A first time for everything

Tags

,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-LAX

Well, it finally happened; I flew with a baby and lived to tell the tale.

My very dear friend, Maren, got married in LA last weekend and faced with the option to leave the baby at home or schlep him halfway across the country, my inability to part with my firstborn won out and we hauled H to California.

how to fly with a baby

Three checked pieces, one stroller base, one carseat, one carseat base, two carry-on bags…and a kid

Now, I knew there would be a lot of stuff to take with him but I don’t think I really realized the extent to which I’d have to completely recalibrate how I packed and prepared. Instead of streamlining to have all carry-ons, I accepted we’d be checking luggage and packed enough diapers for a month (because clearly there aren’t stores at which one can procure diapers in California). Rather than double-checking I had headphones for my iPad, I checked and re-checked that we had Penzey the Pirate (a beloved pirate rattle – yes, he’s named for The Pirates of Penzance). In lieu of ‘vulturing’ the boarding queue, we frantically packed up the stroller and carseat in their carrier bags before getting on the plane. In short, it was a completely new experience for more than just the baby in tow.

We set out nice and early for the airport and were shocked and pleasantly surprised to nab a front-row parking spot in the Gold ramp which made unloading all the easier. Once in the terminal, we were off to the Delta check-in counter where we were again surprised by how smoothly everything went. We felt somewhat lighter once we had checked our three suitcases but there was still plenty of baggage on hand.

gate-checking stroller

Gate-checking

At the MSP airport, the big Delta checkpoint by door six has a family lane through which we were expedited. The best part of this was that it meant we got to go through the pre-check scanner and thus not remove our liquids or shoes. I typically pride myself on how few baskets I need to get through the security conveyor (one in summer, two if I have a heavy coat), but it was almost laughable how much conveyor space we needed this time. E was a football field away by the time we got everything loaded.

Baby H was then introduced to the wonders of the Delta lounge where we had a nice long break before we had to board for LA. He enjoyed looking at the lights and people as we walked him around and even nodded off for a brief catnap.

Finally, it was time to see if H would continue the good-naturedness he typically displays once up in the air. I’m thrilled to report that he did great. The flight had enough empty seats that they were able to give us all three seats in our row which gave us a lot of extra space and comfort. I must say, overall I was incredibly impressed with Delta and their accommodations for flying babies–they definitely made a tough situation much easier.

After this maiden voyage with the bebe, I feel I’ve gained some pearls of wisdom, including:

  • Check what you can. In retrospect, I think I would have opted to check the stroller/carseat mess rather than gate-checking them. On the one hand, it’s nice to not have the baby in a carrier or sling the whole time you’re in the terminal, but gate-checking all those items was a real pain (especially upon arrival when everything has to be re-assembled).
  • Go early. This one we did right. Although we were three hours early for our flight to LA, I’m glad that we weren’t trying to rush through security. Accommodating as everyone was, I can’t imagine how anxiety-ridden the experience could have been.
  • Fly direct. I know it’s not always an option, but getting on and off the plane was ridiculous enough without having to do it all twice. It’s worth the cost to fly from point A to B in the middle of the day. When you’re sitting in front of a computer booking the flight, it’s easy to debate the merits of saving a couple hundred dollars by taking a 6 a.m. flight or connecting through Chicago but it is NOT worth it.

All in all, it went a lot better than I expected. Once I gave in to the situation and realized this would not be the efficient travel to which I’ve grown accustomed, everything was great. ‘Let go and let [travel]gods’: Words to live by.

Plus, little H earned his wings:

Wings!

Wings!

Advertisements

Pumps on a Plane

Tags

,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: SNA-MSP

Apparently very confident after last week’s trip to Detroit, I was back in the air Wednesday morning and off for a quick trip to California.

Although the trip itself was short, a flight to Southern CA is no joke. As I knew I’d arrive and have to get moving right away (on both legs), I broke it to myself that I would have to pump en route. In an airplane bathroom. I did not take it well. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are my tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Although I was pleasantly surprised to find the plane had an outlet in the bathroom (how have I missed so many opportunities to re-straighten my hair in flight?!), this is not a guarantee. Thus, I purchased a battery pack for the pump as well as eight rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. I also brought a small cooler bag with frozen gel packs. (TSA will check and they must be frozen solid at security.)
  2. Get over it. As I realized in my trip to Detroit last week, you gotta just suck it up and roll with it. I don’t like talking about bodily functions with strangers any more than the next person, but I forced myself to get over it. I told the flight attendants what I was doing so that they wouldn’t beat down the door wondering why I was taking so long or try to make me take my seat if there was turbulence. (I also told them as I hoped they might let me pump in their flight attendant area in the back of the plane but no such luck.)
  3. Make others get over it. On my flight back, I caused quite a back-up of people trying to use the bathroom. Of course I felt bad that I had made them wait so long but I don’t have a lot of options here (see #2 above about hoping to use the flight attendant’s space). I walked out to find about 10 men glaring at me so I just held up the little bottles and said, “Sorry, baby business.” A few turned red. A couple gave nervous chuckles. I think we were all friends after that but you know what? I don’t care. A plane is a flying bus and we’re all doing our best to cohabit and get to point B.  Sorry that you have to fly with other humans.

Aside from pumping adventures, there was some other flying fun as well. First was the head flight attendant, Steve, who gave a very funny little diatribe about shutting off devices at the start of my flight home: “Ok people, I need them turned all the way off. You’re not clever just turning it to airplane mode. Let me tell you a little story about a guy who didn’t turn off his phone last week. His seat neighbor turned him in and now he’s on the FAA watch list for two years. So let this be your cautionary tale because today is my Friday and I don’t want to fill out that much paperwork. Just turn ’em off.” Message: Received.

Also on the way home, I sat next to a very old woman. Very. Old. She was nice enough but probably shouldn’t have been left alone in a middle seat (graciously, her son and daughter-in-law were sitting up in first class. The son sort of offered to switch seats with her when we were about an hour away from Minneapolis. She declined.). She spent most of the flight reading tabloids (favorite headline: “I’m the real life Tin Man”) and loudly hacking and sneezing into tissues which she methodically shoved under her legs until the end of the flight when she carefully drew them out from under her and stuffed in an air-sick bag. It was amazing.

Our pilot told us several times that we were going to arrive early in Minneapolis which could only mean that something would happen to ensure we didn’t arrive early after all. Just when I was thinking he might be right, literally seconds before we were going to land (the engines had been cut and everything), we abruptly aborted the landing and pulled back up into the air. There was some nervous chatter as we quickly climbed back up into the air before the pilot came on to tell us there was a plane that took too long taking off and was still on the runway when we were supposed to land. Neat. He also told us (once we were safely on the ground 10 minutes later) that it was only the second time in his 35-year career that had happened. Double neat. Please bookmark this under “Things I never want to hear from my pilot.”

At any rate, home once again, I’m looking forward to staying put. At least until next month. Which is tomorrow.

Back in the saddle

Tags

, ,

Trip type: Personal-ish

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-DTW

Hi. I’m back.

Isn’t it cute how I thought I’d post some old stories while I was out on maternity leave? Six months and one baby later, I’m back–and back in the air!

Concrete jungle

Concrete jungle

Last weekend found me getting my travel sea legs back under me by jetting off to Detroit for a Junior League conference (how thoughtful of them to have it so close to home for my maiden voyage!). I had been looking forward to the trip and dreading it in equal measure for a while so I was surprised to find it finally upon me last Thursday.

Compounding my anxiety about being away from H for three nights was the added stress of figuring out how to transport breast milk back [If this is not your cup of tea, you might want to cut out of this post now. Sorry, dudes.] Consider this post a how-to for moms who pump and fly.

Packing Tips

  1. In preparation for coming home again, I bought a soft-side can cooler which said it held about nine aluminum cans. I figured this should accommodate three days’ worth of milk stored in plastic bags. I also bought two Medela hard-sided bottle cold packs. I figured these would give some structure to the many bags and not get condensation like a standard cold pack.
  2. Made it home with the whole stash!

    Made it home with the whole stash!

    At the hotel, I made sure there was a refrigerator in the room. There actually wasn’t supposed to be one when I called ahead to ask, so I requested it. (Don’t worry if you don’t remember to request it, however; they sent me a nice little confirmation and everything only to forget to actually do it and had to send one up post check-in.)

  3. I packed my pump bag in a larger bag. I figured when I came back, this larger bag would hold the pump and the cooler bag. This greatly confused the TSA agent:
    “A big in a bag, eh? What’s in here?”
    – “A breast pump.”
    “A what now?”
    – “It’s a breast. Pump.
    “Oh.” And then he dropped it like it was hot and he was Snoop.
  4. Obviously, you’ll also need plenty of bags, a pen for marking, and a Ziploc bag to transport pump pieces to and fro. Oh, and I wish I’d remembered a cover but a scarf worked just fine.

I actually had a very nice time pre-flight at the airport and especially appreciated the woman with whom I bonded at Surdyk’s who told me “Motherhood is a sisterhood–all my love to you on this first trip away” when I got a little bleary eyed looking at her five-and-a-half month old.

A view from Saturday's booze cruise

A view from Saturday’s booze cruise

Naturally, the flight out did not go smoothly. Due to a fast-moving storm, we were grounded for about a half hour and then pulled out of line to re-route. Twice. It was not awesome. Just when I was starting to wonder if I’d be testing out the pump’s battery-powered abilities in the airport bathroom, we were off. Crisis averted.

Although I knew TSA policies would be on my side, I wasn’t sure if all the agents would be fully accommodating. At DTW on Sunday, I went to the Pre-Check lane and was delighted to find myself all alone with three TSA agents. I wasted no time announcing to the first agent that I had precious cargo and he loudly relayed the message to his two counterparts. The agent working the conveyor did go through my bag (“Wow, it’s labeled and everything!”) and swab it for explosives but it was smooth sailing other than that. I was very relieved to get everything transferred home successfully.

It was a little weird to be back in the air. Everything felt familiar but oddly surreal. It was like using an arm that’s fallen asleep to brush your teeth. You know you’re doing it right but it feels really strange. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it again soon.

Wide Open Spaces

Tags

, ,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-TUL

By the time I realized my last flight pre-baby would be to Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was too late to plan anything slightly more…glamorous…in its stead. Not that the purpose of the trip wasn’t worthy–we were attending some very good friends’ wedding in the bride’s home state–but the Southern Plains weren’t high on my list for a final excursion.

I knew when I saw we were boarding out of MSP’s A gate that it was going to be a small flight. The A gate is sort of the end of the MSP airport line and usually where you can find regional flights on teeny planes to places that aren’t quite as desirable/populated/connection-worthy as other locales. My assumptions were proven correct when we showed up to A6 with its 10 chairs and saw a lovely quartet in head-to-toe camo apparel discussing the latest copy of Guns & Ammo. Clearly my people.

The flight went smoothly enough and in less than two hours we found ourselves in Tulsa. You know the song (the Oklahoma song) with the bit about “where the wind comes whistling down the plain”? I can’t confirm I actually heard the wind whistle but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a tumbleweed across the Tarmac:

Looking lively on the Tulsa Tarmac

Looking lively on the Tulsa Tarmac

Seeing these surroundings, you’ll understand the surprise I felt when the pilot came on to say that we’d be parked for a little while because both grounds crews were busy elsewhere. Yes, both of them. I know I’m kind of a snob but I still had to laugh at this.

Luckily, it wasn’t long before Larry and Bob* were able to bring us into the gate and we were off and running for a weekend of excitement. The wedding was a blast and I was thrilled to find I could still handle the hora in 3″ heels.

Good thing we got there two hours early...

Good thing we got there two hours early…

The quietness of the Tulsa airport was definitely appreciated for the flight home where there were probably as many TSA agents as morning passengers. Sheryl and I were fast friends though:

Me: Do you like boots directly on the conveyor or in a bin?

Sheryl: How sweet of you to ask! We like them in a bin.

Me: Works for me! At MSP they seem to like them directly on the belt but I like to observe the local customs.

Sheryl: “Local customs”! I love that!

Well, I am a charmer after all. After E and I went through the line I don’t think anyone else came through our lane for a solid five minutes. It was incredible.

Home once again, it appears I will be in Minnesota for the foreseeable future. It’s weird to look at my Delta app and see that after several solid years of at least one flight a month, it’s as wide open as a Tulsa Tarmac, but so it goes. All for a great cause.

If you’re concerned with how you’ll live without me/the blog for a while, fret not. I have some more archive posts up my sleeve and will post as I get them written. Plus it’s only a matter of time until there are posts about travel with a kid. I preemptively shudder at the thought.

*presumed names

Feeling Lucky

Tags

Trip type: Personal-ish

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-LAS

As we’ve previously discussed, there are many different personalities on flights. NYC-bound passengers will throw elbows in order to board first. The Florida-bound group is slow to queue for boarding but will create a line 20 deep at the podium just to ask if there will be peanuts on the flight…and if this is their correct flight…and can they get a wheel chair? The morning ATL rush is all business and over-stuffed carry-ons. Las Vegas is a total crapshoot – and I don’t just mean in a pun-ny way.

Loathing Las Vegas comes naturally to some

Loathing Las Vegas comes naturally to some

I loathe flying to Vegas. If you’re going for fun, you’re surrounded by morons. If you’re going for business, you’re surrounded by morons who are going to have a better time than you. It’s pretty much a no-win situation with too much luggage (the majority of this flight is bound to be people who don’t travel much and think that the two carry-on rule is a suggestion and not a requirement).

If I sound cranky though, I’m really not. At least not this time because I was aces all the way.

Flying out on a Thursday morning can be interesting. Sometimes it’s quick and easy because business travelers either came home Wednesday night or haven’t started flying for the day yet and sometimes it’s filled with backpackers going on long weekends who don’t take their shoes off in an efficient manner. Luckily, not only did I get the former situation, I also got to breeze through PreCheck.

At the gate, I watched my fellow companions-to-be with some level of anxiety (“O-M-G, Shelly! I can’t wait to hit the slots!”) until I was called to the podium. Assuming I was upgraded, I gleefully bounded up to the desk only to find that I’d been quasi-upgraded to bulkhead in order to allow a couple to sit together. Meh. Fine. At least this was a plane where bulkhead came with storage under the seat in front of it–I hate when I have to put everything up.

Then, right as boarding commenced, I was summoned back to the podium.

Agent: “I just wanted to check where we moved you because if this guy doesn’t make his connection, you’re my first upgrade.”

Me: “Well, I’m five-and-a-half months pregnant, so that’d be great!”

Agent: “Oh! Well then. I’ll see what I can do.”

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, eh?

I boarded normally and wasn’t sitting there more than five minutes when the agent came on to hand me my first class boarding pass. Awesome. Seeing as we were flying over lunch, I was thrilled I wouldn’t have to worry if my snack supply would last the entire flight and had better proximity to the bathroom.

As it turns out, the seat next to me went to upgrade contestant #2 and he pointed out that sometimes the surprise upgrade is better than the one you know about. Couldn’t agree more, Chad; now leave me alone to enjoy my Sudoku and nap.

The Unkindness of Strangers

Tags

,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: BDL-MSP

Apologies for the delay on this post; it’s been a busy start to 2013!

The story I’m about to regale you with, from our flight back from visiting E’s parents in Connecticut for the New Year, includes another apology of sorts as I’ve been a little remiss in keeping you all up to speed…E and I are adding another traveler to the pack with a baby due this May. Whee!

(So yes, if you’re mentally counting, Phoenix, Montreal (and the failed trip to Montreal), and Tokyo all happened while I’ve been gestating. I’ll write a separate post on the perks and pitfalls of flying pregnant because it’s certainly changed my perspective on a few things. Like the fact that I should qualify for pre-boarding since it takes so much exertion to get myself on a plane these days.)

Anyhoo–we’re very excited for spring! It will definitely mean a bit of a hiatus on the ol’ blog but I hope you will forgive me. Just think of the posts to come of me flying with a child and all its accompanying crap! [Shudder.]

Back to my story. Thanks to our recent trip to Tokyo, we got upgraded on both legs of our Connecticut trip this December. I missed the free booze but E’s drinking for three these days so we got our money’s worth. The flight out went smoothly despite the long wait for some hydraulic meter to be reset and then de-icing but we arrived mostly on time and had a lovely and restful mini-vacation to the East Coast.

When we got our upgrade notification for the flight home, I was surprised to see that we’d been split up (2D and 4D). Upgraded beggars can’t be choosers, however, so we figured we’d just ask someone nicely to switch with us. Surely a Minnesota-bound flight would be filled with kind people who would want a pregnant woman to sit with her husband, right? Especially when we’re all in first class anyway? Wrong.

Assuming our best bet would be getting the person in 4C to move up to my seat in 2D, E told me to look as pregnant as possible as he asked the gentleman seated in the coveted seat. And he said no. No! Can you believe it? His father was in the first coach row bulkhead seat just behind him and he wanted to keep close. I mean, I guess I get this to a degree, but it’s a two hour flight and I was looking really pitiful. Sigh.

Onto contestant #2, the woman who came to sit next to me. I was already in my window seat and very pleasantly asked her if she would mind taking my husband’s seat in 4D, all while attempting to look as adorable and fat as possible. It sort of worked: like a true Minnesotan, I got a huffy, passive-aggressive, “Fine.” Really? It’s not like I asked you to sit in the last seat of coach that doesn’t recline. Or asked you to take a later flight. Or asked you to gouge your eyes out with cocktail skewers. I thanked her as graciously as possible and rolled my eyes at E when he sat down. People.

And finally, we were home and ready to start what will be a very exciting year. In addition to the addition, we’re also building a house and I’m becoming President-Elect of the Junior League of Minneapolis (erm, the day after the baby’s due date). So, you know, keeping things real. Real busy.

Next trip is this week actually–as President Elect-Elect of the JLM, I am off to a winter conference in Las Vegas. Gotta get the miles while I’m still able!

Tokyo Part Two: Turbulence, Tuberculosis and Time-travel

Tags

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: NRT-MSP

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Offering at one of the many shrines we visited

Offering at one of the many shrines we visited

Although the flight back was not quite as long as the flight taking us to Japan, it still felt like a small lifetime. And it wasn’t without some anxiety (naturally).

Turbulence

I used to be a lot more scared of turbulence before I started flying a lot. En route from Geneva to Cannes I was pretty sure I was going to have to actually use the emergency door at my right. Spring break 2005 on the way to Miami I was convinced I’d be in some ‘Spring Break Tragedy’ news special. At any rate, I’m much calmer now.

An amazing, larger-than-life Buddha statue

An amazing, larger-than-life Buddha statue

Usually. The flight home from Tokyo was crazy turbulent. E didn’t think it was so bad but whenever they make the flight attendants sit down and forbid you from getting up for 90 minutes as you’re rolling around somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, I don’t care what anyone says: it is so bad. All I kept thinking was that it was all my fault for scoffing during the flight safety video where the redheaded Delta spokeswoman tells you where the emergency rafts are in case of an unlikely water landing. Sigh. As you can tell, however, we did end up surviving. And I was finally allowed to use the bathroom.

Tuberculosis

As evidenced by this blog, I love to travel. I really do. That said, I loathe trying to sleep on international flights. There’s nothing like that anxiety of knowing you’re going to arrive, either at your destination or back home, and be a hot mess of a jet lagged zombie. I get myself all worked up about trying to sleep–or at least rest–and am usually unable to get more than a solid hour of sleep. Considering I catnap through every take-off, it’s astounding to me that I can’t will myself to sleep.

On our flight home, I was very tired. So tired that I thought I might actually con myself into some sleep. Alas, this was thwarted by the gentleman behind me who I swear had tuberculosis. He was hacking and wheezing like nobody’s business and was doing it at just the right interval where you would have lulled yourself into thinking he was going to finally shut up only for him to start the nasal chainsaw all over again.

Needless to say, there was no rest for the weary.

Tokyo Tower - strongly resembles my favorite tourist attraction!

Tokyo Tower – strongly resembles my favorite tourist attraction!

Time-travel

My favorite part about international travel is that I feel like I’ve found a rip in the space/time continuum. It makes me absolutely giddy to think that we left at 3pm Tokyo time and landed in Minneapolis at 11am on the SAME DAY. It seriously never gets old. Science!

Sorry for the delay on this post; I know you’ve been dying for the wrap-up of this trip. I’m actually typing this last bit from the Delta lounge in Concourse C of the MSP airport (which seems oddly appropriate)…figured I had to finish this before we take off again–in 75 minutes!

Hope you’ve all had wonderful holidays–more travel nightmares to come in 2013! (And maybe even 2012 depending on how this morning goes.)

Tokyo Part One: The longest journey

Tags

, ,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-NRT

Much like the pilgrims, we spent this Thanksgiving in a new country (because I’m so pilgrim-like). E’s sister and brother-in-law moved to Tokyo in June and we could not resist the opportunity to visit a new country (and continent!) with our very own personal tour guides. In my infinite travel planning wisdom, I thought that the week after Thanksgiving would be the perfect time for a week out of the office. This logic was pretty good except for the part where it meant we needed to fly out the day before Thanksgiving…you know, the busiest travel day of the year.

Luckily, MSP had things under control and the lines were not horrible when we showed up three hours before our flight (skipping the line with the status card didn’t hurt, however). After bumping into some friends and former neighbors (and E giving a wave to some lawyer he knew who was getting a pat-down), we had ample time to sit in the Delta lounge and catch up on work before setting the Out-of-Office replies and getting on our way.

Well, trying to anyway.

Boarding went smoothly enough and we were soon strapped in and ready for our 12+ hour flight (a direct flight seemed like such a good idea when I booked it buy OY that makes for a long sit). And there we sat…and sat…and sat some more until finally the pilot came on to say that they were waiting for the print-out of how much weight we were carrying. I still cannot figure out how, on a plane that took over an hour to board, they could not have this done in time for an on-time departure. Not that I’m not used to sitting on the Tarmac waiting for Delta to be ready to go, but seriously? And just like that, our 12 hour flight became an hour longer. Sigh.

Tokyo Park Hyatt view

View from the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt (the bar from Lost in Translation).

But we made it! And Tokyo was phenomenal–truly. The city is mesmerizing, the food is incredible, and it was great to get some family time in a new place. A few tips should you venture to Japan anytime soon:

  1. Like the Brits, the Japanese drive on the left…which means they also walk on the left side of the sidewalk. It took me about three days to get out of everyone’s way.
  2. There is no graciousness like that of the Japanese culture. Do not reach to snag a shopping bag once your transaction is complete; the associate will walk you out of the store and hand it to you.
  3. Eschew your American tendencies to get to the front of the line all the time. The Japanese line up in marked queues at the subway stops and wait until passengers have disembarked before getting on the train.

    Kamakura shrine

    Gorgeous shrine in Kamakura

  4. On that note, never worry about making a train–they run every few minutes without fail. No need to make a mad dash.
  5. Smoking is generally allowed in restaurants but not at sushi counters.
  6. Soba might be one of the best things ever invented, right behind soup dumplings.
  7. An earthquake is nothing to get overly concerned about (usually). We were at the Park Hyatt’s New York Bar on the 52nd floor when a 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck. E thought it was fun. I thought it was terrifying. The waiter asked if we wanted more rice crackers.
  8. It’s almost impossible to mentally calculate what something really costs between dollars and yen (at least for this English major). Don’t sweat it; it’s all money well spent.
Mori Tower View

The view from the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower – Mt. Fuji’s in the background

All in all, a great time. We unfortunately did not venture far outside of Tokyo but were hardly left wanting for more to see and do. Although we were dead on our feet for a few days due to severe jet lag, we agreed that it was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken.

Second post about our trip home to come!

Montreal Take Two: Finalement!

Tags

,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-YUL

After all the excitement of attempt #1, we were a little anxious about getting ourselves back to the airport the next day. We left very early and the driving went smoothly (we even got a front row spot in the Gold ramp) and E was able to slowly make it through security without turning his neck aggressively.

Soon enough, we found ourselves in the Delta lounge, and in the proximity of a threesome of travel-uppers.  You know, those annoying people that have to one-up everyone around them with their exotic destinations/travel disasters/near-death experiences. It is excruciating–especially when you’re their audience.

“I am SO jet-lagged from that leg we just did from Hong Kong!”

“I know–it’s almost as bad as that flight when we went to Machu Picchu.”

“Where are we going after this trip? I wouldn’t mind going back to South Africa.”

“I’ve been there twice now…what about southern Vietnam? I hear the beaches are terrific.”

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal in Old Montreal

And this went on and on. And on. I could almost feel how badly they wanted my attention. It was like watching a really horrible community theater production where the actors are begging you to like them.

I have to say though, having the travel-upper troupe as our biggest aggravation was a welcome respite after the previous day’s shenanigans. And, finalement (as I would say if I were a real Québécoise) we were in Montreal!

It was my first visit to Montreal and the city was everything I hoped it would be–great food, lovely people, a familiar dialect (eh). Plus, we had a lovely time seeing E’s family and celebrating a great wedding (gotta appreciate a family with a love of hitting the dance floor).

Updates from previous post:

  1. E is feeling much better, thank you for asking (seriously–I was overwhelmed by the nice comments and offers of help). He will likely need some treatment still, but we are hopeful for a full recovery.
  2. There was a lot of whining, but she’s embracing the harness.

    Realizing what a disaster the accident could have been if Bella was with us, we purchased a car harness for her while waiting in the Abbott emergency room (no joke–from E’s phone). She doesn’t really love it but is a good sport.

  3. The car was deemed a total loss. Honestly, I think this is for the best. It’s sad that we just bought it in June and now it’s gone, but I’d rather drive something that didn’t need 25+ new parts. And, you know, started. Next car purchase under negotiation.

Montreal Take One: The trip that almost wasn’t

Tags

, ,

Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP-YUL

A funny awful thing happened on our way to the airport last week…we never got there.

Thursday afternoon we were en route to the airport from downtown Minneapolis when we came to a dead stop at the 35W/62E split (this color is more interesting if you’re familiar with the Minneapolis highway system. If you’re not, just imagine a newly overhauled highway bypass where an interstate splits from an over-burdened highway and the sight lines are almost nonexistent).

Stopped in the airport exit lane, I glanced in the passenger rear view mirror just in time to see a cab coming full speed into the back of our car.

I don’t remember a lot of what happened next but apparently I uttered, “Oh god” and then the cab was in our trunk and we were ramming into the SUV in front of us. E absorbed the brunt of the impact as we were mostly hit on the driver’s side but despite this, he lived up to his Intrepid E moniker and used the burst of adrenaline to ignore his injuries and take hold of the situation. He asked me if I was ok, called an ambulance, and got us out of the car before calling our insurance agent’s office from the 62 shoulder abutting 35W.

Two Ginsburgs, one hospital bed: awaiting x-ray results

There is an airline story in here, promise. You know that whole “when you can’t control something, control anything” saying? That was me in the back of the ambulance. Right after my vitals were cleared by the EMTs, I got Delta on the phone. After explaining the situation and the fact that I was in an ambulance headed for the emergency room, the Delta agent not only confirmed us for the next direct flight to Montreal, she expedited it within minutes, told me there would be no charges whatsoever, and said she’d get me off the phone and send an email confirmation momentarily (for the record: I had the confirmation by the time we were out of Triage. Impressive.).

I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the 5+ hours we spent at the Abbott Emergency Room. E ended up with the worst injuries because he turned to look at me at the last second (verified by the X-ray attending) which resulted in a sprained neck, among other tedious injuries to his shoulder and back. We’re hopeful he’ll make a full recovery in time.

Thanks to the comforts of modern medicine, we did make our rescheduled flight the following evening. More on that to come. For now, our sincere gratitude to the MN State Troopers and incredible EMTs. Not my favorite trip but certainly one of the more memorable.