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may 8, 2017

When does a shitty time become a funny story?

Disclaimer: I am very aware that I am extremely fortunate to have an online work environment and generally flexible lifestyle, which allow me to travel freely; however it took a lot of sacrifice and effort to get to this point. This post is not intended to complain - it is more of a reflection in taking the good with the bad. In other words, "C'est la vie."

How about the flight to Lisbon? That was supposed to be seamless and cool? That travel day you orchestrated well ahead of time because you're flying with a dog, in cabin, internationally for the first time? Funny story...

I was flying to Lisbon from Chicago with a 6 hour layover in Boston. JetBlue flew us to Boston and was the epitome of an amazing airline experience - seriously props to those guys. And thanks for the free cheezits. But that's not the funny part.

Fast forward to arriving in Boston. I find out my flight is cancelled. I wait three hours in line for them to tell me I'll be on my way to Portugal the next evening on a different airline and to book us into a hotel. I ask them if they're sure it is a "dog-friendly" hotel. They say yes, I call the hotel and it is not. Cool. Also, they lost my baggage. The staff gets a manager to get a  truly "dog-friendly" hotel. Stewart behaves throughout the ordeal and I've been through more annoying travel delays, so we're peachy.

We get to the hotel, they don't have record of a reservation. But they make some calls and let us check-in. Stewart jumps on the beds and I smile at my cute dog, as he is very much like my 7 year old self. I drink a gin martini, Stewart eats some shitty dog food that gives him diarrhea (because I can't refrigerator his high maintenance, homemade dog food during travel).

We're scheduled to fly out at 6:20pm the next day, so we want to go to the dog park and grab a bite at a patio in Southie the morning before. But it's raining cats and dogs in Boston and my luggage is still lost, so we head to the airport early to cry to the baggage people about our luggage. It is miraculously found - except they had it routed to go on the wrong flight. I set them straight - crisis averted.


We go outside where I politely ask Stewart to take a shit for the 5th time that day. He goes pee and stares at me. So we head inside to find the check-in desk for our new airline.  I can't find it. The security guy tells me it's at one terminal. The baggage people say it's at another. Stewart finds it to be the opportune moment to take a very mushy poo on the floor (still all soft from the shitty dog food), which I promptly step in. It's smeared all over the floor, so I have to wipe it up with my makeup removing wipes. It's in all the crevices of my shoe, as well. I dig a mechanical pencil out of my bag to clean out the indents. Now I smell like poop and 30 hours of travel.We have two hours to mill about before we can check into our flight so we grab a burrito and bark at trash cans. Then we get in line to check-in. We wait.  We get to the front where we are told we don't have a guaranteed spot.


They are over-booked and we are not a priority, because we are not originally scheduled on this flight. They say it is unlikely we will get on. I cry and tell them my dog has very specific paperwork allowing entry to Portugal which will expire if we don't get on this flight. Stewart whimpers. It's all very cute, but we are sent away until a later time.

We go to the bar, where Stewart barks at the bartender for opening the cash register too loudly (it was excessive), but I also get a double pour of wine because Stewart is cute and we are sad. I pray to the travel gods and frantically look for other flights. There are none leaving Boston for more than 24 hours.

We go back to the gate at the allocated time. There is a long line of sad people who just want to get to Lisbon. We all lament... and miraculously they pluck me out of the middle of the line!!! I feel guilty, as I jump ahead of all my new friends. But, eek! Do they have room?!

They do, they do! And they pet Stewart (he gets away with everything, it's me that has bad luck), but we are on a different airline than we had originally booked and it has a whole new set of strict rules about baggage. So, essentially everything that I carefully weighed out at home is now too heavy.

But they didn't weigh Stewart in his travel carrier. So we head to the bathroom and I start stuffing jewelry and books in my pants and Stewart gets new roommates too - a gallon bag of mini liquids, a photo album, makeup, and a pair of shoes. He also gets a peanut butter treat because he's the boss and it keeps him quiet. So for our efforts and stealth we are awarded a boarding pass!

We go through security and I am visibly elated.  The TSA agent is weirded out by my smile and asks where I'm going - because who is THAT happy about airport security. And I give him the short version of this ballad and he's also excited. He moves me to the fast lane! Wow!

We get to the other side of security, where there is a Legal Seafood Outpost. Who wants some lobster bisque more - me or Stew? My dear dog is slipping all over the polished airport floors as he clamors to get as close as possible to the fishy goodness. He is my child, what can I say. But we don't have time. We run to our gate and they are already boarding. Shit! Stew hasn't taken his anxiety meds for the flight. He's also still in bunk with all my shit stuffed in the bag.

I quickly move all the shit back to my original carry on and bite his anxiety pill in half (he's prescribed half a pill an hour before boarding the plane - which I didn't want to give him unless I knew we'd be flying). Normally, I cut it apart with a knife like a decent pet owner, but there isn't time and my incisors will do. And omg. My tongue went numb. No wonder he is a saint on this medication. So we try to get in line for boarding, but it is long and no end in sight. Some lovely lady pulls me in near the front and says, "where have you been we've been looking for you?"

My incredibly naive self is like, "Oh hey, who are you?!?!" And she whispers, "Get in front of me, you have a dog, poor thing." And the humans of the earth save me once again.

And all is well. Let the adventure begin - expect the unexpected, stay calm, and keep smiling.

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