Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why yes TSA, I AM a terrorist...

Hawaii was awesome.  Imagine "We are the Champions" playing on repeat in your head, imaginary confetti flying with each gleeful squeal of your kiddos.  I practically tattooed "Parent of the Year" across my chest.  It was that awesome.

Which made the trip home all that much worse.

The world's largest joy ballon popped.

When?

When TSA showed up.

We arrived at the Honolulu Airport and immediately noticed the lack of AC.  After dragging the luggage and children to the security line, I was sweating... profusely.  Hey HNL, 85 degrees is not OK.

And you can't just dump your luggage with the baggage folks at the curb.  Nooooooo.  You must drag it all through the agriculture inspection, then to the baggage folks to check in, then to the baggage belt, and put it on the belt yourself.  I'm fairly certain they would have asked us to load the plane had there not been those pesky OSHA rules.

We finally dump most of our luggage but, thanks to the kiddos, must still drag a car seat and an arsenal of toys and snacks on the flight.

I'm soaked in sweat, miserable, and on the verge of vomiting (thanks embryo!) so of course, I must go through secondary screening and a pat down.

Terrorists frequently dress up as sweaty, exhausted mothers traveling with toddlers.

All three backpacks had to go through x-ray twice.  Crap.  I'm never getting home.

Since the bags are deemed 'suspicious' (because apparently the Dora the Explorer sing-a-long book looks exactly like a bomb in TSA's jacked up world), they grab my husband and put him through secondary screening.   He hands me both kids and I'm ready to start screaming at TSA, "WE AREN'T TERRORISTS!!  WE'RE JUST MISERABLE PARENTS TRYING TO GET HOME!!!"

Cash starts kicking the TSA metal cabinets and Declan is crying, flailing his arms.  I tell Cash to stop but he can tell I'm not really committed to making him stop because it seems to annoy TSA... and he continues.

Chris finally gets to the secure side and TSA brings out all three backpacks, now empty, and three bins of our belongings.

That's right.  They empty the bags, yes, the same bags you spent 2 hours packing just right so everything would fit.  The three bags that had everything in the 'perfect spot' are now sitting empty at my feet.  Diaper rash cream mixed with a Thomas the Train puzzle.  Four different types of carefully arranged diaper sizes, shuffled like a deck of cards.

Declan wasn't the only poor soul crying...

Thanks to that lovely experience, my kids aren't getting on another plane until they can carry their own luggage.

TSA sucks.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hawaiian Dummy Drag...

Our stay in Hawaii was amazing. By far, one of the best vacations I've ever had.  The Aulani Resort has a breathtaking outdoor area.  A pool for every age and *surprisingly* very reasonable food and beverage prices.  It was absolutely unforgettable.

Given the same exact discounts and deals, would I go again?

Not on your friggin' life.

12 plane and 3 airport hours roundtrip with a 3 year old and 1 year old.

Dear US Government, I have a new method of torture.

My brother complains often about the victim rescue portion AKA the 'dummy drag' of his firefighter agility test.  Firefighters must drag a 170 pound doll for 50 feet.

Hmmm.  I dragged a 40 pound duffle bag, a 20 pound diaper bag, Cash's 15 pound backpack, my 10 pound purse, and a carseat with a kicking 1 year old through 2 airports.

I'd take the 170 pound dummy any day.

Follow that with a 6 hour flight.  You're finally resting but you almost miss the openness of the airport...

people didn't notice your screaming child nearly as much.

You know things are bad when the flight attendant repeatedly offers you and your husband... and the people around you... free drinks. Oh wait.  Except you're pregnant so you have to say no.  Oh wait.  ADD PREGNANCY SICKNESS.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) all sharp objects were taken from me thanks to the stupid TSA so I wasn't able to slit my wrists.

And it got worse....

To be continued.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why?

Despite my attempts to skip beach camping with my family and watch trashy TV while eating junk food, I eventually headed up there.

The first night I arrived, the propane gave out in the motorhome.  The kids took cold showers and screamed as if we were pulling them apart limb by limb.

We were concerned someone might actually think we were abusing them so we took them over to the public showers in the campground the following night.

This sounded like a good idea.

First step, Cash immediately removed his shoes.

"Cash, you need to put your shoes back on buddy.  This floor has lots and lots and lots of germs.  If you get your feet dirty from this shower floor, they will shrivel up and fall off and you'll never be able to walk again."

"OK mommy" he says with a smile and puts on his shoes.

Somehow we manage to wash off the little one without getting all of our clothes, precariously perched on a shelf, wet.  Cash kept feeding tokens into the machine so I'm fairly certain the shower cost us $50 but I didn't care as long as his feet had shoes on them.

Then things went downhill...fast.

Declan decided to start screaming because he was done.  Cash wanted to help and ran to open the shower door.

"NOOOOO!" Chris and and screamed in unison.

Cash starts wailing because, after all, he was only trying to help let Declan out and now mom and dad are screaming at him.

Declan throws his towel on the floor.  "Ahhh!  That's a brand new towel!  Now I have to burn it!" I yelled.

Cash, now completely worked up, SITS HIS NAKED BUTT ON THE PUBLIC SHOWER FLOOR.

"NOOOOOO!" Chris and I both yell.  I grab Cash's arms and pull him off the floor and quickly rush him under the eternally running shower.

"Can you get me his towel?" I say to Chris.

"What!?!?  I can't hear you.  The kids are screaming too loud!"

I swear, my ears are bleeding from all the screaming reverberating off the tile walls.

We eventually escape, needing to burn only half our clothes and towels that landed on the dirty floor.  I turn to Chris, "That will never happen again.  Our kids will just have to be filthy for the rest of the trip" I griped.

I should take a moment to mention something very important about my husband, he is very, VERY laid back.  I can could on one hand the number of times he's yelled out of anger in our 10 years of marriage.  He simply doesn't get upset and rolls with the punches.

It drives me insane.

He looked at me, and in all seriousness, said, "Why?"

*sigh*

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Hate My Job...

I'm 3 1/2 months pregnant.  I'm sick.  I'm miserable.  I hate everyone.

We beach camp every year.  Weather reports for this weekend forecast miserable, hot, and muggy.  While everyone is cooling down with an ice cold beer, I'll be chugging water, trying my best to bury barf in the sand.

I'm in some fairly tense negotiations at work.  Thanks to the crowded calendars of my team, I had to schedule three meetings this week and I'll miss the first few days of camping.

"Honey!  We've had this planned for 6 months!  You can't work around it?" my husband asked, annoyed.

"I'm sorry, I did my best but I can't miss these meetings" I said honestly.

...And I've got a standing date with my DVR, several episodes of the Real Housewives of the OC and Judge Judy, a Rubio's Baja Grill Burrito - extra guac, no salsa fresca, Air-Conditioning, and a warm shower.

Not exactly suffering.... but no one has to know...


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Open mouth...insert foot

My work wants to send me to Minnesota for training.  I asked Chris, ‘Hey hon, I’m heading to Minnesota.  It’s over our anniversary and I think it might be a nice trip away.  Want to go with me?’

‘What on earth is there to do in Minnesota?!?!?’ he asked.

‘Don’t sound like such an ignorant Californian.  There’s a ton to do in Minnesota!’ I yelled.

‘Sure Babe.  Name one thing.’ he responded, a cocky smile on his face.

‘Um. There’s uh… um…’

Crap.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We’re Going To Hawaii…

I told my brother we weren’t going to Hawaii.  It was too expensive and there’s no way I could survive a plane ride with two little ones.

Then he called to say he could get us half off the Disney Resort Aulani. 

We’re going to Hawaii. 

The sad part?  Even at the discount, we’re still staring at just over $200 a night which means we can only afford to stay a short while.  But I can’t stand the thought of jumping on a plane for 12 hours round trip and staying 4 days.  I had to find a cheap hotel for a few extra nights - but decent enough that I could stay with two small kids and not feel the need to sleep with a knife under the pillow (been there, done that, just not with kids.  I have no standards if it saves me money).

Challenge accepted.

I obsessively researched hotels in the area.  Turtle Bay.  Old school hotel on North Shore built in the ‘70s by Del Webb was intended to be a luxury resort - and it was… in the 70’s and 80’s.  Time was not kind and the hotel changed hands a lot.  It finally landed in the hands of an investment group who decided to renovate the hotel to bring it to its old glory.  The problem?  No one likes construction.  It led to months of bad reviews on the travel websites…which led to me asking the resort what they could do for me. 

That’s how you get a $429 room for less than $200.

The best part (because it gets better), construction finished in June.  The reviews have been glowing since then and if you call today, you’ll pay $429.

Oh but the flight!! Ugh!  $504 a person.  How will we get there at that rate?

When you log on every day to check the rates to monitor the best days to purchase through that airline, they e-mail you deals (maybe to give a break to their server??).

Three tickets to Oahu… $250 each. 

If I were a rapper, I’d drop the microphone and say ‘Boom’. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saving Money..


Chris and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans.  We were able to pay off our debt thanks to that plan but weren't able to use it permanently because of the cash based system.  Grocery shopping was a hassle if I had the cash and Chris was going to the store.  My brother recommended 'You Need A Budget' and WOW, this is the Dave Ramsey plan with technology.  Chris can pull up the app on his phone at any time and see what we have left in our virtual envelopes - and use his debit card.  They also have lots of free webinars to help navigate you through the software.  It's a one time fee of $54 for the software (with the discount link below) but it's already shaved $600 off our budget so we're calling it a win.  You can try it for 35 days for free. 

 

Chris and I are laser focused on saving enough money so one of us can stay home with the kiddos in the next 12 - 18 months.  This is helping us leaps and bounds. 

 

http://ynab.refr.cc/WC67X7C 

 

*Full Disclosure:  We get $6 for everyone who purchases using the link but I'd still refer them even if they didn't give me $6.  Plus, it's the only way for you to get $6 off.