Thursday, May 29, 2008

Home again

We arrived at our home six hours ago - 10.30 am local time, after a twenty something hour day. Everyone crashed all over the house and are in various stages of being woken up in order to try and make sense of the time.

The journey was okay - we're all intact :) Airline travel with six kids was never going to be a picnic. The check in procedure at Dulles was relatively fast but not without it's frustrations. TG was taken through quickly but the search was something else. I can understand the taking off of shoes but I think removing flip flops and T's teeny little shoes were probably taking doing it by the book too far. I also had to remove her from her chair and hold her for an age while it was given a going over (can't imagine them doing that to every disabled adult) and her food was banned so a supervisor had to be called for permission to be granted for us to take it on board. Priority boarding was a joke as everyone was on top of each other and I wound up on the wrong row with all the kids through no fault of my own with some cranky adults who decided to behave like children breathing down my neck. At this point hubby was back at the gate dismantling the chairs and I was in the row behind where we were supposed to be, holding TG. Bubs was giving his lungs a fantastic workout and EJ was having a two year old protest in the isle while the world and it's baggage was trying to get past. After herding everyone on like cattle, there was a backlog in baggage so we ended up with a long sit anyway.

Once on board EJ cried himself to sleep, much to the annoyance of the group behind who repaid us by shining their lights onto us during nap time :) The cabin crew weren't as nice as on the outbound flight - I formed that opinion before ds2 vomited all over the isle. After landing I was actually asked to get off the plane (with bags and kids) alone. Had been waiting for hubby to come back from getting the buggies to the gate - something that should have been done for us. Seven pieces of hand luggage and three little ones later...

Someone asked me recently about the differences I found between the USA and Ireland. Well, there are many but this morning's arrival springs to mind. Security was a doddle - the guy on passport control was dressed in regular clothes, made eye contact and chatted. However, the lift we were to take to baggage reclaim was broken and we were all instructed to go in another - 2 buggies, 8 of us and an airport customer care person, which really should only have held one buggy and adult. I have no idea how we did it. This took us to departures from which we had a 10 minute walk through the bones of the terminal. Welcome to laid back Ireland! The staff in the USA are very well trained in customer care everywhere you go and although the staff in Dublin were pleasant enough, I guess the pace of life is slower ... or they're oblivious ... or something.

This was evident on public transport. In Williamsburg the shuttle bus was fast and efficient and came with a hydraulic ramp for us to board TG. Once installed she was properly strapped down by a very helpful driver. However, we weren't permitted to bring the buggy with youngest two on unless it was collapsed, even though there was stacks of room. Al ended up walking. This morning, the driver on our bus didn't get out, parked way too far from the kerb and as for a disabled ramp - forget it. I struggled with the boys buggy and another passenger helped Al with TG. Once on board the driver was indifferent to the safety of the kids but it was handy none the less.

But I'm rambling here and the old brain is more foggy than normal lol. The main thing is we were brought back home safely which is something to be thankful for. We've had a really great time and the kids have learned lots. It has been truly wonderful.

Thank you to my visitors here. I hope you have enjoyed following our little adventure. I'll be tweaking and adding to this over the next wee while. The kids have so much to tell and want to post about their Jamestowne, Yorktown and Williamsburg experiences.

For now, the suitcases and washing await :/


flmom said...

I'm glad you're home safe and sound. It doesn't seem like your trip should already be over! I look forward to reading and seeing more of the adventures. I'm sorry you all experienced such a terrible time getting home though.

pam said...

That sounds like the typical US airport security and crew. I get screened by security several times everytime I go through an airport. Sorry you had such a lousy time getting home, but glad you made it safely. I'm glad you enjoyed the children's museum too!