The Eagle Has Landed

3:30am, the alarm went off.

“Fuck,” I thought, “I just went to sleep.”

Or did I?  It was really hard to say give the fact I was anxious to get this trip going – get it done with – so I can be back home and have it behind me instead of looming on the horizon like storm clouds.

I finally got up – got dressed – and acknowledged the stress reaction I was having in my stomach.  Thanks, anxiety, for adding on some extra fun to today’s flight.  Fuck you very much.

I made sure the kids were going after G’s first attempt failed.  And started gathering the last minute items that had to be packed “in the morning”.  Maggie was definitely unhappy with the fact we were up but also the fact she had spent the night in her kennel.  Yeah, dog, I get ya.  I’d rather be curled up in a warm bed too.

Everyone assembled in the living room, we waited for the cab which finally came.  Piled in with our bags – and headed to the airport where we were met with crazy lines everywhere.  Yes, it’s 5am, and everyone was apparently traveling out that morning soon after that time.  Damn, it was too early for that crap.

Thankfully we had our boarding passes already, so we hit the porters for check-in only and the line flew.  It was funny the number of people just arriving as we are waiting in line, then trying to justify why they should get priority in the line.  None of us were feeling sympathetic to their plight – maybe because we had all gotten our asses out of bed early to get there with plenty of time.  Mean? Sure. But sometimes that is the way natural consequences look.

Traveling as a family seems to yield us a path through the fast security line.  G’s hands got tested, the kids were quizzed on their names, and we sped through ahead of the windy line that was regular security.  Coffee and nibbles were acquired – and we were ready to get on the plane.

The flight into Chicago wasn’t bad. I like it when the pilots communicate what is happening.  Such as “it’s bumping getting out of here, so we’ll be climbing high and fast so we can find smooth air.”  For someone like me, I know the bumps are not unexpected and that they will end.  It also helped I got to see the sunrise over Mount Hood at 20,000 ft and climbing.  Nothing like a beautiful view to get me into a different frame of mind.  The kids were across from us on the other side of the plane.  G was sleeping, and I sat watching a movie that is one of my favorites while at the same time watching the flight tracker on the inflight internet.  It was good seeing how far we were to Chicago, how much time we had before arrival, etc.  We ended up getting there 25 minutes early which was pretty cool.

Landing was not quite fun though.  Chicago lived up to its name and was windy making the descent feel more like a roller coaster than anything else.  But the pilots stuck the landing which is always good – and we were there – and not too far from our connecting flight.

We left Chicago with the same bumpy ride as we had into Chicago.  Then we got to DC where the wind was kinda crazy – and it was not a fun landing.  But, the pilots did a great job – even resulting in the flight attendants commenting on the PA that they did a great job.

The baggage wait wasn’t long – but the quest to find out how to get to our rental car was longer than it should have been.  Granted that was complicated by bad directions and only half of the elevators functioning.  When we reached our home for the next several days, I was happy my in-laws had stocked up on some beer and wine.  It was truly nice to have after the long day of flying and all.

We are already talking about what tomorrow will bring.  My in-laws did some exploration and found we were close to a train that will take us into the capital at little cost compared to driving.  So tomorrow morning, we will go off exploring Washington DC.  I’m beyond excited to photograph this place.  Even driving to our home-away-from-home, we skirted by many of the national landmarks – and the kids were even excited to see.  As I told G, we have to use this time to get DJ excited and understanding why american history is pretty awesome.  She’s pretty indifferent about it right now – and not looking forward to having to take it next year.  We already laid the groundwork with both kids as to why being out here is a big deal.  I can tell my west coast kids had not even thought about how young their beloved state was in comparison to the country’s capital.  Seeing their reactions when numbers were recited, I can tell this may be an eye opening experience for them.

Oh, and we pretty much are pushing DJ to get a tour of the Naval Academy while we are here.  She was waffling, so my father-in-law (of all people) and I pushed her to say “yeah, let me check this place out”.  Given all she loves to do, you’d think it would be a no-brainer for her….but nope.  I finally pulled her aside and told her how eye opening it was for me seeing it 15 years ago – and how I had wished someone had pushed me to learn more about it earlier. I appreciate the relationship I have with my kids because confessing that is not met with eye rolls but usually an eye opening response like “wow, if she felt that way – maybe I should consider it”.  I like that.

As for now, I’m contemplating sleep. God, I hope I find it tonight. I’m almost regretting not having brought some benadryl to help me in that department. Oh well….if sleep doesn’t come tonight, I’ll find some tomorrow.  I’m just hoping that tomorrow my family and I adjust to the time shift.  The 3:30am wake-up call may have helped us there – but we shall see.

All I do know is that tomorrow I’m hoping to have photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  That will be a lovely thing.

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