Friday, 25 July 2008
On Saturday we left the house at an ungodly hour and headed for the hell that is Heathrow Airport with an extremely patient taxi driver at the wheel. We had some last minute shopping to do so he drove us around until we found a 24 hour petrol station which stocked what we needed.
Check-in was a piece of cake, as long as you don't mind standing in a queue for 30 minutes for the airlines to dispatch adequate staff to check-in luggage. So was breakfast, if you don't count that my husband threw away my half drank Starbucks coffee which was my very first one since the start of my diet back in March. He almost didn't get to go on the trip with us and I warned him to not be quite so zealous about tidying up. That must have been a first.
Our seats weren't together so I had Sebastian and Marc had Abigail in the row behind us. Sebastian fell asleep not long after dinner. Abigail did give Marc a bit of a rest but she was so excited she was literally bouncing. Glad I wasn't in that row.
Connecting at Chicago wasn't without its usual stresses. First off we realised that our flight was delayed by 50 minutes although at the time we didn't know why. We needed to take a train between terminals and just as one arrived, Abigail announced she needed to wee. Seb and I got on one and Marc took Abigail to the toilet.
Then as I was passing through security, the alarm went off. I knew it was the underwire in my bra. It always is. I was told I needed to pass my passports and boarding cards to my husband who was trying to corrals our carry on luggage and our children and our shoes whilst I waited for that ever elusive female security guard to pat me down. I handed these to Abigail with clear instructions to her to hand them to Daddy. Naive of me, yes.
The female guard finally appeared and confirmed that my bra had some serious metal in it but nothing that could be used to commit an act of terror, thank goodness. I went and helped Marc to pick up our bits and bobs. and we made our way to the gate for the next leg of the journey. As we sat down I asked Marc where he put the boarding cards. He looked at me blankly. I looked at Abigail. I panicked.
I went running back to the security station. We turned that place upside down and couldn't find our passports or boarding cards. I went back to our gate and started unpacking our carry-on. Lo and behold in the front pocket of a backpack, there they were. We have no idea who put them there. Abigail says she gave it all to a man. Someone was watching over us and being extremely helpful which just never happens at Chicago O'Hare Airport.
I called my Dad once my blood pressure had returned to normal to let him know we were going to be a bit behind schedule. He then informed me our delay was probably because a place had skid off the runway at O'Hare earlier in the day so he thought we might be a bit delayed.
Back up went the blood pressure. I headed for Starbucks.
Once in Kansas city, the humidity (90%) and the heat (100 F) hit us like a brick wall. We boarded a bus to go to get our hire (rental) car. Once we had confirmed that the air conditioning was operating at deep freeze we set off for the final leg of our journey.
What the children hadn't realised was that our final destination was still a couple hours away and every 5 minutes the are we there yet chorus would crescendo. As we turned on to State Highway V, I informed the children that after a taxi-plane-train-plane-bus-car journey we were nearing Popa and Gramma E's home. We came up over the last hill and we could see the big red barn.
Now Abigail and Sebastian (and I) were bouncing. We had arrived! Finally.