Phew, this is going to be a good travel day after all. I probably made the mistake of saying that out loud.

The two-hour drive to Ottawa went off with minimal fussing from Kiddo--thanks to Cars 3 on my laptop. Lunch at McDonalds, then to the airport we go...

Before heading up to the check-in desk, I pull out my phone to check my confirmation code. I have an email from Porter Airlines sent one hour ago: IMPORTANT - Flight Change Notification. Shit. The flight from Ottawa to Saint John is cancelled, we're booked on a flight at noon the next day.

To make that flight I would have to stay in Ottawa overnight with a toddler, our giant suitcase, car seat, stroller, and two carry-ons. And no car (or help) because Hubby has to work in the morning.  For work reasons, he can't leave the Kingston area from 8 am Monday morning until 8 am the following Monday. Adding to the fun, it's starting to snow. Hubby really has to get his ass back to Kingston while he still can. Kiddo and I either get on a flight today, or the trip is postponed two weeks and we get back in the car right now for the two hour drive back to Kingston.

Cue meltdown number one.

Post meltdown, I head up to the check-in counter to investigate other options. There is a flight to Moncton leaving at 8:30 pm. Wrong city, but right province....and that's only eight hours to kill at the airport with Kiddo. Sigh.

Husband heads back home while Kiddo and I settle in for eight hours at the airport. It's ok, there's a Tim Horton's, a play area, and I still have my laptop with a variety of kid shows and movies on the hard drive.

5:30 pm: Kiddo is busy licking cream cheese off a bagel. I'm so sick of the play area I want to burn it down. I glance up at the flight status display. My flight is leaving at...No that can't be right...10:30 pm. I check my email: IMPORTANT - Flight Delay Notice. Fuuuuck.

Instead of his usual two-hour nap, Kiddo has slept for all of twenty minutes today (in my lap). And now I'm supposed to keep him entertained until THREE HOURS PAST BEDTIME?!

Cue meltdown number two. (Kiddo, by all accounts, is blissfully ignorant of any problem.)

I consider calling my Husband and telling him to get his ass back to Ottawa, we're going home after all. But it's snowing pretty hard out there, making that a questionable option. I called my mother instead. Cause, you know, there's lots my parents can do about it from 1200 kilometers away.

Turns out there was something they could do. Call the aunt and uncle who live 5km from the Ottawa Airport. (Yes, I should have thought of that hours ago.) Mercifully, Kiddo and I were able to escape the airport for a few hours. Kiddo slept while I obsessed over the status of our flight. It was delayed one more time.

10-ish pm: A groggy Kiddo and I go back to the airport. A little buzzer goes off as the guy at security scans our boarding passes that says we have already been through security once that day. I experience an instant of panic. Will they lets is through twice, or assume we're a mommy-toddler terrorist duo? He doesn't even bat an eye. Perhaps we're not the only ones to have done this today.

We boarded our flight at 11:20pm. Approximately eleven hours after first arriving at the airport. Kiddo slept for about half of the short flight. He did not sleep during the 'should have been two-hour but turned into four-hour (thanks to a blizzard)' drive from the Moncton Airport to my parents' house. We rolled into their driveway around 5:30 Monday morning. Three hours of sleep later, Kiddo was raring to start the day.

Stay tuned for our next installment: Rain, More Rain, and a Power Outage.

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