Nine days ago I gave my two oldest children goodbye hugs. They were long, tender goodbye hugs and I may have cried a tear or two, but I don't remember. Ok...I cried my eyes OUT. I think Nick even leaked a little. Then we climbed into Grandpa's truck and amidst a few more sobs here and there, made our way to Salt Lake City international airport to leave Utah soil for the last time in a long time.
I was anxious to take my girls through security, as we all should be any time we participate in a government sponsored mandate that is completely unconstitutional. The TSA is the gateway drug for the loss of the rest of our liberties people....but that is another blog for another time. Let's just say, I was anxious.
But, as it turned out, the four of us made it through without so much as a beep from the metal detector. Big sigh of relief...until they scanned Emily's backpack. There she had packed the Christmas presents she had opened that morning; one big bottle of lotion plus one big package of pedicure products equals one big liquid no-no for air travel in the US of A.
Deflated, we began to calculate what our options were for this seemingly minor, albeit quite significant to a 13 year old, bump in the road. As my brain was in the middle of scramble mode and I had my dad on the phone to see if he had left the airport yet...the TSA agent came back with Emily's backpack and said that her supervisor thinks it would be ok to let these cosmetics go this time. Phew! And Merry Christmas to us! I still don't know if Emily realizes how lucky she was.
Our journey resumed. And easy it was. Phoebe's guitar case passed as a carry-on. A cute BYU co-ed engaged Rachel in in-flight conversation on the first plane. Frontier Airlines delivered their signature warm chocolate chip cookie as a snack, and no one got air sick. On the second plane, we discovered that when we paid for the upgraded ticket (an extra $25 to get two bags checked) we also got free TV service. And lest we forget...warm cookie number two.
With warm cookies in our tummy and mucho luggage in tow, five hours and two planes later we made our way through Chicago Midway Airport to pick up our rental car. And what to our wondering eyes did appear? Nothing. They over-booked their fleet and our reservation (plus those of the six people in front of me) was unfulfillable. No cars at Hertz at 10:30 PM Christmas night.
We were issued apologies and promises that other rental car companies still had cars available, which may have been true, but other rental car companies were closed and had already gone home. Budget/Avis was still open so I waited in line there for forty minutes with the rest of Hertz's jilted customers. Apparently forty minutes is just long enough to exhaust your fleet because when there was finally just one patron in front of me, he turned around to report to his wife: "They're out of cars."
I scrambled up to the desk. "You're out of cars???" Yes. They were. They had a van left...but I wouldn't want it. "Why wouldn't I want it? Is it unreliable?" No. Works just fine, it's just a twelve seater and would be difficult for someone like me to manage. Guess again Mr. Avis...haven't you ever heard of youth conference? Not only can I 'manage' it, but I can 'manage' it with only three hours of sleep and nine insanely sugar-punched teenage girls in the back all singing "All Star" at the top of their lungs while driving through Utah's canyon country.
So finally, at MIDNIGHT, all of our bags were loaded up and we were on our way home. Home? Yeah...home, kinda. I guess.
That's where we are now. Our new house, that we are slowly but surely making into a home. And with every box I upack, I absolutely cringe at that thought of having to move again, and yet... I know better...