Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Up, up and .......... away?

Imagine for a second sending a kid to summer camp. How hard can it be? Packing is a no brainer, he is old enough to do his own packing.

Get your map of the US states, this is a lesson in US geography. (Get your markers out and draw this - capital city to capital city is close enough.)

Hypothetically, of course, the child in question is going to a week long internationally sponsored summer camp in the state of Nebraska. 1) fly round trip from Arizona to Nebraska; 2) first hiccup in the schedule, kid has to return a day early to fly out to Maine that evening; 3) arrange flight home, and no, the other return flight can't be used in any way to supplement the early return.

Are you with me so far? We have two round trip tickets: Arizona/Nebraska and Arizona/Maine PLUS a one way ticket from Nebraska to Arizona. Three flights, how hard can that be? Just watch what happens when we wave the Laman magic wand.

Kid lands in Omaha, goes to Lincoln, spends week in Nebraska. Whoops, overslept, missed the taxi to the airport and missed the early return flight by seconds. This is rural America, there are no staff around except for the gate staff.

An hour later when the airport begins to officially open (you know what I mean if you've flown into Kansas City late at night - there is no one there - the staff vanish), kid gets on standby to return to Arizona on a later flight. Kid sends an "I'm okay" photo to mom's cell phone. (Good kid!)

Several hours later, kid calls from Minnesota, no room to fly standby on flight to Arizona. Now check your map, Minnesota is no where near Arizona. Ah, only seat left on plane is first class. Dad to the rescue. (In a way, this is the third ticket purchased to get him from Nebraska to Arizona.) Kid on the way to Arizona. Kid sends an "I'm okay" photo to mom's cell phone. (Good kid!)

Next flight out (from Arizona) is in a few hours. Laundry. Should have done the load of jeans first, they get packed in a 'dampish' state. Kid leaves Arizona for Maine. Remember he has already been in Nebraska and Minnesota this same day.

Kid arrives in North Carolina without incident. Sends mom photo of self at airport. Kid arrives in Maine, phones for the shuttle phone number. There is a four hour time difference between us. It was before the crack of dawn here. I was asleep.

Several days later, kid calls from Maine airport. Flight delayed due to weather at the airport in Pennsylvania. Next text, "flight canceled. Returning to dorm" (not in this town, of course). No picture.

Hours later, text, "I'm on a boat."

I'm thinking there is a nor'easter and the planes are grounded, so seems to me it's not the best thing to be on a boat in the Atlantic, right?

I really am trying to be brave. I send back text, "Cool! Send pic." Smart kid. Picture shows him dressed warmly and wearing a life jacket. (I thought the water looked a bit rough, but he was smiling happily.) I can breathe again.

The next day, flies from Maine to Pennsylvania, then home.

So despite 4 time zones and 7 flights I was brave and he was okay. The staff at the University and all the airlines were fantastic. There are lots of nice people in this world.

I'm okay too.

Did I mention he left early this morning to drive up the mountain to another summer camp? His first road trip as the driver. His first road trip in a jeep that is older than dirt and cost $800.

I'm okay?


  1. You're okay - just learning to let go and let the fledging fly. Not easy is it?

  2. No kiddding, Joy! The flying is ok. The drama, I could do without.

  3. We often forget here how vast America is and how flying from state to state is the equivilant of us going to say southern Europe.

  4. He flew from the southern boarder near Mexico to the northern boarder near Canada, and from short of the west coast by 350 miles to the east coast of the US, but not the most direct route, which would be 3,000 miles. This is a vast country.