In life, we often talk of baggage, but do we really grasp the meaning? I have always thought of a large heavy bag on my back, and maybe a couple other hand bags that are tying up the use of my hands. I now have a new appreciation of the term baggage. I imagine my airline allowing me to check 3 bags per person even though one of those persons is not big enough to carry one of those bags. Then on top of that, each person is allowed one carry on and personal item such as a purse or briefcase to carry your lap top. So I know what you are thinking and no we did not check 3 bags per person... just 2 per person. However having no trust in the airline baggage system after watching the "Dirty Jobs" episode where they visit the maze of luggage at a large airport, I decide it is best to cram as much as possible into our carry-ons and make Ethan's "personal item" a large backpack with lots of things to play with and my "personal item" I called a purse while I was at the airport even though it resembled a small suitcase with wheels and an extendable handle. I know, I know, It is looking like all my fault, but all I have to do is get it to the sky cap and Ethan and I will only have 4 items to be responsible for right?
Now as I am trying to decide what to put where I lost my brain all together. I can't have liquids, gels or aerosols... UNLESS they are 3 ounces or less and all fit in a 1 quart bag that will have to removed and sent though security. So lots of decisions to make and lots of hair pulling. What looks like a bomb? What looks like a weapon? If they open my bag, will my underwear be hanging out? I also had a precious candle I didn't trust to be checked but it was cylinder and black!
Ok, on with the story. So I get to the bus in Madison that will take me to Midway Airport in Chicago. They told me no problem about getting on, they never fill up. So as we wait, more and more people file into the parking lot and then the bus arrives half full. To top it off, the driver was NOT having a good morning. So I am trying to shove her my pile of suitcases (5 for under the bus when my parents say "just get on quick and get a seat, we will make sure all 5 get on." So we did not get our long, tear-filled goodbye, saying all the things we hoped to say, as Ethan and I quickly pushed our way onto the now almost full bus, draging my so called purse, Ethan's back pack, a Bob the Builder suitcase and a bag of food my mom said we would need for the trip. But no worries right? They say it never fills up! No one looks like they are going to allow Ethan and I to sit together so instead of the fun 4 hour bus trip that we were looking for, Ethan and I take our seats in separate rows and on opposite sides of the bus (by the way it DID fill up and the last guy on had to sit on the front steps of the bus). Off we go and on the first turn out of the parking lot, my water bottle, an extra water bottle and coke go rolling to who knows where under somebody's feet. So much for any liquids this stretch of the trip, but low and behold about 45 minutes later, they come rolling back to me and I jumped out into the isle to stop their journey and return them safetly to their bag. We do get to switch buses in Rockford to a much nicer driver and a lot more room, however there is the task of transfering my 7 suitcases (yes I stopped calling my one suitcase a purse), ethan's back pack and Ethan his self. I left most of the food in the over head bin for some lucky bus cleaner to find. Alright, on to Chicago. This driver seems nice enough that I would imagine he would be thinking of the poor woman who had too many bags and try to drop people off near my airline, but no, he parked probably 50 yards away from my sky cap, tossed all 7 bags on the curb and left me to deal with my own insanity. I can see Southwest down the way but I am not seeing any carts. Now I am left with the dilema, do I leave my son and all my bags sitting on the curb in a Chicago airport to go inside and find a cart? Do I leave my bags on the curb to be confiscated by the TSA and risk being a "wanted" traveler? Or do I suck up my pride and begin the long, humbling, leap-frog journey to my sky cap? of course I opt of the latter and begin moving 2 bags at a time. Just far enough that no one is going to report me for leaving unattended bags, and then head back for the next 2. Two by Two I hauled my bags down the curb as others looked on in unbelief. So just as I am getting close, a van pulls up and a family piles out dropping all of their bags in my only path. The dad convieniently goes inside to get a cart and leaves me standing there in a traffic jam. I end up standing there for at least 10 mins as they try to figure out all of their baggage. Any one else would have had the luxury of walking around them but I have a wall next to me that I would have to back track and go around to get to the walkway. Not going to happen. So I patiently wait and I notice this one man still watching me and my predicament enjoying it thouroughly. Eventually I make it to the sky cap and I am sweating. I make it though there and Ethan and I are left with 3 suitcases and his backpack and we head to security. We get up to the spot where you begin to unrobe for the security agents and I realize we have not drank all the liquid in our Nalgenes. So we put our clothes back on, head back to a garbage can and dump out the contents to avoid them being confiscated. Back to the security check point, take off our shoes, jackets, belts and pull out the laptop, quart sized bag with toiletries, and candle so tests can be run on it. And we are finally through. I really think that they should have dressing rooms on the other end to put your self back together. Yes, it is lunch time and we find a Mc Donalds and find a place to stretch out for a couple hours. We are only a few bites into our meal we have pulled out and arranged so carefully when the dance starts. THE POTTY DANCE!!! Oh please no! We pack up all of our food and our computer and Ethan's toys and drinks and carefully balance all of them on my suitcase somehow because of course I can't leave ANYTHING unattended and we head to the largest bathroom stall we could find. Eventually we actually make it on to our plane and fly to Denver. The drive from home from Denver I will save for another time. But I now understand the meaning of baggage. And if you need a visual reference for the word, think of Ethan and I dragging 7 large suitcases down the curb of Chicago Midway Airport. Speaking of things weighing on me, I have had my blog site weighing on me and I have not forgotten you that check it everyday. I have just been trying to unpack my 7 large suitcases and find places for everything.