Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda...

My oh, my what a trip this has been. We left Thursday morning, at O dark crazy where I tried slipping out of bed and right into the passenger seat of the car without actually waking fully but praying that the Captain was completely alert as he drove us to LAX. We parked at the Hilton, where with an internet reservation, you get a space for $8 per day, which looks really reasonable until you calculate all the parking spaces in that 100 yard square of tiered concrete and I swear the garage financially sustains the hotel.

What an investment, wish I woulda thought of it.

Next time I need a place to stay overnight, I will make the parking garage reservation and bring an extra pillow, cause really two floors up and about 50 steps in and the same night's sleep would cost about 1/2 the round trip fare to Oklahoma.

The Captain is a great planner, as evidenced by the shuttle dropping us at the proper terminal at precisely 1 hour before departure. Which is not too soon and certainly not too late and in this case 15 minutes AFTER the security breech which closed down the entire terminal for 2 solid hours after we got into line. Nothing moving, except the stressed out security people chasing us into two lines and expecting us to stand quietly and calmly while they yelled at us to be in the right place all the while whispering to each other something about a "code BRAVO" with an abundance of anxiety.

The thing is I could text my kids and they could google Code BRAVO and when the internet offers you all sorts of explaination about a top secret code word...its not so, well top secret. "Security Breech", which was just a lot more than blatantly obvious since nothing, I mean nothing was moving at the security check point. No one at the airport wanted to talk about the elephant in the terminal, but the IPhones were doing their magic with all the news coverage of the event...makes me wonder if the internet doesn't have some sort of illegal access to TSA's tactical manuevers.

After about an hour and a half with no resolution in site and we had been informed that our flights were being held for us, and when I say us, I am pretty sure it was the Captain and me they were referring to, I suggested we lead the whole terminal in a prayer asking God to resolve the security issue. I thought God shoulda had an opportunity to show off a little or a lot...the ever practical Captain thought it might actually increase the security level. So I suggested we lead the thousands of us gathered in a song we all knew like "Yankee Doodle". I mean since our country was doing such a fine job of protecting us from something that demands a Code name, a little patriotic song could just do the trick to remind everyone now being held captive, how much we value our freedom...the Captain thought I might be deemed "a person of interest". "How about we get these two parallel lines of people with nothing to do, to do the wave then?"...that's when he threatened to report me as an "unattended bag". I can't wait till I get to travel without a chaperone...TSA will be prepared with a secret code for that day, no doubt.

So I settled in, mostly because I didn't want to upset my travelling partner so early in the adventure. He's handy with the overhead baggage and a sleeping shoulder at just the right height. Besides, I made him stop at the convenience store to buy an 8 oz bottle Nyquil on the way to the airport cause I was coughing like crazy and it was still dark outside (nighttime). And while standing in that security line I had plenty of time to read all the details about what you can and can't bring on board and I was 4 oz over the legal limit and Nyquil is expensive so I was not about to throw it away and yes it was sort of an excessive amount, though I was pacing my self at about 1 oz every 10 minutes... well lets just say I was getting quite a bit more cooperative, from what I can remember.

The event? Somebody whose bag was marked for a second scan, wasn't feeling as patriotic as suggested and decided he wanted to just move on to the gate. Code breech...thousands of passengers stopped cold. Note to self...make constant eye contact with the screeners and wait for the nod, or the "wink and the gun" since they are security professionals and all.
So off into the wild blue yonder to Denver where we missed our connection, so stood in line to find out what United was gonna give us for being so understanding.
All the while, hearing that the security level was Orange and though I think it might be handy to know what that means, I wasn't in the mood to be handy, I was in the mood to have fun and get to Oklahoma and the Pitcher.

We stood and waited and heard the recordings over and over again about reporting any unattended bag when I saw this....
I know! It's totally an unattended bag. Clearly a bag and obviously unattended, but no one... and I mean no one was gonna report it no matter how dangerous it looked, I think a box marked "explosives" sitting in the middle of the gate and everybody that had already experienced being "Bravo" would circle 'round, concealing any further airport shutdowns. Which leads me to believe that if I googled how to actually do damage at the airport, we would see instructions documenting the perfect timing..."immediately following a security shutdown is the best time to try anything." Nobody will be seeing or reporting anything suspicious....nobody.

Out of their extreme generousity, United booked us on a flight 3 hours later. When we mentioned the flight that was just an hour later, they quickly "booked" us on that as "PRIORITY" standby, which is another top secret code word for "you're not booked on that flight at all, be we don't want to talk about it". So we waited for flight #1, then settled in for #2 so grateful that the pitcher wasn't getting his turn on the mound on this particular afternoon. TSA is very glad as well, cause really you have seen no breech like the one between a mama and her pitcher.

You'd think, oh I don't know, some free pretzels or something. But we did get to OKC, got a rental car, got to the game during the first inning and got to catch up with all the OBU fans and our favorite Caliokie girl. Just as we settled our already screaming backsides into the a headcold settled in on me or it could have been a Nyquil hangover.

Then 4 days of my two favorite things about travelling...eating and sleeping. The pitcher needs a near constant intake of calories, baseball and his mama, so all was well.

We spent one day walking around downtown and headed to my favorite thrift store only to be greeted by this. I just love that guy, when I can find him anyway...

We had a great time with the Pitcher and his girl and were ready but not really ready to come home.

Until Sunday morning, when the Captain went to check in for our flight scheduled for later that day, print the boarding passes and keep us on schedule.

Oops, no check-in email, no boarding passes...long story and long phone calls later...our tickets were for a week later, not the day we need to be home.

But ever grateful United Airlines offered to book us on new flights on Monday, charge us full fare for those tickets and a cancellation fee of $350.00 for the tickets we wouldn't be using plus charge us the difference between the flights...ya I know, all wrong.
It was gonna cost us less to buy new tickets and be no-shows. I wanted to remind them that we had been model prisoners in the last Code BRAVO ordeal, but my BRAVO was clear worn out by this point.
And it was nearly time to leave for church and its difficult really to be holding your bible ready to walk out the door for some bible-belt praise and worship and cursing at the same time.
16 credit card digits later, we were on our way to receive the blessin'. Hallelujah and amen.
Of course food follows everything with the pitcher, but after lunch we saw the new movie,"Date Night" and I am telling you that if you are a Steve Correll or Tina Fey fan, you're probably gonna need to get to the theater as soon as you can. And just for the record, if we ever get stuck together in a terminal under a security halting breech situation... We will sip Nyquil together and I will kill you with hilarity of all the one liners.
We just couldn't top this now its time for the pitcher and his girl to come home. Oklahoma was fun, its time to get back to your own rooms and reality...start packing, we'll have the pantry stocked.

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