July 26, 2007, In the air, Somewhere between Atlanta and Chicago
Earlier in the day this post could have been titled "United Airlines Can Suck My Left Big Toe."
Today was the day from hell. I raced from work to catch my 5:30pm flight in Norfolk. When I got there, I discovered that my direct United flight to Chicago had been cancelled. No other flight from Norfolk to Chicago and no other United flight had been cancelled. Just mine.
Choking back sobs, I threw myself at the ticket counter. The United ticket agent tried gamely to find me a flight on another airline. Everything was booked.
I called United Reservations. A very polite gentleman in India informed me that there were no United flights out of Norfolk available until July 28th. The kicker: because I had booked my flight with my 20 gazillion United bonus miles, they had no obligation to book me on another airline. In other words, United told me to go fuck myself. Politely.
My knight in shining armor (T) rode up on his white steed (cellphone) and found me a flight on Delta leaving from Newport News, Virginia at 7:30pm. Because I hadn't actually paid for my United flight, I was peachy with plunking down $241 for a one way ticket connecting in Atlanta and arriving in Chicago at 11:45pm. Not great, but I could live with it.
I raced through rush hour traffic to Newport News and arrived in plenty of time. My flight was delayed 20 minutes, so all was well.
Do you know what happens when you purchase a one way plane ticket 2 hours before the flight?
Full body cavity search.
Well, it wasn't that bad, but do y'all remember where I was last week this time? On vacation? In Nebraska? On a farm? Where there's fertilizer and lots of chemicals?
Yeah. They got so many hits on my bags and shoes that they had to refill the paper on their little chemical printer detector thingy. (That's a technical term.) When they got the first positive on the outside of my bag, I actually heard the poor TSA agent let a, "fuuuuuuck," slip out.
So, they carefully unpacked my bags and went through everything with a fine tooth comb. Several things were sent back through the x-ray machine. They were very careful to keep my unmentionables out of sight, but it would have been easier to handle them tossing my panties around like junior high school boys than to watch them unpack all 100 of my very cute magnets with my blog and face plastered all over them. Didn't I ask the other day if that was narcissistic? Well, I can now very firmly say yes, yes it is.
I made it on the plane. There were more delays. My delay in Atlanta was becoming shorter and shorter. When I got off the plane in Atlanta I had 21 minutes before my plane to Chicago took off.
I ran through the Atlanta airport, in heels, in 11.2 minutes. That's a personal best for me. The overturned Lawyer Mama Atlanta track record was 13.1 minutes. Although the last time I ran that race, I was 8 months pregnant and my husband dragged me half of the way. So maybe with my pregnancy handicap I didn't actually break my earlier record.
Anyway, I made it.
As I was sitting in my seat waiting for take off, I called T to let him know I'd be making it to Chicago after all and to thank him for all his help. T told me that his mother had called and his grandmother, Nanny, had died earlier that evening.
It wasn't a huge surprise. When we saw Nanny last week in Nebraska, she was tired and a bit confused. Her care facility had just arranged for hospice care for her. It was clear the end was near. It was difficult to corral H&H while visiting her, but I'm glad we saw her. When we left, Holden called out "Nanny" and gave her a big wet, slobbery Holden kiss. Nanny was tickled pink.
Now, on the plane, after this news, I sit here looking out at the hazy gray world, the glow of my laptop reflected in the window. I'm thinking, not about the snafu with my flight, but about my little boys. I'm picturing them sleeping right now while I hurtle through the air in my silver tube.
Holden, tucked into a ball, face down, diapered butt in the air, face smooshed up against the side of the crib breathing heavily into his blankie. Hollis, flung across his bed as if he fell asleep in mid stride. His lanky toddler legs half off of the bed. Both of them dreaming the dreams of innocents.
Stop time. Stop it in my mind. For just this moment.
I miss them.