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Follow-up follow-up travel post; Or, Please check for all personal belongings before leaving the plane

A drawing of the interior of our first plane, on the back of a napkin, by Average

There are other stories from our cross-country trip that I didn't mention in my earlier posts, as Average pointed out in his comment. Some may be worthy of sharing, so I'm going to write and post a few. Here is the first one:

On the way to our vacation destination, our last flight is on a tiny commuter plane. Average and I are seated in the front row on the side with two seats (I think there's a bathroom in front of us), and therefore have no underseat storage place for our extra large bag full of all of sweet pea's clothes and diapers for the entire week. I assure you, it did meet the rules for carry-on, but there was no way it would fit in that tiny overhead storage compartment. I'm doing my best to stuff it up there anyway, when the teenager in the seat across the aisle from us offers to stow it under the seat in front of her. This is the kindness of strangers! We are very grateful, because we already had to remove items from the outer pockets of our other, smaller, carry-on backpack to get it to fit in the overhead storage. Also, we are the next to last people on the plane so feeling a little awkward – like our bag stowage is being watched by the entire plane full of people and we might very well delay the takeoff of this plane. (The last to board was actually my brother who was in the bathroom when we discovered our plane was already boarding.) The flight does still take off earlier than scheduled once we are all safely on board. We feel relieved, and we have an uneventful trip. However, being the front row puts psychological pressure on Average and me and so the instant the fasten seat belt signs are off after landing, we grab everything and rush off the plane because we really really don't want to be those people holding everyone else up from exiting. So, we walk down to the baggage claim area, feeling so glad that we finally made it, and wait for the bags to come to the carousel. While waiting, Average notices that the girl who let us use her under-the-seat storage area for our giant bag has developed a nosebleed. He grabs a pre-fold diaper (clean, obviously) from our diaper bag, and hands it to her to sop up her blood. He tells her to please keep it and thanks again. My husband is also a kind person. So we eventually collect our bags, and start to cross the street to the parking garage to pick up the rental car. Suddenly, Average stops and curses. "What?" I ask. "Where's the camera?" he says, with a very worried look on his face. We are standing in the middle of the crosswalk at this point. We quickly decide it would be best to get out of the crosswalk and return to the baggage area to discuss this. After just a few brief words, we realize that the camera is still in the pocket on the wall in front of us on the airplane. It was one of those outer pocket items I removed from the bag to make it more malleable for storage bin stuffage. We have passed through the security area and there is no way to get back through without a ticket, and there are no flights leaving at this hour from this little airport anyway, so there is not even anyone there to accept or deny us entrance. There is one airport employee in the area, and he has already accumulated a line behind his desk, snaking out from his office into the baggage area, as apparently the airline misplaced a lot of baggage on this flight. Average waits in line, slowly growing more panicked, while I change sweet pea's diaper on the floor and try to keep her happy by nursing and playing. My dad and brother make themselves useful and gather our bags and take them to the rental car while Average and I wait, and wait, and wait. He finally gets to the front of the line but is told that the actual baggage problems take precedence so he will have to wait even longer. It is late and we are tired and thinking we won't be able to take photos on this trip where sweet pea meets her great-grandparents for the first time and we sight-see and party with our extended family. Oh, the anxiety. Eventually, after some more interminable waiting, someone from the airline brings the camera to us and we are SO RELIEVED to have not lost our precious waterproof, shock resistant, freeze proof, digital camera that Average spent a fortune on a few years ago. Phew!!

The morals of the story are that karma is real and we should all be kind; that you really should check all around you including the pockets in front of you before you leave an airplane, as they always mention in those final announcements; that you shouldn't let the imagined annoyance of complete strangers make you rush; and finally, that stuffage is not a real word but it should be.

Oh, and this all happened after I left a sweater on the first plane that we took, and also got that back after asking at the gate. AND my brother forgot he had a knife in his pocket at the security gate and had to ship his knife back to himself. Yes, as a family we do lose things a lot. I guess this isn't really related to parenthood because this is what my life was like before having a baby, and it's not related to healthy or green living either, so I'm branching out of my topic areas here.


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