Monday, 13 November 2017

Autism travels (poorly) part one

We went on a trip to my niece's wedding this weekend. It was a short trip; we flew in on Friday, back on Sunday. It being report card and IPP time for the husband, we couldn't take a lot of vacation time.

I had the usual anxiety attack while packing, but breathed through it, took my meds, and got it done. We had a friend stay at the house to keep the pets company. We were ready.

Except, as it turned out, I was not.

Hubs got off work, we headed for the airport. We parked in long term parking. We did not take a pic of where our car was, or make a written note of it. (This would bite us in the ass when we got home of course, but that will have to wait for part 2)

Got our checked baggage done, got to the ridiculously long security line and went to the front to see if we could used the expedited lane, given we are travelling with two special needs kids.

And we got attitude, big time, from the security guy.
Apparently, we should have got some kind of notification put on our boarding pass that our kids are autistic and will go batshit if we have to wait in line. He was snarky and condescending, but fine, whatever, we got our little lecture and were grudgingly permitted to go through the shorter line reserved for people with small children. (Six and nine are apparently not small enough, as a rule.)

It still took time, but the kids were better with it than usual, and managed to get through with minimal fuss. Monkey was even calm when he was randomly chosen to have his hands scanned (what are they scanning for? Gunpowder residue? Drugs? the kid is nine and autistic, for f*cks sake, what do they think he would be doing?) Fine. It was done. They kept trying to have Hubs step aside for Kitten to go through the body scanner, even after we explained that if Daddy was not in full view, she was not going to go to the other side no matter how much they insisted. That was finally accepted, Daddy was permitted to wait in front of the arch,  and we made it through.

We were running late at this point, because hubs had misread the itinerary and we were taking off half an hour earlier than he'd thought. We got to the gate, and were asked to show ID.

This is where my stupidity comes in. As it turns out, I had forgotten to get my driver's license renewed on my birthday in September. I needed 2 other pieces of government issued ID to get on the plane.

I nearly had a breakdown.

I really don't understand why identification that has expired by a few months is such an issue. The picture is still me. The birth date, vital statistics, name and address are all correct and current. My Driver's licence is expired, but my identity has not. It's ridiculous.

After hunting through my wallet and purse for several minutes, I finally found my birth certificate and my government issued health care card. Except, they don't match. My birth certificate is, of course in my maiden name, and my AHC is in my married name. The two alternate pieces need to match.  They called a supervisor to the gate.

At this point, it is taking all my control not to burst into tears, scream, and otherwise make a fool of myself and get us missing the flight they apparently weren't going to let me on anyway. Monkey was picking up on my anxiety and starting to freak out a bit himself, so I did my best to keep calm enough to keep him calm.

I dug through the mess in my purse one more time, and finally, I found my SIN card, also in my maiden name, and so matched the birth certificate.

Which was fine, except that my boarding pass and booking were in my married name.

The gate person managed to change the name on the ticket in the computer, while the supervisor lectured me on having proper, matching, up to date ID when boarding a plane.

I did not tell him to go f*ck himself. I feel I should get some credit for that.

We boarded at the last possible minute, dragging our carry-on luggage, of which there was a lot. The kids have flown before, but not recently, so we tried to prepare as best we could. I packed snacks, iPads, and drinks. Hubs bought the kids new headphones that they liked (!) and we made sure to pack lots of cords and chargers. Both kids had toys and stuffies. Diapers and wipes were stowed in every piece of luggage except Monkey's backpack.
For economy flights, there is an extra charge to have any checked baggage, so we kept it to one suitcase for the lot of us. But we were on the plane. I did not burst into tears, pass out, or say anything I would regret.

We plugged the kids' devices into the seat consoles, and the flight went more or less smoothly. Kitten was entranced by the view during take off, Monkey was absorbed in his iPad. Other than a few difficult moments with Monkey and the pressure changes (he can't really blow his nose, or follow any kind of direction on how to make his ears "pop") the flight went smoothly.

We got ourselves to the rental car desk, picked up the car with minimal hassle, and were off to our hotel.

That little misadventure will be in the next part, as this is already way too long a story. Stay tuned for part 2.

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