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The post I wrote on the plane...

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.

Nanny, Aunt E., Holden & Grandma at Holden's christening, July 2006

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.

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Blogger Julie Pippert said...


OMG I totally believe you but OMG I don't believe that! It's like a set of dominoes tumbling. I am so sorry that happened, good grief. I'm starting to think a good experience with an airline is the exception!

I'm glad you made it there though and hope your homecoming was great. :)

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

P.S. Sorry was so overwhelmed by your "trying to get there through unbelievably enormous obstacles" that I forgot:

So sorry about Nanny.

Your imagining/recalling your kids---beautiful.

Okay mind is back to thinking I bet your T is happy he didn't get a jail cell call! Fertilizer!

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall.

P.S. The judge is being lenient with me. No jail if I get my sorry rear end in TODAY. So i will call off the letter writing, bail and bond, and legal campaign on my behalf...oh wait, did you miss all that, oh right, you left me and went to BLOGHER!

Anonymous sam said...

I'd sit twice and die after that airport fiasco. Ugh.
I once flew out of Dulles and in the xray they found a small wrench in my bag I had used for work and haphazardly tossed in there. it took me nearly 15 minutes to tell them, I really don't need the wrench, throw it out! after they insinuated everything under the sun. Is it part of their jobs to MAKE you feel like a terrorist? Bastards.

Glad you made it.

And I am so sorry to hear about Nanny. My thoughts are with you guys.

Blogger moosh in indy. said...

Airport sprints should be an Olympic sport.

Blogger slouching mom said...

That's some story, darlin'. I'm glad you're back safe and sound, unmentionables and all.

Sorry about T.'s grandmother, though. :(

Blogger jen said...

i am so sorry about nanny. and sorry about the damn airplane. and sorry that i couldn't find you the final night. dude. LOVED seeing you.

Blogger flutter said...


Sounds like it was worth it though, and what's a little cavity search between friends?

Anonymous Emily said...

A body cavity search? Hmmm. In my day, you needed to at least buy a girl dinner first.

So sorry for your loss. Even expected deaths are sad.

Blogger QT said...

Ugh - so many people had bad travel days getting to BlogHer - I am glad you made it, it was so fun to get to know you.

Sorry for your loss. Knowing it was coming is a cold comfort most times. Give those boys extra kisses.

Blogger ExPatSW said...

OMG! We need to talk and compare United stories! I will never, ever fly them again after my trip to CA in May! And the security checks at Atlanta are horrendous...sorry you got fingered! [But would have loved to have seen it!]

Am sending condolence emails to you and T.

Blogger Mamma said...

Sorry about Nanny. Glad she got one last Holden kiss.

Guess what TSA got to play with in front of everyone as I tried to leave Chicago?

Yep. The dildos.

It was so amazing to meet you. I was disappointed that I didn't get the chance to just sit and talk with you. Everything seemed so hectic. I wanted to talk politics and get to know you.

Readers, non that you didn't already know this, but Lawyer Mama rocks!!!

Anonymous mcewen said...

Well I'm certainly very impressed, especially the running in heels record!

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Thanks for the condolences, everyone. I will pass them on to Trey and his family as well. I know his mom is hurting.

Julie - I knew you were a law breaker. I just knew it!

Sam - My hubs had something similar happen with a cordless screwdriver. I guess they were afraid he would dismantle the plane from the inside.

Moosh - I agree & it was wonderful meeting you!

SM - Thanks, it's good to be back.

Jen - Dude. So LOVED meeting you too!

Flutter - It was totally worth it.

Emily - Yep. And they didn't call the next morning either.

QT - It was so much fun meeting you too! And cutting class with you. We're so bad.

P - Yes, United sucks!

Mama - I wish we could have spent more time together too. I would definitely have liked less conference & more socializing! (And the embarrassment of security is exactly why I checked my bag this time!)

Mcewen - Yes & my feet paid for it the next day! I wore flip flops for the rest of the conference.

Blogger Nancy said...

Sorry for your loss of Nanny.

wow, with such effort to get to Chi-town, I think the Gods-that-be, wanted you there!

I am sure you had a wonderful time. I look forward to photos and stories for all that went.

Blogger Karianna said...

Wow. I feel a little ill and dizzy reading this. So glad that you finally made it (FABULOUS to meet you!) but so sorry about the hassles... and about Nanny.

Anonymous kristen said...

I'm sorry for the loss of Nanny. As I sat stewing on Thursday night, imagining all the fun I was missing, I realize that most of the fun was in a holding pattern over Chicago. I guess my ill-planned plane tix for Friday morning arrival was pretty good after all.

I am ready to hear how much fun you had once you got there...since the getting there sounds like it sucked!

I am truly sorry to hear about the death........even though we know they are in a better place, it is often hard to let go!

Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Blogger Christine said...

so sorry about nanny. aren't grandmas so wonderful? sorry the flight and news was so rough.

Anonymous Selfmademom said...

Holy crap that was funny writing and the most annoying plane experience for you ever! I'm glad you made it though. Great to meet you!

Blogger ewe are here said...

Airport Terminal Sprinting. I'm sure it should be an olympic sport.

Sorry about your Nanny. I'm really glad you got to see her so recently...

Blogger Catherine said...

Wow...what a story...on so many levels...

I too wish we had met! I frequently looked around the room I was in thinking "I wonder how many of these people I 'know' even though I won't realize while I'm here..."

Anonymous Jenny said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. That totally blows.

Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Nanny looks very happy in that picture. So glad you had that moment and the one more recently. I know how important that is.

My thoughts are with you and your family. And I'm missing your face, lady. Blogher was not enough time to get to know each other.

Blogger KC said...

Oh man, what a familiar story. And I talked to that same dude in India that Thursday and nearly went ape shit on him.

So very glad to have met you!

Blogger Jen M. said...

Holy cow! or should I say, "Holy cow field fertilizer?"

THIS makes me feel better about driving to Minnesota instead of flying.

Glad you're back!

Blogger PunditMom said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, LM. While it was so great to meet you this weekend, I;m sorry about all the crap you had to go through with the airlines, and then have to deal with your personal loss. My thoughts are with you, my friend.

Blogger Joy, of course said...

I think your perseverence in this story is incredible. That is just awful. It made for wonderful blogging though. I was pulling for you as I read it.

I am so sorry about your Nanny.

Blogger Part time Mommy said...

wow what a fiasco! Glad you eventually made it. And sorry about Nanny. Beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes.

Blogger PinkPowerSuit.com said...

Wow. I don't even know what to say to people who've lost someone. I've never lost anyone close to me and death is this bizarre, surreal thing to me. I'm sorry.

Now, did you or did you not get a full body cavity search? When you say "It wasn't that bad" do you realize that's an AMBIGUOUS STATEMENT that LEAVES CERTAIN PEOPLE HANGING IN SUSPENCE?! You could be suggesting that the search itself wasn't that bad-- which brings into mind certain questions (sorry, had to say it, lol)-- or that the getting stopped wasn't as bad as having to get a search and that you were just exaggerating. Which is it?

I would feel so violated and angry if I had to endure a full body cavity search. I don't think I could do it.

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Pink - I swear they do not give body cavity searches at the airport. At least not right there in front of the metal detectors. They bind you, gag you and drag you into a back room first.

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