Well I obviously didn't have enough fun on my first solo plane journey with the "Brothers Grim" (Archie 4 and Oscar 1) and volunteered to do a second one. It wasn't without its reward, a week in Florida was a nice fat juicy carrot but this is like the Hunger Games...with Toddlers, I survived the first round so the second round is more complicated. It thankfully had less flying time i.e. confined in a small smelly tube with strangers being strange and passing on all their germs via recycled air *shudder* but it now included every mode of transport except a boat trip.
The Grandparents live nearly 2hrs south of Tampa Airport and you need a car where they live so when we arrived we hired a car, despite them offering to take me and the boys back to the airport I had to return the car. So now I had to get Me, 2 crazy boys, a buggy, 2 Car Seats, 2 suitcases, 3 bags, 2 Teddy's (Toby and Ducky...part of the family) and.... a picnic thanks GG on a 2hr drive AND a 2hr flight. I was thinking it would be nothing compared to the first journey, dare I say confident even, but as the husband pointed out this would be like driving from home to Bradford and then flying to Spain. I'm not going to lie, Oscar braking his wrist the day before wasn't... ideal but it just made things interesting and after the Dr drilled a split in the back we were good to go, it took my mind off "worrying" which was refreshing...every cloud and that.
Stage 1 Drive from Englewood - Tampa Airport
I managed to get up 20mins before the kids and grab a shower, it was strange though unlike the first time I didn't feel like I could be sick onto my feet, I just felt pumped and a little nervous...put it this way though I managed a brew AND a bowl of Cherrios this time. So the car was packed, the cast was split, the goodbyes were done and with the sun creeping up it was time to go. Now straight off the starting blocks the first challenge came, it probably hasn't rained the whole year but it decided to absolutely down pour just as I hit the I-75, now I'm British I'm friends with rain but this is more like, I hope you can swim. Its literally like someone is throwing buckets of water on the windshield, also bad driving isn't limited to Texas unfortunately, driving on the wrong side, the inside lane is the outside lane, the outside is the inside and the middle is just a free for all (don't even start me on how you can turn right on a red light) so this all got a bit hairy. When Oscar spat his dummy out and started to cry I thought I might join him but we held it together and all of a sudden the rain was gone like it had never been. Really the roads went bone dry, so weird.
The car had to be returned with a full tank of petrol or they charge you $9 a gallon for them to fill it...I felt like laughing and informing them (again) that I'm British and that is cheaper but it was the principle - still cant get over the fact that I can fill my 2L Engine Car here for £24.74 (yes I worked it out) but it costs £80 at home. I had already checked though there wasn't a petrol station next to the airport so I would have to pull off before, however this was like a game of chicken because if I pulled off too soon the car wouldn't be full by the time I drove there. Not to mention you cant take a simple turn off in USA and instead of just pulling into a service station getting some petrol and a brew then be on your way you pull off, without doing anything your on a 9 lane highway to South Carolina! Anyway after this mishap, 6mile trip in the wrong direction I managed to get the "Gas" and get to the airport on time.
I dropped off the car and luckily at USA airports they have people with huge trolleys to help you with your luggage for a tip, I would always use these people it was the best $10 I ever spent they take you right to the correct desk and load it on the belt. Despite them not having Archie and Oscars tickets ...I was thinking happy days ha ha but they sorted and we were checked in. I must say this time round people were much more helpful someone put my buggy in its bag, when I went through security they were really helpful putting stuff on and off on belt...it was a bit excessive to scan Oscars cast for drugs but who am I to criticise US immigration. Then it was flight prep, first we had to take a train to the terminal, then we got a bite to eat ESSENTIAL before a flight they usually don't cater for kids and then your stuck in the air closer to heaven but feeling like hell. We then had a quick loo break all piling into the disabled cubicle, I really appreciated it when I took my quick turn for a wee and Archie shouts to the crowded toilets "Mam are you having a poo as well?!" I even heard someone laugh but that's kids.
We boarded the plane no problem, apart from us though I think everyone was on a Saga holiday so unfortunately there wasn't a single seat free for Oscar so he was on my lap again. We hit lucky again and had a nice lady next to us who was a Grandma and willing to let Oscar wallop her with his cast a few times. Archie was quick to step up as well too though by getting out the crayons and doing a few sketch's, then announcing "Mam I'm drawing that fat women in front"....gulp. After a few wrestling match's, luckily Oscar nodded off then the i pad got us the rest of the way though the flight and once again I was beyond happy to land in Houston and to see the hubby who took us straight out for a well deserved lunch. I DID it again and I suppose I'm becoming a bit of a pro at this...but I would rather have any other hobby in the world so I wont be making more solo plans soon I cant take the wrinkles.
Um... sorry Mam!
Little split for pressure.
Lets do it!
Bye Grandad LOOOOVE YOU.
The road ahead.
Toby and Ducky.
Hanging in there #fakesmilesx2
Well earned "Fish Finger Sandwich"
Happy to be back Texas.