Ummmm, what do you say to people when they ask you why you missed two flights, the second time being when you were residing in the same city, less then 20 minutes from the very same airport you are supposed to fly out of. Not much I can tell you.
Ok, our little story begins at a god awful hour in the morning that should not exist. I think it was around 3:30 am. We had packed that behemoth of a SUV we rented the night before. We slept in borrowed blankets and fought over the one pillow we had left. Thad and I stayed up a little later than we should have the night before …umm… er…talking, yeah, talking.
So there we are the next morning, or a very, very few hours later, dragging the kids from their drugged sleep (just joking mom J) and placing them ever so carefully in the SUV. We made a few too many last minute stops, coffee, dropping off forgotten items, etc. Lo and behold the ticket counter relays to us we are 45 minutes too late but there is another flight out but not until the same time the next morning. As I am still catching my breath from running with two suitcases, three kids, and coffee (don't ask me how I did it but I will tell you there was mysteriously only half a cup left) I accept the changed flight arrangements. I believe Thad was lugging the heaviest suitcase and carrying Akiana (God Bless him).
So fast forward three hours later to when humans are supposed to be awake, my blessed sister who lives in Seattle finally answers her phone and is only too happy to accommodate my very large family in her small duplex, wonderful woman. We decided to rent another vehicle, seeing as we are too oversized for anyone to pick us up without two trips, two vehicles, and a lot of inconvenience. I am so sorry VISA, you have been used way too much on this trip already, but I gotta do what I gotta do. Let me tell you, renting another vehicle, that one really hurt.
So we go to Sunny's and each of us get a nap and what does my fun loving sister suggest next? SWIMMING! Alright, we pack it all in and head out to the pool. We have a short blast and return with hungry, cranky kids and adults. Sunny gets her coffee machine working, as only she can. I fiddled with that damn thing all morning to no avail seeing as I couldn't find any coffee to brew anyways. We have coffee, veggie spaghetti, cheesy bread (YAY!!), and salad. My mouth still waters at the thought. Hey you! Yeah you REDS! Destiny and ....Savannah...., you better be grateful for having a lawyer and a good cook as a mom, they don't make those everyday you know!
So anyways, Sunny has her delightful friend over that night as we were trying to settle everyone in. I have heard about her so much and finally found myself in the company of the elusive and mysterious Raven. She was an enigma but not one that bores you, she is intriguing in way only very few woman can be without completely frustrating you with the same old loopty loop. She so ensared my attention I completely forgot about the time and was happy to sit and just listen to her undulating tones wash over me in a pattern I had never before experienced.
Thad taps me on the shoulder to tell me it's midnight. Oh my god! I must go to bed. I was sad to leave the company of both Raven and Sunny as they are such engaging friends with such rhythm and grace in their conversation. There are no repetitions in them unless it overlaps nicely with the next conversation with room for even more laughter. My sides hurt for two days after our little excursion into the verbally ridiculous. So I bid them adieu and fall into a dangerously deep sleep wrought from good fun, good food, lots a exercise, and very little sleep.
We wake on time. Thad is determined we not miss this flight. He jumps from bed fully clothed and starts rushing around like a mad man. I am as slow as molasses on ice. I cannot force my body to go any faster then it is going, although I believe it to be a miracle I can move at all at this moment.
The kids are packed as well as all our stuff, so we think. I hug Sunny goodbye, thank her for the good food and company. At this moment I notice a shirt of mine, that was bought for me by our mother when I was around 16, sitting on her dining room table. Sunny is legendary for her ability for not only stealing clothes from siblings but hiding them from their rightful owner for years before they notice. (She should have hid the Victims of World War II) She leaves it on the dining room table to go to the bathroom, I snatch it up and stuff it in the diaper bag. She comes back and we hug once more for good measure.
I hop down the stairs and bounce into the passenger's seat. Thad is immediately suspicious, knowing I am not one to be so jovial in the morning. He gives me a questioning look, and out of years of being with this man I answer the unspoken question.
"I got my shirt back!"
He shakes his head as if to say 'Women!' And we are off. Ten minutes down the road, we get a call from Sunny. She informs us we have some very sensitive information in the pocket that she mustn't live without. We turn around, Thad's grip gets tighter on the steering wheel. Being late makes him into the HULK. His neck vein is starting to throb. We return the shirt, I reluctantly let go of it. Then I race back to car and jump in. Thad is getting nervous as he looks at the clock constantly. We have an hour and fifteen minutes til our flight leaves. The airport is at least 20 minutes away even though we had left an hour and 45 minutes early.
We enter the multi-layered car garage and look frantically around for our rental drop off point. Twenty minutes later we realize that we have to go off airport property to return the car. Thad drops me and the three kids off at the front with ALL the bags. We check it at the front station which, of course, costs extra but checks us in faster then waiting in line.
As a side note I suggest everyone doing this even if it costs extra, you do not have to stand in line and wait but instead you can go directly to the security check point. Pretty awesome, eh?
Anyways, the kids and I are all checked in now we wait for Thad to race to the rental place and race back, well, if you call catching the airport shuttle racing back. We wait at the beginning of the security line because a kind airport employee ushered us to the front when she saw Lara was crying and me struggling to keep our stuff moving with the line, while holding Akiana. I wait at the beginning of the line. Finally, I see Thad. We go through security as fast as they make it possible, when, they are making us take off all our shoes, including the kids-Arrrrrrrrrrgh! Then we run down the escalators onto the train. We rush up some more escalators and find our gate and run to it. We are all out of breath, panting hard.
The flight attendant escorts us down the ramp and is about to board us when she changes her mind at the door.
"No, I'm sorry you can't get on." She states calmly. I can see the plane, one small jump and I would be on. I'm holding a baby what could they really do to me?
"WHAT?! What do you mean I can't get on?" I scream surprised at myself, I thought Thad would be the one to blow not me. "Don't be ridiculous the planes right there of course we can get on!"
"No I am sorry if you will follow me we will see about getting you on the next flight." She states in her unnervingly politest condescending voice.
"NO WAY I AM GETTING ON THAT PLANE!" I yell. A man appears behind her and says. "Ma'am, if you would please follow the flight attendant she will help you from the front." His body is at ease but his voice has a hint of foreboding in it, almost a warning, like he is ready for me to fight him.
"I am sorry you were too late, we gave away your seats." Says the lady, who is growing more and more annoying by the minute.
I am about to bleed from my brain with anger.
"YOU CAN JUST GO UN-GIVE THEM AWAY BECAUSE WE WERE HERE AND YOU KNEW WE CHECKED IN. We'll wait here while you give the people you lied to the bad news about how you screwed up." I say spreading my legs, ready to stand while she does my bidding. Who do I really think I am kidding?
"Ma'am, please let this flight attendant escort you to the front." He says the word escort like it is preferable to what he would like to do. I give. I am shaking I am so angry. As the lady is leading us back up the ramp she says something so ridiculously stupid I am surprised she knows how to walk without pictures of instructions.
"Well, if you think about it it's not really our fault you were late. Maybe if you had managed your time better you would have been on time." At this point we reach the end of the ramp and I whirl around. Thad steps in front of her. I am sure even the whites of my eyes are blazing with red. He gently takes my elbow and suggests I get something to eat for the kids and points to a nearby restaurant. I did so.
Let me just stop right here. I must give praise to my husband. He knows me right from left, inside and out and when that woman opened her big mouth and poured salt on the wound I was ready to literally kung fu her ass. Thad knowing me switched gears from being upset himself about missing our second plane by helping me to avoid jail for the rest of life. I mean let's face it, it is hard enough to get away with murder these days without witnesses, and with my children and husband as four of them, they would have thrown the book at me. Thank you, Thad for once again saving me from a life sentence. To that lady, it was one of the luckiest of your life….
We were all sitting and eating when Thad came over and told us our next flight would leave at 11 am. It is now 530 am. We eat which takes only 30 minutes. The time slowly ticks by and the children, being what they are, got restless. Each minute left behind was a small victory. We were called up by the ticket counter and informed that they had booked a connecting flight from ..Chicago.. to ....Indianapolis..... We were over the moon with two hours to go, one and half hours, one hour, one half hour, fifteen minutes. Then we were in the air! On our way home finally!
Halfway through the flight we checked the connecting flight in ....Chicago..... Ummmm, the gods of flight did not favor us that day. We were stuck at the back of an enormous plane, with connecting flight tickets which gave us 45 minutes to get to the other side of one of the largest international airports in the ....U.S.....
Needless to say we sprinted the entire time and made it by just barely a hair. Sweaty, tired, and hungry, we settled in for the very short flight. Driving home from the airport we were so hungry Thad stopped paying attention to where we were driving and we ended on the 404 North towards ....Chicago..... Conveniently, there was an off ramp on which we could turn around which also had a McDonald's posted right next to it. We grabbed some food, munched happily now finally being able to laugh about the whole horrible fiasco. It is days like these that make me say I do not ever want to do this life over again. But it sure is nice to laugh at these days AFTER they are over……. Although after this trip I doubt I will travel again for a very long time unless it's first class. For now all you people have to come to me. :-)