We left Bobby and Lindsey's house a little after 4 PM. Our flight left at 8 and we needed to check in by 6, so we had to leave really early because of the potential traffic. Oahu is so overpopulated it's ridiculous. Bobby drove Mom, Dad, and me in the rented van while Linds and the kids followed in Bobby's car. At the airport, Bobby dropped us off and helped us unload our stuff then it was hugs all around. Breezy had chocolate all over her face. (I feel sorry for whoever changed that diaper.) Riles is so good at giving hugs.
Mom, Dad, and I headed into the airport. First stop was the agriculture screening. They don't want anyone taking certain things out of Hawaii. Then we checked in for our flight and went through the security check. We tried to go to our gate (I can't believe HNL has 80+ gates!) but the doors to it were locked. That's not possible at any of the other airports I've been to, so it was really surprising. Mom and Dad wanted something to eat, so we decided to check out the food court. They had ice cream, I simply chilled. The food court overlooks a pretty Japanese garden with a little pagoda, which I remembered from when we lived in Hawaii.
By this time, it was after 5 PM and about half the stores in HNL were closed, including every second newsstand. We decided to go back to the gate and sit in chairs outside it. HNL, btw, has the same worn-out black leather seats that OMA does. There must've been a nationwide sale twenty years ago. Like everywhere else in Hawaii, Aloha shirts and muumuus were very popular among the folks at the airport. Even the figure of a woman on the ladies' restroom sign wore a muumuu and a lei. Speaking of restrooms, through the windows of the gate I could see that it had its own restroom. The other gates were like that too. Blew my mind. They finally let us into the gate around 7. A sign said there were no food or drinks allowed in the "holding area." It made it sound like the airport was a jail, the gate agents were the guards, and CO was the warden. Anyway, the sign made no sense -- you're allowed to bring food and drinks onto flights if you buy them after the security checkpoint. I had a bottle of water I'd bought at one of the still-open newsstands and wisely kept it in my tote.
We boarded the plane around 7:30 PM. It was not one of the better flights I've had. For starters, it was awfully hot, and the heat seemed to be coming from our seats. I decided to stay awake for a few hours and listened to my "U218" CD. Dinner was a hot ham and cheese sandwich, a brownie, and a salad (which again I didn't touch).
February 16, 2008
Lucky me was on Day 3 of her period, so I took a potty break at midnight to change my pad. Unfortunately, somebody before me had stopped up the toilet I chose to use. Flushing several times didn't work. I was able to change my pad and while I was washing my hands, I heard someone pushing against the lavatory door. When I left the too-small lavatory, I saw that someone had put this "temporarily out of order" tape over the latch. Gee, couldn't someone had done that before I got in there?
I tried sleeping after that. I couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep in, so all I did during the remaining hours was doze occasionally while I listened to Yanni's "Love Songs" CD. Unfortunately, the batteries quit with an hour and a half left of the flight. I had spares in my tote, but I didn't want to switch them out until we got to IAH. Despite the fog and rain in Houston, the landing at 7:20 AM was fine.
Speaking of IAH, have I mentioned that it's friggin' HUGE? We arrived in terminal E and had to get to terminal B. It's a good thing we had three hours, 'cause there's no way we would've made it if we'd had less than an hour. We walked to terminal C then took the little train, tram, whatever to B. For part of the distance we walked, we were behind a woman wearing high-heeled boots. I'd hate to be her podiatrist. Terminal B had lots of stores, including one of Houston stuff called Designs By Sue Venir. Cute. I got another bottle of water then we went over to the gate. The CO gate agent made a few jokes about another flight being late then made a few other jokes while we were boarding around 10 AM. By his own admittance, he wasn't paying attention when I walked past him with my pilot case. The flight attendant noticed, and told me to go back to get a blue ticket from the gate agent because, like my flight to Memphis four years ago, they had to take my carry-on from me. Yeah, small plane. I was definitely not happy with the gate agent, but I didn't let him know -- he admitted he screwed up, and it wasn't just mine he'd missed. Still, he should've kept his mind on his job instead of his jokes.
The flight to OMA was short and, after that jackass's slip, uneventful. The flight attendant gave us club sandwiches and Milky Ways. We landed at 12:30 PM and I can't tell you how glad I was to be back home. It was great being with my brother and his family, but I was really missing home. In the restroom, I traded my crop pants and flip-flops for my worn pair of jeans and sneakers. We went to the Baggage Claim and waited for the carousel to start up. After about fifteen minutes of waiting, we found out that everyone's bags were back at the CO check-in counter. We figured that they must've come in on an earlier flight. Dad went to get the car while Mom and I stayed with the bags.
We got home around 1:30 and I got ready for Mass. I'm still not completely unpacked (it's on my To Do list) and I really don't want to go to work tomorrow, but at least I'm done flying for the foreseeable future.