We got back from vacation on Friday and spent the weekend recovering...who knew that a 2-hour time difference could leave all of us so TIRED?
I decided to split up the trip deets into several posts...both to keep my attentive readers coming back for more and so I could do the trip justice. We really did have an amazing time! So, without further ado, I'll start at the very beginning...a very good place to start.
Friday, May 7-Saturday, May 8
Our first flight was scheduled to depart at 9:55 pm. We decided to fly overnight for several reasons:
1. The flights were cheaper
2. We hoped Kyle would fall asleep at some point, reducing the chance of him throwing boredom tantrums and disturbing the other passengers
3. We could avoid flying all DAY, which would waste valuable time with which we could fill other activities
We were supposed to fly from SLC to Denver, from Denver to Atlanta, and then Atlanta to Myrtle Beach. We made it to the airport in plenty of time to check in, get our bags checked (and, thanks to my sister-in-law who knows EVERYONE, we got the fee waived), and move through security, where Kyle received a strangely high amount of attention. Turns out in the Middle East, terrorists have used little children to transport explosives (not that we are or even remotely resemble terrorists; it's just a formality now to check toddlers). We boarded the flight without too much trouble. Here we are, getting ready to depart!
We let him sit by the window, and he had a blast watching the trucks get the plane ready for departure.
Unfortunately for us, there was a snag. A crucial part of the plane was malfunctioning, and we had to wait until it was repaired before we could take off. It seemed like a simple fix, but more and more problems kept cropping up. We ended up sitting on the plane for an hour and a half before we were asked to deplane because the flight was going to be canceled. Great start to our vacation, right? After heading back to the terminal, we had to stand in line with 175+ disgruntled passengers and reorganized our flight itineraries. Instead of waiting until 9:30 the next morning for the next flight to Denver, we managed to squeeze on to a flight going to New York that was leaving at 12:50 am. We rushed to the gate and managed to board just in time...but we had to check almost all of our carry-on bags because the flight was full and there was no overhead storage available. We had a duffel bag that we were told we could put under the seat in front of us, so we kept that. Unfortunately, we had been assigned the seats right behind first class, which do not have under-the-seat storage space. We just kind of tucked the bag into the corner and figured it would be okay. This incited a terse conversation between an ever-so-pleasant flight attendant and me:
Flight attendant: (snidely) Oh, you can't have that THERE. It should have been checked at the gate.
Me: (annoyed) We were told at the gate that we could put it under the seat in front of us, but as you can see, there ARE no seats in front of us. We didn't think it would be a problem.
Flight attendant: Well, we made the announcement FOUR TIMES that any unsecured luggage has to be checked. You should have heard that.
Me: (super annoyed) We JUST got on this plane! We haven't heard any announcements yet!
Flight attendant: Well, I'll just have to find space in the overhead for it.
She proceeded to cram our bag into the overhead compartment roughly. I seriously wanted to punch her. Perhaps this seems like a rather ridiculous conversation to get so furious over, but remember, we had just deplaned after sitting for an hour and a half before our flight was canceled, I'm 8 months pregnant, I had a rather tired 2-year-old in tow, and it was 1 AM. Plus, I'm rather well-versed in hospitality and customer service, and let me tell you, this girl SUCKED.
After the bag debacle, we finally took off. Kyle was pretty excited at this point, because in his experience, being on an airplane didn't entail anything like that. He was so tired, though, that he fell asleep halfway through take-off and he remained asleep for the majority of the flight (minus a few stirrings). I was really surprised at how good he was. When we landed, the man across the aisle even commented on how well-behaved Kyle was. I breathed a sigh of relief.
We landed at JFK just after 6 AM. They must not have turned the A/C on, because the airport was super HUMID! We grabbed a quick but overpriced bite to eat at the Burger King in the airport and sat at the gate for our next flight to Atlanta. Because of our haste in getting on the plane to New York in SLC, the rest of my family didn't get their boarding passes for the rest of our flights so they had to talk to someone at the gate (they processed us separately since we have a different last name than the rest of my family)...
By the way, if you've never had to deal with airline employees, I kid you not--it's just like you see in the movies: you ask the employee a question, they type on their computers for a MILLION years, and then give you an extremely unhelpful suggestion. This process repeats about 20 times, and then they FINALLY come up with a solution. By the end of the conversation, you want to strangle small, furry animals and you wonder why the airline only manages to employ imbeciles. Plus, they only come to the gate about 30 minutes before a flight is scheduled to depart, so you always end up rushed to get on your flight because you can't POSSIBLY conduct business with an airline employee in less than 30 minutes.
No exceptions here. My dad battled with the employee almost until the final boarding call for our flight to Atlanta. They finally got their boarding passes and we all got on the plane. Our track record for seating assignments didn't improve much, though...we were assigned the seats on the LAST ROW of the plane, right next to the bathrooms (eww). However, this flight was not full, and the row of seats opposite us was empty, so naturally we spread out. This is what Kyle did for the majority of the flight:
I tell you, this kid can sleep anywhere.
I had the unfortunate experience of watching my ankles swell to elephantine proportions. I've NEVER had ankle swelling while pregnant or while flying, so it was quite a shock for me. Since we were able to spread out, I was able to elevate my feet a little bit, but I was still super uncomfortable...and I may or may not have whined a lot about it.
We arrived in Atlanta and started our 4-hour layover. We grabbed some lunch (also overpriced!) and hunkered down to play a game of Phase 10. By this time, Kyle was the only one of us who had gotten more than 1-2 hours of sleep in the last 28 hours, so we were pretty loopy.
Our flight from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach was only about an hour and a half, which was good news for Jessica of the swelled ankles. The flight attendants barely had enough time to serve drinks and snacks between reaching cruising altitude and starting the descent. Kyle slept the majority of this flight too, but he woke up before he was ready and launched into a stellar tantrum 20 minutes before landing. Fortunately, we were seated behind a couple whose baby cried at take-off and we were surrounded by hilarious (and wonderfully understanding) older couples, so we didn't offend too many people.
We landed, deplaned, and were EXTREMELY grateful to be done with airplanes. Our next challenge was locating our luggage. Our carry-ons that we checked at the gate in SLC made it to Myrtle Beach with no trouble, and our original checked baggage would arrive later that evening. We counted our blessings, then waited for my parents to pick up the rental cars:
We were so totally exhausted that yes, we laid right down on the airport ground. I still had the most unfortunate cankles as well, so I had my feet elevated to reduce the swelling. After some hiccups at the rental desk (like we didn't have enough hiccups to that point) we loaded all of our crap and headed to the resort...and only got lost a couple of times.
From here, things got better. We checked into the resort and found out that we could be upgraded to a larger room, which we, of course, did. We also had a stellar view from our balcony:
Yes, that is the beach directly beyond the pool area. It took us 5 minutes to walk there. We changed into our suits and headed right out there while my parents went to grab dinner. After playing in the waves and enjoying the extremely soft sand, we took a dip in the swimming pools (which were a LITTLE too cold for my taste but still completely refreshing). My parents returned with dinner, which we ate at about 11 PM, and we all collapsed into bed.
Oh, and by the way, my cankles did go away. :)
*Stay tuned tomorrow for the story of our rebellion, the missionary phone call, the opened mission call, and Mother's Day!