We just got home from a trip to see my family in Canada. My son and I travelled prior to my husband joining us. We had it all planned out nicely. Of course, if you are related to me, you know that best laid plans are a joke. This trip was no exception.
It started out with my husband’s flight being delayed or cancelled (yes, you read correctly…) FOUR times. It took him 21 hours to reach us which should have taken only 5 hours of flight time. He literally could have driven to reach us faster than flying.
I neglected to mention that prior to his arrival, my mother’s septic tank over flowed, I got an email that my carefully cleaned and prepped classroom (which I had painstakingly packed up for summer) was destroyed by painters and custodians. Note.. for an OCD anxiety riddled elementary teacher this does not bode well.
But, after my husband arrived all was well.
Or so we thought.
The day after his mammoth trek, we went into the next town over to rent a car. Our plan was to rent a vehicle for the week he was with us so we could take my son sight seeing.
We picked up the car and headed to the bank.
Stay with me people… here’s where you’ll be telling me I need to buy a lottery ticket.
We were in possession of the car literally FIVE (count ’em) minutes when a woman backed into us. The passenger side (my side) mirror crumpled. The door got scratched. I sat looking on in horror, helpless as said dummy plowed into us. Nothing like having a car’s tail lights race toward you as you sit there yelling “NOOOOOO”.
No one was hurt. Thankfully.
A trip back to the rental place resulted in the car actually not being as damaged as first thought, and on our merry way we went (me, in the front seat eating Xanax)
The next day, after a full day of sigh seeing we were on our way back home to my mother’s. Keep in mind she lives in a very rural area.
We were on a perfectly nice road when “CRACK”…. a rock from the car head of us flew into our windshield. It had spun up from the car’s tires and landed smack dab on our windshield.
Really? are you kidding me?
After yet another consultation with the rental agency, it was decided we have a local auto glass business fill the crack (at our cost) and hope for the best.
The next morning, as we set out for another day of sight seeing a deer jumped out in front of us.
I wish I was making this shit up.
Don’t worry, no deer were harmed in the writing of this post. My quick thinking husband slammed on the brakes, thus avoiding said deer.
Fast forward to the trip home.
You may want to go get a beverage, a snack etc right now and settle in. This is going to be a long ride… literally.
The airport we flew in and out of is 2.5 hours from my mum’s house. So, erring on the side of caution, we arrived at the airport plenty early. We didn’t want to chance anything.
When we arrived at the check in counter we were dismayed to learn that my husband did not exist in the airline’s system. His itinerary had been wiped out by the hellacious first trip of delays and cancellations. Don’t ask me how or why but the airline agent had to work some fancy magic to make him appear again.
Boarding passes in hands, we trekked to our gate.
We spent four hours entertaining ourselves at our gate. Not an easy feat with a five year old. Thank God for ipads and Netflix.
Finally, we boarded. We were supposed to connect at the airport for another flight (it takes 3 flights for us to go home). We knew we had a substantial layover, but with the delays we would be cutting it close. And we still had to clear customs. Not an easy feat when you’re in a hurry.
We deplaned, booked it through the airport (note to self…take up jogging), retrieved my suitcase (because that’s what you have to do when you fly internationally through this GOD FORSAKEN ILL MARKED AIRPORT), put my suitcase on the right conveyor belt to it’s destination (seriously people… this is 2015 and this is a major international airport… couldn’t you come up with a better system???) and then we ran for customs.
We successfully navigated entering back into the US and security (you will be happy to know none of us presented a threat to national security). Breathless, we reached our gate only to find we missed our connection.
Now I don’t know about you, or your experiences flying, but back tracking through an airport to reach someone who can help you is no easy feat. We had to be escorted by security agents to get to a help desk.
Once we arrived at the desk, we were greeted by snarky agents clearly displeased that we interrupted them updating their Facebook statuses.
The long and short of it was that they rebooked us for the next day.
And refused to give us hotel vouchers.
So, the airline (who shall remain nameless… ok… WEST JET)… the same airline who, for the past two Christmases has produced tear jerking PR stunts to bolster their claims to phenomenal customer service and ‘giving back’ (google West Jet, Christmas presents, 2013) REFUSED to assist me and my five year old child secure a hotel room, and offered for me and my family to sleep on the airport floor. Um… no.
I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t pretty. And yes, I have since contacted said airline with my ‘feedback’ about my ‘experience’. Ahem…..
Stranded, exhausted and hungry (feeling a little like Mary and Joseph with no room at the inn) we spied a Sheraton across the street from the hotel.
Desperate, we headed over to get a room.
We stood in line for what seemed forever and learned that a hotel room would cost us $279.
Um. Um. Um.
My husband refused to pay this. At 9:00 pm with a hungry, tired child and Xanax popping wife.
The words “divorce lawyer” and “realtor” were thrown around.
We ended up staying at the Sheraton on with a cut rate thanks to the nice customer service rep who took pity on us and probably couldn’t stand the sound of me openly weeping in the lobby.
So, we stayed at the Sheraton.
Keep in mind my suitcase is God knows where at this point. Once we checked it, that was it. Thankfully, my inner Girl Scout knew enough to pack a toothbrush and change of clothes for me and my kid in my carry on. My husband only had a carry on, so he was set with a bag full of freshly laundered clothes and toiletries. Note to self…. only travel with carry ons from this point on.
The next morning at the ass crack of dawn we trekked back across the street to check in to our flight.
Now the arduous task of playing ‘guess where my luggage is”.
I was directed downstairs to a baggage claim area to see if my bag was there. I followed directions and went downstairs only to be greeted by a huge wall with no entry to the other side of the wall, where I needed to be.
Befuddled, we looked for an entrance to the other side. All we found were doors that clearly said “DO NOT ENTER… AUTHORIZED PERSONEL ONLY”.
Fearing we would set off alarms and make the six o’clock news, we stood there confused. Between us we have 5 degrees. Getting through to the luggage area shouldn’t be this hard. This is 2015 and this is an international airport. THIS SHOULDNT BE THIS HARD.
So, I grabbed the first airport employee I saw and begged for help. “Sir, can you help me get to the baggage area?”.
“No, I don’t know how to do that. I work in the OTHER terminal”.
Are you shitting me?
Long story short, this employee took pity on us and let us through the do not enter door to the baggage area, where, at 5 am, no one was present to help us.
Frantically scanning the area, I spotted my bag. In an Indiana Jones like rescue attempt, I fetched my suitcase and booked it back upstairs to check it in.
Then came customs.
Normally customs and immigration is not a problem. I am a Canadian/US Permanent resident with all of the appropriate documentation. I have nothing to hide and usually there are no issues.
Buddy that helped us decided to do his job to the letter of the law, telling me I needed to be fingerprinted. Apparently the other 16 times I’ve passed through customs without this being done, I was in flagrant violation of ruining the norms of American society. I was told by said agent that if I wanted to be a member of U.S society, I needed to be fingerprinted.
(note….I’ve been poked, prodded, immunized, tested, re tested, and finger printed just to get my permanent resident card prior to this… you’ll be pleased to know that my tax paying, American History degree holding self is not only syphilis free but also here legally)
In an attempt to protect the border from the likes of LL Bean book bag toting me, I had to kindly remind said vigilant officer which was my left and right hand as he had me place my palms on the biometric finger printing device. He had me do everything short of the hokey pokey to pass inspection.
Don’t worry… all is well with national security.
Fast forward to our next flight where my son and I were seated in a windowless area right In front of the airplane lavatory while my husband enjoyed extra leg room upfront.
As a semi germaphobe, this seat was not optimal. I felt like offering a squirt of Purell to all those who passed me to go pee.
The flight attendant, hearing my tale offered me free vodka. At 7 am. As tempting as it was, I declined. I felt it necessary to remain sober and conscious for the remainder of the trip.
So, that, dear reader is my story. Thanks for hanging in there.