December 11, 2010

Home Sweet Home ... Hopefully ...

Hi! I'll be you are wondering if this adventure ever ends ... we let's go back to this morning ... there I was at 5:30 a.m. and I'm sitting in Tampa. I was scheduled to catch a plane leaving at 7:230 a.m. for an hour flight to Fort Lauderdale ... well, just shy of an hour but let's not give them too much credit.

So after catching attitude with a ticket agent who said my bag was 2 pounds over the weight limit (the same bag was 3 pounds under in Houston), I headed to security with one of the other displaced travelers. I was ready for a wait but aside from the guy in front of me not having his ticket or ID in hand and then the lady in front of me at the scanner having issues understanding the "take off all jewelry" part of the screening, I was sent through the body scanner and pulled aside for a quick random check and sent on my way.

On a side note ... I don't really have issues with the scanners or pat downs. Maybe its because I lived on a military base for so long and you see the effects of lax security as well as the benefits of diligent guards, but it seems to me the peopl who patted me down at the various points of the trip were just as uncomfortable as I was ...

Anyway, back to the trip ... After I went through security, the other displaced traveler was pulled aside for a complete carry-on check so he told me to go ahead to the gate (which was across from security) and he'd catch up. So after checking in at the gate, nodding to a few of my other displaced companions having breakfast at the nearby Chili's, I headed to the Starbucks about 100 feet away for a coffee and muffin (Chili's just didn't sound like they'd have a good breakfast, so I passed.) Then with my treats in hand, I headed over the gate where they had some really comfortable booths for those with computers (bonus points for Tampa). Thats where I wrote the last post, drank my eggnog latte and ate my very yummy muffin. At 7 a.m. hubby called to make sure everything was on track. I told him my flight was just as long as the drive from Miami to Fort Lauderdale so he shouldn't wake the baby until I called to tell him we were on the plane.

A few minutes later we lined up for boarding. Now, yes, at this point I could have gotten really excited, but remember I'd prepped for boarding 4 times the day before without actually GETTING ON a plane. So my fellow travelers and I nervously joked for a few minutes. Outside you could barely see the plane for the thick fog rolling it. It was like someone have whitewashed the windows! But, then miracle of all miracles, we began to board ... 15 minutes early!

Once on the plane I was still not convinced, but after about 15 minutes of boarding (I was at the front of the line thankfully) the captain came over the speaker and began the departure speech ( you know, no phones, computers, etc ... blah, blah, blah). I called George, told him we were on the plane and about to depart.

Luckily, the plane was not packed so while I sat by the window and another of the displaced pilgrims sat on the aisle, there was no one in the middle seat ... just my muffin and his book.

We slowly rolled away from the gate, taxied up the runway and stopped. We could see the fog getting heavier and heavier. I was sure we would be turned around but after 15 minutes, we were cleared for take-off!

It was a quick trip ... barely time for drinks and such. Soon we were making our approach and I prepared to end this l-o-n-g journey ... exhausted after only 3 hours of sleep. After disembarking at the gate, I headed for baggage claim to wait.

As I waited I talked to George who'd arrived and was waiting in the passenger pick-up. He asked if I wanted him to come inside and help with the bags, but I didn't need the truck being towed at this point.

Just as the bags started to arrive on the conveyer George and Baby Geo walked in to greet me. I was so happy! Then I saw my bag was one of the first, so I pulled it off of the conveyer and Geo grabbed it but for some reason was having trouble with the handle. Once we got the the truck just outside the door we discovered they had crushed the back of the bag, ripping the fabric and bending the bars the handle slides into. Really!?!

I was so tired, we just threw it in the back of the Tahoe, I gave Baby Geo some kisses and a bottle, then settled in for the hour drive back home.

Finally! I was so happy to walk through the front door. George fed the baby while I went to change into some fresh clothes. After we put the baby down for a nap we looked at the bag more closely. It was a mess and told George I'd file a complaint after a quick nap.

What a long, exhausting adventure. All in all, we were surprise that the six-pack of Shiner beer (which my husband loves but cannot find here in Miami) arrived intact. Despite my bag being loaded and unloaded off of 5 planes, dragged about throughout the varous airports and being crushed, the bottled beer made it!

Now, let's see what they say about my compaint!

Until our next cup of tea ...

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