Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Eternity Later......the Airport Sagga ends!

okay, so I didn't assault the rude woman who stole the seat and really the story is just ordinary from here on out and that is probably why I lost interest in finishing it:) Especially since I end up looking so shallow and not Christ like what-so-ever.......So I am finally going to expose myself for what I really am......human and imperfect.........darn it!

The saga continues........and finally comes to an end!

I stood there dumbfounded for a moment and finally decided my only alternative was to move Hevenlee from her comfortable sprawl across 2 seats and sit with her. She didn't seem to mind at all. Part of me wished she would start screaming and crying from being jostled around and disturbed from her sleep, but she was far too old for that and so she nestled into my lap. Leaving me the only one agitated. The rude woman's boys took turns peeking over at me and whispering to each other. I sat fuming for so many minutes and staring back at the boys each time they found enough courage to look over so I could make them feel bad about what they had done. I could tell by the way the boys kept looking over in my direction that they knew what they had done was not right. I felt an intense anger that seemed to just swallow me whole and I couldn't shake it. What kind of example was the woman being to her children? The mental judgement began.....at the same time I began to wrestle with just how ridiculous this was to fume over such foolish things, but why couldn't I dispel this anger.....no this was not just anger, this was full on rage! My mind said this was dumb and I should let it go and move on for goodness sake, but my body pulsed with the injustice and wouldn't relax. The spiritual vs. the physical I suppose. Anger was winning and held its grip on me. I allowed it to sink in even deeper by dwelling on the event and it felt like it was beginning to posess me.

I sat there staring at the seat in front of me, I couldn't keep my mind from running through a retaliation strategy. Yes, I am that shallow..... What were my options here.... 1.Begin a glaring campaign? hmmm tempting. 2. Keep looking over frequently showing my dissatisfaction? it's a thought.... 3.Talk to as many around me to rally them to my view point against her......I looked around....pretty much everyone was asleep and really who would care? 4.Let it go? This seems to be what "Jesus" would probably do.....but could I? If I say I want to follow Christ then I knew this was my only option, but the feelings raging within me were still so strong. This was going to be a battle! I think I have read about this in the Bible somewhere. It felt so good to to let anger take over, but I knew I must fight it. I began to be more determined to let it go. Why was it so hard? I tried to distract myself by opening up the book I had been reading, but it was no use, I simply could not focus I was so agitated! I just sat there looking at the page without making any sense of the letters forming words.

I suppose that the most frustrating thing was that for the next few hours as I checked on the seat situation not a single person put even a foot in that spot that they had hogged for themselves. I was tempted to get up, go around to the other side and sit in that seat since it was on the isle and no one was occupying it. I thought better of what it would obviously communicate and stayed put. Why in the world did they take the seat if they weren't even going to use it! I had to stop thinking about it because it was making my blood boil all over again! Okay, no more looking over there.... I got up a few more times to stretch my legs and finally found a seat a few rows back. Evidently someone had found a better seat elsewhere. Cool for me:) Now Hevenlee could stretch out again and be comfortable while she slept. For the next hour I sat there. I walked up the isle to check on the girls every once in a while. I suppose it wasn't so bad and little by little I wasn't quite so angry anymore. It's grip was losing it's hold on me. The girls didn't seem to even notice my absence and I guess that is all that really matters. I was finally cooling down..... Boy, did that take a long time to wear off. With time the heat of my emotions did slowly cool until they were just embers. But I could sense that they never really went out completely..... What is my problem anyway? And I call myself a Christian. Ah, the shame and guilt of not being perfect and handling ever situation just right...... Satan can really come at you from any angle can't he......

I guess the fact that the woman noticed she had banished me from the row by her actions actually got the best of her and eventually I noticed them moving over. It didn't really make me feel that much better since the flight had nearly ended. I had no desire to be anywhere near her. I still couldn't find it anywhere in me to even be civil in my thoughts. I guess I am just that shallow. A sad fact I am beginning to understand about myself more fully as each year passes, but one I am not okay with continuing....

When the flight was over and we had to get off the plane I had to rouse the girls and they groggily got their carry on bags and we headed off the plane.
For some reason Sonshyne was pulling my computer carry on as her responsibility. The wheels made it an easy thing to pull. We made our way through the airport to catch our connecting flight to Lithuania. Time was of the essence. We got in line to check our passports and move into the next section of the airport. Then we had to hurry to find our way to the other end of the airport where our connecting flight was. I busied myself getting the passports ready for the 3 of us. We got them stamped and were on our way and into the elevator. As I was catching my breath, putting our passports into the 'safe' place and calculating our things it dawned on me that Sonshyne had NO carry on with her. My computer was gone!! She had let go of the handle at the passport control check point and moved on with out it!

Panic accompanied by adrenaline flooded my exhausted being and I literally began shaking. We could not afford to replace this computer! And was this going to make us miss our connecting flight? All the events of the day boar into my being and I broke under this final event. I scowled at my daughter. It was the first time during this whole saga I had lost my temper with the girls, but I had had it! I felt like the damn of emotions broke open and began flowing dangerously over everything in its wake...and my girls were helpless to get out of its way.....

We stood waiting in the elevator as passengers came and went. We had to get back to the top floor and NOW. I couldn't speak and the elevator wouldn't move fast enough of course. The girls sensing the mood I was now in and stood in silence. Smart girls. Finally, we got to the right floor and squeezed by the flow of people pouring into the elevator. I am sure they wondering why we were going the wrong way. And I am scanning them on the way out to see if any of their carry on baggage looks like my computer bag. We were then standing alone in a large black room with huge sliding doors. On the doors were 2 big red circles with bold white minus signs in the middle easily communicating in any language that you are NOT welcome to come back through this way and yet my computer may or may not still be standing on the other side of these doors.

Here I am faced with a personal dilemma. I am such a rule bound person. I have a hard time breaking rules and laws when I know about them. I know I am not supposed to walk through those doors and there could be some consequences if I do. It is obvious from the giant minus signs on the door that what I am about to do is not okay, But my computer bag may be sitting on the other side. Well, I didn't dwell on it too much because time was of the essence here. It was just part of the intense mental battle that was raging in my head along with all the other events of the day. Urgency overrides my sense of right and wrong so I bolted through the doors as soon as they were open to retrieve my bag...could it possibly still be there?

I gave a sweeping glance around the area where we had been standing in line. Low and behold there it stood! Untouched. No one seemed to care one bit that I was there. Even more surprising was that no one even seem to notice my presence. I let out a huge long breath and grabbed it up. I gave a little scowl at my daughter which I still regret doing, but couldn't seem to get a grip on my emotions. I was so tired and the events of the day left me raw. My feelings were all over the place, but now my thoughts turn to our next flight. Would we make our connecting flight? Or did we lose too much time? Oh, I just want to get home! Today! I just don't think I can handle another crisis!

So that is pretty much it! We made it to our connecting flight. We even had to wait a bit before boarding. The details of the rest of the trip get fuzzy here because there was simply no drama. I felt a wave a tension leave my body as soon as we sat down in our seats on the final airplane. We would make it home today. I was tired and mentally exhausted and later I would evaluate myself and feel remorseful for some of the ways I reacted during this stressful journey, but for now I just sat back in my seat, took a deep breath and felt at ease for the first time all day!

About Hevenlee's chin: we let the bandage fall off naturally and it did only a few days later. I found that I pretty much got the skin almost touching under the bandage except for one small spot. We treated it with vitamin E every night for several months. It was very pink and a bit puffy for quite some time, but today a year later there is almost no trace of it. Just a faint line under her chin. I am thinking in a few years it may disappear completely.

As for my attitude under stress: I am finding that I do not face challenges to my thinking and the unknown very well and I don't want to continue in this path. I am such a control freak! I am doing what I can to make some very serious changes to the way I handle unforeseen circumstances. It seems more often then not I fail, but I am more quick to acknowledge it and apologize then ever before. I don't want to be one of "those" people and yet I find more often then not that I am. Wow, is this life such a journey. There are so many many things to work on within my own personal life. How is it that God can even use me? And yet, I am quite sure that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it until he comes back to take me home! (Philippians 1 reference)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Airport drama continues.......Will they get back to Lithuania?

I can't believe I left you hanging at the airport all this time:) Guess I got a bit busy living life...

Soooo the man who checked our baggage was a big husky black man and fortunate for us he was in a good mood. Just the type to be a willing recipient of a high five.
After he took our baggage he asked us to wait until the supervisor came to check our passports and finish us off. I guessed they were trying out a new tag team kind of check in so we said no problem.

Now that our bags were checked and we were waiting the girls began to get restless and I was searching for something to keep them occupied. Where was that passport checker anyway? What to do, what to do? Ah, it had been a while since I weighed myself and if those baggage scales could handle the luggage weight surely it could handle me. I got Hevenlee and Sonshyne's attention and they watched with glee as I sat myself on the scale and......oh, not as light as I thought I was.....must take up jogging when we get home......The girls eagerly popped onto the scale one at a time and were delighted to see how much they weighed. I do believe they could have done this for the remainder of the day. After weighing their whole bodies, they wanted to see how much they weighed together (my goal weight). Then they wanted to see how much only a hand or foot weighed and so on. I was the look out to make sure no one official was coming and would yell at us because I wasn't sure what they'd think about our chosen activity and didn't want to find out.

It seemed like forever but the passport checker came and we checked out and were sent on our way to wait at our gate. Now it was time to go to the bathroom, get a closer look at Hevenlee's wound and get a bite to eat before take off. We still had plenty of time.

We found a bathroom and in it was a long counter. Perfect for laying a child on to look under her chin. I put Hevenlee up on the counter and removed the bandage. The bleeding had stopped but it was definitely an open wound. I would have to do the best I could to close it back up with the other bandage I had. I was so happy I had had the good sense to get several bandages from the first aid man and to cut them to the right size while I still had access to scissors.

As I laided her down to work on her chin several women in the room commented on how perfect that counter was for what I was doing and wished me luck in bandaging her up. It was so comforted to get some verbal support. I really needed it. As they left I resumed my work on my daughter. I did my best to close the skin and apply the sticky bandage bit over the wound and cover the whole thing with another bandage. Hevenlee had long stopped complaining about her chin and this didn't even faze her at all. She didn't seem to be experiencing any pain. I was relieved.
Now that that was done, it was time to get some food into us. I had been given a McDonald's gift card and now was the perfect time to use it! I remember there being a McDonald's in this airport somewhere....
We managed to find food and get to our gate without any further mishaps. I was still a bit anxious about whether or not we were at the right gate. My confidence in being able to read things right was shaken. I would be able to relax when we were on board and in our seats.

It was while we waited to board the plane that it dawned on me that the last contact I had made with my friend Kim was of some urgency and now I knew I needed to borrow some one's phone to relieve her mind. The kid next to me had a blackberry.........a blackberry! My goodness, he couldn't have been more than a young teenager. What the heck does he need a blackberry for? I guess I have a lot to learn about American teens these days. I asked him if I could use it and he said yes and I was happy the kid had a blackberry:) I called Kim and updated her and she was grateful. I could hear the urgency in her voice fade to normal again. We said goodbye quickly because the airlines looked as if they were beginning to board the plane and I didn't want to be too far behind in the line since they don't really do preboarding anymore.

We got to the front of the line and showed our passports for the um-teenth time and moved down the hall toward the plane. We slowly made our way on the plan and down the isle, snagging our carry-ons on the seats as the row narrowed substantially from first class to economy. We were a slow moving little group. People who were already sitting smiled at us as we made our way past them. I was glad for the kind looks as most people don't seem to be too thrilled to see children boarding a long flight. This seems like a nice crowd. It's a good thing because we were going to share a small space for the next 10 hours.

We came to our seats and packed most of our things in the overhead compartment. We took up a whole space on our own so I shut it. I got the girls seated. We had two seats right by the window and one in the middle isle. I sat the girls together and chose the seat across the isle from them for myself.

A woman with 2 boys sat in the center isle. This was looking promising since there were 5 seats in the middle and it left us with one in between us. I was so hoping that it would remain open so we could use it to spread out a bit. I immediately shoved some things into the empty seat to lay claim to it. The woman looked at the empty seat in between us but said nothing. I made a few gestures about sharing the seat. I could see she was speaking another language with the boys , but she didn't' seem interested in making small talk with me so I just chalked it up to not speaking English.

We got all belted in and began take off and the seat was still empty. Hurray! I did feel awkward though. The woman who sat on the other side of the empty seat looked at me and then looked at the seat on occasion as if she were thinking something. I couldn't quite pinpoint it.

After we were in the air I got the girls settled with an activity and popped my feet into the empty seat next to me and settled in for a little rest before reading a few chapters in my book. The woman looked at me again, but said nothing. I decided to ignore her looks and just enjoy feeling comfortable and took a nap.

Normal things transpired during the duration of the 10 hour flight......food, drinks, movies etc. An uneventful flight so far. So happy about that! Half way through the flight the girls began to nod off. Sonshyne moved into the empty seat by me and Hevenlee layed down on the 2 seats next to the window to sleep. We were like that for some time. Though I was still getting a weird vibe from the woman and her 2 boys next to us. All of them kept taking turns looking in our direction and talking. What were they up to? Probably nothing, just my imagination I told myself.

Hevenlee stirred so I got up to sit with her for a bit. I put Sonshyne in my seat on the isle for some reason and took my things out of the empty seat. I guess I felt a little obligated to share the empty seat a bit in case they wanted to stretch out and I said so. We could both use it, but they made not move to stretch out. I sat with Hevenlee for a bit to get her back to sleep. I was there for a while and still the empty seat remained empty. I guess they were not interested in using it. I decided to stretch my legs. I left the sleeping girls and walked around the plane. I made my way to the back of the plane and got a drink of water and did some stretching.

As I was making my way back to our seats coming up from behind, I noticed the head of the woman was now right next to Sonshyne. Could it be? They scooted over while I was gone and now the empty seat was on the complete other side? That seemed incredibly sneaky to me. I was incensed and by now the adrenaline of patience had long since left my body. I could feel the heat of injustice flood through me. I got to the seats and looked the woman straight in the face and said,"that was pretty sneaky of you to move over while I was gone." "So you have to have the seat all to your self?" Well, she did speak English after all and she replied Cooley," Yes, my boys may want to use it." The seat was currently untouched. I retorted,"Well, that's nice of you to make a baby sit up and sleep so your boys could have more room."

Fury pulsed its way through my body. I felt like I could explode at any minute. I needed to do something to alleviate the madness within. I felt invaded. I could see now that the looks and whispering were not my imagination but what I sensed was the plot to steal the empty seat for themselves. I couldn't believe I was so enraged over a stupid empty seat, but I was..........