Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Odyssey-Part 3

The plane trip to Dallas went well, I guess.... in the way that any cancer that doesn't kill you is a good thing. We were lucky enough to have a flight that wasn't full so they moved us to the back and gave us two rows to ourselves.

Arriving in Dallas was a challenge as the Dallas airport is the size of a small city. If you've never been there, it's hard to imagine how big it is. You know how airports always have a central terminal and then you take a little tram out to the gate? Well, Dallas has to be different so they just have the gates spread out over 2 or 3 square miles and you actually can park right at the gate. Instead of one big building it's like eight small regional airports all in the same place, except that each building still has about 30 gates. Anyway, my point is that it's big and the rental cars aren't even on the property. So, you have to catch a bus to go get your car and in my case drive back to the airport to pick up the family. (Did I mention that the rental car (minivan actually)was a last minute addition to the odyssey when we realized that we couldn't fit everyone in Joni's car? That cost us an extra $600, which is even worse when you remember that we had the car parked for four days while we were in Vegas.)

So, I pick up the van and go back for the family and we are on our way to Grandma's house. At this point I'm experiencing my usual someone-squeezed-my-nuts pain which I get every time I fly. I can either feel like shit all day after a flight or take some pills which have me stumbling around like I haven't slept in three days so it's not much of a choice, really. Being back in Dallas was a little weird after five years and I was reminded of just how ugly it is compared to Tampa. Living here we tend to forget that other places aren't green all the time.

We finally made it to Joni's house and got settled. Joni and Lou live in a big house, lots of room, but have decided for convenience sake to pretty much just live in the kitchen, which is the size of a walk-in closet. They have a table in there and the TV and that's where they stay all the time. What that means is that trying to move around in their house is like moving around, well, a walk-in closet with a table, chairs, three adults and two children in it. And a dog. It's cramped. Plus, as a bonus, Dallas was in the middle of a heat wave while we were there so it was always hot. I pretty much spent the whole time sitting at the table and watching the skin melt off my hands. Seriously, 7:00 at night and it was 103 degrees. Good times.

Did I mention that we had to put our daughter to sleep in a pack-n-play while she was still potty training? I didn't? Well, that's because it was only a small nightmare compared to what I thought it would be. We had our fights but Sam did pretty good. "Good" in the way that any cancer that doesn't kill you is "good."

We were in Dallas for four days and Bobbi saw her entire extended family every day. My family would have showed up once, if at all, to say "Hi,"... Bobbi's family spends every day together when someone comes to visit. It's sweet, really. You start off on your best behavior with these new relatives you're meeting and end up so familiar that you don't even have to speak to them when they enter the room anymore... like a brother or a roommate.

Oh, I should also mention that I forgot the base for Mac's car seat in Tampa so I had to go out and buy another one in Dallas. Plus, I picked up food for the kids for a week, a bumper for the crib, a walker for Mac and other assorted necessities which ran about $300. Oh, and parking the car in Tampa cost about $200. For those of you keeping score, that's $1100 in extras and we've yet to even factor in the plane tickets and the room in Las Vegas. When people ask me "how it was" traveling with the kids for the first time, my first response is, "expensive."

More to come...


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