I was going to just start posting cute snow pictures, but then as I started clicking through all the pictures from the last few days, I realized that there were a lot more than I expected. That's mostly thanks to Tim. I laughed at a few of them, and decided this needed to be documented.
These first pictures were from the Japan leg of the trip, when the takeoffs and landings broke up the day pretty well. The kids were all so thrilled at takeoff that you'd have thought this was their first time flying. We took off at 9:45 Saturday morning, and when the beverage service started, I was taken aback to hear the couple behind us order two glasses of wine each. I guess everyone has to cope in their own way. An hour-and-a-half later we landed in Iwakuni, where we got off the plane and waited two-and-a-half hours until the next flight. That one was maybe an hour or so to Yokota. Again we got off the plane and sat around in some room for about an hour-and-a-half, then boarded and sat on the plane for another hour while they sorted out the situation and baggage of a family with a child too sick to fly anymore. Horrible for them.
|Can you spot grumpy Rachael?|
We took off from Yokota, and it was eight-and-a-half long hours in the air this time, to get to Seattle. During this flight we were served dinner, and it's a challenge finding room for everything on these tiny trays and making sure no one ends up wearing their dinner. It didn't help that the trays were not flat -- they slanted downward toward our laps and had no cutout to put a cup in. As long as you had a napkin under your cup it wouldn't slide off. I decided to ask for water for Joey and keep it on my tray, forgetting that it needed a napkin underneath. Ice water right in my crotch! Fortunately I had my sweatpants to change into. It felt like we were served breakfast a few short hours after dinner, as we crossed the international date line at some point, and started Saturday over. If I managed to sleep during all of this, it was in short dozes. I read books on my Kindle most of the time, and tried to keep Joey happy.
Joey got so tired and uncomfortable as the hours wore on. He cried inconsolably and said, "Airplane done!" I said, "I want it to be all done too, Joey!"
We ran out of water and got so thirsty. We'd all gotten on with full water bottles and asked for water every chance we got, but those tiny cups were not enough. We were parched by the time we got to Seattle, which I believe was 10 a.m. We were barked at and herded through the Customs and baggage process fairly quickly, and went outside to wait for the hotel shuttle.
Our flight to Boston wasn't until midnight so Tim got us a room at a hotel close by, and got us early check-in so we could spend the day there resting and regrouping. Tim and I curled up on one of the queen beds and with the room bright and kids playing, went right to sleep. Tim told me I slept for three hours. He took the kids to Denny's for lunch or dinner, or something. I didn't go because it felt like we'd just eaten breakfast. Instead I enjoyed having the room to myself to shower and freshen up so I might not have to arrive in Boston looking like hell. Eventually everyone had showers, everyone changed, and we re-packed some things from our bulging carry-ons into luggage. The second hardest part of this trip, right behind the tedium and exhaustion, was keeping track of everybody's stuff: Kindles, chargers, sweatshirts, socks.. We tried so hard, but it seemed like things were being forgotten or misplaced all the time.
We headed back to the airport at the conservatively early time of seven, so although we'd had lots of time to rest at the hotel, the tiredness really kicked in while we were trying to kill time there. We took advantage of the USO, where the volunteers were very welcoming, the furniture was comfy, and there were plenty of free snacks and drinks. I took a nap in the little nursery area, along with Joey in his stroller. There was a mom there on her way to Okinawa with three kids and a dog, sans husband. My eyes were closed but I could hear her filling someone in on her journey on the phone, and I was in awe that she could be doing this by herself.
At last it was time to board for the redeye to Boston. By now, taking off had lost its thrill.
We flew jetBlue this time, and the experience was not the best. As Tim was setting Joey's car seat up he asked the flight attendant for a pillow to put behind Joey's back so the buckle wouldn't dig into him. He was told that would be $5, so he was like 'no thanks'. We might not have liked the old AMC plane, but at least we didn't have to pay for blankets and pillows. Then, once we were all buckled up and ready to go, the same flight attendant Tim had already talked to, came up to me and told me we had to move Joey's car seat to the window seat. What? This was beyond annoying. She had already seen Tim putting that car seat in the middle seat and said nothing. And now Annie who had wanted a window seat so badly after traveling in middle rows the whole way to Seattle, had to give up her seat. So we grumbled and complied. I hate stupid airplane rules that make no sense. The same flight attendant gave us two pillows to try to smooth our ruffled feathers, and it maybe helped a little. However, it was too late for Joey's back, as he was already strapped in and we were not going to be messing with him. He never complained about the buckle.
We all took a good two-hour nap to start, and were not happy when we woke up and found out only two hours had passed. Annie asked me how much longer at least 20 times. We watched a gorgeous sunrise and failed to get a decent picture of it.
Our flight was five hours long, and once we got to the east coast we jumped ahead three hours, so it was about 8 a.m. eastern time when we landed.
Up next: snow and cousin pictures. If Tim lets me, I might be able to steal time away from packing for the drive down to North Carolina on Saturday.