Sunday, April 9
If only I had known how today’s events would play out, I would have thrown my phone across the room when the alarm went off, but I didn’t, so I dutifully turned it off and went into the kitchen to get the coffee going. All five Mayers were packed, dressed, fed and at the train station with five minutes to spare. We even stopped and hugged Veronica from Vergati goodbye as we passed her on the bridge that goes over the tracks. Arrivederci, Santa Marinella.
Sundays at Fiumicino are crazy and that’s saying a lot because it’s always crazy. Thank God for our three small children and tired-parent faces because we were whisked the the front of every long line we were supposed to stand in. Check-in, first in the priority line. Security, priority once again. Passport control—a line that stretched the length of two football fields—we got to go in the Italian passport line and then cut over at the last minute. People were either angry and expressing disgust or offering us money to borrow one of our children. We arrived three hours early and only had about thirty minutes to spare once we got through. What will we do when they’re all grown up?
We used those minutes wisely and bought two bottles of Campari, one Aperol and a small bottle of grappa. I love Duty Free.
Of course we were some of the first people on the plane thanks to family boarding and we all settled into our seats and started watching our programs before the seats near us were filled with bodies. I noticed that we finally pushed off from the gate, but I was too involved in Bad Moms to notice that we didn’t move after that. After over an hour the captain announced there was a problem with a valve and for the next two and a half hours we continued to get random updates that we would get an update “in ten minutes.” Even with the help of the passenger in front of us who was apparently some engineer, they were unable to resolve the problem and our very full flight had to disembark, pick up our bags and head to the Hilton for the night.
The Mayers were all fine and happy while watching movies on the plane, but when this was realized, Jude and Henry went into the crazy mode. They simply didn’t understand. For the next several hours, we became improv entertainers and had to keep our audience happy during an unhappy situation. We were in Rome which is in Italy. And as much as I love Italy, they just don’t have their shit together and everybody acted as if this never happened before. It was chaos. Thankfully FCO is a pretty awesome airport and there was a foosball table for the boys to play with. Then some cardboard photo cutouts. Then some pictures of Rome to look at. Then a play area in baggage claim. I was on kid duty while Ryan was to collect the bags. After changing the belt once and then starting and stopping the new one three times, I finally said goodbye to Ryan and took the three boys and our carryon baggage to the hotel in order to beat the rush.
Because I looked like a mom traveling alone with three very active boys, I was both praised and pitied by everyone we passed. But again, I was thankful for those three active boys because we went right up to the desk and were given two adjoining rooms without having to ask. The boys immediately made themselves at home by dumping out their backpacks and taking off their shoes while I checked out the toiletries in the bathroom (I LOVE hotel toiletries!). By the time Ryan arrived, he said the line just to the elevator down to the hotel was at least an hour long wait.
Also by the time he arrived the boys were about to put up for adoption. We had all been up over thirteen hours and dinner wasn’t going to be served for another two and a half. No way. The Hilton at FCO was so accommodating and immediately gave us vouchers to the hotel restaurant rather than make us wait for the dinner arranged for our flight. Ryan ordered a beer and I got a large glass of pinot grigio to help cope with our fork throwing, bickering children and it sort of worked, but I ended up taking them all upstairs before we ordered dessert. By the time Ryan returned with dessert for the two of us, they were changed, teeth were brushed and all three were asleep in the same room. At last, peace.
Being me, I was worried about what we were going to wear on the plane tomorrow. Everything had been planned and cleaned for today’s flight and now I was going to have to do some reorganizing. In doing so, I realized I forgot all my underwear at the apartment. That was awesome. Before diving into my tiramisu, I sorted through clean and cleanish clothes and laid things out for the next morning. I had to take into account that we were staying in a hotel Sunday night near SFO so Ryan could go to work in the morning. That was one of the first calls I made once we figured out what was going on. The girl at the front desk of the Four Points Sheraton said she couldn’t do anything since we booked with miles, but connected me to reservations. The gentlemen I spoke to said no problem and he’d send a message to the hotel to change our room to Monday night and that I should get a confirmation call. The call never came, but I was too tired and it was too late to care.
Ryan and I ate our desserts in bed and fantasized about our flight being cancelled again and just staying through Easter. But all good things have to come to an end, and we got ready for bed so we could go back to the airport to check in for our now 9 am flight. The desk was going to open at six, but I wasn’t worried about getting there early. We have three small kids; long lines don’t apply to us.