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Friday, November 6, 2009

Traveling with Andrew

Early on, mom and dad discovered that I loved Disney. It was really accidental, even though I watched several Disney movies that they had bought for me over time, they really didn’t realize that something about Disney captured my attention.

At some point in the mid-nineties, they were planning a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) and in anticipation, they began to occasionally watch a vacation planning video that was a take-off of “Be our guest” from “Beauty and the Beast”. They quickly realized that I loved this tape …. but there was a catch …

I somehow intuitively knew if they were just playing the tape randomly or if they were actually planning a WDW trip. If they were in process of planning a trip, I would watch the video, smiling and laughing all the way through and looking at mom and dad (or anyone else in the room) as if to say “what are we waiting for” …. But ….if it was a random playback, that was not good . I had to let them know that and did it by frowning while I pushed it away – or if it was already playing, by rejecting it from the VCR, placing it back in it’s cover and setting it precisely where it went on the shelf.

By the way, I knew the way to the airport and it was not nice to drive toward Bradley Int’l and then not go there !

Whenever we did travel, it was quite a production: First, I slept in an enclosed hospital bed at home and that could not travel with us nor was there anything like it available at a hotel. Dad realized that a one-man enclosed tent could serve the same purpose – to keep me from wandering – and bought one to travel with. Good idea father but it, like most things, came with conditions attached. The tent worked fine, I was contained and couldn’t wander but the floor was hard so we always had to have extra blankets and pillows to put under it. And then, I quickly learned that if I held on tight and bounced on my butt, I could “walk” it across the room to whatever I was after – usually the video game system that had also been bought for travel. And of course, dad used to wonder what housekeeping thought when they came to clean the room and here was this tent in the middle of the floor ! But I am getting ahead of myself..

Let’s start with packing ….. as anyone who knew me is aware, I was in diapers all of my life. Now, as I grew I progressed from baby diapers to “adult“ type diapers which are not really commonly available (at least not the ones I wore) so any trip anywhere inherently included one suitcase packed with diapers. At first, dad tried to stuff them loosely around other items in the other suitcases but that proved unsuccessful. So we always traveled with one suitcase filled with nothing but packaged diapers … and then of course I had my GameBoy(s) which required batteries (and a surprising number of them – a GameBoy uses a lot of batteries when it runs 24x7) so we also traveled with bulk-packs of batteries, and of course we had to have the traveling video game system, my favorite sleeping toy (A lilo doll, woody or Buzz from toy Story, Barney, …. Etc.). my special foods , and of course – several mixing spoons. Now, the next issue is how many clothes I wore – at least three changes a day and two at night so there was yet another LARGE suitcase devoted just to my clothes and requisite medications and such, and the special dishes that were the ONLY ones I would eat from.

OK, so now we are packed ! Next was the trip to the Airport which usually started with an hour of dad swearing at trying to get all the luggage into the car and still leave room for everyone. Once at the airport, there was another hour of swearing while dad transported the several suitcases. We would eventually get to security where the TSA would insist that I walk through the metal detector alone !!. Can I tell you how successful that was ?. Eventually, mom would convince them to let her walk me through and send my chair through x-ray, but every so often we would get an over-zealous “guard” who insisted on wanding me or worse yet, patting me down. The latter was always fun as they of course had to check my diaper …… lol.

OK, so now we are through security, albeit with strange looks because I had my spoon and got very annoyed when my GameBoy was taken and sent through x-ray, and we are off to the boarding gate. Dad would now try to rearrange our seats. Even though he always had a note added to our reservations when he made them that we HAD to sit facing a bulkhead because I would LOUDLY vocalize and that the flight attendants needed to be aware of my vocalizations, he still had to confirm he seats and change them if they were not appropriate. We always boarded early since my chair didn’t fit down the aisle and I had to be “walked” .

OK, so now we are on the plane. Once on the plane, I would settle down for the most part but for some reason even I don’t know, I was compelled to “growl” – loudly (and I DO mean loud) and very possibly for the entire trip. I remember one flight from Tampa to Hartford where I decided to growl as soon as we were on board. When the other passengers started to board, mom and dad tried to get me to stop – to redirect my attention – but that didn’t work, I simply thought it was a game and growled louder and louder. This continued for the entire trip and I do not exaggerate here, it was literally the entire trip !. When we deplaned in Hartford, the other passengers looked like they were going to lynch us….if pitchforks and torches were allowed in the airport, it would have been like the scene from “Frankenstein”.

I also I liked to play with the seatbelt buckle and if left alone, I would unbuckle myself and start wandering – so mom or dad would have to hold my seatbelt the entire trip. And of course, I would have to relieve myself also, which was guaranteed to turn a few heads and proved to be a contortionist nightmare as plane bathrooms were not made for changing diapers.

OK, so now we have landed. We have made it through the angry mo who had listened to my growling and possible endured my odorous announcement. Once there, we needed to get our luggage and a rented car Another hour of swearing and need I say more ?

Finally, our final detination. Relax, right ?... wrong !... Now we spend an hour setting up the tent, unpacking the diapers, hooking up the video game system, and securing the door(s) just in case I get out of my tent and wander. ….

1 comment:

  1. Oh how lucky you were Andrew to be able to make it to Disney in person . . . I have still not been!!


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