Saturday, March 17, 2012
All dressed up and no place to go
Today was another day to add to the very long list of my parental failings. We were to travel to Disneyland today. Our flight was scheduled to leave 10:05am and we were to be there two hours before. Sounds easy enough a person might think. I was up all but one hour last night doing the finishing touches on what really is a monumental feat of eight days away from the comforts of home for thirteen people with the majority having a variety of special needs that must be accommodated. Throw in traveling by air and things have gotten more exciting. Add in again leaving the country and all the documentation that takes when some of the kids have different last names and have dependent adult status and you're close to needing an exorcism to stop the head spinning, salivating and speaking in tongues.
Last night I was meticulous (well at least for me) about the paperwork. I went over it, organized it all and put it in its easily accessible spot in my bag etc etc. We live about thirty minutes from the airport so my plan was I start loading kids into the bus at 7:15 for a departure time of 7:30. Everything was going according to plan right up until I am five minutes away from the airport when I realize I have no recollection of packing the travel letter for the littlest man who is still not legally mine. Of all the documents to forget this would not be the one. With H being a minor border crossings generally don't take kindly to kids especially of a different hue and last name not having all the appropriate paperwork. This meant turning around and going back home. Bad enough as that was...I. Got. Lost. I got lost in a city I have lived in all my life! There has been so much construction in an area I am not in often that I wasted maybe fifteen twenty minutes. Anyways the boring story of it all was that we drove and drove with our own police escort (truth be told he didn't know he was acting as my escort. He was speeding so I followed him one car between us at the same speed), we drove and drove all the way back to the airport where we were greeted by good friends who had come to help navigate the foreign world of air travel and whom had been keeping the airline informed as to the events and timing of our progress. We quickly got up to the ticket person and as he was processing the boarding passes or whatever he does customs said we would not be allowed through. It was about 9:20 and the plane was to leave at 10:05. The customs folks were deluged with people and there would not be time to get us through them, then security and boarded onto the plane. There were no seats on any other flights to Los Angeles today so they booked us on tomorrow for the same time. I begged them to let me talk to customs. No go. The way they referred to the manager of customs it was like he was the Wizard of Oz. The man behind the curtain was not to be seen by anyone.
I rarely expect special compensation for us because of our size and special needs. Don't kid yourself though I take it if it's offered but as a rule don't ask. It surprised me however that they would not find a way to process a group of eleven kids and adults with disabilities all wearing their Disney shirts and some carrying Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffies on their way to Disneyland. Then again I find the traveling by air to be a confusing venture. That is why over the years I have thought driving though it would be four days each way would be easier. No matter which way you look at it I guess going on a holiday is craziness at least for us, though we do like doing it. I am convinced now bus is best.
Let's hope I don't fail my kids again tomorrow. No guarantees. Every day's a crap shoot for them.