France Day 1: The 44-Hour Travel "Day"

What was supposed to be a 25-hour travel “day” turned into a 44-hour escapade, during which Bittykins licked a $400 bag and Butterscotch pulled his first all-nighter. Day 1 Because airport parking costs an arm and a leg (or in French, what translates as “the skin off my [rear end]” – I’ll give you the polite paraphrase), we had Geoff’s sister, Stacy, drive down from Portland with us, then drive our car back. This meant I was wedged between both car seats in the back of the Matrix. I didn’t begrudge him time with his sibling, but meanwhile, I was back there getting touched by one or the other of them an average of every 8 seconds.

Despite our terminal’s dinner options pretty much limiting us to Earl of Sandwich or Sbarro and our gate having no seating, we stayed in good spirits. I spread out a blanket right there in the terminal and changed them into their pajamas for the night. But they were so squirrelly and we still had 45 minutes to board, so I decided to take them for a walk up and down the terminal. This started out so well, all holding hands, me with a grin I can’t wipe off my face, and everyone telling me how cute they are. I feel like I’m carting around celebrities half the time. And then Bittykins let go. And ran into the Michael Kors store. And went straight for the most expensive bag, right in front of the sales clerks. She hugged it, she smelled it….she licked it. Then she ran out of the store with it! BITTYKINS! I burned off all three chips I ate from Earl of Sandwich getting it back.

The plane takes off, everything settles in, we hit 10,000 feet. IPads come out around us. Headphones go on. Eyes close. But not our aisle. I got stuck in the center seat with Bittykins by the window and Old Lady who refused to go to sleep next to me. She had a bright Kindle with her that Bittykins was curious about. Old lady did not catch a hint. Old lady keeps reading and ignores my plight. I nursed Bittykins, but when she was done, she wasn’t sleepy as usual. She wanted to explore everything around her. I had to keep putting her back in her seat. Finally, after 3 hours, she got bored and started crying. I asked if she wanted to sit in my lap, and after a few strokes of her face, she was asleep. Well, now, after hours of wishing she’d quit climbing all over me, I don’t want to put her down because she’s so angelic.

I dozed off and woke up about 45 minutes later, unable to open my eyes from the super-dry contacts glued to my eyes. I was miserable. I had brought my case and solution, but it was in a gigantic backpack in the overhead bin on the other side of the aisle. I really didn’t want to risk waking Bittykins or disturb Old Lady or Her Husband. But I had no choice. I was going to take out my contacts right there, but when I opened the case, I found a pair from the last time I pulled this trick. Well, great. Now I have to go to the bathroom and rinse it out. And both bathrooms are occupied and stay occupied for a long time. I’m standing back there barely opening my eyes, feeling shaky from hunger, cold, and really having to Go, and the Icelandic Air flight attendants are all back there tallying up the amazing food and drinks, and I’m back here all Les Miserables. Finally, an old man leaves. That was just fabulous.

When I could finally see, I asked for something to drink and eat. If this was Delta, she would have said, “Sure, sweetheart! What kind of Coke do you want? And do you want pretzels or Biscoff?” But because this is Iceland, she held up a bottle of water and a small packet of almonds with organic coconut flakes, I nodded, and she said, “That will be $6.50.” Well, great. Now, not only do I have to disturb Her Husband because I can’t lift our heavy pack back into the overhead compartment and Geoff is asleep, but Old Lady is really unhappy that I have to get past her again. Having to deal with contact case, solution bottle, water bottle, glasses case, coconut flake bag, finding my wallet, moving all the child welcome packet contents including an entire box of matching cards from my seat, moving the pillow, moving two blankets, and moving the bag that prevented me from putting my feet under the seat in front of me this whole time (it should have been in front of Butterscotch’s seat since it was his bag anyway, but we failed to arrange that), and pushing past Old Lady to get to my teeny tiny space where I couldn’t even stand up all the way or push my hair out of my face or nurse my child without my elbow whacking Old Lady, there with the one tiny light in an almost totally dark plane at 2 am with almost no sleep and no break where I’m both conscious and have no child touching me, I said very loudly, “THERE! I cleared my space!” And I turned around and sat down. On Bittykins. By accident, of course. She woke up. And I totally lost it.

I hadn’t had a chance to dig around in the dark and find my wallet yet when Airline Attendant was there at my seat, and I thought she was coming with the bill.

She did come with the bill. But she also came with a complimentary Kit Kat and a listening ear. I explained how I had been awake and having a child touching or climbing me every hour for the past 18 hours with no break! I explained how I always wait until the kids are completely asleep and everything is taken care of before I ever take care of myself and when she didn’t sleep I didn’t get a break and I can hardly move and …I don’t even remember the rest of my rant, but there were tears. Geoff and Butterscotch and Her Husband, meanwhile, slept through all of this. Flight Attendant collected the money, and then offered Old Lady another seat for the remaining hours of the flight. She obliged. I never did hear her say a word the entire flight. I felt kind of bad, but with elbow room, I successfully nursed Bittykins back to sleep and she was able to take up 1 ½ seats, and I took the aisle. Things calmed down, and finally, when she was totally asleep, I ate the Kit Kit. Holy…WOW! That Kit Kat is DARK! Just a couple bars of it nearly gave me a caffeine buzz.

I was also surprised how there aren’t any fake ingredients in the Kit Kats. Or in some of the other food we eat that is also manufactured for other countries. I was just letting my mind wander for about 15 minutes, when suddenly, just after midnight, the sun started coming up over Reykjavik. It wasn’t too long before Bittykins was up again. But what a gorgeous view. It was the longest shortest night.

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