Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Flying home

I'm home!

The flight wasn't bad but getting out of LAX was a nightmare. Remember the picture I painted of myself stumbling through the airport dropping things and wresting with my suitcases? I sure hit the nail on the head! That was me yesterday again.

We woke up to the news that LAX had been in shambles the day before from some computer breakdown in customs. Something about 17000 travelers being delayed on Saturday just in LAX. From what the news was reporting, I was very glad that I hadn't chosen that day to leave the States. And since the reporters were saying that the Los Angeles airport was back to normal I had great hope for a easy departure. Hah!

One look at the lines at the United terminal told us that this was not going to be easy! Found Grandma a place to sit and left her with my brother and nephew while Marcy, my niece, Leiya and I lined up and made our way slowly to the check-in counters. Half way along the line some airline worker came over and pulled us out (who knows why) and pointed, and said we could take the elevators and check in faster somewhere else. At least that's what Marcy and I heard, but when we piled into the elevator the man didn't join us and we didn't know whether we were supposed to go up or down. A few stops and we realized we had no idea what we were doing so we went back to where we started. We wasted a lot of time (dragging all our suitcases) but finally found the man who was by now, angry at us.

"I told you to wait in front of the elevators and I would take you where you needed to go. You didn't follow directions!" I felt like a child being scolded for bad behavior. He grudgingly took us to a different line and with no explanation left. This line seemed to be for people who had made on-line arrangements (which we hadn't) and there weren't many people to help. This new e-ticket system leaves me in the dark but I have to keep up with technology so I bravely started punching in numbers and information while Leiya did the same at her computer. Leiya got through but I didn't. The computer didn't like my ticket.

In the meantime some man next to me had lassoed some airline worker to help him but his baggage was overweight so he was arguing with her and they were having some heated words. She finally gave in but quite rudely brushed him off with a wave of her hand. Annoyed was putting it mildly. I didn't want her to get away since I needed help with my ticket so I started waving at her and calling for help.

"Excuse me! Excuse me! Could you help me please! I'm having some problems!"

"Can you see me dropping this suitcase on my foot? I will get to you when I get there!" she didn't actually say it but you could tell that she wanted to add "you blankety-blank blank."

The poor lady was really trying to hold her irritation in as she finally helped me and I felt for her. Especially when my baggage was overweight too. I guess I'm intimitated easily but I didn't argue with her. My papers said I had a 66 lb. weight allowance (I'd double checked). The new law or something says only a 50lb. weight allowance. I was 4 lbs overweight. I could pay $50 or rearrange the weight. I chose rearrange, so there I was with hundreds of people very upset with me while I opened suitcases and pulled things out. I was grabbing underwear and stuffing it them in my handbag, (Leiya was so embarrassed) re-packing packages and small boxes into a paper bag I'd brought. Leiya was having her own problems with a carry-on that they wouldn't allow, so there we were bags open, things spillling out around us, airline people re-weighing the bags, the scale closing down as we used it (they had to close down that computer), other computers going down so that the poor lady "helping" me just let me pass through while she called somebody to come help her reboot two computers. If I hadn't been so frazzled I would have been terribly embarrassed or maybe a bit disgruntled at the attitudes of the airline workers. On the other hand, I really could see that they were having a bad day, and since the day before had been worse, I tried to keep my own temper.

When I got back to my family there was Takumi who had come to the airport to see us off but I could barely give everyone a peck on the cheek before Leiya and left for the boarding areas. I walked Leiya to her boarding area and we had a very tearful goodbye, then wiping my tears I walked back to my boarding area. Suddenly I hear a "flap-flap-flap" and it is Leiya's sandals as she ran over to me. She wanted a last hug so came running through the airport to my boarding area and this time I sent her away with a swat and a laugh saying she'd better not miss her flight! So we did part with smiles rather than tears!

Back home, the cats have welcomed me warmly, Choco, the dog doesn't seem to realize I've been gone or have come back, she's just hyper as usual. The house is clean (Tetsu's a great housekeeper) but there is a mold problem.

I found over 500 e-mails waiting for me when I opened up the computer and I apologize to people who wrote and I never answered. Tetsu never once looked at e-mails so I never knew what was was coming in. Beth had hoped we could get together, Roberta had wanted to correspond, Thelma had written to thank me for some stuff I'd sent her, Elaine had offered advice about my mom and Margaret invited me to join a quilt swap. Thank you so much for writing and please understand that I wasn't ignoring you, I just didn't get the e-mails and will get to answering when I get my head back together.

Signing off (going back to bed) from Japan!


Kazuyo(^^)v said...

私は・・・あのパッチワークのトップができあがりそうです (^o^)
・しつけ・いっしょにお願いします m(_ _)m


Connie W said...

I'm glad to read that you did make it back home. When I saw on the news about the long delays at LAX I immediately thought of you. What you went through sounds pretty discouraging but at least you didn't have to do one of the sleepover things at the airport that does happen at times. Now you have to get back on Japan time. My dear GF who makes the trip to Japan at times always has a difficult time getting over the jet lag of the return flights. I hope your transition isn't too too awful. Thanks for checking in, I've been thinking of you. :)

JudyL said...

What a trip! I'm glad you're home safely and hope you get rested up and then have some time for quilting. I've enjoyed your trip! :)

Quilt Pixie said...

Good for you being so understanding of others frustrations. I'm sure you and the airline people had a better day/flight because of your willingness to be understanding! :-)

Shelina said...

Welcome back. Now that the frustrating trip is over, I hope the transition back to a different time zone goes smoothly for you.

Quilting Journey said...

I am so delighted you managed to leave us a post after arriving home. I have thoroughly enjoyed this whole adventure and having an arrival 'ending' is great! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us as you have!

Beth said...

OH I do NOT like LAX! My poor husband works out of LAX. No wonder his patience is so low when he arrives home!I am glad you were not there when the computers went down. I can usually empathize..but when all those around you are crabby, its hard to stay positive!

Susan said...

I will tell you that you don't have to be flying international or from LAX to get that kind of rude treatment from United Airlines workers. It happens in small airports and large ones within the US borders. I won't fly them any more.