back from the abyss



The following is part four of a four part series that was nominated for the AOL 2005 VIVI award best individual or series of entries. My buddy Tilly won this award.

back from the abyss
Hail the conquering hero!!!! I have returned. All is right with the world now, Holly has her makeup back!
I made the 160 mile round trip to and from the airport this afternoon….exactly how I want to spend my afternoon! @@
At the lost luggage counter I bonded with Shirley. We laughed tovgether about my poor daughter’s adventure in airline hell and “Simon”. She agrees that “Simon” is a loser if he can’t understand me. Well after much searching and I mean MUCH, she found Holly’s lost luggage claim under a pile of totally unrelated paperwork. Well that would explain why her claim was not in the system when she tried to look it up in the computer…it was never entered!…Which means IF the bag was found it would have never been delivered to our home, nor would we have been contacted that it was found.
Shirley still had faith that Holly’s bag would be found. She takes me into “the back” where all checked bags go and where the lost bags go. Stepping into that warehouse-like room only further cemented my resolve to never check bags when I fly (I haven’t in over 4 years). This huge, cavernous room is STUFFED with rows and rows of bags either waiting to be claimed or to be placed on a plane somewhere. She takes me through this place to the outside where carts are lined up next to a large truck. In the carts are lost bags that have not been claimed awaiting transport to a warehouse ten miles north of the airport…..”Oh God, let it be here, please!”…
Of course, the bag is not on any of these carts. We head back into the warehouse where she explains as we walk up and down the rows of assorted luggage, that Holly’s bag most likely will not be here but we should look anyway. Then, there it was!!! Last row, last suitcase in the row….Holly’s bag!…”God is good!”, is what Shirley exclaimed….”Yes, He is!”, I agreed. Shirley comments that my little girl will be so happy to have her things back and I agree….especially the makeup bag!
So I return home with her bag. What do I receive as a reward for my wasted day and wasted gas…..a big smile, a quick hug and complaints because I didn’t carry it in from the garage. ….I do love that girl….I do, I do….yes I do!!!
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just a quick note….I changed my journal’s name because, well, the more I thought about it, I feel like a master juggler with all the hats I wear and all the things I do around here. Today is a good example. I think it suits me better

airline inferno continued…



The following is part three of a four part series that was nominated for the AOL 2005 VIVI award best individual or series of entries. My buddy Tilly won this award.

airline inferno continued
Yes, I am naive! I like to think of myself as mostly a positive, optimistic person. Unlike my daughter, Holly, I see the glass as half full most of the time. I tell myself, and anyone else around me who will listen, that thinking like this is what gets me up in the morning. Well, here it is around 9:30 am PST and I am still not dressed and not quite awake. Frankly, I could very easily go right back to bed and not have a problem with it at all. I know I am sinking in this depression I have been struggling with since Randy died. I need to get back on my SSRI….but now I am rambling….
Holly’s luggage is still missing. SURPRISE!!! I am. Silly me, I have never had problems with flying the friendly skies so I honestly believed the bags would be delivered to our door last night. Holly is freaking out. Two days without makeup! Horrors!!!! Life is so hard when you are 18.
So last night I called the 800 # for lost luggage and “spoke” to the voice activated system known as Simon. Simon was a friendly sort. Unfortunately, Simon could not understand me very well, especially when I pronounced or spelled my last name. It really isn’t a difficult name. With Scandinavian-Scottish-English origins it is a rather mainstream name. Why there is even a town in northern England with the family name and there resides the family castle ruins. But Simon had a hard time with it. Of course Simon could not transfer me to a real live human being. The main 800 # to the airline was at first no help because you see according to Angela, the gal I spoke with, all they do is reservations. Her supervisor, Pete, was at first no better but somehow managed to access lost luggage records. Turns out the report I filed is not in the system and they have no record of Holly’s bag not being reported lost. He tried to talk to Simon too and Simon could not understand him either. We concluded that poor Simon needs a break! Anyway, Pete concluded that the perky attendant in Sacramento failed to give us a claim # so she was wrong when she said all we needed was the copy of the form I filled out. She was supposed to give us a baggage claim # with it. :::sigh:::::::: I am in airline hell with my daughter…… Pete goes on to tell me that I will have to go back to the lost luggage counter at Sacramento and refile the claim. Sacto is 80 miles north of me! Sheesh!!!! I really have no life and now Pete knows this!
So, if I can ever get my butt into gear….and get my “darling” daughter out of bed, I am driving up there today to continue my adventure through the airline inferno. I guess when I sign off I will go wake my princess from her slumber and get going. I just know she is going to play the “I’m still on east coast time” card…..that would put her at around 12:49 pm right now which means it is time to get up!!! @@@
to be continued……

Airline Inferno



The following is part two of a four part series that was nominated for the AOL 2005 VIVI award best individual or series of entries. My buddy Tilly won this award.

airline inferno
So Holly is home at last!
Holly is my first born who just turned 18 three weeks ago. I have been amused this past month over how worldly and wise she perceives herself to be. I recall I was pretty much the same as a young adult. Of course my parents knew nothing….at least until I was 25 or so. I am hopeful I will regain some sense in approximately seven years.
Holly had the opportunity to spend part of her Christmas break through New Year’s in New York with one of her closest friends. At first, I was reluctant and prepared to veto the idea. But she came to us with a flight ready to be booked and $$ in hand to pay for the trip as well as the itinerary of the visit. I couldn’t help but be proud of the way she was taking responsibility in this situation. Ultimately we gave our permission for her to go because : a. she could always play the “I’m an adult” card and go anyway. and b. having myself never been to New York I figured that potentially this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for her and she should go and make some memories.
So two days after Christmas, I took my “baby” bear to the airport to catch her flight. She was very excited and full of energy finding everything to be very exciting as she traveled “alone”. She was engaging everyone into conversation from the ticket counter clerk to the security personnel x-raying her luggage to the baggage handler. It reminded me of when she was three and managed to share with one and all at our local grocery store her view of the world.
All that changed as she proceeded to get in line to go through security to go to her gate. Her firend and I began to say our goodbyes explaining this was as far as we could go. My brave, worldly daughter suddenly became very vulnerable and small. “You can’t come with me?! Why not??!!” Trying to explain FAA rules seemed fruitless as she maintained she couldn’t go alone. A security guard overhearing her panicked conversation offered that I could accompany her through but would have to leave Holly’s friend behind. Holly liked that idea very much. I told her I didn’t think it was such a good idea to leave her 17 y/o friend alone in the airport and tried to assure her she would be fine. Finally, Holly relented when I promised her that we would watch her go through security until we souldn’t see her anymore. She reluctantly accepted this idea and looked back often to make sure we were still there smiling and waving at her.
Upon reaching her destination in NY, she called me and announced that she was never flying alone again….at least until after she got home. It seems the flight was crowded as I predicted it would be. She was stuck in the middle seat between two rather large people who required all the elbow room. The one by the window also had a weak bladder and made several trips to the bathroom stepping on her toes everytime he climbed through. The other turned out to not only be a snorer but also a cuddler of sorts leaning in her general direction. I laughed as she recounted the tales of her flight and assured her that at least she was there safe and sound and now she could have fun.
She called yesterday morning from the airport in NY telling me her flight was delayed due to being overbooked and the weather. She was wondering if she should give up her seat to get free airfare and a first class seat home on the next flight. I gently suggested that maybe she shouldn’t as I was concerned she might not make her connecting flight in Chicago. When I checked the airline web site, I saw that flight left an hour late. In Chicago, her connecting flight was delayed about 45 minutes and then an additional 20 minutes as they sat on the runway. She had more comfortable seat mates and appreciated my choosing the aisle seat for her as she could stretch out a bit more. Unfortunately she also “enjoyed” the entertainment of several infants and toddlers on the flight. She had little sympathy for their discomfort and swears now that she is never having children.
As her friend, K and I arrived at the airport to pick her up, she calls to tell us they had landed 15 minutes ago but were still on the plane waiting for the jetway. She sounded tired and frustrated as she complained about the long and bumpy flight. She finally disembarked and met us at baggage claim giggling and crying all at the same time as she hugged us both a little too hard. So then we wait and watch the baggage carousel for her “purple” luggage. We keep waiting andwatching, waiting and watching along with about 20 other souls who shared her flight. Finally the carousel stops…that’s all folks.
Most of the people there waiting went over to the carousel next door as luggage was coming out of there. Nevermind it was from a flight from Washington, it just “might” have their bags. Holly and K joined them. I went over to the lost luggage line which was already preyy long. As it started moving I called over to Holly to get in line since she had her claim ticket. I proceeded also to fill out a lost luggage form as I saw many coming out empty handed. I figured I’d make good use of my time. Right behind us in line was the mom with the infant and toddlers. I am usually pretty tolerant being a mom of five because I know how it feels to travel alone with a brood like that. But I must say, I can sympathize with Holly a little as one little darling was hell-bent on repeatedly kicking me from her stroller. She actually reached her chubby leg as far as she could to continue to kick me when I moved out of her way. Mom was too tired to do anything about it. We soon were distracted by Ms First Class who honestly was shocked that she would have to wait in line BEHIND all of us underlings. Didn’t anyone know her luggage was lost? She continued to loudly complain as we all waited about how inconvenienced SHE was. POOR THING! There isn’t a first class lost luggage line! Imagine!!!
So we get to the front of the line and learn that yes, Holly’s luggage is indeed lost. We turn in the necessary form already filled out and listen to the attendant’s perky assurances that it will be delivered this afternoon to our doorstep. Holly is lamenting that she packed her beloved Uggz in there as well as all of her makeup…horrors!!! At least we saw that Ms First Class also didn’t get her bags. She was VERY upset. We couldn’t help but laugh a little bit. Yes, we are evil.
So Holly has endured pretty much most of airline hell all on one round trip ticket. She is already talking about the planned senior trip with friends to Hawaii this summer. At least she won’t be flying alone. I think she also briefly was made aware that she isn’t as worldly and wise as she imagined. But now we are home!
Oh, and by the way, she had a blast in NY!

Baby Got Back



The following is part one of a four part series that was nominated for the AOL 2005 VIVI award best individual or series of entries. My buddy Tilly won this award.

This will be short as we just got home….
My “baby”, Holly Austa-Bear is back from New York! I picked her up at the airport and had the pleasure of enduring the last leg of her airline hell as they lost her luggage, along with about 25 other passengers on her flight. We finally got home as it is an hour and half drive from the airport.
It’s good to have her home. Now chaos will be restored here as it seems to always be quiet when one, any one of the kids is gone for any time more than a couple of days….remind me how happy I am to have her home when I start complaining about the chaos. For now, I am just glad that my girl is home safe and sound.