I spent that day icing my foot and trying to rest it, which is hard to do when you have to take the eldest to and from school and keep up with a very active 3 year old. I just hoped that it would settle by the time we had to board the first flight the next day. It didn’t. I ended up hobbling onto the plane with my foot strapped up and held in tight by my Converse sneaker. It worked – my foot handled the flights from Townsville to Brisbane, Brisbane to Los Angeles and then Los Angeles to Toronto.
Broken toes aside, the first flight was uneventful. Townsville to Brisbane is a relatively quick flight. Once in Brisbane we collected out luggage and then made the trek over to international terminal. I loved that I wasn’t lugging a baby on the hip, a stroller, booster seat, nappy bags this time round. Both the kids walked with us, holding our hands, on their backs they carried their own little carryon bags. It was definitely less stressful. We checked in for our flight to LA, headed over to the lounge to rest before being called to board the flight. This is where the fun began.
I was seated with the kids on the left side of the cabin. Mike was over on the right side of the cabin, the centre aisle separating us. No biggie, the kids are older, we have our bags, there is inflight entertainment (I was stoked to see that Virgin Australia had gaming consoles in their seats!) I didn’t have to change nappies this time, so bathroom trips would be easy. We can do this. As I settled the kids in their seats, I looked over at Mike who had already set himself up in his seat with his books, crosswords, headphones on and was listening to music. Take off, the kids and I squished our faces into the little window to watch Australia slip away from under us. Mish was thrilled to be on a plane again. Tilly was excited to be on her way to Canada to see the grandies. I set up the inflight entertainment consoles for the kids. Tilly played games and Mish watched cartoons. All was going well. Food was served and they ate their meals, happy, happy – this was easy! Then came the toilet times and the little walks up and down the aisles to stretch legs. As the hours rolled on, sun coming and going, the kids good graces started to wear thin. They wanted out. It was enough now being crammed in such a small space for so long. When they slept, they slept on me which made it hard for me to sleep. I sat under a crumple of kids, looking across the cabin at my husband who was enjoying a snack, cold drink and a movie. Laughing to himself. Then he would be reading. Or sleeping. Lucky him.
We finally started the descent into Los Angeles. As the kids stirred and returned to their seats next to me, I looked out the window and caught my breath. I was actually going to be in Los Angeles! No freaking way! I looked at the highways – bumper to bumper cars. I saw the Hollywood sign. I saw the LAX airport. My red eyes were wide open, my sleep deprived brain was now on hyper alert. We were landing. I looked over at Mike who was waking up now and getting his seat back upright and tucking his belongings back into his bag. He looked nice and fresh as a daisy.
When we disembarked, I was bursting with excitement. I was looking about in the hope to spot a celebrity – not that I would approach them, I had had no sleep in over 24 hours and looked like I had been dragged through a hedge. I just wanted to see a celebrity in their natural habitat.
LAX is HUGE! We were herded into the lines for customs, dragging our luggage along, passports out and ready with the customs declarations. As we approached the counter, Mish decided he was going to make a break for it and he bolted through the gates and past an armed guard. Mike just about had heart failure and ran after Mish as I handed the passports over to the customs rep, apologising for our son’s attempt to enter their country illegally. Mike returned with Mish under his arm. We were stamped up and welcomed into America. We made our way out of the terminal and into the bright LA sunshine to catch the bus to the car hire company.
Outside the noise hit us. Hustle and bustle on a scale that we were not used to – even coming from Sydney and Brisbane. A limousine pulled up and a smartly dressed chauffer got out and went around to the passenger side to wait for their pick up. He was set upon by photographers and journalists, holding recording devices out at the ready. This was it! I was going to see a celebrity. Would it be a Kardashian? An A-list actor? A musician? Tilly and Mish were standing with me watching the melee going on. Mike was struggling with the luggage trolley. All of a sudden he lost his grip and our luggage spilled out onto the road. In his Canadian-Australian accent, he loudly exclaimed “FARKIN’ HELL!” So loud, I was sure that the gathering crowd over at the limo would hear. I quickly helped him pick up our bags, getting them off the road in time as the bus finally rolled up. On the bus, the kids and I were still watching the limo to see who the fuss was for, but unfortunately we will never know as the bus rounded the corner, leaving the airport before we could see who was stepping out the airport terminal door.
To be continued…