Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Telluride, Part I: Tales from the Turbulent Bird

Let me just start with telling you how amazing this trip was, y'all. It was awesome. Beautiful mountains, days of skiing, great food, and time with family all smashed into one hectic, crazy, and blissful week. I know I'm not going to be able to sum everything up into one post, so I won't even try. I'm going to have a hard enough time just trying to narrow the pictures down. I figure the best place to start is at, well, the beginning.

I must admit that I was slightly worried at the beginning of our trip. Scratch that, I was petrified. I was terrified of that big steel bird in the sky (actually, the TWO birds) that we would have to ride in order to get to Colorado. I wasn't worried about turbulence (though I later learned that I should have been) or meals or safely. No, my worry was the confinement. Being trapped in a narrow, enclosed space with my kids without any ability to escape. I've been on those planes where the kid behind you kicks your seat rhythmically for TWO HOURS while his brother screams his head off for chocolate milk. I just didn't want us to be that family. The one where everyone claps when you get off the plane. The one where everyone groans when they see you step onto the tarmac with three young children and a diaper/activity bag the size of the the Rock of Gibraltar slung across your back. Little did I know that I had a whole 'nother monster to fear that was lurking, waiting for us in the clouds.

Overall, the kids did great. They were genuinely excited to be traveling and could not wait to see the airplanes. We gave them cinnamon rolls at the airport for breakfast and what kid doesn't love sugar to start the day? Their excitement was also amplified by the fact that we let them ride the moving sidewalks in the airport when we were walking to our gate. Who knew unbridled joy could be obtained from a constantly moving piece of metal?

(I was about to dismember the dinosaur that Adah is holding by the end of the day. She insisted on only holding him by his tail and we had to stop every 10 yards for her to readjust her hold on him because he kept slipping out of her little sweaty hands. I didn't want to stunt the budding archaeologist though. The things we do for our kids ... )

(I also just noticed that I haven't said anything about Luke. He stayed home with Mimi since we thought he was still a little young for the trip. He had a great week at home doing what he does best ... being the center of attention!)

Ok, enough side banter and parentheses.

We finally boarded the plane and the kids were great! They got their first pair of wings from our geriatrically-challenged flight attendant (another story for another day) and had tons of fun reading those lovely in-flight magazines. They actually enjoyed the safety guide the best. At least they would know how to open the emergency exit if we really needed it.

And then we were off. There were no tears, no screams, just ... quiet. I was amazed. We were armed with DVD players and movies, but we didn't even have to pull them out. No one mentioned a thing about ears popping or anything else. They entertained themselves with books and other things. It helped that they were split up between different adults, so each of them got some one-on-one time ... something coveted in our house. Everything was going splendidly until ... (cue evil music) ...

About an hour into the flight I realized that I didn't feel too great. We had been experiencing some moderate turbulence for about half an hour and it was starting to get to me. We were on a small plane, so the turbulence was further amplified by that fact as well. I used to get motion sickness as a child and though it has subsided a lot as I have aged, it still can creep up every now and again. On top of that it was hot, very hot. As I looked around I noticed that everyone was fanning themselves and some were even visibly perspiring. Peyton was beside me and seemed to be feeling fine. I turned around to see how Sam and Adah were doing and my heart sank.

Sam was slumped down in his seat and his face was a pea-shade of green. Adah was sitting on Matt's lap with the same look on her face. Crap ... stupid hereditary disorders. We already knew Sam was prone to motion sickness (he lost his lunch when we drove to the mountains last summer), but not Adah. I tried to give them some Dramamine to help but motion sickness really needs to be pre-medicated and it was a little too late. The turbulence continued (going on one hour now) and I took Adah from Matt's lap so that he wouldn't be stuck with both of the sickies. As soon as I sat down with Adah, she lost it. Out came breakfast all over my jeans and backpack. We got maybe 30% of it in the airline supplied sick bag (and by the way, those bags are waaaaay too small ... I'll have to write a letter to Continental about that) and the rest went on me, the backpack, and the floor. Adah didn't get any on herself. Lovely for her. And the irony of the whole thing was that I had anticipated this and actually packed an extra shirt for myself in my carry-on, but no extra pants. How kind of Adah to soil the only piece of clothing for which I had no replacement. Thanks babe. She did proclaim, "I feel better now!", immediately after depositing her breakfast on my lap though. So at least ONE of us was in a better place after that episode.

In the meantime, Sam was going downhill. Matt took him to the bathroom as a preventative measure, but he wouldn't do anything in there (they are still pretty terrified of throwing up). As soon as he brought him back to his seat, Sam threw up all over the seat and floor. At least no one got it on themselves this time. At this point I started worrying about all the other poor people on our tiny plane. I was afraid we were going to start this chain reaction of puke where our kids puking grosses someone else out and then they start puking and then the person next to them starts puking and so on and so on. But everyone seemed ok at that point. Actually, everyone pretty much ignored us, which was fine with me.

Attempting to clean up vomit on a plane is, in one word, sucky. There were no towels. There was no carpet cleaner. There was no air freshener. We did the best we could with lavatory paper towels and a pack of wet wipes. And yes, I did have to wear my vomit jeans all day. I actually doctored them up well enough that you couldn't really tell that there had been anything on them. There was the faint aroma of cinnamon rolls as I passed by, but my hope was that people would think I was sporting some new exotic perfume instead of hours-old puke. The next plane ride was MUCH smoother and the kiddos were great. They didn't even complain about having to get on another plane after the whole first plane fiasco.

Sam, post-puke. Armed and ready for repeat scenarios.

After all that, I can say it was worth it for the trip that followed. Like I always say, you haven't really lived until you've worn puke as a fashion accessory. More photos to come from the (thankfully) vomit-free remainder of the trip soon!

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