Our last week in Atlanta was a BLUR. We had all of these wonderful, ambitious plans -- we were going to finish packing by Friday at noon and then we were going to invite all of our friends and neighbors over for cocktails on Friday night. On Saturday we were going to take the kids and their friends to the park and then go to Ben's soccer game. I know you're laughing. I can hear you from here. Yes, you are right, NONE of that ever happened. The closer we got to Saturday, the more behind we got -- the list of to-do's seemed to multiply each night while we slept. We kept hoping that we would have time for proper goodbyes... but we didn't even finish packing and putting away the house until 45 minutes before the cab showed up!
Finally the bags were packed, the house was empty, and the cab was on its way:
That is 8 duffle bags to be checked, and 1 carry-on per person.
So, totally exhausted (because Ian and I did not sleep much on Friday night), we headed to the airport. The boys were bubbly with excitement and the flight to LAX went smoothly. At least I assume it did, I wouldn't really know -- Ian got upgraded to first class and he gave me his seat! It was one of those wonderful little cubby areas where the seat reclines to a bed and they serve cocktails and food the whole flight. Aaaah...
Once we got the LAX, our trip started to get trying. We arrived in was the middle of the night (our time) and the boys were weary. We had a very long walk to the international terminal. When we went to check in we discovered we were all seated in different parts of the plane for the 15 hour flight! The VERY kind lady behind the counter saw our faces and managed to find 3 seats together and 1 up a row. We still had an hour before boarding, so we went to the gate and found the last 4 seats. As soon as we sat down the boys fell asleep. DEAD asleep.
The boys were so asleep that, when the flight was boarding an hour later, we couldn't wake them. We finally got Ben roused enough to be on his feet and I carried Nik while Ian carried all 4 carry-ons and tried to keep zombie Ben from falling over or walking into walls. When we got on the crowded bus to drive to the plane no one offered us a seat!
We managed to get on the plane, get in our seats, and settle in and the boys quickly went back to sleep. They had been hungry so I tried to wake them for the meal service. I tickled them. I poked them. I passed the chicken in front of their noses. Nothing helped; I just could not wake them up. Wonderful, I thought, they will sleep for 8 hours and we will all feel better.
No such luck. A couple of hours later, when everyone else on the airplane was deep asleep and the cabin was dark, they woke up. And couldn't go back to sleep. So they were awake for most of the flight. I sat next to them trying to keep them quiet which was very hard because I couldn't access the snacks or entertainment I had packed for the flight! The Quantas seats are set up such that you have almost no room under the seat in front of you so all of your stuff was goes in the overhead bins which are so high that I could not reach them. Luckily there was on-flight entertainment which kept them reasonably quiet until more people started to wake up:
Can I complain about sitting in steerage on a 15 hour international flight? I felt like a sardine in a tin can. When the person in front of me put their seat back, it was pressing on my KNEES. I felt claustrophobic from having the seat in front of me in my face. After what felt like hours and hours of this I was miserable so I asked the kind flight attendant how much time was left and she looked at me in disbelief and said, "We're just a quarter of the way, honey." I just wanted to cry.
We finally arrived in Melbourne, got through immigration, and waited for our luggage. And waited. And waited. Then they announced over the loudspeaker that Benjamin *** needed to report to the luggage office. Uh oh. It turns out only 1 of our 8 bags actually left LAX. The other 7 are still sitting there. Eventually they will be delivered but not before Ian's meeting Tuesday morning. The Quantas lady was VERY nice about it -- they gave us cute little baggies with toiletries and PJs and some money to pay for new clothes for Ian's meeting.
Which bag of the 8 made it? Why the camping gear, of course. 2 of the sleeping bags, the water bottles, the long undies, and the geologist tools. Very useful.