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19 April 2009 @ 09:24 pm
This weekend I traveled west to meet a very special little man. My sister spawned last fall and gave me my very first nephew, so I went out to meet him. My mom had gone right after he was born, but I wanted to wait until the spud was a little more interactive and my sister wasn't overwhelmed with serial guests.

So, Friday bright and early I drove to work, parked the car, and walked the half mile to the airport. Everything proceeded amazingly smoothly. 9AM flight, 10:30AM transfer in MSP, 12PM arrival in Billings. By 1PM, I was inspecting the nibling.

Andrew in his "Little Man" hat

This shot was blurry, but is still, I think, my favorite, since it captures him so well - he was vibrating for much of the weekend - in the car, being bounced on a knee, from hiccups... He has this amusing habit of getting hiccups if you mak ehim giggle too much. Well, it's funny until he hiccups enough to spit up. :P 

It's sort of weird to see my sister as a mommy, but she seems pretty good at it. :) The weekend was pretty low-key - we had lunch when I arrived, then a quick shopping trip, then hanging out at home, dinner at home, and a movie. Saturday was a slow start to the day, followed by shopping, more shopping, oh-dear-gods-how-long-does-it-take-to-pick-a-shirt shopping, dinner, baby bathtime, baby bedtime, a game of Uno for the adults, then bedtime for the adults. This morning, my sister and I went for coffee, then they dropped me off at the airport.

All the annoyances I missed on the trip out were revisited on me threefold on the way home. Now, keep in mind, I am an extremely seasoned traveler. I know the drill, my big stompy boots are off before I hit the TSA screening line (I habit I had even before shoe removal was a requirement), I only travel on a carry-on whenever possible, I put all my metal and gagets in my jacket pockets to be scanned so I don't set off the metal detector, all liquids including meds are in the little allowable baggie, etc... Therefore, I usually sail through security lickety-split. However, the Montana TSA was FULL OF FAIL. They decided I needed my bags completely emptied out after X-raying... They would not handle my baggage gently, even after I told it contained easily crushable (amazingly yummy) cookies and stabbity sewing gear. (Really, dude, if you just asked if there is anything in there that can stab you and I have said "YES, there are scissors and pins and needles and other stabbity things," WHY would you fluff and squeeze everything in the bag? Idiot. I wish I'd forgotten to sheath the scissors.) They also had a hissy fit that I was bringing through two empty water bottles. EMPTY. I explained I was bringing them back to be recycled, since apparently Montana doesn't recycle anything. They were utterly mystified by this concept and clearly thought I was up to something. Then, the TSA Genious decides he needs to re-scan all my stuff, and puts the suitcase into the bin where he has put all the overflow from my bag... including the fragile cookies! He was surprised that I was somewhat annoyed about this.  I had to completely repack my bag, including the damaged baked goods, since it would not close after his "attention." This is particularly impressive, since I had exchanged a pair of amazingly impractical heels and several baby gifts that I had on the way out for the single packet of cookies on the way back - the bag had been about half empty when I packed it initially. *grrr* Anyway, the flight was full of screaming children, I was not able to meet up with folks in MSP as I had hoped, nor was I able to transfer to an earlier flight (at least not without paying $50 plus a flight change fee) so the four hour layover was boring, the second flight was completely full, including screaming children AND the UW girls rowing team, and when I got back to Madison there was a steady cold rain falling. :/ In all, it took about nine hours to get back home...

It was good to see the nibling, but it is good to be home.

Current Mood: tiredtired
grnjenny / Jennifer Carlsongrnjenny on April 20th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
Uff-da! That's some seriously annoying TSA crapola there. My sympathies.

Hey, at least you got to take your scissors and sewing stuff along...!
EllieSamelliesam on April 20th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Cute little guy!
Mark Gordon: seriousmtgordon on April 20th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I have to wonder whether the environmental impact of flying two empty plastic bottles from Montana to Wisconsin for recycling may have been greater than the environmental impact of landfilling them in Montana.
eithni: greeneithni on April 20th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Well, it's not like they added significantly to my baggage's weight and then I was able to fill them at the bubbler instead of buying another bottle of water, soda, or juice. I had 8+ hours in the air or airport - I was going to need something to drink. :p
Mark Gordonmtgordon on April 20th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
"Oh, those sneaky terrorists, they claim they're planning to recycle, when really they're planning to use those bottles to drink water! Meanwhile, they've fluoridated our water, Mandrake! They're trying to pollute our precious bodily fluids!"
Ursulaursulagoddess on April 20th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
Yay nibbling! Glad you had fun Auntie :-)
Uncle Mikeybelmikey on April 20th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
I actually almost check a bag, because I refuse to play the toiletries game. I'm bringing a full sized bottle of my favourite shampoo with me, dammit :-)

But also because I already have enough headaches at security. I always have to take out both my laptop (travel without a laptop? Don't be daft!) and my CPAP, and the CPAP almost always needs to be swabbed. And in shoes and my Vest of Holding, and I've got enough to worry about (and enough weight to carry!) without also carrying on a suitcase :-D

On the other hand, on the train, where none of that crap is an issue, I almost always carry everything on.
teffanteffan on April 20th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
Beyond the normal TSA-banned stuff, I've got all the insulin/diabetes fun stuff (needles, liquid, small pager-sized machine that doesn't seem to do anything besides beep) that NEVER gets checked lest they lose it... plus my knitting projects (yay stabby needles)... plus my "normal" electronics pile :) I usually choose the family line just so none of the other passengers shoot me for spending so much time and using at least 3 or 4 bins *every* time to make sure the inept screeners can see everything easily and not hold up the line any more than necessary :)
eithni: jumpingeithni on April 21st, 2009 05:37 am (UTC)
See, I have three issues with checked bags -

1) for most of my life, we flew standby since my dad works for Northwest. Standby = hugely increased risk of lost or delayed baggage.

2) I like to be able to hop off the plane and hit the ground running at my destination. I HATE standing in a pack of people waiting for my baggage when I could already be on my way...

3) The way I usually travel, I don't want to be weighted down with as much stuff as fits in a checked bag. I usually do a lot of advance planning about what I want to see/do, but then my itinerary is very fluid, full of hostels and buses and last minute plan changes. I've done Britain for two weeks on a carry on. (Even worse, I made my mom adhere to the same policy when she traveled with me for a week in the UK. She's a serious clotheshorse, but I *knew* there would be at least one point where we'd be late for a train and I'd be running carrying both bags. :P)
Uncle Mikeybelmikey on April 21st, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
That all makes sense for how you travel, then :-) It's almost the opposite of how I travel, though.

1] I never travel standby. Even if I get bumped for equipment failure or weather or what-have-you, I get the next available reservable seat. I prefer to have a definite plan in hand, even if it means waiting longer for a replacement flight. I'd rather know for certain, for example, that I can leave the airport because my next flight won't be 'til the next day.

2] I almost always need time to stretch and uncompress myself after a flight, so I don't mind either the walk to baggage claim or the wait.

3] I tend not to bounce around the same way, even on sight-seeing trips. For example, for our England trip last year, we only stayed in three places: the dorms at UCL for the Heraldic symposium; a B&B in Stratford-upon-Avon; and a guest house near Heathrow. Once we left London, we had a rented car, so there were no trains to miss. Our post-London site-seeing was built around what was reachable by reasonable drives from Stratford (which in turn was more than enough to fill up our days). It was all fairly carefully planned out in advance, not least of which because Edwin, who was doing a lot of the planning, is a little OCD about it :-)

My next trip to England, I intend to be even more sedentary, in as much as I plan to stay firmly in London, and thus in the same lodgings, wherever that might wind up being, the whole time. I'm pretty sure London and its immediate surrounds could easily occupy me for a week.
eithni: Pictisheithni on April 21st, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
I agree that London could keep one busy for at least a week. I was there for that long and for scattered days on other trips and still have not seen all I'd like, to say nothing of returning to view again some notable items.

My travel preferences are why I did not try to go with y'all to England. I know my style of travel is not for everyone, but it has great advantages. I don't mind if it's lunchtime and I don't know yet where I'm sleeping that night. (And really, spending the night on a train platform with a German, a Brit, and an Aussie, singing and playing cards is not a terrible deal when all is said and done.) I like being able to see a poster for an exhibit at the British Library while riding the Tube and decide that I can take the overnight train instead of the afternoon train so I can spend the day looking at the Lindesfarne Gospels. I like being able to say "hell, yeah!" when asked if I'd like to spend a day or three working at a dig at Fearne Abbey without needing to make any cancellations to do so. Unpredictable flow is the source of most of my travel adventures. :)
teffanteffan on April 20th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry I missed you at MSP - I would really rather have been there than stuck on a ladder with a 40# drill up in the ceiling joist drilling holes and covering myself in wood chips (and bashing my hands into the walls numerous times before I learned where best to brace the drill). Next time I go south to help my sister, I'll be driving myself for multiple reasons ;)
ego_id_non_feciego_id_non_feci on April 21st, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
Yech! Ew. HATE plane travel. hate hate hate hate hate

Baby pictures are incredibly saccharine, though. He looks very pinchable and squeezable. I'd totally coo my fool head off at him. :D
(Deleted comment)
eithni: WTFeithni on April 21st, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
Glasses?!?!? How we re they a threat?