Doesn't it always happen when you are in hurry - anything that can will inevitably go wrong. Never had this sentiment been more true for me than Saturday. My husband and I traveled to Maryland for work. I looked forward to traveling to that part of the country as I had never been there before. The trip out was lovely. Of course, as a mother, though, I don't like being gone from my little ones for too long.
So, as Saturday dawned I was anxious to make the drive from our hotel to the Baltimore airport some three hours away. Our bags were packed and loaded early. I avidly listened to our final sessions, mindful of the time. As we gathered our belongings, said our good-byes and rushed to the parking garage to leave, it happened - modern technology reared its ugly head.
We were given one of those new "keyless" remotes for our rental car and as we approached it hitting the buttons to unlock it, guess what? Nothing.
The doors wouldn't unlock. The trunk would not open, and not even the panic button brought forth that annoying blaring from the car. The "key" was dead. Fifteen minutes later, we finally got through to the rental car company and told them we couldn't get into our car. Their solution? To send us another car from, guess where - Baltimore. It was basic math as to why this solution was in fact not one. Three hours from Baltimore to Ocean City, then three hours back to Baltimore. That's six hours and we now had three hours and 45 minutes to make our flight. Nope, wouldn't work. Plus, my luggage was already in the car. But wait, these "keys" do have an actual spare key built in them. "Just push a little button," the voice on the other side of the phone said, "and the key will pop right out." Yeah, that was wonderful.
Why didn't she say so in the first place?! We pushed the button and held our breath waiting for that silver piece of metal to emerge. Nothing. No key. Back to square one. The simple solution was of course to send a locksmith over to us. That realization only took about another 15 minutes of waiting and explaining. Luckily, the locksmith took only about 20 minutes to arrive and 10 minutes later, presto - we were in. Thank you, good-bye, you're a lifesaver, see ya later! It was now about 1:05 p.m. and we had a 4:10 flight to make. Of course, it was the last flight out on American Airlines from Baltimore to Dallas that day. That said, we pressed on and hoped for the best. What I didn't count on was the 55 mph speed limit between my final destination and me. So I reasoned that I was a Texas girl, and Texas girls drive 70 mph not 55. That decision made, off we went. While I negotiated the curves and tried to catch glimpses of the countryside as it whipped by, my husband once again was speaking to the folks at National rental cars. "We are going to miss our flight," he explained. Did they care? No. They already had my credit card information. "What are you going to do about this situation caused by your negligence?" he asked.
"Nothing," was the answer, "We don't make amends." Eventually a compromise was reached so that we at least had a half a chance at making our flight. We could leave the car in the airport garage and not at the rental counter. Whew! One problem down, many possible more to come.
We reached the airport, grabbed our luggage and ran. We arrived at the ticket counter in the nick of time only to face a rather rude woman. She was so put-out by our being late and let us know it with each word she uttered. Being too late to check our bags, we gathered them up and ran some more. Now, I know the added security measures are in place at airports to keep us safe. But as I was ushered through after my ID was checked and I took off my shoes, I looked down and saw not my name on my airline ticket, but my husband's. "I have your ticket," I told him.
He was only half listening as by then they had his computer out to check it and were disassembling a projector we had with us. No, he didn't have mine, he said. "Yes you do; you have to have mine." "No, I have mine," was his answer.
By this time, I was also trying to gather up my bags when I noticed one was missing. Well, a rather young gentleman in a security uniform was holding on to it because in our haste to make our flight I forgot liquids are banned on flights.
Had I been able to check my bags, it wouldn't have likely been a problem since they cleared on the way over. But, I couldn't carry my shampoo, conditioner or facial cleanser on the plane. I was duly chastised and I was so filled with remorse.
My husband, too, was breaking the rules. He had shaving cream and toothpaste with him. He also had a razor and a pair of trimming scissors, all potential dangers on a plane. I lost my shampoo, etc., and he lost his shaving cream and toothpaste. But, interestingly, he was able to keep his razor and his scissors. Hmmm. Yeah, I can see how shampoo is more a potential and immediate danger than a sharp instrument. There I stood watching my shampoo being tossed in the garbage and my husband's scissors being placed back in his bag and I realized, "I'm getting off pretty lucky since I shouldn't even be back here because I don't even have a ticket." TSA caught the shampoo but not the fact that my ID didn't match the name on my ticket. Smooth, and these folks are protecting us from unspeakable horrors? Oh well, no sense crying over spilled shampoo, plus I had a plane to catch and a ticket to straighten out. More running ensued, my bags were slightly lighter in that I no longer had my shampoo, and we made it - just as the last folks were boarding. I settled in for my three hour flight with a deep sigh, we were getting home. Once we landed, though, we had to call National to give them the parking spot number where we left the car.
Can you guess what happened next? There was no record in their files about our "key" that wouldn't open the car. There was no record that a locksmith saved us. There was no record that we had permission to leave the car in the garage.
Not only that, they couldn't talk to my husband, they had to talk to me because I rented the car - never mind he had been on the phone and transferred around for the better part of an hour throughout the day.
By now you have to be thinking that the worst was over. That everything was fine when we finally landed in San Antonio. No. When we finally remembered where we parked the car, thanks in part to the fact that my panic button was working fine, we discovered I had a rather low tire.
Needless to say, I truly wasn't surprised given the way the day had progressed.
I'm just glad that was the last of our travel woes and we coasted into Alice at about 1 a.m. Sunday.
Never more did it feel better to be home sweet home.