Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cleveland Rocks!

I'm in my hotel room near the Cleveland airport, back from a fun trip to Michigan for fellow blogger Lisa's 40th birthday party. I have had to keep this secret since the beginning of June when I emailed Loretta that I thought it would be so much fun to fly to Cleveland and drive up to Michigan with her to Lisa's party. Loretta agreed immediately and I booked my flight and rooms then had to make sure I didn't let it slip. That was NOT easy, especially when others who were going were talking about it and I did not want to lie and say I wish I was going, yet I couldn't give it away. I wanted to be a mystery guest.

So Friday I sort of said I wouldn't be around much, that I had an appointment. Not exactly a fib. I did have a plane to catch. I drove to my daughter's house and left my car, and she drove me to the airport. We stopped for a nice lunch and had a great time.

I checked my bag through to Cleveland and caught my first plane to Las Vegas. The layover there was about an hour and a half, and I had to switch planes there, but it was much better than my other options of 3+ hours in Atlanta or Dallas. Besides, Vegas has slot machines everywhere!

We landed on time in Vegas and I looked for my connecting flight on Continental. Of course it was in a different terminal, so I walked, took the moving escalator walkways and walked some more. Then more walking. Finally I reached the terminal and went through the first security checkpoint where you show your boarding pass and government picture ID. Fine. Then walk some more to get to the security area where you have to practically strip naked and go through the scanner. Laptops have to be taken out of their cases and go through in those plastic pans that look like government issued dish pans. My purse also had to be put in one because I have beads and fringe and I was told it might get caught in the belt in the xray machine.

The TSA agent on the other side of the xray machine was yelling at everyone in line to have our boarding passes in our hands to save time. I took mine out of the airline folder as I was putting my shoes in a tray (note: if you wear Minnitonkas with turqouise stones--you might be a terrorist and your shoes have to go in a tray!), and all the trays were gone. I tried to get another tray for my laptop and another TSA agent grabbed a stack of them and instead of setting them down for those of us in line that needed them, put them down about 5 people back. So I had to go back there and grab one, then continue through the screening walkway. It was then that I realized my boarding pass was missing! I told the TSA agent that I lost my boarding pass and asked if I could go back to find it and he told me I wasn't allowed to go back.

Now, right after the xray screening was yet another security checkpoint where you have to show your boarding pass and government picture ID. The TSA agent at the xray machine told them he was going to let me go to my gate but the airline might send me back. For what, I had no clue. I started having flashes of having to live there like Tom Hanks in the movie "The Teminal". It could be worse I guess. At least I could gamble until my money ran out and then surely they would send me home on a bus with broken knuckles. I've heard that's what they do to you if you lose all your money in Vegas.

I proceeded to go to my gate which was another 20 miles or so from that checkpoint and the airline agent was kind. She only rolled her eyes at me and then issued me another boarding pass where she wrote "2nd copy" so everyone would know I was a stupid old broad that lost her first one. I was so relieved that I was going to get to Lisa's party, but I hadn't had a cig since leaving California, so I asked if I had time for a cig before they boarded the plane. She said "sure" and pointed toward the smoking area (a glassed in casino about 2 miles back). I drug my laptop with me and lit up a cig while putting a $20 in a quarter WoF slot machine which promptly took every cent before I finished my cig. It was worth it. I would have paid twice that amount; in fact I was willing to go to prison if there hadn't been time to get to the smoking lounge, I was that stressed out. I would have lit one up right there in terminal D (D stands for Damned farthest terminal in the airport).

After my $20 cig, I ran to the ladies room and then hiked back 5 miles to the gate. They were not only not boarding my flight, there were people exiting the gate. Not to push my luck for a 2nd cig, I decided to play WoF right there in the Damned D terminal. I walked to the end quarter WoF machine and put in another $20. All I wanted was a SPIN. I wanted to hear those words WHEEL OF FORTUNE and spin that wheel! I'm a WoF junkie. Nothing. Then when the money was almost gone, I hit a WoF and two double thingies. It started paying off. 1600+ quarters. I don't do math, so I hit the pay out button and the machine spit out a ticket that said $413.50. Alright! I cashed that puppy in immediately and the plane started boarding.

I had an aisle seat in the back. By back I mean back. Last row back. In front of the kitchen back. At least it was an aisle seat. I can't stand the middle or the window. Then we taxied out and stopped. We were there an hour. In the Vegas heat. The man next to me sitting by the window reading didn't clue in that if he shut the window blind it would lower the temperature about 100 degrees until the pilot came on and asked everyone to turn off their lights and lower the blinds because we were going to be another half hour on the runway---but we were going to get a complimentary movie! I said, "What's the movie, You're NOT Leaving Las Vegas"?"


Blogger OccamsEdge said...

Hey, I wouldn't complain if I came out $400 ahead every time I got delayed – glad you were able to make it a surprise!

7/31/06, 8:26 AM  
Blogger loretta said...

Hey, you didn't even get to Cleveland in this story! More! More!

7/31/06, 6:39 PM  

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