Well, we managed to get out the door! The lead up to leaving almost killed me... and subsequently my family. I kind of went OCD cleaning the house... wiping, dusting, vacuuming, straightening, sorting through, chucking out, boxing up, and so on. I was a machine that, if interrupted, could spontaneously lash out in a wild frenzy... In the end, the house got clean and the kids learned to let ticking time bombs simmer quietly on their own.
Our journey began when a few of our neighbours came by to see us off while we loaded our suitcases and backpacks into two vans. It was so nice to see family and friends as we headed out, knowing 'home' is where we belong.
First stop was the Victoria ferry terminal. In a rather obvious spectacle, all seven of us, toting a total of 9 suitcases and 7 backpacks, weaved our way to the ticket booth to purchase our ferry passes. As we waited our turn, a kind woman approached me and asked me if all these kids were ours. When I replied that they were, she handed me three ferry passes and wished me a Merry Christmas! She had over-purchased the number of tickets she needed, and looking at our train of people, felt compelled to turn her misfortune into an act of kindness. What a wonderful way to start this adventure... being reminded of the goodness of mankind.
When the ferry docked, we hopped aboard a Pacific Coast Line bus which took us to the Vancouver Airport. We were early for our flight, so the airport was rather quiet and our check-in was straightforward. The younger kids seemed most excited about going through the airport security and passing through the metal detector. “What about the metal on my pant zipper?”, “What about the metal on my button?”. They seemed reassured to hear that most people have metal on their pants and somehow can still keep their pants on and take a flight simultaneously. Again, security was a rather simple experience with everyone passing through without complication (aside from a minor backpack search for mom... “Sorry about the juice box, sir”).
With so little hold-ups and weather that co-operated, we arrived at our boarding gate with a few hours to spare. It was time to bust out the snacks and games... We also took the opportunity to give the kids a quick lecture on appropriate and inappropriate (read felony) jokes when you're in an airport or on a plane, and how the repercussions of ignoring our advice could dramatically alter their trip plans... forever...
And here we wait... Rich is reading a magazine, Ryan is watching a show in his iPod touch, Michael is reading an Archie comic, Matthew is snacking and playing on his Nintendo DS, Emily is snacking and watching the news on the airport TV, and Jillian is engaging every human being in our little area, sharing family secrets with perfect strangers, making friends and showing off her sticker earrings. I've managed to kill off an hour trying to write this blog entry, in between making sandwiches, fishing Jilly out from under some seats, and mediating a game of “Guess Who”. Life is good.