Ottawa 2011: happy to be on solid ground

We’re home. Our return trip was less gruelling than I thought it would be. And I learned a valuable lesson. You CAN get yourself on an earlier connecting flight without forking over cash. But only if you ask about this BEFORE your baggage goes on the conveyer belt. We had a four hour layover in Vancouver that I was not looking forward to (from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am Ottawa time). I was told by a seasoned traveller (no names mentioned) that changing our tickets would cost us $100 each ticket, so we weren’t going to bother. But when we checked in to the ticket desk in Ottawa I thought I’d ask the ticket agent just in case. Unfortunately my timing was TERRIBLE. I asked her about 30 seconds after our first bag had gone on the conveyer belt. Her response was, as she looked in the direction the bag had just gone, “well, you could have…”.

The ticket agent was very apologetic. She hadn’t noticed the long layover. And it turned out there were seats available on a flight that left two hours earlier. Grrrr. I was pretty mad at myself. I should have asked as soon as we walked up to the desk. Lesson learned.

The plane we were on from Ottawa to Vancouver had three seats on either side of the aisle. After a bit of debate we decided to put Greg and the kids in one row and then have me in the aisle seat next to them. I could have been flying without kids. I helped them pee a couple of times and chatted with Elliot for a bit, but other than that I did no childcare. I watched a movie and four episodes of Rookie Blue. I’ve never had a flight go by so fast, except for the 45 minutes of, as the pilot put it, “light chop” as we landed. If that was light chop I’d hate to see heavy chop. I feared for my life as my four-year-old yelled out “WHEEEE” repeatedly. He thought it was awesome.

We landed safely and I breathed a sigh of relief. Amy had fallen asleep about half way through the flight and had remained asleep through all the bumping. She remained asleep through the layover in Vancouver and didn’t wake up until we landed in Victoria. At which point, after sleeping for about eight hours, was feeling quite refreshed and I began panicking that she wouldn’t fall asleep when we got home. She did, but was up a lot and then up for the day at 6:30. She is currently passed out on the couch.

Elliot, on the other hand, stayed wide awake until we got in the car. So he was up until 3:30 in the morning. And slept for about six hours. And he is not asleep on the couch. Go figure.

We were warned that the flight from Vancouver to Victoria would also be bumpy (those of you who were in Victoria yesterday will recall how windy it was throughout the day). It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but the landing was pretty freaky. And right before we landed I recalled my sister’s story of landing in Victoria last year and having the pilot abort the landing at the last minute because of wind and then tell everyone he was going to “have another go”. I’m not sure I would have survived that. But survive we did.

During our last three days in Ottawa we had a great visit to the Children’s Museum, went for a swim at a local pool, and on Saturday spent an awesome three hours tobogganing at a local park.

It was a fantastic visit, and I think we’ll continue our annual Winterlude visits to Ottawa as long as we can — at some point school might get in the way.

Now back to real life.