Remember way back when Benito and I went to Pittsburgh? Our return trip did not go exactly smoothly.
Wednesday morning through early afternoon was pretty darn good. The plan, after it was hashed out hilariously amongst 7 adults, was for Judy, Mom, Benito and I to go to Ben and Shayna's house, from where Judy could go to teach and Mom, Shayna, Benito and I could go to The Strip, a (completely above-board) shopping area. Thus it was, and we got there and met up with Ben for lunch at a delightful store with a food counter and seating upstairs. Wholey Market
(not pronounced as it's spelled) is a beautiful place; Benito was captivated both by the large tanks of live fish and by the train going around a track way over his head. Our lunch was huge and delicious; keeping Benito upstairs while the adults finished was a bit of a challenge. After lunch, we wandered over to Penzey's,
whose spice blends make me happy, and I'd be willing to buy more of their spices too if they were closer/I didn't have to pay shipping. Oh, the clerk told me they have a branch in Seattle, so maybe that will go on my list of things to visit in Seattle one of these days. (Hmm, only slightly more than 2 hrs away, north of Seattle...)
We looked around leisurely; I bought two spice blends, after considering a bunch of options, and we made our way back to the car. We went back to the house and I think we dropped Mom off, because Shayna and I drove around a bit more with Benito asleep in the back. We schmoozed, got to know each other a bit, had a good time. By 3 we were back at home, because that's when her babysitter was done. The little kids played, Mom and Aunt Judy drove back to Judy's, and around 3:15 I checked in to my flight online. Huh - it seems that my 7 PM flight has been bumped to 7:45, which means it's getting in to Denver 15 minutes before my connecting flight to YVR is supposed to leave. *gulp* Basically, we rush out the door (her youngest 2 and my guy in tow) to see if I can get to the airport in time for the 5 PM flight instead. Nope; I got there at 4:30 and the other flight was already boarding before I checked in. American Airlines then rebooked me onto United Airlines (*collective groan*), who had room on a flight leaving at 5:45 if they'd let me onto it.
Note: I had a toddler and his stroller, 2 rolling bags, my backpack, and his carseat. An AA attendant helped me run over to the UA counter to talk to the people there, who were basically rude and unhelpful. The main person who spoke with me said that if I made it to the gate, and if the flight wasn't delayed, and if they let me board, then I would be able to make my connection, but she couldn't guarantee any of those things, because air traffic control was keeping everyone late, and since it was air traffic control doing it, the airline would not pay for a hotel room for me if I became stranded in the connecting airport. Oh, also, if I did get on their flight right now, it was too late to check bags so I'd have to take everything with me. The stroller would get gate-checked, our two carry-ons are fine, my backpack is my "personal item," and the carseat he could sit on.
I booked it to the gate, with all that rolling stuff. There was, of course, a big line to talk to the gate agents, because everyone was being thrown off their schedules and had to make arrangements. I tried to appease Benito, who was itching to get out of the stroller and play, that we just had to be patient, we couldn't get in the front of the line because all these other people had to talk to the gate agents too. I actually went to the gate next to us, which was empty except for the gate attendant, and asked if it was likely I'd make this flight. She looked at my tickets, looked at her computer, and said "Hmm, it looks like you're not booked to sit next to your son. I can fix that for the next flight but you need to talk to these gate agents to fix this flight." Ugh. I got back in the first line. The guy I was behind said "go ahead and stand at the front, someone will let you in because you need help." I did, and someone did, so I stood in front of the male gate attendent. I let Benito out of his stroller and he starts playing on the row of empty seats next to us, with a few people bemusedly watching him crawl and meow.
First, before even making eye contact with me, he looks at the guy at the front of the line and says "Are you okay with this woman getting in front of you?" Yes, he is, he let me in. Then he says to me "Don't stand to the side, stand right in front of me." Okay, older gentleman, just trying to keep my 3 year old in sight. I give him our passports and tickets and ask if he can sit us together. He immediately says "There are no seats together." I start to cry, holding it in as much as possible. I say "I have to sit next to my son; he's 3." The guy makes a tight face and works at his computer, and gives us seats together in the last row. He then gets on the intercom and calls for another individual to come to the front. Okay; I'm not going to feel bad for that.
I sit, and after taking a few deep breaths, realize the better option is to call customer service and get them to rebook me for tomorrow. After a few calls and ~15 minutes on hold, we are rebooked for Thursday morning at 7:20 AM. I use Messenger to contact Ben and Shayna, asking them to contact my parents b/c I'm not using my phone in the US. After much effort, my parents come to pick us up. When we arrive at my aunt and uncle's, Benito enters the house and says "I'm back!" in a delighted tone. We have a late dinner, sack out for the night by 9:45, and are on the road back to the airport by 5:15 AM.