Military life can be a whirlwind of experiences. Here at MBRN, we like to share parent's stories that show how this unique lifestyle is full of life changing events, and lessons learned. Everyone's experience is special, and sharing them brings us together in our military community.
PCSing from Okinawa, Japan’s lush tropical island, to Seattle in the month of February is something I do not recommend. It was so cold! After 3 years being basically sweaty 24/7, we stepped out of the airport into 30 degree weather. Rowan was all bundled in her carrier and we kept each other pretty cozy. We waited for what felt like forever (though it was around 45 minutes) for the hotel shuttle to pick us up. Rowan was happy the entire time, peaking out of the carrier and snuggling up to me.
We arrived at our hotel, and they allowed us to check in several hours early, which is a lifesaver when you have two large dog kennels and half a dozen suitcases. After 30+ hours of travel, we finally had some time to relax. We had a nice dinner around the corner from the hotel, and we returned for some much needed shut eye before our next round of flights in the morning. Only, around 11pm, my husband had a niggling feeling something was wrong with our flights. He called to confirm our tickets from Seattle to Houston, and then Houston to our final destination, Fort Walton Beach, Florida. All was well for the first flight. However, he discovered our last flight did not have spots for our two dogs. In fact, the airport we we’re flying to did not even accept pets! After calling the emergency line, we were no closer to a solution. We decided to call it a night and try again at the ticket counter.
The next morning dawned on an exhausted set of parents, two cooped up dogs, and a cheerful 4 month old. We schlepped everyone to the airport, only to learn we not only left my husband’s uniforms hanging in our hotel room closet, but Rowan’s car seat, as well! Thankfully our hotel shuttled them to us at no extra charge. With a turn of luck, we struck gold that morning when we were attended to by the ticket counter employee. She heard our problem and commiserated with us, and provided us with a (free) solution. The only option was to travel all together to Houston, and then split up. My husband would take the dogs to the next closest airport while Rowan and I continued to our Florida. Unluckily, the closest airport was 250 miles away, in Louisiana! He planned to stay the night there, rent a car, and drive to us the next day.
Things went smoothly from there, and we parted in Houston. I was not planning on flying solo with Rowan for a long time, but there I was, loaded with her in her carrier, my backpack, a duffel clipped onto the backpack, and our Boppy nursing pillow clipped on top. I am sure I looked like I needed assistance the entire time. Rowan had her own seat for this flight, and she slept on her pillow while I read a book for the first time in a long while. I actually enjoyed the flight, and I am retroactively thankful I had a moment to relax before the events that happened when Rowan and I landed.
We landed around midnight, and our sponsor was there. He waited patiently while I installed Rowan’s car seat by myself for the first time (I would not recommend this!), and drove us to base. I checked in at lodging and was informed how the room was actually a house, and it was a few miles away. Our sponsor did not know how to get there, and his GPS had us driving in circles for over an hour. Rowan began crying at this point. If you know me personally, you probably know how I don’t like to make waves, but sometimes, you need to put on your bossy pants. So, I decided it was time to take control. I opened the map the hotel attendant gave us and assumed command. We made it to the house in less than 5 minutes! By this time is was almost 2am, so I thanked our sponsor for the ride and went inside. After he left, I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner, I had no food with me, and I was severely low on diapers. What to do with no husband and no car on an Air Force base where everything closes on the weekends?
To be continued!