Wednesday morning my husband, my dog, and my charge, the 4 month old King William whose mother is off somewhere in the Koreas (see past blogs for more information), set out to the airport to travel for the holidays. We arrived at LAX by 11am and were checked in and ready to rumble by noon. Our 12:30 flight to Memphis was delayed, but such is to be expected during the holiday travel season. By 1:30 we were up in the air and by 2:30 we were making an emergency landing. King William was not pleased. I was not pleased. Kiki Wonder, our four-legged family member was so not pleased she tried to find a parachute. As far as we were concerned, a shattered windshield was not a good enough reason for us to schlep the 4 month old baby King off and on another airplane.
But then instead of us landing in say, Las Vegas, San Diego or some other major metropolitan airport, our pilots were directed to east Bubbabaloo where we were greeted by vacant gates and blowing tumbleweeds. Air traffic – zero. Empty planes – zero. Helpful agents – zero. Tearfully I explained, King William in my arms, that we had not packed enough milk for a four month old to be stuck in the 7th level of hell. I asked for directions to the nearest store to purchase what we needed or permission to retrieve my luggage. I also threw out getting on the next plane back to Los Angeles so we could try this all over again another day. The helpful moustached man told me to go to Starbucks. Apparently they sell milk at Starbucks and despite me explaining that infants don’t drink Starbucks milk, I was informed that that was my only option. As far as he was concerned, the baby could drink that or nothing.
Over the course of the next 9 hours we stood in line after line attempting to get out of our worst nightmare. No one would help us, no would help the baby, and no one would help Kiki the Wonder Dog. My husband and several older gentleman who were affronted, disgusted, and incredulous at how Delta (yes, I said it, DELTA) were treating the severity of our situation, went from person to cell phone call (1800-221-1212) to supervisor banging their heads on the wall…we could not get out of the damn airport! There were no empty planes, no hotels that would accept dogs, and no alternative flights with availability. It was like we were stuck in a horror movie. Any minute there were going to be zombies coming out of the darkened gates to eat us. In fact, the more I looked at the helpful moustached agent, the more I realized that he looked Freddy Krueger if Freddy has skin and a white mustache.
Finally, after 9 hours, Delta sent over a “new,” unbroken plane, which we reboarded. I’m thinking they flew it in from New Delhi or Moscow. Thank goodness we paid $1200 for our tickets. For a penny less they might have tried to make us wait on a plane from someplace farther.
And so we were in Memphis by 3:30 in the morning. Yay! And then we found out that Delta had lost our luggage. Boo. No problem, no problem we were assured. They could get us our bags by 9am. I explained that I needed the baby’s supplies, clothing, pajamas, food, bottles. Not to mention Kiki’s food. Not to mention my belongings. Not to mention all of our Christmas gifts. No problem, no problem. Deliriously, we climbed into bed and prayed that our bags would be waiting for us when we woke up.
And then 9am came and went. By noon I headed out and purchased new clothes, toiletries, and dog food. And cell phone chargers. And a pair of knee-high black boots. And mascara. (there was no way I was waiting for my luggage with no mascara)
By 5pm, the holiday party in King Williams’ honor began and despite our missing bags, we had fun. By 8pm, a drunk delivery man called and said he was on his way. He got stuck at a condo he told us. Doing crack? Watching the game and drinking beers? We didn’t ask. By 9pm we opened the bags worriedly. Our drunken delivery man had watched (rooted to the spot like a tree) as he opened his trunk and our bags tumbled to the cement with a thud. By 9:30pm, I held back tears as I vacuumed up the shattered glass that filled both of our suitcases. Bad news, our gifts were history. Good news, we had our luggage.
And so today, we put on our newly washed clothing (there were glass shards in everything) and attempt to sooth our discombobulated charge who at only 4 months old, has no idea why his life has turned upside down. And we drink egg nog. And we apologize to our family for the lack of holiday gifts. And we shake our heads at Delta. Really? Ho Ho Ho?