Exactly one month ago we left Florida and headed back to the chilly north. I figured I should get this vacation series done before another month flies by!
We woke up very early on Thursday, day eight, so we could check out, grab some quick breakfast from the lobby buffet, and head to the airport, just 10 minutes away. Alan dropped the kids and I off and went to return the car. We headed for the luggage check/print tickets line. It was longer than I was expecting at 6:15am. We waited, mostly patiently, and eventually got our tickets and checked some luggage. Then we headed for the security long, which was LONG!! So long. I guess Orlando airport gets a little more business than our local MHT. So we waited, and waited, and waited! We eventually we got through and started running. They have a little train thing that takes you to the gates, so we had to ride that. When we got off we heard a last boarding call over the loud speaker. We RAN! We made it to the gate, just before they closed it. Then we were faced with finding seats on a packed airplane where the only available seats were single middle seats. Alan took Eve and I took Lex and we tried to find seats together. I was able to get a woman to (grumpily) move to a different seat so Lex and I could sit together, and as I turned around I saw Eve settling in between two men and Alan heading for a row or two up. I almost cried! I grabbed the closest flight attendant and begged her to help. Eve is too young to sit alone! I couldn’t believe how many excuses people had for not moving. In hindsight I should have given her a lollipop and told the people next to her to have a nice flight! I bet they would have been begging to switch seats real soon. However, at 7am, after running through the airport, I was not amused. Finally a guy agreed to move over and Eve ended up sitting across the aisle from me. Thankfully! I know it was our fault for being late, but we were at the airport an hour before our flight. Sigh.
After all the excitement, and the complete disappointment that my efforts for the A group boarding were in vain, we settled in and the flight was fine. I was exhausted and resorted quickly to the digital aides.
They had no complaints.
Since we were shuffling people around on the flight anyway, I had made the wise decision to do so as close to the front of the plane as possible. When we landed in Chicago we were able to get off the plane fairly quickly and make it to our next gate. We even had time to grab a quick snack and watch them load the luggage onto the plane. I was happy to see our suitcases go on!
I have to take a moment here to bid a fond farewell to my lovely backpack. It saw me through many years of college, kids, travel, and much much more. The rip in the front seam has been there for awhile, but when a large hole appeared at the shoulder strap I figured it was time for retirement, before disaster occurred! It was a wonderful backpack and will be missed.
As we boarded our final flight home the attendant made a dramatic announcement that the flight was… practically empty. She suggested we all spread out. Once again my A group boarding efforts were in vain. Oh well. This time Alan sat with Eve and I sat with Lex.
Eve was happy to show Alan all the drawings she did in her Doodle book. A great impulse buy at CVS before the trip! It kept her busy for hours!
He quickly resorted to the digital aides as well. We were all pretty tired at this point.
Lex, however, had been inspired throughout the trip and decided to take this final flight time to draw plans for a new train track. It included slides and flying trains and much more. He was on a roll! He even built it as soon as we got home!
We arrived safely in Manchester where everything was dirty and gray. Florida was so shiny and clean and not covered in salt and sand! It was nice. We got back to our dirty car and headed home.
A wonderful vacation was had by all! Alan liked it so much he even suggested we do it again! Music to my ears! We just need to recover from this trip first. :)