Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back to "Normal"...whatever that is

Well, Meggan and Emalyn have made it home to NC safely. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Emalyn slept most of the way and we got to stop at the Super Target - YAY!!!!!
On to the airpot with PLENTY of time to check the bags.
That's where the fun began!
We arrived at the airport around 12:30, for a 2:35 flight (checkin at 2:05). Of course, Meggan had checked in online the night before. The flight showed to be on time to DFW. (To get a cheaper ticket, Meggan had booked a 1-stop through DFW, then on to Raleigh.)
We proceed to check her bags - pulling this 48 pound suitcase, juggling the car seat, Emalyn, a diaper bag, the baby sling and Meggan's carry on bag. (She's had her luggage lost before, so never flies without a carryon with the essentials and a change of clothing.).
We proceed through the maze to check the bags, where there is NO ONE but us in line. The man working the counter waited QUITE a few moments to call us forward - he seemed a bit more interested in chatting up his co-workers than waiting on customers. This is at the AMERICAN Airlines counter, if you want to know.
Meggan shows her military ID and boarding pass - and he makes her pay $15.00 to check her suitcase. She asks politely if she has to pay even with a military ID. He informs her that it only applies to the actual member of the military. Now I know that is their normal policy, but their website states that the fee does not apply to military personnel. And we all know that Jacob is the active military member of their family, but I firmly believe the families are just as "active" as the member!!! He informs us that the ACTIVE duty member is the only person it applies to - WELL, REALLY? Because she flew American to Houston and at the Raleigh airport, Meggan showed her military ID, which she always uses. The ticket agent there never asked a question - she did not charge them for the bag they checked and printed Jacob a security pass WITHOUT BEING ASKED so that he could assist Meg to the gate with the baby. That tells me it's obviously NOT American's policy!!
So I pay for her bag to be checked, and Meggan asks for a security pass for me to help her through security and to the gate. The agent (a man!) informed us that it was against the rules. Meggan pointed out that she had been allowed in Raleigh, and we were informed, quite rudely, that it just wasn't possible.
So we decide to sit out in the open area for awhile, then head to the security line. It wasn't too bad at this point, we move up fairly quickly. There is an older man checking boarding passes.
At this point we have Emalyn in the carry sling, and she's sound asleep. Meggan is carrying the diaper bag and I'm bringing up the rear (of course) with the carryon bag and blanket. As this security guard checks Meggan's pass, he asks if I'm going through. We tell him, no, they wouldn't give me a pass. WELL, he informs us, we need to go back and argue with the agent and GET one, because this lady needs HELP with this LITTLE baby! It was SO SO funny. So we head out and go back to the American counter.
This time we head up to the 2 ladies working the other side of the counter where First Class checks in. They see Emalyn and start ooohing and aahing over her, with all the remarks we are used to by now (how old is she? look at all that hair! she's so adorable!)
We explain to them that I would really like to help Meggan to the gate. No problem, they say, and ask for my id and print out my pass - VOILA! Airport policy my butt!
So we go back to the security line, and get the same security guard checking passes & id. He looks at Meg's military ID, sees my pass and says, Well, I guess that worked. It's a good thing.
Then he asks Meggan if she is the active military member - and when says, no my husband is, he says, "Well, then, you're active too! Thank you and your husband for your service, and take care of that little Marine baby!!!" Isn't that cool?
It was definitely a bright spot in a day of disregard, rude people and chaos!!
So we get through security with all the paraphernalia, walk down to the gate and see
on the board. By now it's about 1:35 or so. No counter agents in sight.
We sit, spread out with all the baby stuff, I'm playing with Emalyn while Meg gets something to eat. See, we know it's almost time to feed Em, so it's perfect, right? She'll get hungry, we'll feed her, then I'll put them on the plane and she'll sleep through the whole thing. RIGHT!
When Meggan comes back, the gate agents have appeared. Meggan goes over to ask about the delay and is informed there are mechanical problems (EEEK!) with the plane and the delay will be at least an hour. The funny part of this conversation is that she said the agent who CHECKED the BAGS should have known there was a delay and attempted to put her on a different flight then - unless we checked in SUPER early. Meggan had checked her first bag at 12:50 - SUPER early according to the gate agent. WHAT????? Have you seen your OWN airline's website recommending 2 hours to get through security? Give me a break!!! And the agent who checked our bags? Well, just scroll up and see what I think about THAT! But I digress...
So on top of not wanting to get on a plane with mechanical issues, that will cause them to miss their connection in Dallas. Which will mean arriving in Raleigh VERY late, where Jacob is waiting to pick them up. However, the gate agent was very friendly and helpful and found a NON-STOP (YAY!) flight to Raleigh leaving at 3:50. WONDERFUL! GREAT! Let's GO - WE'LL TAKE IT! Oh, but...
it's on Continental Airlines.
Well...okay. We're in Terminal A, the new flight leaves out of Terminal B - how hard could it be?
She says - All you have to do is go down and get your bags, then go over to the next terminal and check in. How hard could it be? (Did I say that already?)

SO we go back out (mind you, Meggan had paid for a bottle of water and a Diet Coke at McDonalds that we are now going to waste because we only have 2 hands apiece), go down 2 levels, get the suitcase and the car seat off of the luggage carousel, get on the tram and get over to Terminal B. All I can say is - this should be made into a comedy movie of some sort - or at least a skit on SNL.
There we are dragging all this stuff, sweating from trying to hurry and lug it all, and Emalyn decides she's hungry!!! Well it IS that time. So we get off the tram at Terminal B and head up to the Continental check in. In the midst of this, I make a bottle and Meggan tries to feed Emalyn, still in the sling, while pulling out boarding passes and ids. Needless to say, she was hot and sweaty and just a bit frustrated!
Since the gate agent at Terminal A had checked them in, so it was just a matter of checking the luggage.
We go to the far side of the Continental e-check in, and another sour-faced man points and says "That's self check-in - you can do it yourself". OK - again, we are the ONLY people in line. This is HIS job. We can NOT do self check-in because of the carseat and the change over from American. We point this out, he says OH, and comes over reluctantly to help.
We get the bag up on the scale, Meggan pulls out her military ID, and he says $15.00 please. Again, she asks politely, do I have to pay even with a military ID? Snottily he says "Yes you do - you are not the active member." Here I go again... So I pay to check the bag. Meggan is putting a nametag on the carseat, at which point this person says "It would be much easier for you to gate-check the carrier". To which Meggan replied (I LOVE IT!) "It might be easier for you, but it would NOT be easier for me."
You should've seen the look on his face! And he was about to argue with her, when I stepped over and said, "She is not carrying all of this. She has 2 bags and a baby, and on top of all of that a back condition". (Which is TRUE - at 15, Meggan had to have a spinal fusion to correct her scoliosis. She had a 54 degree curve in her lower back.) At this point, after observing that part of the conversation, a female employee comes over to help him. We are STILL the only people in this line, and I think she could see that we were getting frustrated.
So we're getting it all done, when I ask them for my security pass. They both say, "Oh that is against policy." I show them my pass issued less than 2 hours before, and explain that, if nothing else, she will need help getting through security, and they just shake their heads and say "We just can't let you. We don't even let husbands go back anymore." (HELLO? Yes you do! We know from actual experience that it could NOT be this airport's policy - we just did it!!!)

At this point, it was getting late. The security checkpoint on this terminal was very short, and though busy, they had a family/infant lane, which she was allowed through. I could also see that the gate was not too far down, so I told Meggan it was not worth arguing about. I couldn't have waited for their flight anyway, as I had to be at Morgan's ballgame close to 4:00.
So I walked her in to the security checkpoint, and from there watched them get through and head down out of sight.
It was sad, but I know she was ready to get home to her husband, and I know he was missing them. So I can handle it!

Once they were out of sight, I head out as fast as I can to the parking garage. On the way out, I'm going to call Wade to let him know they're off and I'm headed to Dallardsville. This is when I realize I DON'T HAVE MY PHONE! And I know exactly where it is - I had dropped it in Emalyn's diaper bag when I jumped up to help Meggan get her adjusted in her sling. GOOD GRIEF! Not that I can't live without my phone, but I thought - this will be the day I'll blow a tire or break down. Go figure...that's when I decided that my attitude was B-A-D, and asked God to get me to the ballgame and on to home safely (which He did!)

I blew out of that airport at 3:05! Then I blew through Pier 1 - they had this glass cloche for $20.00 and I just HAD to have it, but I was in and out of there in 5 minutes or less, thanks to competent and helpful Pier 1 employess (YES THEY DO EXIST!).

Then I blasted up Hwy 59 to Livingston. See, Morgan had a softball game against Big Sandy, in Dallardsville. Now, I don't know about you, but I had no clue where that was. I mapquested it, but just wrote down FM numbers, no mileage. So even though it's probably not 10 miles to the turnoff, then another 10 to the school, I felt like I'd been driving for hours!! But I made it to Morgan's game at 4:40 (OK, it started at 4:00, but I wasn't that late!!!)
Hudson was in the lead when I got there, but didn't have a good turnout at the end. My girl did a great job catching, though, and got a hit in the game. That Big Sandy team had quite a pitcher, and they slapped some hits right through the hole.

Then we headed home, where Wade was cooking deer meat (YUM YUM) for dinner. He had picked Caleb up from school and taken him to the river for some fishing and shooting fun. Mom & I watched HGTV's Design Challenge (from the night before) and then to bed.

Today has been back to work and school for everyone. It's a dreary, overcast day. Tonight is basketball practice and homework!

Back to "Normal"...whatever that is.

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