Combination Disasters, Part 1

The next few posts are going to focus on what I will call Combination Disasters: Two or more things that, although perfectly good alone (sometimes), are simply no good when combined. 

For example, five kids and an airplane.....that gets delayed for an hour and a half AFTER boarding. (Think Three Men and a Baby, only, the baby is on steroids and the three men aren't at all funny. Actually, no, let's just stick with five kids and an airplane.....)

When Kurt decided a few months back that we were in fact going to take the entire family out to CA for his 10 year Stanford Business School (GSB) reunion, I practically begged him to go without us. It isn't that I didn't want to go back out to CA: I really love CA, at least parts of it. And it isn't that I didn't want to take some sort of vacation. I mean, we can all use a little break sometimes, right? But I really didn't fancy getting on an airplane with five kids, well actually, one kid loomed large in particular: the 15 month old Solomonosaurus. The idea of being trapped on an airplane for four hours and then having to conduct life with this barrel of Solomonkeys in a tiny hotel room for five days just didn't sound like much fun. 

So, after much stress over wardrobe and packing, the day finally came and we arrived at the airport and easily made it through security. (And I have seriously saved you like three hours of reading just typing that one sentence and not looking back at the details! You're welcome.) I asked Kurt to keep an eye on the baby while I went to fetch some breakfast for the kids. When I got back, Hans Solo-mon had a lovely bruise and scrape down the side of his face where he had apparently picked a fight with the only hard corner in the airport. I personally considered this a blessing though: random ER trip averted! Yay!

Pretty soon we boarded the plane and sat down, eagerly waiting to see if the person next to us would kindly switch with Aidan who was sitting by himself in front of our other two rows. When the nice guy finally arrived, I think the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Excuse me, but would you be willing...."

Very Nice Guy: "YES, Certainly! Yes, yes, yes, Thank you!" 

I didn't even have to finish the sentence practically....apparently he was pretty perceptive (or had already gotten a good look at our crew in the lobby) and realized his fate was far better off NOT sharing a row with two parents and a Solomonstrosity.

So, we're sitting on the plane, heading toward the runway when the plane stopped and the Captain came on over the loud speaker to let us know that all departing planes had been grounded due to weather. Yay! But never fear, we'd be able to stay on the plane and wait it out. (Yay again!) And we did. For an hour and a half. With conversations like this:

Kid: "Dad, can you check the weather report?"
Kurt: "Yeah, just a second. Hey, Liam, open the window shade. Ok, the weather report says there is a 100% chance of thunderstorms right now."

And then, after a while, the kids sang "camp songs" to a quieted and weary plane. The other passengers were so thrilled. I could tell by their sweet looks and kind whisperings.


But, apparently the kids don't take requests because when I asked the amused men a few seats ahead if they wanted to hear Lily's Louis Armstrong impression, she quieted up real quick.

Meanwhile, Joe Solomonggio decided to practice his pitching skills and chucked the Sky magazine into the row next to us. The man who caught it (in the face) was reading a tiny book called, "Done: What Most Religions Don't Tell You About the Bible."

He seemed very polite but he hardly got my joke when after a while I told him, "If this delay takes much longer you will be DONE with that book before we even depart." Apparently he doesn't like jokes. Or maybe it was just really bad. Or, most likely, he couldn't even hear me over the kids who had moved on to Oh, Susanna and Skip to My Lou and Yankee Doodle and any other such song likely to get stuck in your head for the next 4 hours. At any rate, he seemed to be stuck on a particular section the entire flight (probably a How-To Guide to Loving Thy Noisy Neighbors on an Airplane).

We tried to make light of the situation of course, telling Liam all about when we were kids and they would actually let the kids into the cockpit to see the pilot and all the buttons and stuff and then would send you away with your own set of wings to wear proudly on your shirt. But, "Too bad Liam. You don't get to do that." (Which got a good laugh from the two young women sitting in front of us anyway.)

And then finally, the pilot told us we would be heading to the other side of the runway because of course the winds had changed. Luckily, we were the first in line to take off. After being in the air less than 2 minutes one of our kids yelled out, "Are we almost there yet?" And that's when I realized I forgot to pack our DVD's for the trip.

Yes, seriously.

Ok, apparently I was wrong. They do still do this as Liam got to spend the entire boarding time (for the flight back) with the pilot....not sure why I was the only paranoid one who thought maybe this was a bad idea.....really, don't they need to check things, like engines and fuel levels and whatchmacallits without the distraction of tiny boys sitting there asking questions and likely to push the wrong thing without them knowing it? And seriously, is this like the longest  caption ever???

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