After taking a moment to reconsider this whole thing, I decided I couldn’t very well jump out of the plane and back out, so I asked a very nice southern lady who was sitting next to me to hold Jackson while I hunted down my suitcase, dug out an extra pair of clothes for Joni, and found a stewardess to tell her what happened. She was obviously horrified, but told me she would change the top cover of the seat and put a towel down while I went into the bathroom to change Joni.
If you’re thinking this sounds like a nightmare, trust me, it was.
Then there’s the logistics of actually going potty when you’re flying alone on an airplane with two kids. There’s no other way of doing it other than being all up in each others’ business. There’s nothing more personal than having your knee in your baby’s face (who’s sitting on the bathroom floor – yuck), and your toddler standing face to face with you while you’re sitting on the toilet. Good times.
It was also VERY hot on this flight. Everyone was complaining, and no one was willing to do anything about it. I kept overhearing people say that they couldn’t sleep because they were too hot, and other people saying that they fell asleep for a short time and woke up with a sweat soaked pillow. This factor alone made this flight miserable.
I kept getting in trouble by the stewardess because Jackson wouldn’t stop pushing the help button on the arm rest, no matter how hard I tried to divert him.
Jackson pooped his diaper five or six times in those nine hours. So there were many of the above mentioned family trips to the lavaotory.
I got sick on all three flights. I kept taking more and different motion sickness medicines, and for some reason, none of them were working. I contemplated many times running to the bathroom to puke, but then again there’s the whole logistics of taking the family into a lavatory, and I just held it down, keeping the barf bags close at hand. Again, this factor alone - miserable.
Finally, the nine hour flight was over and we were in Vienna. Happy day. We get off and right away I see that the gate for our next flight is very close. Hooray. I check in at the counter and get our seats changed so that they’re together. Everything seemed to finally be going right.
But I still had a couple more surprises in store for me.
I sit down on the floor with the kids (absolutely no seating) and start rearranging the bags so I have things accessible that I want to use for the last leg into Tel Aviv. It made me remember that in Chicago someone told me that I should sign the kids’ passports before I get to Israel. So I pull them out, sign them the way he told me to, and as I go to put them back in, I realize I don’t see my own.
So I keep looking. It’s clearly not in the pocket where I had been keeping it. So I rummage through the entire diaper bag, and still nothing. My blood pressure starts to rise.
So then I decide that I must have accidentally moved it when I was rearranging things. I start looking in the other bags – the laptop bag, Joni’s backpack, and the suitcase.
So here I am, sitting in an airport in VIENNA with two kids, and no passport. So I go back to the counter and tell them I have a serious problem and that I need their help. The guy looked like he was no older than 17, but he got right on it for me. He understood the severity of the problem I was facing and I was so grateful that he was willing to do his best to look. I stood there for about 45 minutes while he made probably 20 or 30 calls. He’d make one phone call, then hang up and immediately make another, then another, then another. At one point he found someone that thought they’d heard about a passport being found on the airplane I had been on, but then later talked to someone that said that wasn’t true.
I asked him what happens if we don’t find it. He said there was no way I could get on that plane. He said I would have to claim my baggage and stay in Vienna for at least a few days, and that was if the embassy was willing to rush a passport for me. I tried to picture myself with five VERY heavy pieces of luggage, two children, a stroller, and two more bags. No taxi in town could fit us. I would never be able to load all of that on a bus.
We HAD to find that passport.