Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Big Adventure - Part 1

Our little mean big adventure began last Monday. (one week and two days ago) I called up the military base James requested I fly out of to see if they had scheduled any hops from that side of the United States to the side my family lives on. They did, indeed, have a flight scheduled for the very next day. (last Tuesday) In fact, they informed me that four flights were scheduled for that day. I just knew I was bound to be on one of them, right? (its space-a flying so first come first serve. You know how that goes)

As soon as I got off the phone, I hastened to frantically pack my suitcases and close up the house. (which involves such things as unplugging the main computer and coffeemaker, scrubbing out the toilet so I have a clean one to come home to, and taking the cat and fish to Miss K's house for her to babysit.)

Tuesday morning, bright and early, I awoke to my alarm at 3:30 am announcing that 4 hours of sleep was all I would be privileged to that night. I filled my two travel coffee mugs full of that delightful "wakeupfullness" drink and scooped up the kid and headed out the door by 3:30 am.

6:00 am, we arrived at the military passenger terminal where we hoped to later catch one of those four flights. Upon informing the ticket person guy where I wanted to get to, he looked at me and said, "there aren't any flights going out today to that location." My response? A very exhausted "What?" "Yes, ma'am. All flights were cancelled for today. There are two going out tomorrow."

Uggg. I was running on four hours of sleep and had just driven 3 hours to get there. I felt way too tired to drive the 3 hours back home and my coffee was empty. With some quick thinking on my part (I really felt it was wonderful at the time) I decided to find the lodging on the base there and stay the night. After all, I had just paid all that gas money and tolls to get there, it would be cheaper to stay the night than to pay all that gas and tolls home only to turn around and pay it again the next day to come back out. Talk about frusterating. Keep in mind, I don't travel by myself very often and I have a 3 year old in tow. She is not liking all this walking around every where with bags and suitcases and such. (military bases make you park clear across the base and walk - yes...WALK - across the base to the terminal and they don't provide those nifty little luggage carrier things with wheels...that would be too easy)

Anyways, I drive to the lodging and find out they can't check me in until 2:00 in the afternoon. Remember, now that it is only 7:00 am at this point and I have NO clue where I am or where to go with a 3 year old in the car. If it had only been me, I would have parked myself right there next to lodging and slept in the car. Kind of hard to do with a toddler in the back seat.

I found a diner close-by on my navigation system and that is where we spent the next 6 hours. Directly behind the diner, we found a school with a playground. God gave that to me. He knew I needed it. There are only so many times you can color Mickey Mouse on a placemat in a diner and keep a child entertained with such.

After a fun night in the hotel, we tried again for the plane the next morning. I called about 1 1/2 hours ahead of "showtime" (which is when you show up to put your name on the stand-by list) to confirm the flight was really going to leave. I was on the phone at 10:20. (this time will become very important for you to know later.) Because no one could give me a straight answer as to what exactly I needed to do when I showed up and because my phone call kept getting dropped (because they are too busy to talk very long on the phone so they automatically drop your calls after something like 2 minutes) I decided to head over there early. I arrived at the terminal at 10:30.

Well, what do you know but they are taking the passengers at that very moment in time. Chloe and I stood up along with another man and were told that there were 50 seats on the plane for us. Ahhhh! I breathed a sigh of relief. It was finally over and I was guaranteed a seat. I highly doubted that 47 more people would show up.

After going over the list of prohibited items, the ticket guy looked over the counter at my feet and stated that I would not be allowed to board the plane in my sandels. I would be required to wear tennis shoes. Chloe too. WHAT??? Yup. They wouldn't let me on the plane. Not to fear, right? I still have over an hour before "showtime" which means the plane isn't leaving until after noon, at least, right? I lug all my stuff back to my car, zip to the BX (praying the whole way), purchase tennis shoes for myself and Chloe and zip back to arrive at the terminal by 11:30. Perfect. That leaves me with 25 minutes before showtime. I run (with all my luggage and my frusterated 3 year old) to the ticket counter only to be told that the plane was already leaving. I didn't make it.

What??? (I said alot of "what"s that day) Yup. the guy told me that the plane was schedule for 10:20. What??? Hold up a minute. The day before they told me showtime was 11:55. That same morning, I was on the phone with them at 10:20 when they told me showtime was 11:55. I showed up at 10:30 to be told that showtime was 11:55. How can they change the departure time to something that is already passed? "The flight crew wants to get there early" was all they would tell me. I missed the flight. Oh well, at least there is another flight going out later that day, right? WRONG! That flight was canceled during the time I ran to the BX for shoes and back. Oh...but there is a flight leaving on Friday I can come back for. FAT CHANCE!!!

I have learned my lesson. I am never trying for a military flight AGAIN! Nope. My dear and kind and beautiful and generous sister heard my tears (literally) and immediately started browsing the internet for commercial tickets for me. We arrived at her house late Thursday night and have been snug and safe ever since. I will have more to tell you another day. For now, I leave you with a few pictures from our weekend with my sister and her children.


Chloe is getting ready to go to sleep with her dolly in her cousin's bed.


Chloe LOVED playing in the "park" in her aunties backyard. It really was like a park. Giant swingset. Playhouse complete with kitchen and accessories. Childhood heaven, that's what it was.


My sister received two little kittens a while back and they have grown up with her three kids. This proved nice for Chloe, who does NOT get to hold or even touch Pattycakes back home. Jasmine was the most friendly of the two cats and let Chloe hold her.


My first niece (from my sister) who I have a very strong bond with. I don't like to have favorites, but if I did have favorites she would be the one. We joked that she could have been my kid if it were up to personalities.


Next in ever-moving nephew. I don't think this kid ever stops unless he is sleeping. Walking by, I can either see him squatting atop his dresser (the tall one) or sitting in the sink with a roll of toilet paper doing who knows what. I would just chuckle to myself and walk on by. Do you think I would be a nice sister and say something? Nah! Payback is wonderful therapy.


Last, but certainly not least is my youngest niece. More like her brother than anyone, she can often be seen squatting atop the dresser or sitting in the sink with a roll of toilet paper doing who knows what after her brother has moved on to bigger and better things. When my mother asked if she could buy her a doll for her third birthday a couple of weeks ago, my sister said, "Yes, as long as it comes with wheels on it."

Oh, I love my family and its great to be home for this visit. Hopefully, now that I am settling into my parents place, I will be able to update you all on our adventures. I have more to share with you but will save it for another day.

1 comment:

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

I would have fallen apart long before the sandals every became an issue, I think! I hope Chloe remembers this adventure with great fondness as she gets older.

Also, as soon as I started reading, I was reminded of the episode of Major Dad where they try to go on a trip to Hawaii by military flight (you can watch it here)