We rushed to the car. We do a lot of rushing lately, now that we have a Pickle. As soon as I got in I noticed the gas tank was so very low. But not on E. I decided to risk it.
No traffic! It only took 15 minutes to get to JFK.
Parking! Easy Breezy.
We got in line at the kiosk and checked in the unaccompanied minors. Ali (Ah-lee, he looks and acts like a version of my friend Parv, only less giggly) asked me to pay for the unaccompanied minor charge ($100- each way covers 4 kids traveling). I told him I was certain I already had. He explained that there was a charge and I needed to pay it. I explained to him that I understood EXACTLY what he was saying, but that I was so certain that I had already paid it.
He looked, looked again…I insisted…you can picture this going around in circles over and over again. I pulled up my electronic receipts, I tried to tell him…but it was no use. I realized my kids were going to miss their flight, and that I just needed to pay again and figure it out later. I didn’t want my brother-in-law to go through this process on his end, so I asked to pay the return fee.
Okay, that will be $400-.
That’s when I almost cried. I told him that was unacceptable, I didn’t have the budget for that charge, and by the way, why did it double (triple, because..I ALREADY PAID IT!)?
Apparently the girls had two separate reservations (because I had traded in one unused ticket (remember the April Marathon trip that Phoebe had to miss?) for her ticket), so I had to pay it for each kid. I said: look at my 2 children standing here, they are on the SAME FLIGHT! Sitting NEXT TO EACH OTHER and you are telling me I am now paying for 8 children to fly! (each fee covers 4 children).
It was then that I finally decided to call. As I waited for someone to pick up, he typed and typed and typed some more and finally told me he would only charge $200- (now we were down to double paying instead of triple). I said: I appreciate that. Lolly was clueless and Phoebe was clued into me, trying to channel CALMNESS. For my part, I stayed extremely calm and collected.
After I paid the fee he had a call on his walkie talkie and left us waiting there for a few minutes. He finally gave us the boarding passes and we got in line at security. Once I got in line I realized that I didn’t have my gate pass, and where was my id? I think he realized it the same time as me, so he brought it over as I was heading over…we then got to go to the priority line of security (yes!) and go on through.
When we reached the first TSA station a worker questioned me having a baby with no boarding pass or gate pass. I think he was in training because he consulted a more knowledgeable TSA worker who said (if the kid were 6 or 7…but this is a baby). I suggested the TSA worker pretend she was still inside me, and asked if I needed to take her out of the moby wrap. No. Wow! I was surprised. After we went through the line I did need to have my hands swabbed for the bomb machine (I don’t know why because I didn’t set off any alarms when I walked through the scanner).
I didn’t pass.
I was made to sit on a chair away from the girls, with my back to them actually, and waited for at least 15 minutes for a female assist. At least, I think that is what was going on, the TSA workers are not particularly forthcoming with information. I assumed that was what I was waiting for and almost suggested a man just do it, because I really didn’t want to miss the flight. Finally a female (debatable) TSA worker escorted me to a private room, so I had some other TSA worker keep an eye on the girls (!!) and she touched my pieces and parts. She asked: What do you have on under there (jersey knit dress)? “A bloody pad and some milky pads and probably a full diaper under the little one.”
Thankfully, because I stayed calm and collected, and because the initial worker who had to isolate me and make me wait etc., seemed sympathetic, she called a car for us. The posse got a ride to the gate. This was a very nice end to the debate-ably female TSA worker touching my you-know-where.
When it was time to board, the girls got a little teary, and so did I (because I had been breathing through the urge to LOSE IT for a while). I told them they were going to have a great time and I would hear all about it and everything was going to be fine.
They walked on, little brave girls that they are, I changed Pickle’s diaper on my lap without a changing pad and she peed all over me. The door was shut and I had to wait until the plane took off.
That is when I called Delta and explained the scene with Ali. Guess who was right about having ALREADY paid the fee? Oh….me! SNAP! Thankfully she reimbursed me and I felt fine again. Except, I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to have a quick little convo with Ali telling him what was what.
Instead I nursed my baby. (The hormones released ares supposed to be calming for all parties involved).
Then a man came running to the gate having missed the flight and caused quite a scene. He had a very strong PainBody (as Eckhart Tolle would say) and his energy disturbed me, so I tried to stand as far away as possible from him while I nursed and waited for the plane to leave. His speech: My whole family is on that flight! I have my wife’s seizure medicine! I have all their money and id’s! I am law enforcement! I have to get on that flight! I am going for a week to Arizona! the flight was supposed to leave at 8:35, it’s 8:28! yadda yadda yadda
During this scene I was crying and praying for my girls on the plane. That it would ACTUALLY take off, that this man would stop being crazy and that they would be safe.
After explaining to him he had missed the flight over and over again, suddenly the Delta employees walked him down the tunnel and pulled the plane back in!
When the employees returned I asked why he had won…which of those excuses did it. It was the 8:35 one. The plane was advertised as leaving then…and it wasn’t even 8:35 yet.
Despite the delay, and my gas tank getting closer and closer to E, I made it to church in time for the Sacrament. I know it is because I had been practicing Grace under Fire all morning long.
As I drove home from church, the Empty light finally flashed, and I was reminded of the many tender mercies that had been afforded to me throughout the ordeal of shipping my kids off for a week of peace.