The total flying time from San Diego to Atlanta was just shy of four hours. Still, our total time of travel, from doorstep to doorstep, has taken over 12.
Oh, how I wish I could write about all that has happened today - and post pictures to go with the story - but it's late and I'd wake up my sleeping family if I turned on lights looking for my camera and cables. So the pictures will have to wait until later.
For now, I want to convey that the toughest part of our day was walking around for over an hour in the massively huge Atlanta airport ... with four small children and 12 pieces of luggage ... while trying to find out where the rental car counter was.
And then, spending another hour, in gale force winds and a torrential downpour, finding our van - realizing that two of the three rented carseats were installed improperly - and the third carseat was missing an entire strap. So, we'd need a new carseat and the replacement process would take 30 minutes.
As as we were waiting for the carseat to be ready, the car rental representative pointed out that the weather is rather treacherous and if the car feels like it is being blown off the road by wind, we should seek immediate shelter beneath an underpass, get out of the vehicle and run to the lowest lying ditch that we can find. Then, she demonstrated how we should lay flat as a pancake and cover up our head with our arms.
As we were leaving, she sweetly added, "Welcome to Georgia, Y'all! Thank you for choosing Hertz!"
By now, all of our travelers were hungry. But the mere sight of pretzels that everyone had been eagerly snacking on earlier, which are now the only food that we had remaining (along with one pulverized banana and a bag of M&Ms), caused a tremendous amount of crying. So we fed everyone M&Ms. And then drove to the nearest McDonald's and loaded the kids up on french fries and milk shakes. And then we had to stop for two separate potty breaks.
It took us a longer amount of time to get out of the Atlanta airport and drive to South Carolina, then it took us to fly from California to Georgia. Henry screamed from the backseat for the last hour of a three-hour drive. And because I was unable to safely focus on my driving, I had Charlie hook me up with an iPod and headphones. So while I jammed out to Cold Play, my family heard "WAH Hold You!" (translation, Hold Me!) on repeat for a solid 60 minutes.
It might seem cold to drive while your child is in hysterics in the backseat. But I knew that if we stopped ... we'd ... NEVER ... get ... there. So we drove and drove.
We no sooner walked in the door, when Henry, ripped off his clothes and ran around looking for a potty. I took him in to the bathroom and perched him high on the toilet, but something didn't feel right for our little guy. So while I forgot for a moment that I had a child who was in the midst of potty training, and turned to greet my mother and Jim, Henry slipped off the toilet and climbed in to the bathtub where he had a gargantuan poop.
Everyone, including Henry most of all, cheered.
All told, this has been an awesome day. Everyone is healthy. Everyone is safe. And Henry didn't unload on the white berber carpet.
We couldn't be any happier.
(Hopefully, this post is coherent. I think I fell asleep midway through writing it.)