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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This Thanksgiving I Am Grateful For Making My Flight, But Sadly Wet My Pants

I had planned to write posts to run this week with titles such as “The Perfect Holiday Pantry” and “Favorite Dutch Apple Pie”. Then I got that phone call.

When you receive such a call things that once seemed important, like Thanksgiving pies, don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

What matters is making an impossible flight and being with family.

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Last September I stood in a sweltering Arizona garage and had the following conversation with Mr. Décor.

Mr. “Let’s get rid of that ginormous suitcase of yours. It’s in such bad shape that it really doesn’t need to be moved.”

So I’m thinking, “Yeah, it looks really bad. But it’s my France suitcase. It has always returned from French adventures filled with wonderful things.” and “I need to say something practical to Mr. about why we need to keep it.” 

Me: “Well, let’s hang on to it until I find a replacement in case something happens.”

I know Mr. Décor is thinking “Well, I save things for the same reason…” so he agrees to move this filthy beast one more time.

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My first thought after the phone call was “Thank God I didn’t get rid of that suitcase!”

As we are STILL unpacking I set Mr. Décor to the task of finding the beast.

I threw in just a few things knowing I could do laundry while there, and thankful for the tons of space to bring things home.

When I first arrived at my Grandmother’s home I was completely overwhelmed. I had a funeral to plan and an entire apartment, filled with almost 93 years of memories, that needed to be sorted through. I accepted that I would probably be there for awhile. I called Mr. and told him “I won’t be coming home any time soon.” I imagined myself at her table, alone, eating a tv dinner on Thanksgiving.

But family showed up and by some miracle all that needed to be done was accomplished in 6 short days. I caught my breath on Saturday afternoon and started packing so I could return home. I had 5 pieces of rather large artwork, four of which were painted by my parents, that needed to come home to me. So I got on the phone (as there was no wi fi) and searched for a local UPS. I found one. The operating hours were Thursday and Friday from 3 to 5 pm.

Boat missed, ship sailed.

Was it possible that I could drop off the five pieces of art in Minneapolis before heading to the plane?

UPS is closed on Sundays. Good for UPS.

So next on the call roster was Fed Ex.

In such a large city there was but one lone shipping office open late Sunday.

I left Deer River at 1:30 pm headed for the city.

The shipping office was downtown. I arrived at my destination at 5:10 pm. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8 pm.

I was horrified to discover that the office was located in a high rise building without temporary parking. A garage beckoned me down the street… but how does one carry 5 large pieces of art down a long city block?

So I decided to break the rules, pulled up to the curb, hit the car flasher button and proceed to run back and forth across the sidewalk, into the building and back to the car four times.

I was literally tossing the art at the Fed Ex employee then proceeded to breathlessly shout “I’ve got to park the car. I’ll be back.”

This is a good time to tell you that I had already been driving three and a half hours and needed to use a bathroom. Badly.

Car parked and praying that the art would still be at the Fed Ex office, I ran back.

I finally arrived at at the counter with my 46 years revealing themselves with deep, labored breathing.

Behind the counter the tall Fed Ex employee, wearing a black rasta hat, told me “Breathe, you are exactly where you need to be.”

He had picked up a painting my mother had done. “This art is very powerful, I am drawn to it. In fact, all of your art speaks to me. It is large and heavy however and will be expensive to ship.” I replied that while the art was not monetarily important, the work had been done by my parents and therefore priceless to me. I was willing to pay the cost as I was leaving on a flight that night. He promise that the art would arrive safely and I would make my flight.

By now it was almost 6 pm, the time I was supposed to turn in the rental car. I felt a rivulet of sweat travel down my back.

The man worked as if he was packing up priceless Rembrandts. Copious amounts of bubble wrap were used. Thinking I might speed him up I inquired “How long does it take to get to the airport?” His reply was he could not say, it depended on traffic.

Perspiration dotted my brow.

Once again he said, “Be in this moment. You are exactly where you need to be. You will make the flight.” It was 6:30 pm and I was doubtful.

The work was carefully completed by 7 pm. I paid my bill and ran to the car praying the highway would be clear.

It was and I arrived at the airport at 7:15 pm practically throwing the car keys at the rental clerk as I struggled to get a handle on my three bags.

Then came the arduous and almost impossible task of running across a large parking lot, one long hallway, down two escalators and onto a tram ride.

The ginormous bag, through it all, did not cooperate. The smaller one was a coconspirator. They kept tipping over so that at times I was merely dragging their tremendous weight behind me.

Now would be a good time to mention that after five hours my bladder was pretty much at max capacity.

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After exciting the tram there was yet another long walkway and brilliant bag struggle. I limped to the check in counter at 7:35.  I hopefully stated “I know I am too late for my 8 pm flight and it is Thanksgiving week, but perhaps there is a later flight I can board?” The clerk said nothing, typed a bit, then handed me a boarding pass. She then said she could not guarantee my bags would be on the flight but there was a chance I could be. I just needed to get my bags to the drop off point, travel through security, and down another ridiculously long hall.

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Of course my gate could not be the first but was positioned dead last.

I continued to run.

Over the loud speaker I heard “Final boarding call for flight 747 to Dallas. Seeking passenger Laura Gunn.” I was still too far to call out so I just continued to run at breakneck speed. I finally caught sight of the gate desk agent and also began frantically waving my hands in addition to running on the hard pavement.”

Big mistake. I’m sorry Minneapolis.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for always having an extra pair of undergarments in my carry on and making my flight so that I can be with my family. 

As you can see, the bags somehow miraculously made it too.

Laura

23 comments :

GSGreatEscaper said...

Ohhhhh Laura. I cannot imagine how terribly stressed out you must have felt. I hope you can breathe now, relax a little over Thanksgiving and remember that it's being together not perfect Dutch Apple Pies that will be your real gift this holiday season. You've had quite a year what with selling the condo, the house, the job search, buying the new house and Grandma's death. I hope you can take this week to remember the Fed Ex guy's mantra ...Happy Thanksgiving.

Jane said...

So glad you made the flight and can be with your family for Thanksgiving Day, knowing that your Grandma loved you and appreciated your love for her.

Angela said...

You are an amazing person. I am sorry for your loss, but know how proud of you your precious grandmother must be.

Stacey said...

Bless your heart! Been there...not the same situation but needing to go and couldn't hold it. It's frustrating and embarrassing. Ugh!!

Louise said...

I'm sorry, I'm laughing! I can laugh because I know you made it home safely. Get some rest now, for goodness sake.

Vickie H. said...

My heart aches for you on so many levels....God bless you, honey. And just think of the incredible Thanksgiving your dear Grandmother is enjoying this year......

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

I love the Fed Ex character. xoxo. Happy Thanksgiving.

Lorrie said...

What a story! So glad you're home (and glad for that extra pair in your bag)

Christine said...

“Breathe, you are exactly where you need to be.”
That is so profound! And from a perfectly, described character.
Now you have more memories from "The ginormous bag". I say keep it!!
Grandma Jingles is smiling...

happywonderer.com said...

Oh mercy me! I almost wet my pants just reading about that airport experience with a full bladder. What a great fedex employee!
Glad you made your flight.

Gypsy Heart said...

I was so tense reading this...amazing how it all worked out! The Fed Ex employee was the perfect person in this situation. I'd love to meet him!

xo
Pat

Glenda/MidSouth said...

God bless you. Sending a ((hug)) your way. I have a feeling your family would have forgiven you if you had not made that flight. Reminds me of a similar experience I had many years ago - but not nearly as stressful as yours.
Wishing you and yours a Very Happy Thanksgiving.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds like a very stressful time. I am so glad you made it and now just relax.

bettyann said...

Mercy mercy me....what can I say except sending you love

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I had to laugh reading that post, though I felt your pain trying to make everything work. For some other reason, I'm also thankful for extra underwear this year!
Happy Thanksgiving with your husband!

Connie said...

Let me tell you MY experience mailing a valuable piece of art.

It was a Bev Doolittle (a very sought after artist at the time) and cost me several hundred dollars in the 1980s. It was a numbered limited edition print and I sold it for $2,000 on ebay about 2002 or so. I HAD to insure it and it was going through FedEx as the customer didn't want it to go through USPS as he KNEW how USPS handled things. His request as he wanted was honored since he was paying for it. BUT it had to be insured by a private company based in Montana. I called them and they had to record every single thing they said and I was saying as they explained to me how things had to be. I listened and acknowledged in the affirmative. A recording of the rules and regulation cannot be disputed! It had to be custom wrapped so I took it to a special wrapping place in a town not far from us. (None was available in the small town we lived in at the time.) I stood there watching him wrap it in pristine condition. That alone cost me $93.00 I believe. It cost me quite a bit of money AND stress over this sale.

Well, it didn't get there overnight as it set in a warehouse in some state up north in the midwest overnight and overlooked. I freaked out. They'd lost my valuable print. Next thing I knew the man who had wrapped it at the print store called me and told me that FedEx was refunding every single penny of my money AND the print finally arrived at the buyer's home!!! Since they guaranteed that it had to be overnight and they inadvertently left it in that warehouse overnight it was their fault! I was thrilled as I got my several hundred dollars back from the shipping company and the buyer and I were happy all the way around. I will never sell another print I have. It goes to my heirs so they can handle it someday. Too much stress over it for me!

Sorry about your grandmother and your trip but it DID end well for you. I doubt I could have held on without peeing my pants though! Truly!!!!!

Connie

Auntie Em said...

So I have one word for you for your next extra long travel experience when you haven't time to...er...go....Depends! lol

I love your story and it would have made Grandma Jingles grin too I expect. What's the fun in traveling if you don't have at least one funny (sometimes embarassing) story to retell once you get home.

Glad to hear all went well with the funeral and the packing up. And how wonderful to now have the lovely paintings by your parents to hang on the walls of your new home. It's like bringing them and Grandma J along to be there with you. {{{hugs}}}

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh my, Laura! What an ordeal! But you'll have a story to tell for years to come! I'm so glad you made it back safe and sound. I hope you can relax and enjoy the holiday! Sweet hugs, Diane

Rita C. said...

Laura, my heart goes out to you in so many ways. Wetting your pants in laughter is one thing, but wetting your pants out of fear of not getting home is almost as bad as the time I stood among my 1st grade classmates in front of a 6th grade classroom with a nun who scared everyone in her path. She frightened me so badly I was afraid to ask to go the restroom. Thank goodness for me my family lived only 1 block from the grade school, and my sister (a 6th grader) could console me as she walked me home to change. Happy Thanksgiving. I've thought of you more than once this past week.
{{{Hugs}}}

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Oh my goodness. That stressed me out just reading about it. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this but I am thrilled that you made it home. I hope that you can decompress and relax for a few days.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Oh Laura, I'll bet you are so glad to be home! I was on the edge of my seat reading this. I hope your luggage and artwork made it home, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Di said...

What an adventure! Oh my goodness. I am so glad you are at home with your family and that beautiful art will be in your home. You will always have that story to tell when you are viewing that art, hee, hee. Happy Thanksgiving. Di@Cottage-Wishes

Jill Cooper said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother but so grateful for the FedEx guy - and he knew what to say that was just right. But the rest of your story - been there, done that, and gosh I wish we could expand our bladders when necessary LOLOLOL. Glad you are home.