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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Home from the Holidays 

As one might have gathered from my Boxing Day entry, we went down to Louisiana for the holidays. It was a good trip, and we got to see a lot of friends and family, despite the unusual weather.

We flew down last Wednesday and Celeste proved herself a true road warrior. It was a challenge traveling with all her accessories, plus our bags, and whatever presents we didn't have Amazon ship directly to Hammond, but we made it through every stumbling block TSA and/or the airlines set up ... although, not always with grace: Trying to remove shoes, undo belt, get Celeste out of her carseat, collapse the stroller, and put all our stuff on the conveyor belt to be X-rayed was handled better on the return at Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) than it was on the way down from Washington Dulles (IAD).

The only problem was that the gate agent at IAD didn't want to let those traveling with infants and small children to board early. She called out first class and passengers with disabilities; someone else then asked about children, and she conferred with the person at the podium who say "yes," but the gate agent didn't say children over the PA. I was watching all this go down, so we approached the gate and got a bit of attitude ("If we let everyone traveling with children board right away, we might as well open up the entire plane to everyone.") although we were allowed to board.

Maybe it's just me, but if I ran an airline, I would want babies to board as early as possible to give the parents time to settle the kid in and to keep the carseat from wacking anyone in the head in a crowded aisle. The flip side (and the same thinking) is that I expect parents to wait until the plane is mostly clear before trying to get out for the same reasons.

That said, Celeste was the best flyer out of the three of us. I was annoyed by all the baggage we had and the lines; Evelin was feeling ill from the turbulence; Celeste, however, slept through most of the flight. She did need a diaper change after we'd boarded but before we left the gate and she started wailing in the bathroom at the rear of the plane. It looked for a bit like it would be an ugly flight, but she calmed down and went to sleep before we started taxiing to the runway. And she stayed asleep, despite a pretty bumpy ride, until our final descent.

We brought along two small bottles (2 ounce) for the way up and down, but since she didn't take one on the way up, she had both during the descent. Trying to warm the first bottle, Evelin shook it to the point where some of the milk was starting to turn to butter, but Celeste didn't seem to mind. On the flight back, it was much of the same; Celeste slept until the descent, but this time she didn't want a bottle at all. She just sucked on the Soothie the entire time.

Besides the events of Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we had a pretty sedate visit. On the 23rd there was a party where Celeste got to meet Santa Claus (she didn't seem impressed), and the rest of the time was just spent hanging out.

I did spend part of one day testing the invisible fence that my parents and the neighbors use to keep their dog, S---, in check. He broke through it one day to follow my mom and Evelin on a walk, so I was shocking myself to see if the batteries were dying or if the range setting was too low or what. Probably going along on the walk was worth the short shock to S---. (While frying turkeys on Christmas Eve, my brother; the neighbor's son, A---; a cousin or two of his; and some other friends were playing with S---'s collar; we thought that might have killed the batteries, but they were still registering 6 volts, so we tried a different yard-size setting.)

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