Where: 601 N Whitnall Hwy , 91505 Burbank (United States). When: from 17-11-2007 Till 27-11-2007.
Written at 27-04-2011 by Pauline Williams
Labels - Thanksgiving road trip family
Then the next day, I went to the Burbank airport and walked up to the SW airlines counter. I probably fly once about every 3 years. I was familiar with 3-1-1 so had packed accordingly. The guys behind the SW counter insisted one of my check bags was a carry on and that I should take it with me.
So I reluctantly took it with me and headed up to the Dept of Homeland Security screening line...you know, the one you have to practically disrobe for and place everything you own into a separate bin to ride through an X-ray machine separately because you‘re sooo obviously packing a toothpaste tube with c3 because that‘s all Kmart seems to sell these days?
I get through the line and they call me to the side as someone yells BAG CHECK and they proceed to go through the bag I had wanted to check IN FRONT OF EVERYONE ELSE going through the line and pulling things from it and holding them up for examination and (HOW RUDE!) then placing a few items in a 1 quart size ziploc bag. She then proceeded to take the bag and all that was left in it and take it to put to one side explaining they were going to keep the bag.
I asked to go back to the ticket counter...this was utterly ridiculous. She closed the bag and escorted me out the door. I came back up to the SW ticket counter and I swear I saw money change hands for the bets placed on how long it would be before I was back!! They checked the bag no problem this time out. SO now I have to go back inside and through the stupid line and they re-screen me harsher than the first time (because apparently I was coming through a second time and that meant I was up to something...). And don't go through the metal detector holding your arms up as if you have been arrested...they apparently don't like that either and will make you go back and forth a few times on that one...
I believe if a family with toddlers (which let's face it, it takes a toddler 2 years to get out the door of a house anyway...(I'm exaggerating, but they dooo take their sweet time) ) makes it through all that garbage and the pouring out of baby bottles and formula (which is not cheap, by the way) and the toddler stripping they ought to be rewarded with a free flight.
So I get onto the plane and they give everyone peanuts in blue bags except me. I get peanuts in an orange bag that said something about Latin American Heritage month...Didn't know there was one, am surprised it isn't May (Cinco de Mayo) or September (Mexican Independence Day) and why they are targeting me with these I have no idea and then I'm wondering if they have seasoning of some sort on them and goodness...too much to go through over 10 peanuts in a stupid vacuum seal bag that is hard to open anyway!!
Then came the drinks...and the gregarious passengers to my right (I had an aisle seat...got the SW email thing down to be first on the plane and CHOOSE my seat!!)
Arrived in Phoenix where I switched planes. Sat next to a Romanian man who is a new citizen and lives in Wisconsin now, but formerly somewhere on the North Side of Chicago...listened to his whole life story...not much choice...he had to get it out. Was picked up at Midway by Mom, my step-dad, and 16 year old nephew. Cicero is not the city to get lost in at midnight on a Saturday night/Sunday morning with Archie in the backseat yelling at Edith in the front to not turn there, do a uie there etc etc...all the way to Stephensville, MI in the dark (about an hour and a half ride) until the guys finally pooped out and fell asleep. We arrived at mom's house in the rain at 2:30am after dropping my nephew at my sister's home in Bridgman (about 10 minutes away).
And the evening and the morning were the first day! Tuesday.
We went to the South Bend airport to pick up the rent a van first thing...after picking up my brother in law. The South Bend, Indiana airport is just putting in these round-abouts like you drive in New England...knowing how to get OUT of the circle is half the battle...well, no one in INDY has ever seen how these really work, so it took about 20 minutes just to figure those out. Picked up the car and headed back (about a one hour drive each way) to pack up for the trip. Mom had some last minute errands to run and we just waited for my sister to bring the van over...
Well, she called at 6:30p to ask where we were and why hadn't we arrived yet. So we piled into a car and drove everything over to her house where she, my brother-in-law and nephew were in their driveway, in the van, waiting for us. This was about 6:30 PM. Mom and I piled in our stuff and jumped into the van.
And we set off. From SW Michigan, through Indiana to Ohio. Then South...
It was cold...no one could figure out the stupid heating controls for the back of the van.
So it was cold...
We attempted to watch a movie on the personal DVD player, but the sound was lousy...so that left looking out the window at the stars...and listening to my 16 year old nephew chat on the cell for hours with 'Abbey' (she was the girlfriend!! Imagine that...) I sure hope their cell plan has long distance roaming...I'd hate to get that bill if it didn't....but I'm not the parent!! So then it began to turn into a who has more power match as his parents yelled over me and mom to him in the far back to get off the phone. I'm gonna take away the phone...hang up the phone...good grief!!
In my day, you stopped the car, took the phone and showed 'em who was boss!
When you get outside of California, you think you're in a foreign country when you top at a restaurant and the first thing they ask is 'SMOKING OR NON?' That was definitely weird...
And the same thing regarding hotel rooms (as we stopped at about midnight). We asked for non-smoking rooms, but they must have been right next door to the smoking rooms...or recently turned over...and the room was not up to par and well, it was just one night so we all settled down (me on the floor as I was in NO WAY going to have anything to do with that bed) and attempted to sleep....
I think my clothes still smell like that place!
After breakfast at IHOP the next day, we set off again through OHIO, then into W Virginia (the tunnels of the Appalachian Mountains are fab...) then into Virginia and by nightfall, we had reached North Carolina...but we still had to drive east to Fayetteville...
We tried to make it all the way to the end without stopping, but that proved impossible...so my brother in law decided he'd stop at the first place he saw...which turned out to be a fancy seafood restaurant...but we told him we'd rather wait than try to argue our way into the bathroom there...so we turned out onto the road a ways and hit a Burger King....well, I went first as it was full. As I'm washing my hands, my sis went into the stall and my mother, who had been doing something else, comes in and attempts to go into the other stall. A woman is sitting on the pot and looking right at us as if this is an everyday occurrence.
Well, now mom's embarrassed and I'm trying to get out so I don't have to see the woman again and my sis hurries out.
Well, while we're waiting for mom, she's in the bathroom and a cell phone goes off. It's the other woman and she answers and begins talking to her friend who is waiting in a car outside and has seen all of us. They were talking about us!!
While she was still...you know...manners in this country have completely gone down the toilet ---
We go up the road to the hotel, check in and finally make my brother's house...
He takes us out to a take-out place. In North Carolina, Iced Tea is Sweet Tea. You have to ask for UNSWEETENED or California tea. I mean it is sooooo sweet it's like asking 'Can I please have a little tea with my sugar?' tea...
that was interesting...and instead of fries at this place, they served Hush Puppies. It was so weird having all my siblings in the same room for the first time in about 18 years...(something always comes up so one isn't here...especially with the war and one being a soldier on so many deployments...) How quickly we revert to childhood patterns of behavior and sibling teasing!! What is it about siblings that causes this to happen??
And that was that!!
Thanksgiving dinner was the next day. As usual my father’s timing was impeccable. His text came from a white sandy beach in Aruba with his Filipino wife just as we were about to sit down at the long wooden table and say the traditional Thanksgiving prayer.
Not sure why it ended up there was a lonely table place setting, but it remained throughout the dinner as if we were expecting another guest which never arrived.
We stayed Friday, also, venturing out into the Fort Bragg area for shopping. Interesting place. Every block seems to consist of a barber shop, pawn shop and liquor store. Not much to do there, I guess.
We went to the mall where we were given a pamphlet with rules upon entering. Must be a lot of gang activity and the mall decided to treat things like the amusement parks do. No certain clothes type rules. One I found extremely odd. No excessive staring. Not sure what that was all about or what might constitute excessive staring. Get many stalkers in the area?
As we headed back to the van and our home trip, there was an amber alert for missing children that followed us through three states. Every station seemed to be playing DANI CLIFORNIA just about any time my mom would decide to listen to the radio. I had no idea it was such a popular song.
Alrighty then...that brings us back to mom's house where I managed to spend an entire day doing laundry. Long story short, there is a trick to using her machine and the machine was very uncooperative, especially the dryer, when it came to me and doing MY clothes. Never mind the Gunner factor (large golden Lab)...who ever heard of a dog that enjoys fresh clothes!!
On Monday, everyone went back to work , leaving me to go through photo albums and play keep away with the dog...as in keep away from me...!! He's such a big love (Standing up he’s taller than I) and wants to play all the time (he's sooo still a puppy) and trying to settle him was a full-time job.
Suffice it to say, Monday was merely preparation for the return trip home. We had Chinese food for dinner that evening. I believe I made it the entire time without turkey dinner leftovers...
So Tuesday, mom and I piled in the car and headed to the Cracker Barrel for breakfast (John was already off on his special needs kid bus route - it was mighty early). The Cracker Barrel is an interesting experience and I recommend the Apple Butter. Very delicious. And then it was off to the airport in Cicero and my flight home.
I drove by my old high school, what we refer to as a drive by since many of us do it at times during the year while it sits there at the corner of Highway 49 and Highway 94, trying to hide amongst the largely overgrown trees and brush. I noted how it had changed from when I did my last driveby. Then I drove by a few minutes later, the 'old neighborhood' and pointed out some newly acquired storefronts and road changes and the new subdivision across the freeway. Then it was traffic slowdown (which is why we left so early) as the toll road is under construction and down to one lane...and it was about the tail end of rush hour traffic.
Made it to the airport (MIDWAY) and parked and then went inside. After checking the bags, it was off to the DHS line and the final good-bye. Midway is much more of a 'secured' airport than leaving from Burbank. I actually saw a baby on the x-ray conveyor because it was an infant and asleep in a baby seat. Is that what we've come to these days?? And a mother was being strong-armed by a DHS employee who was standing over her as she emptied an entire diaper bag and was forced to dump all the bottles into a special tub, emptying them of their formula and juice. We were handed 1, 1 quart size ziploc bags and commanded to read signs in fine print and empty pockets, purses etc of any possible liquid, powder, gel or paste. We were ushered down lines through the x-ray machines, forced to strip off outer layers of clothing in the cold to go shoeless through the metal detectors and then charged to quickly, quickly redress and empty bins and get out of the way of incoming passengers who required terror checks.
I get on the plane.
This flight was headed to Phoenix first, and as is procedure with all flights, those requiring assistance board first. In this case, board and board and board...there were no less than 9 wheel chair assists on this flight. Never mind the parents with small children. They had to call in special personnel just to help board the wheel chair parade. The check-in attendant said she hadn't seen anything like that before, but all the tickets checked out. She apologized and allowed us to board.
The flight suffered slightly from turbulence, so seatbelts were mandatory at all times. Then the Phoenix de-board, except I was remaining for the Phoenix to Burbank flight. After all the flight attendant mucky muck, the Phoenix to Burbank passengers in addition to us were let on board. The flight took off and we had just started our drinks with not all yet being served when the pilot told us that turbulence would not permit further beverage service.
He asked those of us that had drinks at this point to (and I quote) CHUG so the flight attendants could quickly move through the cabin trash collection and sit down. This was a short flight and I was soon on the ground with the wear of the bumpy ride.
I went to the Burbank Airport baggage collection area which is outside. The flight was so bumpy and as luggage is not locked these days, I was slightly amused to see a couple bags come down the claim belt spilling their contents and being thankful that it wasn't my underwear and other things spilling around the conveyor for all the passengers to make note of as I collected it piece by piece. Poor college students...welcome to LA...
And then I walk out to the street to catch the bus to my apartment complex. The bus came and I had a bit of difficulty manipulating one bag up the stairs but did the bus driver offer any assistance? Oh no....not this wonderfully trained public servant. He actually raised his voice to me in annoyance that I might actually wish to ride his bus at this time...
Another passenger helped out and I was soon traveling the tiny bit from the airport to my home. Oy what a long strange trip it had been.