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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 3.5 in Hell

Our 3rd and final day in California went so well that I hated to end that post on a bad note....so we have part 2.....enjoy.

We made it to the car and both kids were asleep in a matter of seconds.

I was exhausted, so I let Rick and Rosita take it from there. We were headed to the airport. why you might ask.....because I'm an idiot.

When I talked Rick into going to Disneyland for the final day, it was an extra day that he wasn't planning on. Our flights left at 7 am. Saturday morning. So if we were to stay at Disneyland and watch the fireworks, which we were of course going to do, then that had us sleeping at the hotel for about 5 hours. Rick would have no part of paying $120 or more for a hotel that we could find for 5 hours. And I would have no part of staying in a hotel that rented by the hour. :)

So, that left us with sleeping at the airport terminal. At the time of booking the trip, I said okay. I would later come to regret that...but for now, we were headed to the airport.

At some point during the 45 minute drive, we passed a burning car on the interstate. I don't mean a little fire, this was a car ENGULFED in flames. I can only hope that there wasn't someone in that car. There were 5 lanes of traffic. The car was on the right shoulder, we were in the far left lane and we felt the heat from the car as we drove by.

I grabbed the cell phone to call 911. I would have hated for no one to have called because they assumed everyone else did. I dial 911.......I get a recording.

"I'm sorry, all agents are currently busy, please hold because your emergency is important to us....(and then repeat this same thing in Espanol)

Are you freaking kidding me? I sure am glad that I wasn't being raped and got away from my attacker for just enough time to dial 911. crap they are busy...oh well....at least my emergency was important to them.

Just because I waited out the hold music to see how long it would take.....EIGHT MINUTES. Yep, eight minutes to have an LA 911 operator finally ask what my emergency was. I told her, she thanked me.

So, I saw no cops, no posted speed limits, and waited 8 minutes on hold for 911. All in 3 days. Spectacular.....

We arrived to LAX around 1 am. We headed to the Thrifty parking lot. After pulling in, this large black woman, who I really really think was actually a man, but Rick swears her nametag said "Carol", (I say "Carl"), greeted us.

By greeted us I mean sat there and stared at us.

Now we have a suitcase, a duffle bag, a briefcase, a purse, and 2 backpacks, and 2 50 pound sleeping kids. The area where we needed to park for Carl/Carol was about 50 yards from the doors to get to the shuttle to take us to LAX. We cautiously balanced everything (although my pants almost fell down because I couldn't pull them up or I would drop something, like my daughter).

I assumed there was some reason that Carl/Carol had us park so damn far away. As we are walking away, He/She hops in the car and drives it to a parking spot. Are you kidding me? The stupid asshole/bitch could have driven us to the doors, but instead watched us carry everything like idiots before pulling into a parking spot.

Thrifty Rental Car, with your she-male attendents, and spanish speaking parking attendents that can't tell a 7 from a 6....you are really starting to get on my nerves.

We boarded the shuttle. We were the only ones on the shuttle, and YET, the dude driving....(we'll call him Ramone) couldn't get up and help us load our luggage. No really Ramone, let me.....let me load all of my luggage while balancing sleeping kids too. Really Ramone, continue to sit and listen to your rap music littered with curse words that would be such a fantastic family song choice if my kids had been awake.

Kudos to you Ramone. I hope you get that promotion soon. The one where you get to sit and watch people lug all of their belongings across the nasty garage just before driving away in their car. Continue to stand there Ramone, waiting for your tip.....You can stand right next to Carl/Carol.

We get into LAX around 1:30 am. Rick prints RJ, Heidi, and my boarding passes. His wouldn't print, so we went ahead and headed to the security check point.....He had to go through his check-in again with the attendant.

The kids were so exhausted that I decided to go through security without Rick. We load all of our stuff onto the conveyor and wait......the guy scanning the luggage stops on my bag. And looks, and looks, and calls his co-worker over and shows them something in my bag. I was starting to get pissed. I didn't have more than 3 ounces of shampoo in my stupid allotted baggie. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?

Worker 1 and Worker 2. Let's call them Pete and Joe. Pete and Joe call over their Supervisor. We'll call him Jason. They stop the conveyor and pull my suitcase. Pete, Joe and Jason are all surrounding me and asking me things, like "Is this your suitcase? " "Has your luggage been left unattended?" and "Where are you traveling to?"

They start pulling stuff out of my bag, and they pull out a TOY GUN.

WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING? The pink gun. The Pirates of Caribbean gun. The gun that both kids begged for because the one we bought at DisneyWorld broke. You know, the one we checked in our luggage last time. Not the one we tried to get into the actual plane itself.

So, Pete, Joe and Jason inspect the gun and make sure that there isn't some real gun hidden inside it. Then they inform me, that unless they checked my baggage, they had to keep the gun. I bent down to tell the kids, that Jason was going to keep it. They start to bawl. I mean BAWL. Keep in mind that they have slept about 2 hours between the car and the shuttle.

So Jason takes the gun. Then they red flag my next bag. Shit, I left a bottle of water in it. FINE.

Finally all of my bags make it, and I am sent through the metal detector. OF COURSE it goes off, I had money in my pocket. They send me through again. OF COURSE I wouldn't have thought to check my other pocket too......and it goes off again.

Joe, Pete, and Jason hate me. It's pretty obvious, I hate them too. All of this is happening while the kids are BAWLING about their gun and while the security line is backed up because of this short fat white woman who is obviously a terrorist.

We finally make it through the lines and wait for Rick who is stuck in the line that my stupidity backed up. I did fell a little better when they pulled a switchblade out of a girl's purse, who then said "Oh, I forgot about that", and then they also isolated some middle eastern dude with his bag. God only knows, what was in that one, if what they thought was a gun didn't land me in an isolation area.

So, Rick finally gets to the end of the line and I explain to him why the kids are still bawling.......their gun, their pirate gun, the pink one, the one that they just HAD to have. Rick agrees to check the bag so Heidi can keep her gun. I flag down Joe......he says it's already in the forfeit area., and he'd have to check with Jason the supervisor to see if that would be possible.

Dude, just go get it. (I think he had a daughter at home and was planning on taking it to her). Jason comes and okays it, so Rick has to go back down check the bag and then go back through security.

RJ starts crying because he thinks he's going to pee his pants. I've told him to hold it for about 15 minutes straight while Joe, Pete, and Jason thought I was a national security threat.

We go to the bathroom and head to gate 48B. We sit down. Both kids immediately pass out on the floor. I start to cry. I had been up for about 19 hours. I was exhausted from the sun, and the 3rd degree from security was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was bawling when Rick finally made it to the gate.

When he arrived, and I had calmed down, I had a chance to look around at LAX. It's pretty much a shit hole. Everything was dirty and the chairs were all ripped. It looked horrible. Way to go American Airlines.....way to really keep things up. Recession or not, buy some new chairs! And while you are at it, don't buy the ones with arm rest so you can't lay down, you jerks.

Rick and I both needed to charge our phones, so Rick goes looking for an outlet. LAX also rigged up all of their outlets where their patrons couldn't use them. Nice, thanks LAX.....greatly appreciated!

Rick finally comes back from his outlet scouting trip.....he found an outlet, in a little cubby hole, on the linolium floor next to the bathrooms. Now normally, I would have told him to head over there and I would stay at our gate, but, I was afraid that after not having slept, I would fall asleep and someone would either take one of the kids, or that girl would come pull another hidden switchblade on me.

We gather all of our stuff up, and head to the cubbie, where we managed to have a power outlet, and also contort ourselves up to guard all of our luggage and children. All of the spanish speaking janitorial staff looked at us.

We overheard a couple of them laughing "la familia" "los ninos"....blah, blah, blah. laughter. screw you LAX workers, if you wouldn't have screwed with the outlets, we wouldn't be in the tiny cubby by the bathroom.

One of the ladies.....We'll call her Maria brought us a blanket. That was very sweet. Not sure why she couldn't have brought 4. Unless it was to laugh at us even more, watching us all try to cover up with one tiny blanket.

We finally haved charged phone and head back to the gate. We doze off and on, and finally it's 6 a.m. and the airport starts to fill up. Our plane leaves at 7. About 6:45 we notice that unless we are headed to Bejing, something was odd. EVERYONE around us was of an oriental ethnicity. I felt like an episode of seasame street. "one of these things is not like the other.....one of these things just doesn't belong".

Rick checks the flight board.....yeah, they moved our gate. That makes sense. We get our stuff and our sleeping kids, just in time to be pretty much the last one aboard.

From here on out, it gets better.....we had an uneventful flight....Rick didn't have to sit next to anyone, so he was able to stretch out.....I was dozing in and out when RJ ordered 2 "gourmet cookies" for $3 each. He heard them announce that they were available just before they came around with drinks. RJ and Heidi were both eating their cookies when the lady woke me up to get $6 from me. Thanks AmericanAirlines for letting minors order food.

We happily landed, and headed home.

And were we ever happy to be there!
Days 1 through 3 were WONDERFUL. Day 3.5....not so much.

:)
-a

3 comments:

Mandy K said...

You poor poor woman.

Ashley and Evan said...

Is it wrong that I want to laugh at the situation? If it were me I would have been arrested at some point in that journey for blowing my gasket. How hellish! I'm glad you made it home safe and sound.

amberlindemann said...

Ashley, laugh away!

I laughed the whole time I wrote it.

Seriously the worst 5 hours of travel I've ever had!