02 January 2010

Los Angeles- Las Vegas- Little Rock- La Casa

I wake on the mattress on the floor in the living room of Big Bubba's apartment. My legs are still sore from way too many trips up and down the stairs, but my feet and back no longer ache. During the evening, Big Bubba found the box with the coffee maker and has not only set it up to make a half-pot, but has gotten up before me to push the button for it to brew manually... this machine has no timer. For a non-coffee drinker, he has made a pretty good pot of Joe.

Cuppa in my left hand, I leash Desi up and let him lead me by my right to get his morning ritual done. Back in the apartment I look at my watch and realize we have about 15 minutes to make it to the airport if I want to be there an hour before my flight.
I needn't have worried. Even in morning traffic, with my E-Ticket in hand I'm at my gate a full forty minutes before takeoff time. The flight to Las Vegas, where I'm supposed to change airplanes for my home airport, arrives 15 minutes early.

"Wheel... Of... Fortune!" cries the bank of slot machines near the gate, and it continues calling attention to itself that way by repeating the phrase every 20 seconds or so. It's 9:30 A.M., and only about half the machines are being used. Folks walking to their gates stop by to drop a few last coins into the machines before boarding their airplanes. VEGAS, BABY!
I have a 90 minute wait for my flight home, so I have the time to get a bite to eat. In addition to the slot machines, the concourse has lots of places to eat and drink... many of them national chains. I stop at "Wendy's" and get a Buffalo Chicken nugget combo, which, because we're in Las Vegas, probably costs nearly twice what it would in Indianapolis. I take my food to my gate to eat it there. The gal at the gate picks up her microphone and says, "Ladies and Gentlemen waiting to board flight YYY to XXXXXXX, this flight may be overbooked. I'm asking for volunteers to be bumped should that be the case. We'll make it worth your while by refunding you the one-way price of your ticket and I'll add $100 to that in the form of a travel voucher." I was in no rush. I volunteered. They later asked for more volunteers and added another $100 to the offer, so when I got my voucher it was for a total of $446.00 toward future travel on Southwest Airlines. (I have heard there are folks that are near-professionals at this, booking travel on holidays in hopes of being bumped. I can now see why!)
My new flight makes another stop in Little Rock before I finally take off for home.

The airplane to Little Rock arrives late because of weather delays in Portland Oregon(?), but I board and it doesn't have an effect on my trip home. I walk to my parked car in light rain, with temperatures 30 degrees lower than those I experienced leaving L.A.. (And THAT'S partly why people live there, right? :>)

What a trip! The review-
I worked 7 nights in a row at my job, then left for L.A. the morning I got off work with Desi the Dachshund in tow. Together, with weather delays, we spend more than 12 hours in airplanes and airports to get to Phoenix, arriving at near-bedtime. I wake early next morning to become a pack animal, carrying stuff down a flight of stairs, then 150 feet to a waiting moving van. After 7 hours of up/down and hiking, we go out to eat, then sleep on the floor. Up early the next morn, we finish packing and I drive 6+ hours to L.A., then three hours more of across/up/down with boxes until the truck is empty. I'm dyin'! Sleep on the floor. Wake to help do "the furniture shuffle" all day. Go out to eat, then back on the floor for 6 hours sleep. Wake and do "the airport rodeo" all day. Does it make ya tired to read it? It sure made me tired to do it!

But Big Bubba is safely in L.A. and has already started his job. Over the phone he sounds happier than he has in months, and there simply is no way for a parent to put a price tag on that sound.
I'm glad I was part of it.
I'm glad it's done.
Vacation anyone?


cj said...

Sure! As long as we can go somewhere warm (windchill of -30F here at the moment) I'm game.


JP said...

Nicely done! The things we'll do even for our adult kids!