Dazzling highs and spectacular lows

Friday, July 25, 2008

I’ll start with a summary, because this could be a long post.  Or I could just get really pissed off talking about it, and keep it short, and go do another load of laundry instead.  Anyway, basically, we are home from our trip and it went simultaneously a lot better and a lot worse than I had expected.  Does that mean it’s even?  Not sure.

Anyway, let’s start with the good stuff, because people say you should focus on the positive.  Right?  Callum was great.  Callum grew up a bit while we were gone, as he really sits up now very straight for long periods of time, he’s addicted to chewing on great chunks of bread (even if he often chokes on them), he’s been sleeping well, and I think he dropped his night time top-up dream feed.

Oliver had a really good time with both sets of grandparents, his (second) cousins and other family, like his Auntie Lizi.  As ever, keep him busy, and he’s a happy kid.  We were mostly able to do that.

We did a lot of shopping, and as every store in the UK seemed to be having a sale to woo in customers in their ‘credit crunch’, we got some really good deals, even with the exchange rate!  We all got a lot of clothes (in particular, I got a really gorgeous skirt from Monsoon).  I also got the boys of bunch of stuff with their printed on it, like stickers and trucks, and I got Callum a CD of nursery rhymes with his name in it (just can’t get their names in Canada).

For once, I was really spoiled on my birthday!  (Mark is normally pretty useless at that sort of stuff).  I was cooked eggs benedict for breakfast, after unwrapping an egg poaching pan (perhaps now I’ll be able to cook them properly).  I had already ordered myself a new Orla Kiely bag on Mark’s behalf, and it’s awesome.  The boys got me a gorgeous necklace (which I wore to the wedding, see picture later on).  And some Cadbury Fruit and Nut, which I could seriously live on, so luckily it tastes like crap here at home.  I also got some cash and a generous Marks & Spencers gift voucher (which we quickly spent in that sale).

The next day, Mark and I left the kids at his mum’s house for 28 hours (not that I was counting) and drove down to deepest Norfolk for a truly lovely (and posh) wedding.  It was one of his oldest friends, and he was in the wedding party.  We had a really good time and I banned talk of children (except in passing to the other guests who had also not been allowed to bring their kids, which we all agreed was wonderful).  We stayed at a nice little B&B that served a great breakfast.

And then, it all went downhill…

(I AM CURSED – I JUST WROTE THIS ALL OUT AND THEN LOST IT ALL – RAGE! RAGE!  I can’t even bear to type it properly again)

  • The car broke down on the way back from the wedding.
  • We didn’t get to see any of my family, including my recently-released-from-hospital grandmother, because instead of visiting them, we had to get towed to Mark’s dad’s house.
  • After spending hours getting everyone and everything ready to go home on Wednesday the 23rd, we got to and through the airport in really good time, and then discovered a flight delay.
  • We spent 5 hours waiting in the small terminal for more information about the flight, with (a) Callum who kept vomitting, for some reason – like full on vomiting and not just his normal spit up; and (b)  Oliver going completely stir crazy, not napping properly (where was he meant to sleep?!) and running out of diapers.  And both of them kept having stuff, you know, bust out of their diapers on their clothes.  I am not sure why the containment was ineffective.
  • We were provided with food vouchers after probably everyone else, like us, had already bought lunch.
  • The food vouchers could only be used for formula and not baby food because apparently babies are not meant to eat.
  • Around 5:30pm (we got to the airport at 10am), we were finally notified that the flight was canceled and that we would be sent by coach to a hotel, and we’d be picked up at 6am for a 9am flight.
  • There were no diapers in Olivers’ size on sale at the airport anywhere and we only had 2 left (and of course, he’d refused to use a toilet or a potty the entire trip).
  • We collected our bags and somehow go to the hotel.  One of the bags’ handles broke.  It’s already hard enough to push 3 suitcases, 3 carry-on bags and 2 pushchairs.
  • Extra tired Oliver + small room full of stuff to get in to trouble with + tired and frustrated parents = lots of yelling.  Good god, that was bad.
  • Positives?  Thankfully Mark’s dad only lives a half hour from the airport and brought us some diapers for Oliver, and some toiletries we had left behind.  The hotel fed us and it was okay.
  • I had to wash Callum’s bottles in the hotel room sink with shower gel.  This is not a good thing.
  • On Wednesday when we went through customs, they made us sample the baby formula that was already opened in a bottle, and didn’t bother with the rest of the small cartons or food jars.  So after we got our vouchers, I stocked up on milk and food for Callum at the airport so I had enough for Thursday.  On Thursday when we went through customs, the guy made me open and sample EVERYTHING thus making some of the food and most of the milk completely useless as it was going to be off (and leaking) by the time I’d need it.  If I’d known they were going to do that, obviously I wouldn’t have wasted money on it.  I told him to throw it all out.  We had to buy it all again.
  • The flight on Thursday actually took off around 10 or 10:30 am because it took the airport so long to process all of the passengers again, and we didn’t actually queue up to check-in until 6:30am – and we were on the first bus that got there.

And somehow, we are home and no one was killed and now we’ll get over our jet lag and do 10 loads of laundry and get back into old routines.  And next time we need to go (personally I’d prefer not to be in an airport for the rest of my life right now), we’ll get some money off our tickets.  But I’m not really sure they’ve adequately compensated us for our own experience.  Just slightly worse than, let’s say, a couple travelling on their own who just might have had to call work to say they weren’t going to be in as expected.

The last few days really, really sucked.  I think we need an additional voucher for Mark’s dad’s gas and mileage, marriage counselling, respite services to catch up on sleep, an effective toddler discipline course for parents, and more. Perhaps I will write to the airline.  Or send a video of all of us recreating the crying and screaming and yelling.

2 Responses to “Dazzling highs and spectacular lows”

  1. geepeemum Says:

    Oh. My. Word. That last bit sounds like a complete nightmare. Now I’m seriously fretting about flying to the States on Wednesday!

  2. EWiller Says:

    I am quite sure your trip will go wonderfully and no one could possibly have a worse time than us!! Except maybe that Qantas flight…

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