Traveling With Kids – San Diego – The Last Morning Adventures

Packing Problems or Leaving It All Behind

We still had 2 great challenges to overcome in the morning. 3 if you include getting the boys up, getting their faces washed, their teeth brushed and into some form of clothes. Then it was off to one last big adventure.

face clothsThe first challenge was the ongoing battle with the hotel staff over face cloths.

Every day since the day we arrived, we ran out of face cloths. Hey, do the math. 4 people, 4 showers, morning face washings and, at some point, spot scrubbing of ketchup, blood or jam off of body parts…

The 2 they left us were just not enough.

So every night I would phone down and ask for more face cloths.

Now maybe this is a weird language thing. Maybe the americans call them wash cloths, or face wash-washies or gun cloths, but every time I ordered some, I just never knew what I would get. Or, to be fair, with my braces on, they may have heard ‘faith clouds’ or ‘fade gloss’ or something like that.

One time a nice maid delivered about 10 small towels. One time, despite asking for 6, one was sent up. Another time, a harried-looking janitor gave me an armful of them (and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world was not convinced they were that clean.) One time when we came back, we found that they had taken all of them away. All.

It was then that I began to suspect something was up. Like the maids who polished the floor to a slippery shine in order to kill me in Mazatlán, I think the maids got a good giggle over the whole face cloth thing. “Let’s see what they do when we give them small towels? They are Canadian, yes? I bet $2 they don’t say a thing.” “Ok, we didn’t’ give them anything? Everyone place their bets when they’ll notice.” “Omg, you should have seen his face when I gave him one.”

That’s ok. It took a few tries sometimes, but we got our face cloths in the end. And the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world being kind and empathetic, refused to believe my stories about the maid conspiracy and when we finally departed, she left them a nice tip for all the hard work they did on our behalf.

It’s something I would never have even thought about.

Nor did the boys either.

It’s why we need the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world with us. She is simply a nicer person.

So second problem: If anyone remembers about 400 posts ago, I mentioned Allegiant Airlines had a pretty strict baggage policy. Their biggest bag can only weigh 40lbs, but L+W+D can be an astounding 80”. I’m pretty sure if we cellophaned up the youngest, he would be qualify, but apparently they have restrictions against shipping children in the baggage compartment. Their other bags are, 9x14x22 for carry-on, and 15x7x16 for personal bags.

If we failed to meet those specs, the fines were hefty. A billion dollars or something like that.

When we left on the flight here, we barely made the limit and since then, we’d spent a whole week buying seaworld shirts, boxes of lego, rubber frogs, maps, suntan lotion, zoo cups, video games, bandages, and something stuffed in a yellow bag (And that was just my stuff!)

So we knew this trip back was going to have a lot more stuff. But, to be fair, we knew this was going to be a problem, so the night before, we went out to Target (the last ‘t’ is silent in Canada).  We bought another carry-on and then paid an extra $40 or something to add it to our Allegiant Baggage total.

IMG_3795 (800x600)However, as we packed in the morning, it became apparent that the extra bag would not be enough. We stuffed the boys’s small backpacks full of clothes and heavier things. Sure this would double their body weight but everyone was taking one for the team at this point.

We then threw out all the HBA (in my old business, that was health and beauty aids), including all the hotel shampoos and lotions and mouthwash I’d stolen over the week. We sat on the bags to make sure we could zip them shut. Then we lifted them up and did our best to eye-ball their weight (or arm-ball them?).

My best guess was the big bag weighed about 200 lbs. The others seemed fine even if the boys bags looked like airbags ready to explode.

So we repacked, and repacked, again, balancing out the weight as best we could. But the only way we’d know for sure if we were over-weight would be at the terminal (and I knew for a fact, I would be over-weight… too many hamburgers and chilli-fries.)

IMG_3797 (800x600)If we were over, though, I had a plan. I could wear about 6 pairs of underwear, two shirts, and probably stuff a couple of socks down my pants. I offered to do the latter anyway, but the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world didn’t warm to the idea.  The boys could wear extra clothes and stuff lego in their pants. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world could fill her purse with sweaters, zoo cups and extra bras.

We had this.

So, with nothing left to pack, with the room cleaned up, the vital air freshener left in the bathroom for others to use, the used face-cloths stacked neatly, if somewhat damply, on the side of the tub, we gave the room one last tour, then left.

IMG_3798 (600x800)The youngest – being in charge of elevator button pushing on this trip –  pressed the down button one last time.

Then we settled up and IMG_3799 (800x600)lugged our luggage to the car. I have no idea how I fit it all in the trunk, but I did. Even the oldest looked impressed. The youngest said he could have done it faster.

As the sun came out, bright and glorious, we drove off to Balboa Park to see one museum for the boys and one for, well, let’s say it was the boys, too (but really, it was for me.)

The only issue now was would we all have enough energy to do Balboa or would the 6 days of non-stop tripping take its toll on us?



Disaster For a Writer

Disaster For a Writer

What is the worst thing that can happen to a travel/life writer?


In fact, the worst thing is that only good things happen. What’s there to write about then? Huh? What?

allegiant airAirplane (Allegiant) arrived on time.

We didn’t have any problems with the luggage despite me fussing about it for about 2 hours.

The flight was fine. We had snacks. No one threw up. No babies cried. No one was drunk and obnoxious. Even me. The boys were great. Even the airline hostesses or whatever they are called these days were pleasant.

Very disappointing.

IMG_0087Then we arrived ahead of schedule. Found our car without any big problems. From Budget. A Galant. Silver. Found the hotel with the great navigation of the Prettiest-girl- in-the-world. Hilton Doubletree on the hotel circle. Checked in without problems. The room was fantastic.

The boys loved the bunk beds. We loved that we could have a room to ourselves.

IMG_3387We ate late, but had a fantastic meal. At least one of us smelled the flowers.

I guess the only thing that went wrong was a bracket on my braces fell off. Wires came loose. Blah, blah, blah. These things always have to happen on the first day. It’s a rule.

I’ll phone tomorrow. It could be a big deal. Or not.

Maybe I’m just too exhausted to care that much.

Tomorrow – Legoland!

Hopefully it’ll be equally awesome.

Cuz awesome is kinda fun. Even if it makes for bad writing.

10 Things I Had To Leave Behind

10 Things I Had To Leave Behind

baggageNowadays, the airlines have limits on the baggage weight. So, being a ‘rules’ guy, and having heard that Allegiant airlines was pretty strict about their baggage weight, I didn’t want to take anything that I didn’t absolutely need.

These things were taken out

1) My knife. Ok, it was a Swiss army knife, but the likelihood of me having to start a fire, gut a fish or saw a very, very small log (or my arm if I was trapped by a boulder) was pretty low. And I didn’t see it of much use as a self-defence weapon, I mean, why bring a knife to what would likely be a gunfight?

2) All explosives. Like my can of shaving cream. Or Axe sexy-smell-good stuff. Apparently aerosols are not something you want to take on a plane these days. I dunno why, I took them on planes forever, but these are different times I guess.

3) All liquids. Hey, I can buy some super spikey gel or pineapple-scented hand sanitizer or green, vita-juice in San Diego. If I had to cut weight, this was a good place to cut it.

catan4) All board games. No playing Catan while we’re away.

5) My dog. Vegas went to the doggie hotel to play with the other doggies. In fairness, she was the first thing I knew I couldn’t take. Weight restrictions or not

6) All adult toys. No way I want anyone, anywhere, at any time opening up a bag and asking. Ok, what is this? Not that I have any, you understand, I’m just saying.

7) My stuffed animals. I could claim they’d be for the boys, but…

8) My dress shoes. As nice as they are, let’s face it, the lions in the San Diego Zoo don’t care how awesome I look in them. So why bring them?

duck-dynasty19) My electric beard trimmer. I’ll just have to go all duck dynasty.

10)        All books. Ack. This was not easy. I love to pack a good hundred pounds of books and carry them all around the globe while never actually reading one of them. I guess they’re like a really hard security blanket.

As it turned out, they didn’t weigh the bags at all. So I could have brought Catan afterall.

However, I’m thankful they didn’t weigh me in when I got on the plane. What if that becomes a thing? Sir, you weighed 200lbs before going to the land of $5 all you can eat burger buffets and now you come back weighing 245. Please pay for you excess weight.