I'm BACK! I have *so* many more important things to do then blogging but I haven't blogged in so long that I feel like I owe you guys something. My intent is to blog my entire trip (because heaven knows I won't be scrapping it anytime soon) but that will take awhile so bear with me.
I'm going to start with the end of my trip.
Saturday evening I said good bye to Shirley who had been kind enough to come over to Philadelphia from New Jersey and do the touristy thing with me. A little while after she left I realized that I had forgotten to give her the sidekick that Meg had asked me to deliver. I called her and told her I'd mail it from the airport. Then I called and arranged my wake up call and taxi for the next morning. (4:15 and 5:00 am Eastern, respectively). Knowing I was facing an early morning I finished most of my packing and went to bed around 9:00.
12:30 am, the "guests" next door wake me up with their loud conversation. I lay there contemplating calling the front desk to complain. Switch on the radio to try and take my mind off them. "After Midnight with Blair Garner" is playing (It's a show I've heard about but never actually heard).
4:15 am my alarm clock goes off, Blair is still on the air (you know you haven't slept long enough when the dj doesn't change!) Wake up call comes through a few minutes later.
Get out of bed and get ready. Call for bellman at 5:50. He takes FIFTEEN MINUTES to arrive. Completely unacceptable (Can you tell I've been in a nice hotel for a week ;))
Go down, check out, get in taxi. Direct him to the United Airlines counter at the airport.
Arrive at airport. Oh good they have curbside check in. Walk up, stand in line for a few minutes.
"What is your final destination?"
"Sorry, you have to go inside".
Darn! Go inside, get up to counter "Sorry, your flight was booked by United but it's actually operated by US Airways which is in terminal three. You need to go there to check in."
Grab luggage cart, walk through rain to terminal three, all the while watching for a post office. There's got to be one at the airport right? There is one in Vancouver!
Get to US Airways counter. I check in but the second half of my flight (after my lay over in Seattle) is operated by Air Canada Jazz. I'll need to check in and get a boarding pass in Seattle. Okey dokey. Note to self, pay more attention when booking flights!!! Okay, I'm checked in but it takes "Ceclia B." ten minutes to convince the computer to let my luggage come with me. It wasn't letting her send it all the way to Vancouver. After pulling out her TRAINING NOTES! she finally convinces it. Her comment "I'm stubborn" Me: "THANK YOU! That is a fantastic trait to have" :D
Okay, so I'm checked in, my luggage is checked in, Ceclia puts the tags on and Ooooph. Can't move it :P I knew it was heavy but apparently it's over weight. She weighs it. Yep, ten extra pounds. Oh man! Go through and remove work stuff and clothes. Great, now my carry on is heavy. Uggh.
Okay, everythings good to go. Ceclia directs me up an escalator to the departure area. Get to the top, Security! Guess I'm not mailing Shirley's sidekick. Maybe in Seattle...
First a friendly visit with the TSA people
"Do you have any liquids or gels in your carry on bags"
"I don't think so"
Wrong answer. Step aside and check please. I open my purse, don't see anything so I say no. (BTW when I got home I realized that I did have hand lotion that I got in my goodie bag in DC. Oops!)
Go up to security. Remove jacket, put purse and carry on bag on the belt. Go to walk through the metal detector and realize my shoes are still on. Take off shoes. Go through detector. I'm clear. Get to other side. Jacket and purse come through along with shoes. Carry on has to be re-x-rayed. No sweat, it's pretty full and thick. They can't see everything. I get it. Re-scan bag. Call someone over. There is a "questionable item" inside. (anyone want to guess what it is?) Go over to a little table with a security guard. "Are there any sharp items in your bag Ma'am?" (Remembering that they didn't appreciate my vague answer earlier) "No". As he unzips my bag I explain what he's going to find.
"The item you are looking for is in the sealed box on top. I was going to mail it but haven't had a chance. You're welcome to open it". So he did. Very, very carefully. He was wearing gloves and he slit the tape on the box like he was doing surgery. He carefully lifted the sidekick out (BTW, for those of you who aren't scrapbookers, this is what I'm talking about: clicky So he takes it out, unwraps it from the plastic bag and gently sets it on the table. Keep in mind that the base is a big suction cup so it doesn't slip while you're using it. When the suction isn't engaged the machine wobbles a lot. It looked very small and pitiful sitting there and wobbling while he swabbed it TWICE! Don't know what he expected to find. It's certainly cleaner now though :P After running the swab and finding nothing interesting, oh, and after me explaining how it works, he called a collegue over and between them they decided it "wasn't a prohibited item" and let me go.
But wait, the story get's better. Remember Ceclia? On the envelope holding my boarding pass she had written my gate number down. I walked down to the gate, saw that it wasn't too busy and I still had plenty of time so I continued on and got a smoothie. Back to the gate, sat down and waited. Ten minutes later an announcement comes on "Gate C21 for flights to Pheonix and San Francisco, boarding will begin in approximately 30 minutes". "WHAT? Pheonix?" Check my ticket, I'm supposed to be at gate C31. Not 21. Gather up my bag, go down to concourse to C31. I still had plenty of time but I felt a bit dumb.
Sitting at gate C31 I struck up conversation with a stranger (remember my previous post? I mentioned that I liked doing that.) We talked for awhile and then she stuck out her and and said "By the way, my name is Heidi". I shook her hand and said "Me too!" She laughed and said "oh, that explains the really weird look you gave me when I gave my name!" We had a good laugh over that.
Finally 7:30 arrives and we board the plane. My seat mate was sitting in my window seat so I booted her over to the aisle where she belonged and settled in. Another announcement. "Attention ladies and gentlemen, someone has left a child..." long dramatic pause... "a child's jacket in the boarding area". Nervous laughter from the entire cabin. Left a CHILD? Yikes!
So we're off. The movie is "The Lake House". I fell asleep during the opening credits and woke up during the closing ones. Guess I missed it. I think I also missed breakfast :( I had to make do with pretzels (keep in mind this was a six hour flight)
We arrived in Seattle and I immediately went to the gate where my flight was leaving from. Of course because my flight wasn't scheduled to leave for another two and a half hours there was no one there. I went and had "breakfast" instead. After eating in really nice restaurants for a week I was tired of fancy food so I just had a burger and fries from Burger King. It was quite yummy. Then I headed back to the gate. I read for probably an hour before someone showed up.
There was no problem checking me in but when I handed her my id she said "Good name" My response "why do you say that?" You guessed it. She was "Heidi" too!!! Three of us in one day!
Anyways, aside from the flight to Vancouver during which I got some great shots of Seattle that Blogger isn't letting me post, the rest of the day was uneventful. My parents picked me up at the airport, we went for lunch (since they had come directly from church) and then they came over to my house where I shared my pictures via Seth's laptop.
That's it for now. I'll report on the rest of my trip in sections as I have time.