The big day had finally arrived! After months of research, planning and anticipation, Ladycation 2017 was finally about to begin. Since 2017 marked my best friend, Lindsey, and I’s 10th year of friendship, we called this trip our “Bestieversarycation.”
Our flight departed at 6:30am, which meant a very early start to the day. We figured the chances were pretty slim that we’d be able to fall asleep early enough to be up by 3am so we went a different route. We napped the afternoon before our flight and stayed up all night, hoping to catch a nap on the plane. I worked third shift so it was my regular routine. Midnight was my noon. Lindsey, however, was used to normal person hours. I was amazed by her ability to rally.
Another reason I wanted to stay up was that once we returned from our Bestieversarycation, my life would be dramatically different. My daughter was leaving for her own adventure: college. So we planned a ladies’ (and one uncle) night at my place the night before our flight. That night will always be a special memory. We laughed, we cried, we reminisced. There was a lot of love in my house.
Leaving my daughter behind, I cried pretty much all the way to the airport. It was such a mix of emotions; excitement for our trip, anticipating all the experiences my daughter was about to have, anxiety over her being so far from home, and the mix of sadness and pride that accompanies your baby growing up and leaving the nest. To be honest, I don’t know how parents have been doing it for thousands of years, cause if I hadn’t been preoccupied with going on vacation I would’ve locked myself in the house for a week and done nothing but cry, eat my feelings and drink an exorbitant amount of wine.
We arrived at the airport around 4:45 and were immediately struck by the long line at check-in. It made us nervous, but not as nervous as the TSA line. It seemed endless, as if it wasn’t even moving. We watched the minutes tick by as we inched, oh so slowly, towards the body scanners and X-Ray machines. It felt like we were in slow motion.
Finally, after waiting seemingly for an eternity (I’m nothing if not melodramatic), we made it. Or so we thought… I went through the body scanner and, of course, my crotch set off the alarms. Why is it always the crotch? I don’t have anything out of the ordinary in that area, I assure you, but every damn time I go through that machine my crotch lights up like Vegas and I get an up close and personal encounter with a TSA agent. Every. Single. Time.
Between the long lines and my uncomfortable TSA groping we were running short on time. I went to grab my bag and put my shoes back on so we could run to the gate. No such luck. My bag was being taken by TSA for inspection. Of course. Our departure time was quickly approaching and here we were, stuck watching this man go through every single thing in my suitcase with painstaking scrutiny. It was my half ounce bottle of dish detergent, apparently, that looked nefarious, “Looked a lot bigger” on the X-ray, he said. I could not roll my eyes hard enough. Finally, we were cleared. I slipped on my flip flops, grabbed my suitcase and we literally ran all the way to the gate.
When the gate agent saw us running towards her she told us to slow down, we’d already missed our flight.
I don’t even think I can list all the various emotions running through me at that moment. I was angry, felt sadness bordering on despair, was scared we wouldn’t be able to re-book, and was nervous about the time crunch this would put us in when/if we did get there. I was really trying hard not to do what I usually do when things don’t go as planned: throw a tantrum. But I was only partially successful. Though less than courteous to the gate agent who was (thankfully) able to get us re-booked on another flight, I didn’t verbally (or physically) assault anyone so I’m calling it a win. Unfortunately, we had four hours to spend in the airport until our new flight took off, so we did what any grown-ass women would do: we hit up the airport bar. We weren’t in Washington, but we were on vacation. Cocktails at 7am? Yes, please, and keep ’em coming.
Our newly booked flight’s layover on the way to Seattle was in Minneapolis and was considerably shorter than our original flight’s layover had been. That wouldn’t have been a problem except that the flight from Cleveland to Minneapolis and the flight from Minneapolis to Seattle were on opposite ends of the airport, and in completely different terminals. We were cutting it way too close for two women who’d just missed a flight.
Since our plane from Cleveland to Minneapolis was smaller than the plane we were originally supposed to take I had to check my carry-on at the gate. When we landed that meant waiting for them to bring it up from the belly of the plane. We had exactly 20 minutes until they ended boarding our plane to Seattle so, while I waited for my bag, Lindsey ran ahead to beg them not to leave without me.
The minute they finally brought up my bag I was off… and all out booking it. You know in the movies when you see people barreling through the airport, knocking people over and jumping over obstacles to catch their flight? That’s what I felt like. I could almost hear the dramatic music in my head. I was glad I’d taken up running the previous year so I was up to the task, but I was desperately regretting my choice of footwear. Do you know how hard it is to run like the wind while simultaneously trying not to let your flip flops fall off your feet? It’s a miracle no one was injured. And I made it to the gate with both my shoes.
When I arrived at the gate I saw that I could’ve slowed my roll a bit. The line to board the aircraft looked like the TSA line in Cleveland. I hadn’t missed it! We boarded the plane for the final leg of our journey to the Pacific Northwest, which, thankfully, was considerably smoother than its beginning.
Be sure to read what happened when we landed in the next installment!