Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Day's Long Journey Into Night

I'm coming out of the jetlag fog that always clouds my brain for the first few days after traveling. Finally able to form a coherent thought. Our trip was chronologically short, only 3 hours to Germany, and then 8 1/2 to the U.S. Daytime flying the whole way. For us, compared to the days of 28 hours to Thailand, it wasn't bad. However, it was made worse by the fact that Lufthansa decided to serve the worst airline food every prepared on the trip (except for the kids' meal, which Matt and I looked at longingly while the kids ate), and the fact that the onboard entertainment video service was kaput. WHAT!!!??? As an airline traveler, don't I have the right to at least have my kids watch ONE cartoon movie over and over and over again?? We enjoyed the business show portion of the service, and then were treated to the instructions for foreigners entering the U.S. and directions on how to fill out customs forms OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. They actually tell you not to write the number "1" with a little flicky tail that some people use at the start. Never cross your "7" in the middle. And don't allow the top of the "4" to touch in a point. Seriously. I am not joking. There were instructions on how to write your numbers. Who makes these rules? The kids were pretty good, all things considered. It was, quite possibly, the most boring flight ever. We were all happy to leave.

We arrived around 6:30 p.m. -- our body clocks told us it was 1:30 a.m. We enjoyed the luxury that is the baggage claim area at Dulles airport as we waited over an hour for our luggage to come off the belt. They kept making announcements "We apologize for the delay in the arrival of luggage from flight LH414. The guys needed to take their dinner break so you poor suckers will just have to wait your turn." Finally, the last few pieces slowly appeared, one at a time, painstakingly spaced apart, and we were off to the Fairfield Inn. Just next door, we stopped at the local Bob Evans restaurant (for those of you not familiar with the chain, their specialties are pork sausage and all kinds of pie), and 2 kids meals and lemonades later, we were tucking into bed. The kids were in that "I'm so tired I'm bouncing off the wall like a monkey hyped up on heroin" mode but we persevered and as soon as the lights went off, they went to sleep. Well, at least I did so if they stayed awake I didn't hear them.

We did wake up a few hours later to the sound of our door opening, or closing. I noticed Darcy wasn't there. Panic. Matt checked the bathroom, thinking she was trapped. Not there. Increased Panic. He opened the front door to find Darcy walking down the hall toward our room. Not away, but toward. Keep in mind she's only wearing her pajama top and underwear. She was sleepwalking and managed to open all the locks on the door and leave. We resisted the urge to completely freak out, interrogated her to see if she had seen or talked to anyone, tucked her back into bed and put our heaviest suitcase in front of the door. We were on the ground floor and figured we could escape out the window if necessary in case of fire. Deep breathing to control the rising panic. Don't think about what could've happened. Turn off your brain. Don't even go there.

All this happened in about 2 1/2 minutes in the middle of the night. While our brains were drugged with the heavy sleep that you fall into when you are so tired you can't walk. Must be the adrenaline. And parenthood.

We've recovered, though the kids are still waking up around 6 a.m. But everyone is staying in their beds. Happy Fourth of July!

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