spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Quinceañera Trip Report Part 5: making our way home

on February 7, 2017

Unfortunately, it was time to leave NJ.  As arranged, my husband left first, driving the rental car to the Budget return area, and taking all the checked luggage with him.  He was flying American, first to Dallas from Newark, then onto Honolulu after a 2-hr layover.  I woke up with him to say goodbye, but let the kids sleep, since it was 5am.  I put the last bits & pieces away in the carry-ons, and woke up the kids about 90 minutes later.  Once they were dressed and ready, we did a last sweep of the room to check for easily-left-behind items.  Having my original packing list in hand to use as the Repacking List helped quite a bit.  I triple-checked that the envelope w/DD’s cash gifts was deep in my backpack, and that the carry-on with her new fancy jewelry was securely fastened shut.  Pro-tip: I used DS’s carry-on for the jewelry, and included the tiara and corsages, plus saved some space to shove our gloves and hats on top.  I figured anyone casing us for valuables wouldn’t check the bright green bag with the monkey on it first. Room cleared, we made our way downstairs.

My parents arrived to take us to the airport.  We had taken DS’s car seat out of the rental the night before, so I had to install it in my mom’s vehicle for the ride the EWR.  It was chilly outside, but not inside: 3 adults, 1 adult-sized teenager, and one child in a car seat can really generate body heat.  We made it to the airport with no fuss.  Once inside though, the crowds at United were really something.  I didn’t have to check a bag of course, but I did have to check the car seat.  There was quite a line for the kiosks, but after about 15 minutes we got to one, printed out the tag, and handed over the seat.  Normally, your companions can accompany your travel group to Security.  Today, I guess due to the crowds, my parents had to stay back before we even reached the escalator that takes you up to the entrance to Security.  We had a quick sad goodbye after the longer one the night before.  My parents are the best, just so you know.


Yes, my sister is missing from this image….it’s my blog, dammit.  Love you too, Ñaña!


Well, I was on my own with the kids.  We got into the line for security, and almost immediately, a narcotic-sniffing dog came through our section of the line.  My son can be a bit nervous around dogs, but luckily I had seen this furry friend coming and was explaining his job to DS by the time he got to our carry-ons.  Finding nothing of import, the dog moved on, and we got to people-watch as we moved forward in the line.  One TSA agent was repeating phrases over and over…”putcha ID away, ya don’t need it anymoah.”  I loved it because of his thick NJ accent.


For some reason, it’s a “thing” to say that Central NJ does not exist, lol.

We got through, got some breakfast, and settled into the boarding area.  We started boarding on time, got seated quickly, took off on schedule.  It was the moment I was dreading- 11 hours nonstop.  Ah well, it was a new adventure, on a nice clean Boeing 767.  We rested our eyes for a bit, with both kids falling asleep for about an hour.  I took advantage of the in-flight entertainment to finally watch Ghostbusters.  I thought it was great!  Near the end of the movie, DS nudged me to say he wasn’t feeling well.  The flight attendants were making their way to us for the drinks service, so I got him some ginger ale.  We cuddled, and I tried to distract him with Finding Dory (an excellent movie, by the way).  Near the middle of the movie, DS announced that we needed to go to the bathroom, NOW.  Not needing to be told twice, I jammed his shoes on his feet and booked it to the lavatory. We made it before he threw up.  I grabbed a few extra tissues and damp paper towels in case we had a repeat and couldn’t leave our seats.  When we sat back down, I grabbed our 3 air sickness bags and put them where I could gab them easily, again, just in case.

We did need them.  He went through all 3 bags over the course of the next few hours.  This is when I started asking nearby passengers for their air-sickness bags.  I had rung the flight attendant call button to request more, but we had turbulence and the seat belt sign was turned on, so I understood when they couldn’t help me right away.  Once the turbulence eased, we went to the lavatory again to wash his face properly.   I was understandably distracted on the way to the bathroom, but I remember 2 people passing me heading back to their seats.  And then…….an overwhelming tobacco smell when I opened the door.  The smell helped DS throw up right away, before I could even close the door- at least we were at the toilet.  The flight attendants were right behind me, chatting in the galley.  I cleaned the boy up again, grabbing more tissues to take back to our seat.  But I had to say something about the smell- you know….”Smoking is not permitted aboard this aircraft.  It is a federal offense to tamper with, disable, or destroy the smoke detectors.”  I certainly didn’t want them to think it was me that had been smoking in there!  The attendants could smell it too, were pretty upset, and asked me who I had seen coming out of the lavatory I used.  I explained about the 2 people, but stressed that I couldn’t be sure they had come out of the bathroom since we had simply passed each other in the aisle.  They were in the process of writing up a report and planning to tell the pilot about the incident when I left to go back to my seat.  I hate the smell of tobacco, so I was glad to leave the area.  DS fell asleep for a short time, which was good for him.

Meanwhile, DD was also not feeling so hot, but that child has a truly amazing ability to sleep on airplanes, so I wasn’t even aware of it until she told me about 2.5 hours before landing.  She stayed calm and helped me with DS when needed.  Awesome teenagers- they exist in the wild!

We were now in the countdown.  Those last 2 hours were terrible, with DS looking as sick as he was, and me constantly checking the screen with the flight time countdown on it. It didn’t help that the map image was just a plane over the blue of the ocean- not very interesting, nothing to see out the window.  We played a bit of Sudoku, and I tried to get him to eat little snacks and keep sipping ginger ale and apple juice.  I had gotten more airsickness bags from the attendant, and stuck some more damp tissues in an outside pocket of my travel backpack.  Finally, mercifully, we landed.  We couldn’t get off the plane fast enough.  We took quite a walk from the United gates, to the baggage claim to pick up the car seat, and to the outside location where we could take the Wiki-Wiki shuttle to the commuter lot.  I reached back in time and hugged myself for the decision to park my car at the airport.  The weather was muggy, the taxi line was long, the kids were ill.  Getting onto the air-conditioned shuttle and being dropped off 30 feet away from my car was a relief.  We got to the car, and several things happened in quick succession.  DS threw up again, DD suddenly needed to drink ice cold water, and DH texted to say his connecting flight from Dallas had been delayed big-time.  Originally, he was going to be landing just about 20 minutes after us, so we were going to wait for him.  Now it would be several hours, so we would head home.


Thank you, science.


Thankful that I had grabbed extra bags and cleaning supplies, I cleaned DS up.  I sent DD across to the Interisland Terminal to buy something cold to drink.  I turned the car on so the AC could get going, and installed DS’s car seat.  Once DD got back, she sweetly gave her little brother some cold water and pressed a damp cloth to his face.  We left, with me paying the parking fee with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for double miles on travel-related purchases.  20 minutes (and no vomit!) later, we were home.  I hustled DS into a quick bath and got them both fresh clothes to wear.  I let him relax on my bed, while DD fell like a log into hers and promptly fell asleep.  I made a quick chicken soup, which he ate a small bowl of.  Finally, DS was sound asleep and the house was quiet.  I texted my parents/sister to let them know we were home.  As I started doing some unpacking, I thought about when DH could have possibly texted me- surely he wasn’t still in Dallas?  It was almost 4pm HST!  A few moments later, he texted again- they were just taking off, nearly 8 hours late.


I did some workweek prep, made a shopping list, and ate dinner.  Finally, at nearly 10pm, I went out to pick up DH from the airport. My husband was SUPER GRATEFUL for being in first-class on this long and very delayed flight.  He was able to get some very good sleep and arrived feeling fine.  I told him about our dumpster fire of a travel day.  He was sorry he hadn’t been able to help.

Once home, I quickly checked on the crabmeat!!!  It had been nearly 20 hours out of the freezer at the this point.  I snickered when I saw the “TSA has inspected this bag” notice in the suitcase.  I would check a suitcase that had a solid block of something cold wrapped in South American newspapers alongside some sparkly high heels and a hubcap, too.  The crabmeat was thawed, but still cold all the way through the middle.  After all the, uh, gastrointestinal distress of the day, I decided to stick it in the fridge and eat it the next day instead of chancing foodborne illness.  It was delicious, and I no tummy problems at all.  Thanks again, Tía!

Well, that’s it!  We had successfully completed our party and trip.  Lessons learned:

  • DS really gets consistent motion sickness now, so we will start giving him the Dramamine-type meds a few hours before starting to travel
  • when reserving a banquet hall, quadruple-check the party Start and End times on the written contract …verbal confirmation and email confirmation are not enough
  • don’t be a douchecanoe and smoke in the airline lavatory, whoever you are
  • if you are me, and you have my kids, never take the United Airlines Newark-Honolulu nonstop flight again

Thanks for reading the trip report!  There are some updates to the Interisland service, including new schedules and new planes for Island Air.  I’m working on updating the Google Docs Interisland schedule and hope to have that up soon.  Happy Tuesday!

2 responses to “Quinceañera Trip Report Part 5: making our way home

  1. gina says:

    sorry about all the travel inconveniences. I guess direct long flights are nt for everybody.
    me on the contrary just want to be there as soon as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

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