Sunday, June 12, 2011

6 time zones, 5 bags, 4 airports, 3 airplanes, 2 kids, and Just One Mother

Every year, this is how it goes.

I buy the tickets in February, during my post-holiday-pre-birthday-nostalgia.

In the future, if someone could talk me down off the ledge before I whip out the credit card, I'd be grateful. It's not that I don't want to come back to my home town, and see friends and family - it's just that I don't ever want to do it alone. Ever, ever again.

But I have done it before, and chances are I will do it again.
Because I need the material. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Flying from Hawaii to Boston with my two kids gives me PUH-LENTY of material. And I am sure once I recover from the jetlag and the mild starvation and the pinched nerve in my hip from sitting down for 18 hours, I will be able to recall a few precious nuggets. But at the moment, all I can remember is a long, parched, uncomfortable, dirty experience.

We got to the airport early. That had not been the plan. In fact, I am notorious for breezing up to the gate 15 minutes before departure. Online check-in is pretty much the most amazing wonderful development in the history of internet travel booking. I never check bags, and I certainly don't stand in line at the ticket counter. So when we brought suitcases with us for this trip, it was a novelty. Therefore, I allowed for some extra time to find a porter, and hand off the bags - but not 3 hours. 3 hours early was not what I had in mind. Due to scheduling conflicts, Sami had to drop us off early. I hadn't planned for that. And I definitely didn't plan on arriving so early that the ticket counter was still CLOSED.

The porters weren't taking the bags, because the airline's computers were down. The counter agents weren't taking bags - even ones that I had already checked in and paid for - because the airline's computers were down. So there we sat, for 90 minutes, perched on our luggage like fucking refugees, just waiting for someone to get us out of there.

When we finally handed over the bags (underweight - wahoooo!) and made it through security (a feat that was much easier without my extremely swarthy, middle-eastern, bearded and long haired husband who always requires a "bonus" screening) I went straight to the Bux and got a frozen coffee deelight. Good thing I got the venti, because that was the only food that I ate for approximately 36 hours.

Wait, I'm lying. I had 2 bags of snack mix and a cookie.

Our assigned gate was all the way at the end of the terminal. We were so early that some of the lights in that wing weren't on yet. We were so early, none of the people-movers were turned on. In fact, we were the only people to be seen. So we walked. And walked. And trudged. And slogged. And the last few gates we even limped a little. We got to the gate so early that Max was concerned that we were at the wrong gate. He was panicked at the thought that we might miss the flight. And quite frankly, the thought of arriving 3 hours early and sitting at the correct gate and still missing our flight didn't sound great to me, either. His fear was not unfounded - we've done it before.

Yes, really.

So sitting alone at a really isolated gate was a bit unnerving. But eventually, people arrived. And more people. And then a few of those folks started tossing around a basketball, and another couple of guys opened instrument cases and started jamming, and before you knew it, there was a PARTY going on at gate 39.

We were definitely in the right place.

We were going to OAKLAND, baby. But only for 47 minutes.

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