Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cruising and Testings

TDH took me on a cruise to Mexico to celebrate my 40th birthday. I was half the age of half the folks on that ship. Made me feel pretty young.

In fact, today my youngest son said, "Mom, how do you make yourself look 30?" I told my husband that if he'd said, "29", I'd have changed my will to make him the sole heir.

Truly, turning 40 was a piece of cake.

Now the trip down to the cruise ship was a whole 'nuther story.

You know how when you read in the Bible about God testing one of his kids, you want to smack the fellow and say, "Wake up! This is God we're talking about. He's on your side. Have a little trust, why don't you?"

Yeah, well, it's pretty easy to say that since we already know the end of the story.

When you nearly miss your once-in-a-lifetime-already-been-paid-for trip, trust can be a little more challenging to come by. That would be TDH speaking. Me? I thrive on traveling stress. Though this trip was a wee bit more stressful than I cared for.

We were fogged in from our departure city, but made it to our connecting flight. Then we waited, and waited, and waited on the tarmac. Finally, TDH snagged the stewardess who'd been up and down the aisle about fifteen times and with only a slight edge to his voice said, "Are we going to be taking off soon?"

You see, our flight was supposed to land in San Diego at 2:15. Last boarding of the ship was 2:30. Fortunately, the cruise terminal is only a mile from the airport, but we were cutting things a bit close.

The stewardess gave him a big smile and said, "Our pilot had a family emergency and had to get off the plane."

My traveling nerves of steel started to sag a little at that point. My poor husband, nearly had a nervous breakdown. But she reassured him, "We should have one here in the next five or ten minutes."

How do people lie with a smile, I want to know.

An hour and a half later we took off. We landed in San Diego at 3:40. We'd been in touch with the cruise line who told us they didn't know if the ship would let us on at that point.

We debarked the plane and ran people over to get to the baggage area. I considered leaving our bags on the carousel and hoofing it to the cruise ship, but TDH over rode that nonsense. We needed our clothes, after all.

I didn't start hyperventilating until we realized that our plane was not unloading its bags. Due to weather delays across the nation, there were planes ahead of ours off-loading their baggage.

Another frantic call to the cruise ship informed us that the gang plank would be pulled at 4:00pm with or without stragglers.

Finally, FINALLY, the bags from our plane started churning out. TDH and I exchanged nervous glances and willed our bags off first.

An announcement broke over the loud speaker. I don't pay much attention to those things. After all, I was about to leave the airport.

Unfortunately, that would be without my bags.

I noticed a flurry of people scattering toward the exits. I shot a look to TDH who was glowering at everyone. He told me through gritted teeth that there was an emergency and everyone had to evacuate the airport.

Evacuate the airport. WITHOUT OUR BAGS.

Security shooed everyone out. I looked at my watch. 3:48pm. I glanced back through the glass doors as the carousel continued to spit luggage from our plane onto the conveyor. Across the highway was the outline of the ship that was about to sail without us.

I'm one of those people who has decided that rules were made for people who can't think well for themselves. I apologize if that offends someone who loves to live by rules, but that's how I'm wired.

So I dashed back into the airport toward the unmoving security guard. I explained our predicament and asked if we could please just grab our bags and go. He said no, but then so kindly relented and helped us grab our bags and make it to the escalator that took us over to the taxis.

We threw money at the taxi driver and made it on the ship at 3:55pm. We collapsed in our room and didn't surface for two days. The stress wiped us out.

But, I learned something about myself. Even in the midst of the craziness and the certainty that we wouldn't make it, I was okay. I knew if we weren't going to make the cruise, God had Plan B for us, even if it was wandering around San Diego for 5 days.

But I was so grateful he winked at the security guard and got us on that ship.

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