We have returned! And my oh my, what an exciting trip. Well, at least the actual traveling part of the trip was exciting, though not in a good way. The actual visiting part was nice and relaxed and quite pleasant, though exciting would be a stretch. But all in all, a great Thanksgiving! Here's the travel portion of the story, to be followed in the next few days by the visiting portion of the story, complete with pics. (You don't want pics of this next part, trust me!)
Our flight(s) out were more eventful than necessary, owing to some inexplicable traffic that kept us on the island FOREVER and made us uncomfortably on-time for our flight. This delay was compounded by a kiosk snafu caused by our "special item," the car seat, which was apparently too much for both the online check-in and our subsequent kiosk check-in as well as two different desk agents too handle. Why oh why do airlines have policies if none of their employees bother to read them? Eventually, we did get our boarding passes and headed over to crack Charleston security, where our suspicious chocolate milk and apple sauce caused our bags to be screened separately (even though I had separated these items and alerted the screener, per TSA regulations). Then I was told I had to be screened separately as well, since I brought in the apple sauce, so over I went, holding J and had to hold out first one and then the other arm, still while holding J because the kid had no shoes on, since his shoes were being x-rayed, of course. The screener was VERY careful going over my pregnant belly, clearly the most suspicious thing of all, while J was dangling precariously from my arm and the husband was busy trying to gather up three people's worth of shoes, bags, and strollers. And what to our wondering ears should appear but the gate agents calling our flight moments after we finally escaped security. Thank you, Charleston!
Coming home was just as eventful, if more, umm, humiliating? Checking in was a nightmare of disorganization, and security was inordinately protracted, even without special screening. The flight from Phoenix to Atlanta was long and oversold, so we ended up with a window and a middle seat next to a woman who promptly fell asleep as soon as we took off. Fine for her, but not so good for my bladder, since it meant I got up only once to hit the facilities with J. The flight was okay besides this, but just before we landed, J fell fast asleep, perfectly timed, of course, since we had a tight 30 minute connection in Atlanta. So I got off the plane with him and went to the gate to sit and wait while the husband waited for the gate checked stroller. And waited. And waited. And waited...until finally the pilot arrived and went down and up came the stroller, after everyone had already gotten off the plane. The husband came roaring out, threw J in the stroller, slung my bag on back and took off running, since we were at A1 and had to get to B1, two entire concourses away. I ran off after him, holding my belly, and, after a few gates, realized the flaw in my bathroom planning. That's right, ladies and gentlemen: I peed my pants. The pregnant bladder can only handle so much, and running on full is apparently not in the cards. So I slowed down to a fast walk, which was fine, but I saw the husband getting further and further away and realized this would never do, so I blessed the fact I was wearing black pants, steeled myself to the inevitable indignity of it all, cursed Atlanta, and alternated running and peeing with fast walking. Needless to say, by the time we arrived at our plane, I was soaked. And dying a little inside. But there was no rest for the weary, as we were virtually the last people on board. I am trying to ignore the fact that then we waited at the gate for another 20 minutes for a maintenance person to sign some sort of paperwork, as the pilot kindly informed us.
As I said, no one wants pictures of what we all looked like by the time we got to Charleston, by which point J, too, had wet through his clothes, there having been no opportunity to change anyone in Atlanta and no chance to get up on the next flight. We were happy to be home and only slightly the worse for wear, but I do wish things had gone just a TAD more smoothly on the way back (or that I had packed an extra pair of pants)!