Saturday, October 27, 2012

When reality fails to meet expectations

I had a disappointing experience earlier this week. Last minute, I decided to go up to Michigan to visit my parents and brother's family. After the December incident, I obviously didn't think that driving by myself would be a good idea, nor would it be very pleasant since I wouldn't be able to hand my kids any toys, books, or treats.

Jeff was willing to go, but I wanted to be gone for longer than the weekend, so I was looking for other options. My mom offered to drive down to get me, but it seemed a bit much for her to drive five hours to get me and then drive right back up to bring us there.

Planes are expensive.

All trains go through Chicago, which would add a lot of extra hours to the trip.

So, I looked into buses. Very reasonable pricing. And there was even one that went during the night, so we would get in at 7:00 am. I thought that would be genius. My kids have always been good at sleeping in their car seats on long road trips, so it seemed like a fantastic idea.

From there, the fantastic idea just kept being less fantastic.

From what I read on the website, I thought my children would be able to ride in car seats, so we spent the extra money to buy Danny a ticket rather than let him ride for free on my lap. (I'm five months' pregnant, so I'm running out of room on my lap.)

However upon checking in, I learned that not all buses are equipped for car seats. And the bus I was on was not, so the kids were not able to ride in car seats. I arrived at the station really early, so the kids ended up waking up due to the long wait. And I didn't even get the benefit of being their early, because with two kids, two car seats, and three suitcases, moving forward with the line didn't really happen, and everyone was fine with going around me.

That meant we were the last people on the bus, but I was confident that fellow riders would be sympathetic to my plight and ensure that I could sit with my kids. Surely no one else on the bus would want to listen to my kids crying, right?

The seats are two next to each other, then an aisle, and then two more seats, except for in the very back of the bus. Next to the bathroom, there are three seats. I didn't know about those at first, and when I got on the bus, I asked if anyone would move, which is when I was informed by many people on the bus to try in the back because there were three seats there.

When I arrived in the back, I saw a backpack sitting on one of the three seats. I waited, and a man came out of the bathroom. I asked him if my two children and I could sit there and if he would move for me. He informed me that he had been sitting there since Atlanta and was not going to move, because they were his seats.

I am five months' pregnant.

I was traveling alone with a one year old and a three year old.

It was three o'clock in the morning.

I was going to visit my family to be there for Halloween festivities and to be there for them on the anniversary of the death of my niece.

What would you have done?

Well, I started to cry.

I didn't do it to be manipulative, but just because I was feeling very emotional.

Either way, it had no effect on the man. He sat down and repeated that it was his seat.

Two other people moved for me, so then I at least at two seats. (Good thing we had paid for a third!!) Danny would only sleep on me, and Jill would only sleep leaning on me, and well, I didn't sleep very much and was very uncomfortable. The children slept (only waking up once or twice) until there was about an hour and a half left. They really were fantastic considering how they could have been. There was a very unfortunate chocolate milk incident that involved soaking the side of my shirt and my entire left thigh. That was cold. And sticky. And wet.

And the bathroom. Well, let's just say that I think men should only pee standing up when there is a urinal present. Toilet SEATS are for sitting. Especially on moving buses. It was disgusting, and Danny kept touching everything while I was trying to clean it with toilet paper. Not a good memory.

To cap everything off, my phone fell out of my pocket and was left on the bus. I realized I didn't have it when we made it to my parents' car. My dad went back for it and watched helplessly through the glass as the bus drove away. We left our information and actually got a phone call saying my phone had been found. Unfortunately, the bus garage was an hour away from my parents' house, so it was super to spend two more hours in the car after already having been in the car for an hour and the bus for four and a half hours.

All in all, it has been wonderful to be here with my family, and I am glad that I came. But middle-of-the-night bus trips are not the ideal way to travel when your children are young and completely dependent on you for comfort.

And the next time you see someone who needs help, help them. You don't know what is going on in their lives.


  1. Oh my ridiculousness, that is crazy. You did NOT tell me all of those details on the phone! I would so so so have cried, and maybe have stomped my foot. When I was flying home from Pennsylvania and my life was falling down around me, and everyone was actually so nice to me, I cried from that. So I think tears come naturally in those moments anyway.

  2. I can't believe that man! Holy moley. I would have cried or punched him in the face... okay, I would have definitely just cried. I'm glad you made it safely to your parent's home. I can't think of a better place to rest your head after an experience like that than your mom's house. Enjoy your visit and you can add this to your Superwoman accomplishments that you never hope to do again!

  3. I would have cried, pregnant or otherwise. Man. I wish I could say I'm shocked about the man, but living in China makes me surprised when I hear about people going out of their way to help--like I've forgotten that actually happens. But what a jerk! Who actually wants those seats at the back? It's the smelliest part of the bus. But you were brave to try something like that on your own, and with 2.5 kids to boot! I don't think I would have had the nerve.

  4. oh Mimi! i'm sorry that happened. i would have been a miserable wreck and crying. i'm glad your kids behaved though. and i'm glad you were safe and had time with family. ::hugs::


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