The day we left Hawaii - which seems like it should be a week ago not just yesterday - we got the new kennel/crate for the dog only to discover that there was no hardware or door for it! So we had to hit up K-Mart to get ANOTHER crate. There were only two lines open and of course I ended up in the line where someone was making an exchange..
We got to the airport about 2 hours pre-flight but because of having to return the one day (more like 4 hour) rental car and check the baggage and get the dog all checked with the flights - we were practically running to the gate. Made it just a few minutes before they started boarding the flight. Of course the military, when booking our flights, didn't pay attention to whether or not our five seats on each flight were close or together! So we get on the first flight and thanks to a lovely Delta flight attendant were able to swap seats with some people.
Halfway through that flight I realize I didn't have my camera bag - the one with my 'spensive, shiny Nikon camera! I went back to the row I was originally in with Anya and found it tucked way under the seat where I must have stowed it and forgotten in the scramble to get switched. We landed in LA and Robby is collecting all the carry ons while I arrange the kids and I noticed one bag missing...our "quick change" bag that had shoes, socks, changes of clothes, etc for when we arrived in the slightly more chilly Georgia. Near as we can figure - during boarding it was accidentally left behind in the gate area in Honolulu Airport. If there was a TSA shut down of the airport as a result of our forgotten bag - I extend my apologies lol.
Anyway, for whatever reason, we're all standing about waiting to off load from the plane and it takes like 30 minutes before they even open the doors (mind you we were already at the gate so it's not like we were still being pulled in or anything). We finally get off the plane and start to hunt down the gate for our next flight since our 2 hour layover is now more like an hour and fifteen minutes. After a couple elevator trips, a LONG walk through the "Steel Curtain Tunnel" of LAX and an escalator trip, we find out new gate and have about 20 minutes to feeds ourselves before boarding. If it were just Robby and I - 20 minutes would be no problem but the girls aren't speedy eaters lol.
On board the next flight (this one from LAX to Atlanta), once again we swap a couple seats with people so Robby is sitting with Jadzia and I'm sitting with Inara and Anya. This particular flight is a red-eye flight and I should note here that Anya has MAJOR motion/spacial issues. She HATES elevators, escalators, etc. Flying was no different. I also suspect she might have slight claustrophobia issues. Every time we boarded a flight she would start freaking out when I tried to get her to move into the row and sit down - just what I want to deal with when trying to stow luggage and get three kids settled. She did this even on the flight from Hawaii to LA and she'd never flown before. Anyway, since it was a red-eye I felt the need to get her calmed as soon as possible - the last thing the sleeping people wanted at midnight was a screaming, crying two year old. With a lot of soothing and holding, she calmed down and clutched onto me through the take off and then conked out.
De-planing from this flight is where we lost another item of marginal importance - one of Anya's Kai-Lan dolls. Now, Anya has a mild Kai-Lan obsession and has what we call the "Kai-Lan Army" of like 6 different stuffed Kai-Lan dolls. All but two of them were snatched by packers before I could rescue them and are currently in a crate somewhere between Hawaii in Georgia. Now one of them is probably sitting in an airport lost and found or something but trying to get back on the plane to retrieve it simply wasn't worth it at that point so she'll have to deal with one for now. (I know, I know - this trip will probably cement her need for like years of therapy lol)
Now in Atlanta, we have about a three hour layover until we are supposed to get on our short hop to Columbus so we take our time getting to our new gate (which requires more escalator trips to traumatize the smallest spawnling and airport train trip). And then we wait...at this point, though it's like 8AM Atlanta time, it's about 3AM Hawaii time and my children are all WIDE AWAKE while Robby and I are desperately trying to keep our eyes open. I was doing great until we stopped moving lol.
So our little 30 minute hop flight is delayed first because of a late flight crew - several flights were delayed for the same reason during our time in the concourse so either the flight crews in Atlanta do not feel the need to be on time - ever - or that's Delta's standardized reply initially lol. After it had been delayed almost an hour they changed the reasoning to maintenance. We finally get boarded...and then we sit. Apparently the radio isn't transmitting or something so we sit and we sit and we sit. Anya spazzes out and eventually falls asleep on my lap while we sit. Another hour or so later, we are de-planed and told to "talk to the gate agents about making arrangements...". Nice plan! The passengers scatter - some jump onto another flight to Columbus, some I suspect go rent a car and just plan to drive from Atlanta to Columbus (it's a couple hours by car). We're waiting for them to work their way through the line and Robby steps up when they announce that they "think" they fixed the issue and will be continuing the flight as planned (a couple hours late). So we reboard and take off. The Fasten Seatbelt sign is off for about 3 minutes before they turn it back on and announce that we are landing! 3 hour layover, 2+ hour delay...for a 30 minute flight!
But finally we're in the tiny little Columbus airport and Robby goes to secure our rental car while I wait with the kids for the baggage to start rolling. Nearly an hour later it finally DOES start rolling and we get everything - except one duffel bag...oh and our DOG!
Thankfully Jasper (the Dog) was NOT lost somewhere between Hawaii and Georgia or taking a mini-break in like Aruba without us. The duffel bag, on the other hand, took a bit longer to track down. Thankfully it was found a while later and finally we were off - only we really had no idea where we were seeing as we'd had no internet for a week and no real means of mapping or familiarizing ourselves with the area lol. It took a couple wrong turns but we found the rather large Ft Benning AND our hotel and then we all fell down lol.
Oh and we saw a few signs for restaurants and such that we have missed during our time in Hawaii so woohoo lol