Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Airport Accidents

Saturday – Airport

IMG_3900 (800x600)First hurdle. The weigh in.

We HAD to make weight, but unlike MMA fighters, we couldn’t toss the bags in the sauna for a few hours to cut the excess. We had to do this old-school. Sort and Throw.

If you recall, we began with a ruthless slaughter of all the liquids and aerosols . That saved about 40lbs. It’s all stuff we’d purchased here so no big loss.  Here you can get a jumbo-hulk-sized tube of toothpaste for $1. And gun for the same price. Sadly, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world wouldn’t let me get a gun. Not even a short-barreled AR-15 with a folding stock. So, yeah, no need to pack that.

However as much as we threw away, we made sure to pack ALL the boys’ toys. If we got home and found they were missing a sock, the weatherman predicts 0% chance to tears. But miss packing President Business, and watch out. Hurricane warning. Tsunami warning.

IMG_3366The biggest worry was the large bag. It was made in a day where the airlines didn’t care what size bag you had. It was made in a day where they didn’t steal 3” from your leg room to fit in a few more seats. It was made in a day when stewardesses all looked like models and didn’t threaten to have you thrown off the flight if you asked for a foot massage.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell if a bag is 40lbs or 45 lbs by lifting it. However, the oldest nearly blew out an eyeball lifting it, so we could be in trouble. As we lumbered with the bags towards the counter, I was ready to do some repacking.

To our delight, there was no one at the counter. Now, being me, in the old days, I would have waited until someone came, then checked the bags. But this is Joe 2.0 and it ain’t always about the rules, yo, so I took the heavy bag and weighed it on their scale. Sure enough, it was over by about 10lbs.

No worries. We redistributed all our stuff in minutes and weighed the bag, again. 39.9lbs.

Perfect. The boy nearly teetered over backwards with all the extra weight we’d stuffed into their packs, but we’d done it.

airportA coffee later, we checked in. No problems. Then we retired to the waiting area. Planes roared towards the sky. Passengers rushed to and fro most looking seriously late for something. Not us, though. We were in no rush.

Which was good because the boys looked exhausted. But despite that, they were in good spirits (which is to say, they were not hitting each other with their backpacks or complaining about how uncomfortable the seats were or demanding unreasonable things like the airport have video games stations.)

The worst that happened was the oldest managed to spill milk over everything. At home, you spill a glass of milk and the counter or table gets wet. In an airport waiting lounge, fate dictates that it get spilled on everyone, and the seats and the bags. In fact, I’m pretty sure the milk volume tripled the moment it left the cup.

Ah well. Easy enough to clean up.

While the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world sponged milk from my crotch, someone fell in love with the youngest. She was an adorable little thing. Maybe 18 months? I dunno. Young, anyway, and walking, but not much beyond that. Red hair. Pale skin. White dress. Puffy bunny in her arms. She laid her eyes on the youngest and stopped running. She looked at him for a long, long moment, like she had seen a god, then went running back to her parents giggling.

She must have run back to see the youngest about 20 times. Each time she would stop, look deeply into his blue eyes, giggle a bit, maybe fidget, maybe hop from foot to foot, then run back, again.

IMG_3908I think the youngest will have to get used to that. He’s got blond hair and blue-blue eyes and looks like trouble. He’ll have no problem with women. Ever.

At 7, though, he just thought the little girl was annoying. He wanted the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world to make his paramour go away. But his mom was enjoying this far, far too much to send that little girl away.

“Oh, look! Here’s your girlfriend, again.”


“I think she wants to kiss you.”


“Why don’t you go over and say hi.”

“I’m never speaking to you, again, mommy.”

I have to say, it was massively entertaining. The more the youngest tried to ignore the little girl, the more she wanted him to notice her. There’s a life lesson there, if anyone was paying attention. Right now the oldest is the master of ignoring girls and it’s driving them nuts. Will he ever realize the power of aloofness balanced off with good looks? Will his brother?

I suspect one will totally realize it in time.

Eventually, though, we had to board the plane. I think if that little girl had any say in it, she would have sat on the youngest’s lap. If the youngest would have had any say in it, she would have been left behind.

But we got on the plane, the youngest sitting with me, the oldest with the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world. The trip was nearly over.

All we had to do was get home.

Food and Fidgeting

Saturday – Food and Fidgeting

We had some time to kill.

russiaIf there was a rule #2 of traveling, it would be avoid places Russia is likely to invade. But right after that would be make sure to eat at regular intervals. Hungry people are grumpy people. Little hungry people more so.

However, imagine you’re 7 and 11. Imagine you’re going on a dream trip to the most awesome place in the universe that doesn’t have mascots, cuz, you know, like, they’re creepy and kinda scary. Then imagine you’re IMG_3378forced to sit in a restaurant with your mom and her unbelievably amazing boyfriend as they discuss what pie they want the most.


Eating is likely the last thing on their minds. Waterslides. Rollercoasters. A themepark filled with lego. These are the things that are important. Not ‘do you want fries with your chicken tenders.’

Plus, we were so early that I could eat my pie one agonizingly slow bite at a time, which I kind of have to do anyway due to my stupid braces.

But the boys were awesome. Sure they fidgeted a bit. They vibrated with excitement to do… something. But they ate their food, they didn’t throw too many things at each other and they didn’t make fun of me when I almost left the restaurant without paying.

Embarrassing moment #1. I was so consumed with making sure we had the bags, the kids and my phone, I almost walked out without paying. At the door, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world put a hand on my arm and asked, did I pay? I hadn’t and turned around before I could be tackled or, worse, someone thought bad things about me.

“What would happen if you didn’t pay?” The oldest one asked as we walked back to the car, having paid.

“We’d be in trouble,” I said. “Likely, you’d all have to do dishes.”

“What? Why?”

“Because I would’ve run faster than you. They would’ve caught you.”

“I didn’t know we hadn’t paid.”

“Exactly. That would have given me the edge. That;s how I would have outrun you. Then, you’d have to do dishes until your fingers were all wrinkly and your skin was red from the super hot water.”

“Good thing we paid, then,” he said.

dishes“For all of us. You wouldn’t believe how guilty we’d have felt to have to watch you do all those dishes.”


I know one day these conversations will come back to bite me on the ass. One day they’ll ask, how can we take you seriously, Joe? And it’s a good point.

As much as I love joking around with them, I have to make sure that I don’t overdo it.

However, despite a LONG lunch, we arrived at the airport insanely early. Our bags were checked in. And we waited in the waiting area.

I marveled at how the boys interacted. They are each other’s best friends. They fight sometimes, sure, but watch them for any length of time and you’ll see how much they need each other, how much they like being together, how they love doing stuff with the other one.

IMG_2011 (2)When they play the 3DS, they share their triumphs and defeats, the tricks that they’ve learned, the funny things that just happened. When they’re watching planes come in or fidgeting and giggling while sitting in the waiting room or planning which ride will be the most awesome, the experience is simply better because of the love they share for each other.

I hope they never lose that closeness. They have no idea how valuable it is.

In a perfect world, we would have been able to walk right on the plane. But instead I got a chance to see the boys survive boredom together. I count myself lucky, even if they don’t.

On to San Diego!