Last week I flew out to South Dakota to help my mother move across country to San Diego. I had it all planned out. Mom would have everything packed and ready to go by the time I arrived Saturday night. Sunday we'd head out. If everything went well, we would arrive at my sister's house by Wednesday.
Wow, I really was naïve.
Nothing ever goes according to plan. And, sometimes, things veer so far off course as to make the plan non-existent--a you've-gotta-be-kidding-me, fairy-fart of a pipe-dream. Once you've reached that level of chaos, you can either curl into a ball and cry or embrace the crazy.
I did both.
It started with a flight. Well, a few too many flights. Good grief, I don't understand why airlines schedule connecting flights with such a tight schedule. My flight to Phoenix, AZ left Sacramento at 8:40 and I arrived at 11ish. At that point, everything was going well. I got checked in with minimal fuss. I didn't even have to take off my shoes because I was pre-checked. Once I got into the secure part of the terminal, I bought a giant bottle of water. It was going to be a long day, and I wanted to stay hydrated.
When I arrived in AZ, I learned I had to leave the terminal to fly on another airline. It was fun. I road a train, then hiked through the AZ heat to the new terminal. Once I arrived, I learned I had to get checked in again. This meant I couldn't bring in my giant bottle of water, which cost five bucks because I bought it in the airport. I was not happy. I told them I wasn't happy. The TSA agent told me, I could stand out there and drink it or throw it away. I threw it away.
Then I went though the body scan machine.
A different TSA agent stopped me and said, "It looks like you've got a bomb on your boob."
I looked at her. "Did you just say I've got a bomb on my boob?" 'Cause surely I'm hearing things wrong. Right? She seriously did not say...
She gave a little laugh, which neither confirmed nor denied the boob statement. Then she waved at the scanner. It a figure (way to skinny to represent me, but it also showed my breast area highlighted in neon yellow.
"I'll need to do a pat check. Do you want to go to a private area?"
Hello, no. "I'm fine. Let's just do this." I held out my arms while she searched me. No bomb. Duh.
Then she wipes my hands with tissue or something. I assume to test for bomb-making residue of some sort. She was very thorough, and I felt safer. Nobody would get through carrying a bomb in their breasts on her watch.
I spent the next four hours until my flight to Denver stressing out.
First, I got a call from my mom. She said the movers who were supposed to pack the Uhaul told her they didn't have anyone on her service area. They totally canceled the day they were supposed to arrive. My mom spent the day arranging for movers to come on Monday. So not part of my grand plan to be on the road to San Diego on Sunday.
Next, I discover my flight to Denver was showing a forty minute delay due to bad weather. Given I only had a forty-five minute window between landing and boarding the last flight to South Dakota, I worried. I spoke to the staff (really nice) who arranged for me to be on a flight at 7 a.m. the next morning if I missed my connecting flight.
Talk about praying hard for a miracle. I did not want to spend the night in the Denver airport.
Luckily, the weather corrected itself. My flight was back on schedule by the time it came to board. Then things went to hell again. We stood in line waiting for the gate to open. Ten minutes pass before we even get seated. And yes, I was paying a lot of attention to the time.
Once we're on board I think everything is okay. When we reach Denver the captain makes an announcement. The reason it took so long for us to board was because they added additional fuel in case of bad weather. Because we didn't use up all of the fuel, we had to circle Denver until we used it up. It was too dangerous to land otherwise.
We circled over Denver for twenty minutes. The mood on the plane rapidly deteriorated. Turns out I wasn't the only person with a tight connecting flight. The woman in the seat beside me saw her boarding time come and go before we even landed.
The plane landed, and I had five minutes to find and board my gate. I didn't even realize until I was climbing down the stairs that I had to run across the tarmac to the terminal. There was a plane parked next to mine. In the distance was the terminal. I started running with the herd. My gate, the one I needed for my next flight was the first door. The attendants waved the herd off to a main entrance, so I kept on going. Once I got inside, I turned around, and ran back to my gate.
I yelled, "I just got off my plane. I need to board."
The attendants radioed the plane to keep them from taking off without me (thank you). And I ran back the way I'd come, 'cause, yeah, the plane parked next to the one I got off was the one I needed to board.
Exhausted, I crashed during the last flight. It turned out to be a twelve hour day.
When I arrived in South Dakota and saw my mom, I knew it had been worth it. Getting to hug her was the best feeling ever. I hadn't seen her in three years. I never expected her to have aged. I still picture her as a giant. My mom who can conquer anything, but she's seventy-five. A tiny, fragile little thing who was brave enough to move to South Dakota last year because she wanted to live in the Black Hills. It was shocking.
When I arrived at her house in Sturgis, SD, I received another shock. Nothing had been packed!
I'm not talking about the truck. I knew about the truck...the flakey moving company.
No, I would have to pack up her entire house in one day because the movers would be arriving on Monday.
Surely my plan is still salvageable. Nothing else can go wrong. Right?
See. I'm still so naïve.
Stop by Wednesday for more of the crazy.
And scroll down to enjoy a teaser DARK EMBRACE (Dark Paradise, #4). It releases Tuesday, July 14th and is available for pre-order. :)