The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part Four

spincyclesmallPlease read The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part One, Part Two and Part Three,  before reading Part Four. This is for this week’s  Spin Cycle topic, Time.

When my husband took me on a cruise, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I ignored the advice of  every professional travel planner on the planet,  did things my own way, and in the process, managed to survive The Ordeal of a Lifetime. This is Part Four of the  story. It is true, y’all.  Every single detail of it.

Well y’all, in Part Three of this saga, we had finally gotten our camera bag back, which was tossed to us, a la Michael Jackson’s dangling baby, through the open window of a moving cab. As the cab driver, “Dragon”, sped off in the direction of Raleigh, we were right on his heels.

images71We were seriously running out of time. Tick tock, tick tock; with each passing minute our stress levels were ratcheting up a notch. Now we had only 25 short minutes to complete our drive into Raleigh, find a place to park at the airport, get our five suitcases, camera bag, laptop case, pocketbook, incredibly heavy golf club bag which was stuffed with two sets of golf clubs, plus our shoes and a bottle of Peach Schnapps, and my itinerary into the airport, through security, and somehow onto the plane.

I was formulating a plan.

“OK, when we get to the airport, let’s not bother with parking the car. Let’s just pull up right in front, have Klinton drop us off and head right on into check in.”

img_0395To which The Devil’s Advocate, who looked amazingly like my husband, but with deep worry lines etched into his face, and a whole crop of new white hair around his hairline said, “And what if we miss the plane?”

Tick tock. Tick Tock.

I shuddered, thinking of another cab ride. “Well, we can call Klinton and tell him to come back and pick us up!”

To which The Devil’s Sidekick, who looked amazingly like my son in the back seat replied, “I didn’t bring my cell phone.”

“And why ON EARTH not?” I asked him.

“Because the battery was low, and it is on the charger,” he said calmly. ” That’s why I didn’t answer when you were trying to call from the Wilmington airport.”

“We’ll give him OUR cell phone!” Jeff announced. “We won’t be able to use it on the ship anyway, and at this point, it won’t matter anyway, because we’re probably not going to make it there on time.”

As I was gloomily muddling over the prospect of missing my first EVER cruise,  not to mention all the months of careful planning and days of methodical packing that would be going down the drain, we pulled into the Raleigh airport, with ten minutes to spare.

We stopped right in front of the main entrance. Jeff threw the car into park and jumped out. He hastily began pulling our five suitcases, camera bag, laptop case, pocketbook, incredibly heavy golf club bag which was stuffed with two sets of golf clubs, plus our shoes and a bottle of Peach Schnapps, and my itinerary onto the curb. Klinton ran around to the driver’s side and climbed in.

After quickly giving  Klinton a  hug goodbye and instructions to keep our phone turned on, we looked around for some help.

fourguysWhere was a sky cap when you really needed one? Apparently, we were on our own, so Jeff took the heavy golf club bag and two suitcases and I grabbed three suitcases (one on wheels, Thank God!) the precious camera bag, my laptop and pocketbook and we staggered into the airport.

First, we had to have our tickets verified. That took several agonizing minutes of waiting in line. The we had to check our bags in. Thank God we had already solved the weight snafu in the Wilmington airport. Then we had to pass security.

The security guard took our tickets. Looked at them for a long minute.

“I’m going to have to ask y’all to step over to the side,” he said, in a most authoritative manner. “We’re going to have to wait for extra security to have y’all checked out.”

Not again! My skin felt like it was going to crawl off my body, y’all. As the clock ticked and our precious moments passed, we stood there, and we waited. And waited.

Jeff turned to the security guard who was continuing to process other passengers, and in his most casual, conversational tone asked, “So, is this because we changed our flight schedule at the last minute?”

The security guard peered at Jeff over his glasses. “Sir, you not only changed your flights at the last minute, but I see here where you’ve already done it twice today!”

As I started to bristle up with all of my fifty years of pent-up, southern indignation fixin’ to come out, Jeff placed a warning hand on my arm. “OK!” he said, brightly. “No problem, man! We’re just in a bit of a hurry to catch our plane, but we’ll wait!”

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y, with the time down to three minutes left to board, we were cleared through security. We literally ran to the boarding area. The waiting area was empty and there was a lone employee waiting impatiently by the door. As soon as she saw us headed towards her, she motioned for us to hurry, and we ran down the hallway and onto the plane.

As we took the last two seats, on a the very crowded airliner, my stomach made a protesting growl. I still had not had a mouthful of food all day.

“Will y’all be serving lunch today?” I asked a passing stewardess, hopefully.

She rolled her eyes. “We have snacks, Ma’am. We’ll be coming back with the snack cart later.”

I looked at my watch. At least we were leaving on time. We had made it, miraculously, onto the flight. But we still had another hurdle. This plane was landing in Miami at 2:45 pm and we had to be on the ship in Ft. Lauderdale by 4:00 pm. That had seemed like enough time, when we accepted the tickets, but we were desperate, and desperate people make bad decisions. Now I wasn’t so sure. It was all making my head hurt.

I settled into my seat as the plane took off, and tried to ignore my growling stomach and my pounding head. Fear and stress had me in their grips and it was impossible to relax. I watched the flight attendant making her way down the aisle towards us, with a snack cart. She was dispensing pretzels, chips, crackers, peanuts, sodas, juice and tiny bottles of liquor!

I turned to Jeff, excitedly, “She has liquor! If she has tomato juice, I can have a Bloody Mary!”

img_4756-copyPraise God and the baby Jesus, she had tomato juice, y’all! And a tiny bottle of decent vodka. That, along with a small can of Pringle’s potato chips, was the best meal I had ever had in my entire lifetime, up until that minute. After the day I had had so far, it was more than gourmet, it was stupendous.

By the time we landed in Miami, I was feeling a teeny bit better. When the plane rolled to a stop, I glanced at my watch. It was 2:50 pm. We had one hour and ten minutes to get off the plane, collect our luggage, find a cab, drive to Ft. Lauderdale, and board our ship.

Was this even possible? My stomach started to knot up in fear.

Everyone on the plane stood up. And then we all tried to wiggle out into the aisle. But, for some reason, the door was not opening. We all stood there. We waited. We all started to sweat. We waited some more. Ten minutes later, we were still waiting for the door of the plane to be opened.

And I wondered, “What fresh hell now? Do we have a snowman’s chance in Dixie to make it to the cruise ship in time?”

To be continued……

Part Five: Another Cab Driver Takes us for a Wild Ride

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13 thoughts on “The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part Four

  1. There must be something in the air around the Raleigh Airport, I remember when I was visiting Duke as a prospective University I had to drop off my rental car at the last minute and literally run to catch my flight to upper state New York.

  2. Pingback: The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part Five « When Ginger snaps…..

  3. Pingback: Our Harrowing Drive to Raleigh, Being Chased by a Dragon « When Ginger snaps…..

  4. Something about you commenting on baby Jesus and having a bloody mary at the same time just doesnt sound like the Christian woman you have been portraying yourself to be. Hmmmm….

    • Hmmmm?….Bonnie, do you know me? I’m trying to figure out why you feel it is necessary to slam me like this.

      First of all, let me say thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. However, I think you are missing the point. This is supposed to be a light-hearted, comical story and my expression of “baby Jesus” was made very “tongue in cheek.” It is an attempt to poke fun at myself for being southern, not an attempt to portray myself as a Christian.

      If I have offended you in any way, I apologize.

      I don’t think I have ever stated my beliefs on this blog, nor do I intend to. I have posted several poems that were written by my late grandmother, who was a very devout Christian, but that is another story altogether.

      At any rate, the last time I checked, drinking a Bloody Mary is not considered a terrible sin in *most* Christian denominations. At least in my memory, there was a story of Jesus turning the water into wine.

      There is, on the other hand, an admonition to “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Perhaps you should look it up. I’m sure it would make better reading material than this silly old blog of mine!

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