Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ridin' the Rails with Stinky Stinkerson

Hubby was working in NYC all last week, so the boys and I thought we’d go visit for the weekend, catch up with old friends, and hang out at some of our favorite spots. 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Since we’ve spent many long hours sitting in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike and said turnpike does NOT bring out my better qualities, we decided to take the train.  We would leave at 6:05, and since Small’s regular bedtime is 7 pm, I assumed he would fall asleep . . . a precious little angel all snuggled in my arms and rocking to the gentle rhythm of the swaying train.

Um, that’s not how it went down.

Everything started out great.  The boys were excited to be taking the train, I had packed the ginormous suitcase and put it in the Swagga Wagon, and traffic into DC was bearable.  We arrived at the train station right on time, parked, got dinner to-go, and headed for the line to get ready to board.  The line was at least 100 deep, which made me think it wasn’t for our train, as we still had a half hour before departure.  Sure enough, a redcap flagged me down, asked me where I was going, and said “follow me.” 

I LOVE it when people are kind and helpful.  It totally restores my faith in humanity.

He parted the crowds like Moses and the Sea and led us to a secret entrance to the tracks.  He found us four seats facing each other and stowed my luggage and bid us adieu.  Best 5 bucks I ever spent.

Then the squirming started.  Ever traveled with a toddler who was so beyond exhausted that his eyes started rolling back into his head?

Two. And-a-half.  Hours.  Of squirming/screaming/wriggling.  It was like trying to hold onto a bag full of cats.  Remember that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Rusty realizes Aunt Bethany has wrapped the cat as a Christmas gift?  Like that.

I have never been so happy to see Hubby as I was when we got to the top of the escalator at Penn Station and he was waiting with open arms.  But that was short lived, because our next stop was the tiniest hotel room known to man. 

All five of us squeezed into a hotel room.  We had our bed, a pull-out couch for Medium and Large, and we stuck Small in the pack-n-play in the bathroom.  There were two main problems with this configuration, however.
  1. Once we got everyone settled in bed, there was literally no space to walk because of all the quality hotel furniture, the stroller, and our luggage.
  2. Since Small was asleep in the bathroom, if you had to pee you were out of luck.  Which may be why certain members of our entourage had “accidents” the first night. 
That’s a whole lotta family togetherness.

The trip home didn’t start out much better.  We boarded the train after finding a redcap to help us with our luggage.  We looked like sherpas . . . wearing as much clothing as we could and with backpacks strapped on every available shoulder.  As we were getting settled into our seats, Hubby and I both smelled something.

Of course, our first inclination was for each of us to ask, “was that YOU?”

Cute.  But veddy, veddy steenky.
Oh, right.  The baby.  

So don’t judge us, but we were already on the train, and those train bathrooms are comparable in size to an airplane restroom.  We were desperate.  We did what we had to do.  We took Small a few rows back, away from as many people as possible, and quickly changed his stinky.  While Hubby did the actual procedure, I stood at the ready so that I could transport the offending diaper to a trashcan outside the train.

But you know SOMEBODY had to make a comment.

I got the stink-eye from a young woman a few rows up.  I cringed apologetically and said, “sorry.  We’ll be done in a second,” because I realized this was not an ideal situation.

“Ugh.  Seriously?  Can’t you do that somewhere else?” she replied.  Because she’s what?  20?  And she knows what it’s like to travel with a family of young children, one of whom is probably going to start screaming soon and who will be way unhappy if he has to fester in a dirty diaper for the next 3.5 hours?  “You can’t use the restroom or something?  Those restrooms are huge.”

Possible sarcastic responses:
  • “Yes, I could, but then I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of engaging you in polite conversation.”

  • “Really?  Huge?  Judging from the look on your terrified boyfriend’s face and my impression that he’s not allowed to have an opinion, I’m guessing your idea of “huge” and mine are two different things.”

  • “We could have used any number of restrooms we passed along the way, all of which were line-less and gleeming with cleanliness and sanitation, given we’re in friggin’ Manhattan.  But I decided to wait until 2 minutes before departure time because I like the excitement of having a deadline.”

Stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.
I get it.  No one wants to smell poop.  But what were we supposed to do, really?  There’s no changing table in a bathroom that consists of a metal toilet and the equivalent of an upside-down water fountain.  We couldn’t disembark with our family of five, a stroller, 2 suitcases, bags, and five winter coats, travel up the escalator, undress the baby, change him, travel down the escalator, find five seats together, stow our luggage/stroller/bags/coats, ETCTERA, just so you don’t have to plug your nose for what amounted to about 30 seconds of unpleasantness.

So pipe down. 

Oh, and a private note to the mean 20-year-old with no sympathy for haggard parents of a stinky toddler: you got off at Newark.  Newark.  You think this is the last experience with STINK you’re gonna have today?  Happy holidays . . .

1 comment:

  1. I know just what you mean. I traveled from UK to US recently with three, youngest still in diapers. Packed flight. Of course stinky struck multiple times, lol. Your post reminded me of the ordeal but with a smile on my face. Happy Thanksgiving! :)


Be nice, kids.