The Joys Of Holiday Travel

 
So, I ended up having a great trip to see my family down south and surprisingly everything went smoothly…until my return trip.
Well, I take that back. I was annoyed on the flight to Tennessee because, being the cheap frugal traveller that I am, I tried to just take a carry-on and not pay $25 to check luggage.  So I’m proud of myself for remembering to do this and I get up to the ticket counter and I realize – I brought a bunch of liquid stuff. Son of a... So I have to pay the $25 and check my little bag anyway lest I throw away $25+ in shampoo, body wash contact solution, etc….
UGH. Darn you terrorists!
But whatever, that was a tiny issue and the rest of my trip was great. Until my flight back to D.C.
I was supposed to leave at 6:40 on Sunday, stop in Detroit, then land in D.C. around 11pm. My parents and niece dropped me off and as I waved at them walking through security, I wait for my bags to come through the Xray machines. And I wait. And wait. And finally the TSA agent asks if I have candles. I do – like four of them in two different bags.  They are Christmas gifts.  Are we not supposed to have candles either now??
Ugh! Terrorists!
The TSA agent explains I AM allowed to carry candles, but they have to run some swab thingy over them and send them BACK through xray. And by the time they finally finish this process, I have to RUN to my gate to catch my plane.
I frantically ask the guy at the counter about getting on the flight and I’m told: it’s three hours late. And that it will only get me to Detroit tonight. Forget about getting all the way to D.C.
But, they’ll pay for a hotel. In Detroit. Fine. Mom,  Dad, Niece? I know you want to come back in and get me and take me to have coffee for three hours somewhere!
So we do that, and I have to go BACK through security, explaining again that yes, I have scary candles in both my bags, blah blah.
I get to Detroit and am exhausted. And as I stand in line to check in at the hotel, I let my bag fall to the ground and hear something hit –
Candles!
After all that, I nearly break the darn things on the hotel floor!

Which reminded me of a ridiculous incident back when I was on an overseas trip during college with my friend Laura. We were souvenir hunting in Scotland and what did we decide would be a fantastic souvenir to drag home?
A PORCELIN. DOLL.
I'm not even kidding. We really did. She and I both had porcelin dolls given to us as we were growing up and we spotted this little boy doll in a shop called "The Piper" and he was wearing all the traditional Scotish gear and something broke in our heads and we honestly thought - we should buy that to remind us of Scotland! And drag it back to our hotel! And then pack it in a suitcase to go to a new continent!
We couldn't have found something more fragile if we tried. Stupidest idea ever. But after running around all day, getting to this store right as it was closing and BEGGING the owner to let us in, we bought those ridiculous dolls. As we walked back to our hotel - far away - Laura and I were swinging our bags when - THWAP! - our dolls crashed into each other. Both of stopped dead in our tracks, afraid to look. We finally found that the dolls were still in tact and we burst out laughing realizing we TOTALLY DESERVED THAT for buying something basically made of an EGG SHELL to travel home with. I've bought Souvenir Spoons ever since....
The candles ended up being fine and I get to my room and realize - I have nothing to wear to bed and no toiletry items…since I had to check my bag with all my liquids.

Dang it, terrorists!

Fine. Skin to the wind! I’m tired and don’t care what I’m sleeping in anymore! But I do feel gross from travelling and have no face wash.
Dilemma: Do I sleep in my makeup and risk whatever that would do to my skin? Or do I wash my face in hotel soap, with no follow-on moisturizer, and risk getting wrinkled by morning. I go with wrinkles and move on to the next problem:
Contact lens storage!
Thankfully, I have “gas permeable” (AKA basically glass contact lenses…I’m blind as a bat, don’t ask) lenses that don’t have to be in solution. So I grab two drinking cups from the sink – one for Left eye and one for Right, and start to take out my first lens.
And promptly drop it on the floor. On the DIRTY HOTEL FLOOR. And I have NO CONTACT CLEANER.
Grrrr! Now I may have wrinkles AND an eye infection.
BLASTED TERRORISTS!
I think about my NEXT problem – teeth.
I look around and see – bar soap. And one bottle of shampoo.
I begin to wonder how bad it could really be to have your mouth washed out with soap …when I call the front desk and thankfully they stock toothpaste I can get in the morning. I can just use my finger if need be. Fine. Going to bed.
And at some point I have the water running and I go to turn it off-
And it won’t turn off.
The cold side will, but the hot side just keeps on running!
Neat! I’ll be sleeping with no clothes, the skin on my face drying up, my teeth rotting and water running all night! Thanks Delta airlines!
I wiggle the handle multiple times and finally FORCE it all the way to the Left and it stops.
Ok! Now we are ready to get…..3 whole hours of sleep before having to wake up for my next flight.
Ugh.
I get up – get the water stuck on again, throw on the same clothes as yesterday, inform the TSA agents that I am, in fact, smuggling Candles, and finally make it back to D.C. in time to work and then sit in grad school class. ...And then stay after class for a group project. Longest. Day. Ever.
And to think I actually flew to Tennessee this time as a “treat” to myself to make the trip easier. From now on, I’m just driving the dang 8 hours and holding every bottle of liquid I own on my lap, just because I can.

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