Alaska or Bust! Airport, Airport, Airport, Alaska?

So we finally made it to the airport, big sigh of relief right?!?
We rushed into the terminal like loons with all of our bags trailing behind us and we hear the words that all travelers, especially those with connecting flights dread, “Your flight has been delayed.”  Our original flight had a layover of about an hour and a half so perhaps we’ll still be able to make it…Nope, the delay is two hours.  Yay, this just keeps getting better and better!  I’m a little surprised that my mother didn’t have a heart attack or just breakdown crying right there in the middle of the airport.  She managed to hold it together…mostly.  She did keep repeating, “I just don’t know what we’re going to do if we miss the boat.  At least your brother will make it to the ship.  I’m sure he’ll have a great vacation.”  (Oh, by the way, it was while waiting in line that I figured out where my cellphone was.  It was in my purse…in my suitcase…cause I’m a genius!  There is a somewhat rational explanation for this whole thing, but why ruin a good dumb moment story with logic.)

We get our bags checked and our tickets changed to a new connecting flight that is schedule to arrive in Vancouver at 2:55 p.m..  That’s perfect because the last round up for the boat is 4 p.m..  Except that the airport is roughly 45 minutes to an hour away from the airport…We are banking on the 2:55 flight arriving on time, there being NO ONE in line at customs, and a line of 20 taxis just waiting for us to pick one.  We are not winning Charlie Sheen.
Mom sent the Bro a text to let him know that our flight has been delayed and we will be arriving later than expected.  And we begin our four hour wait for the plane.  Luckily everyone else scheduled to be on our plane must have received notice of the delay because we were close to the only people at our gate which, as luck would have it, was directly across from a small airport restaurant owned by Chef Tim Love called The Love Shack.  (In case you don’t know, Tim Love is a celebrity chef from Texas with an amazing restaurant called Lonesome Dove.  You may have seen him a time or twenty on Food Network.)  We get some breakfast and everyone is starting to mellow out, a little.  Mom is learning how to smile again as she paces the gate area talking to the family friend watching their dogs, Dad takes a nap in a waiting area chair, and I’m doing my best not to fall asleep as I’m enjoying some people watching and have been left as the only conscious person watching our luggage.  A row over there is a lady with a little boy and the boy has contorted himself into one of the most uncomfortable looking sleeping positions I’ve ever seen!  He looked as if he had kneeled in the seat sideways to use the armrest as a prayer rail and then passed out halfway through his first Hail Mary.  His head was completely vertical while his body was folded up on itself with his back being completely horizontal.  An hour or two later the kid moved into another uncomfortable position trying to curl up on his side in the chair.  He was too tall for this so his legs were firmly planted against the back of the chair with his knees under his chin.  A good portion of his back hung off the edge of the chair and again, his head was vertically pressed against the armrest.  There was one more position attempted before we boarded the plane.  This one was short lived and potentially slightly less uncomfortable than the previous two.  Mind you the kid was fast asleep in both of his previous contortions, but in position number three he knelt on the floor in front of his chair, slumps his shoulders, and planted his face in the seat.  He does not maintain this position for very long, not because he’s suffering from lack of oxygen from his nose and mouth being firmly squashed into the seat previously occupied by thousands of strangers’ butts, or because he begins to pass out from the noxious fumes trapped in the seat previously occupied by thousands of strangers’ butts, but because the woman that he is traveling with, his mother or grandmother, I honestly can’t tell, tells him that we’re going to be boarding soon and he’s going to have to wake up at some point.  I elbow my dad and tell him about the kid sleeping in positions that rival those of our dogs for most uncomfortable ever, just as the kid begins to head in the direction of his mom/grandma scooting across the gate on his butt like a dog itching its rear on your favorite rug.  And my morning was officially made!

About this time we begin to board and the entire gate is casting wary, sideway glances at the family that has just joined the jolly band of unhappy travelers at our gate.  The family is pushing a limo style stroller carrying two basinets each one filled to the brim with a bouncing, squeaking, squawking little boy, and tightly gripped by a little girl dragging a kid-sized suitcase.  The boys are probably a year and a half and the little girl is maybe four years old.  Thank heavens for small favors as none of the children are actually crying at this point, but the two little boys are taking turns testing exactly how loudly they can grunt and screech.  Loud, very, very loud!

When it’s finally our turn to check in my mom, dad, and I are all directed over to the side to speak with some higher up.  My visceral response to this is for every muscle in my body to clench in preparation of either receiving terrible news or being chastised for some unknown indiscretion.  Either way it’s a bit like being called to the principal’s office, not that I ever actually experienced being called to the principal’s office because I was an angel growing up, but…Ok, now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor and quit laughing quit so hard you peed a little…We were pulled over to the side and told that the family with the stretch stroller had bought their plane tickets too late to get seats together, so our seats were being changed.  Whew, fine whatever, boo on them for not planning ahead, but I don’t want to sit next to an unaccompanied baby for the entire flight so that is just fine by me.  But we didn’t totally think this through because mom has been moved a few rows up and dad and I are directly across the aisle from babies who have continued their acoustic testing.  Luckily for me I left the land of the conscious right around take off, and despite briefly swimming to the surface awareness a few times during the trip, I managed to miss most of the squealing.

Despite our flight from Dallas having left a bit behind its already delayed schedule, we made up most of that time in the air and arrived in Seattle just a few minutes late.  Our brief layover in the airport was uneventful, though we did eat at another famous chef’s airport restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Express!
Our final flight was equally uneventful for me, due in no small part to my second sleep coma of the day.  The second plane was a puddle jumper, so that was fun.  We had to walk out to the tarmac to get on board…Mostly, I think, because the plane was too short to reach the loading bridges, but it’s more fun to remember the whole thing in black and white like an old movie.

I do have to say that this experience really reminded me that airports and airplanes are like giant fart boxes!  I know, you were hoping for something profound, but seriously, FART BOXES!!!

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