Sunday, January 4, 2009

Before I forget...

Good grief, have I been preoccupied lately. In a good way though. I just haven't been sitting down and making blogging a priority, but it's ok. It happens. I've actually been, like, outside lately and everything. It's amazing, y'all.

We took a walk today as a family. Over the sand dunes and down the recreation trail until we got to the big cross that faces the ocean. I was taking it all in, thinking to myself that one day we won't live here anymore and I'll miss it so we better enjoy it while we can.

BD was saying it was cold and he was ready to go.


Anyway, that reminded me of a time not that long ago when were were standing in the sand, gazing at the horizon, and no one was rushing me to leave.

And then I remembered that I still hadn't really posted about our trip.

So now I will. I may have to break it up a little since I tend to be long-winded. [Who, me?]

We left early on a Monday morning. It was dark and cold and I knew we'd have a long layover at LAX. Not long enough to leave, unfortunately, so my plan was to make sure that we spent those 5 hours as comfortable as possible. As a frequent traveler, I know the benefit of just asking politely. Kindness can get you everywhere in an airport. Well, not everywhere, but you know.

Fast forward to us in the Board Room. Free food and drinks. Very comfy. After watching The Amazing Race (TAR) since day one, I got right to looking for alternate flight options. I saw one that would allow us to leave a few hours earlier and set my sights on it.

Problem #1: This was just after the massive snow storms had shut down Seattle and Portland.

Problem #2: We were on Alaska Airlines. Hub: Seattle. Our plane was coming from: Portland.

There were people who were spending their 2nd and 3rd days in that very Board Room. Those were the people taking advantage of the free alcohol at 8am.

Anyway, so I really, really, really wanted that earlier flight, but the way things were going, it wasn't looking good. For a while, I thought our original flight was going to be canceled. Then I thought the earlier flight was canceled. I looked outside, saw the dark, cold, rainy day in LA and felt deflated. This was not what I had in mind when I woke up that morning.

After about an hour, I noticed that the earlier flight had arrived. I guess it wasn't canceled after all. The one we were ticketed on was still a mystery. I asked again if we'd be able to change flights and was told that there were seats, but we couldn't fly without our luggage on an international flight. Oh. So where was our bag? No one knew. And the baggage handlers weren't answering the phone.

The deflated feeling started to come back but then....da da da dummmm...the guy behind the counter asked me what the bag looked like. He was going to go find it for us.

WHA? Really?

I was so glad at that moment that we only packed on suitcase. And it was big. And green. Hopefully, making it easy to locate in a sea of smaller black bags.

It was a straight TAR moment. I could imagine the tense music playing as I stood at the counter waiting. They would cut to the clock, then to me, then to the supervisor asking where the counter guy was, then to me explaining how he was going out of his way to help us, cut to the guy sweating in a sea of luggage, cut to clock, then to the departure gate...and then the phone rang. He found our bag! WOOHOO! Suck it, bad weather, we were going to Mexico!

It would be a while longer before we left, but I was convinced that we would actually leave so I relaxed some. Granted, something else could have gone wrong, but I was feeling optimistic.

The Customer Service Saint refused to leave until our bag was checked and loaded. We thanked him profusely and even tried to tip him. Cause that there? Is tip worthy in my book. Not fixing my Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (mmmm), but going out of your way to find my family's suitcase so that we can leave the country for the holidays.

Of course Customer Service Saint wouldn't take anything but a smile and a handshake. And then he disappeared into the crowd of people. Just like in the movies. Except the waiting areas in the movies don't smell like "sick", do they? Ok, so maybe not just like in the movies. But pretty close. And the stinky part wasn't Customer Service Saint's fault. He smelled like mangoes and calla lilies, IIRC.

Sooo, after waiting on the plane for a while [we won't be waiting for the missing passengers, yes we will, no we won't, KIDDING, we totally will], we finally took off. And Playette passed out. Like, cold. As in, one moment she was jabbering away and then the nose of the plane went up and she was done like someone took the batteries out of her back.

We landed without incident, got into the country, eventually found our bag, unsuccessfully negotiated a reasonable cab fare, and made our way to the hotel.

In Part II, I'll tell you how we spent our days and nights and share some stories behind the photos (previously posted on FB).


sheree said...

okay are killing me with that small wonder clip.