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Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel Blessings

Sometimes one just has to sit back and realize how truly blessed he or she has been.  I feel that way about my life in general, but this trip has been one blessing after another.  It’s as if God Himself wants us to get back to Guam, I swear.  Here’s how our trip went:

The coolest question one can be asked at an airport ticket counter is “Are you military?”  I’m a dependent, yes.  “Are you traveling on orders?”  Here I pause…  No, technically I am not travelling on orders.  I do, however, keep a copy of Jason’s orders with me, as well as a copy of everything else I need to exist as a military spouse. Well, my flight was going to Hawaii and the orders say Guam….. Sooo… “Yes, I have this letter stating that we are to be moved to Hawaii.”  It’s totally not the same thing as orders. It’s the letter I have to use to sign up for housing in Hawaii, that states that the boat is moving there.  Did she know that? No. Did I get 2 free bags? Yes. You also get to check 1 baby item for free, so that took care of the Pack N Play.  Here is Blessing #1.

We got to the airport, and after saying goodbye to everyone, it was time to go through security.  I let the first TSA agent know that I had a few bottles of formula, and she told me that I would have to go through the pat-down process because of all the liquids.  Whatever.. I didn’t really care.  She warned me, and I had a feeling it was going to be like that.  Well, I didn’t mind doing it, but good grief!  It took forever!  Because I had roughly 40 oz of liquid in my carry-on, I had to be patted down, and every single item I was carrying on had to be looked through.  They went through each compartment of each bag, and all over both the carrier and the stroller with this little wand that was supposed to detect whatever it was they were looking for, I guess.  If every person of suspicion were to go through that process, we’d be safe for eternity.
On the SkyLink at DFW

On Flight #2  - You can see how she hates flying.
See how stressed she must be?

Ok, I got to the gate and the lady let me know that no one had purchased the seat beside me, so I would be able to take Katie Beth in her carrier instead of gate-checking the carrier and having her sit with me.  (Blessing #2).  Flight #1 went off without a hitch.  She didn’t even fuss because of the change in air pressure.
We got to DFW where we had a 1 hour layover.  It wound up being just enough time for me to get to our gate, change her and get her carrier and stroller gate-checked.  This was going to be a full flight, so she would have to sit on my lap.  I had the aisle seat, and I had sat down next to a lady who was in the window seat.  There wasn’t anyone between us.  You can bet that I prayed as every single person walked past us.  “Please don’t sit here, please leave this seat empty.”  Blessing #3.  Though it did kind of suck that I hadn’t brought her carrier, it was nice to be able to have some space with all of our junk.  Flight #2 went well, but she did get just a little fussy with having to stay on my lap.  The flight attendants were so super sweet about holding her when I had to go to the restroom.  I thought I’d be able to manage not going, but a 4 hour flight is a long time!
Wardrobe change in Seattle

On the Tram thingy at Seattle Tacoma

We got to Seattle where we had a 2 hour layover.  That turned out to be enough time for me to change her, change her clothes, feed her a little, and even grab a bite for myself.  Yay!  We got to our gate for the flight to Honolulu.  They were announcing that the aircraft had changed, and we were now on a larger plane, but with fewer seats.  Why do they even make those?  Now the flight was overbooked by 8 people.  So there was no way I could hope for an empty seat next to me, nor could I purchase a seat for her.  “You should treat yourself and upgrade to First Class!” the ticket agent says.  “Oh, sure..” I thought.  But how much are upgrades?  “Our first class has a lot of empty seats on this flight, so I can offer it to you for $200.”  Are you kidding me??  $200 to have a huge seat, lots of space, and be able to lie back during this awful 6 hour flight?? – Orrr.. Is this Blessing #4??  Yes, please!  I have to say, that I never want to travel any way ever again.  First Class is everything I hoped it would be.  We sat down and I was offered a Mai Tai.  There was a pillow and blanket waiting in my huge seat.  They served dinner and drinks and waited on us just like we were favored house guests.  I’m telling you.. I’ll never go back to Coach.
In First Class!

Mai Tai's and loungy seats. This is the life!

One of our boat’s new spouses contacted me a few weeks back to let me know that she was in Hawaii, waiting on the boat.  She offered airport runs for anyone who might need it.  Well, I took advantage, but only after I had spoken with her a few times and knew that we would hit it off.  Blessing #5, Athena was waiting on me at baggage claim in Honolulu.  She even had some pretty leis for Katie Beth and myself.  So sweet!  She helped me with my ridiculous amount of luggage, and drove us to the BOQ where I was staying.   (Insert for randomness – I stayed just 2 doors down from the room where Jason and I stayed for 3 months back in the Spring.  It was like going home, I swear.  But it was really weird to be in there with Katie Beth, and not Jason.  Though now that I think about it, it just felt like a duty night.) Anyway, I can’t wait to get to spend more time with Athena.  I really do think she and I are going to be good friends.

I got settled in to the room, and as I was unpacking KB’s Pack N Play, I decided to call the flight recording at Hickam.  Keep in mind that I was calling the recording religiously for the past week in Mississippi, and there had only been 2 flights to Guam in that week.  I was so nervous before I left home!  Anyway, I called the recording, and they have announced a flight with a roll-call time of 1125 the next day.  That is perfect, except I’m now regretting having put the Pack N Play up at all.  That thing is a monster to get zipped back up in it’s case!  We both slept well.  I showered and we got ready to head for the terminal.

Hanging out the next morning
What I’m about to call Blessing #6 should really just be an everyday thing, but since it’s not, it’s Blessing #6 – my super helpful and friendly cab driver. I didn’t have to lift a finger other than to get Katie Beth’s seat buckled up and get her in it.  Same thing for unloading; all I had to do was go and get the luggage cart, and he even loaded that up for me. He did all of this with a smile on his face.  I was so happy for a friendly person! I’ve had some awful cab drivers in the past.
Chilling in the AMC terminal at Hickam

On the bus that would take us to the plane
I went in to check us in for the flight, and I asked how many seats were on this one.  53 firm seats!  Woohoo!  I knew that even though we were flying Category 5 instead of Cat 4 like we are accustomed, we’d make the flight. So there’s Blessing #7, especially when you consider this: I knew that I had been calling the recording for a while and only 2 flights had been listed.  I found out it was a bit worse than I even thought. I met this girl who had been home visiting family (in Tylertown, MS of all places in the world). She had been stuck in Hawaii, trying to get a flight back to Guam for 10 days!  She even slept in the terminal for 6 of those nights so she could avoid having to pay for a hotel. She finally made the flight that I was on, and she was so excited.  She went on to tell me that she had been told that this one, and the one leaving later today (with only 15 seats) were the last 2 flights before Christmas.  Holy Moly! I made it JUST in time!

Katie Beth's first Space A flight
So here I sit on the plane, with just a few more hours before I’m back in my own bed, in my own house.  Katie Beth is asleep on a couple of blankets on the floor in front of me.  That’s the best perk about Space-A travel, by the way; getting to stretch out!  She’s been out for over an hour, which would never ever happen in her carrier.  I’m glad too; she needs the nap.  Jess is picking us up at Andersen this afternoon, where I’ll have to run to the Exchange and buy a crib mattress for my little Pumpkin.  She’ll get to sleep in her own bed for the very first time tonight!  I know she’s as excited as I am!

1 comment:

  1. I love this awesome story to keep for little Punkin to read later on about her first flight!