:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

zondag 6 augustus 2006

So yesterday I was assigned to the Boston airport trip, which went something like this:

06:15 Wake up.
06:45 Shepherd all eight kids to the minibus.
06:50 Reorganize luggage so said kids can actually sit down.
07:10 Get behind the wheel and somehow back the bus up (with the back window blocked) and get on the road.
08:30 Decide I can't hold it any longer and absolutely have to pull off and go to the bathroom - meaning Jesse and the kids all have to come too.
08:45 Get back on the road.
10:30 Arrive at the airport.
10:45 Wiggle the bulky bus through waiting cars up to the curb. Jesse and our first drop-off, who is meeting his dad at the American Airlines counter, disembark.
10:55 Jesse comes back to say he needs the kid's flight confirmation in order to get him where he needs to be. I say we don't have a flight confirmation for him because he's meeting his dad and his dad has it.
11:00 Jesse calls the kid's dad and gets him to come outside and meet the kid. I'm panicking because we have two kids on a plane departing at 11:30 from a different terminal. Jesse sprints back to the van and we're off.
11:05 Jesse grabs the two boys and their luggage and takes off toward US Airways, shouting that he'll meet me at the next boy's drop-off point. I have to pee like a racehorse and am responsible for five kids, 15 bags, and a bus that I have no idea where to park.
11:10 Unbeknownst to me, Jesse is told to pay two 'unaccompanied minor' fees for the boys, totaling $80, while having no money (because I have all $300 of camp's money in MY possession). He proceeds to sweet-talk the manager and supervisor and get the boys on the plane, surrounded by security guards, approximately five minutes before takeoff.
11:20 I park in what is, miraculously, the correct spot, then realize that the next kid to be dropped off has FIVE bags and that there are no luggage carts to be seen.
11:25 Assign one bag to each child to carry, then head towards the terminal, feeling like a mother duck with my charges trailing behind me.
11:40 Arrive at the Delta luggage counter. Miraculously, the child's father is there early, and Jesse finds us all easily, recounting his horror story to us. Down to four kids, we all rush back to the parking lot - luggage carts in tow - for the next two kids' bags.
11:45 Realize that Julian Orloff, a camper who left from Portland, has a huge blue duffel bag in our bus here in Boston. Sigh and call the camp office to notify them.
12:00 Jesse takes Hayden to check in at United Airlines; I take Max to check in at Continental, while also remaining in charge of the other two kids. Jesse, who has no cell phone, says he'll meet us in front of an oyster restaurant.
12:05 "Okay, I need you to fill out this unaccompanied minor form, and I need to see your ID."
12:10 "Max, come back over here."
12:11 "Roser, don't wander so far away."
12:12 "Brian, stop bothering him."
12:15 "NOW where did Max go?! ... MAX! Stay here!"
12:20 "Okay, there's going to be an unaccompanied minor charge of $95." "Wow, for one-way?" "Yes." (me, mentally) Geez, Continental is expensive. I pay it.
12:30 Finally almost finished, she looks more closely at the itinerary. "Oh. He's not going to Germany today!" (me, mentally) No, you dimwit; it says right there on your screen that he's going to NEWARK today, staying ten days, THEN to Germany. How long have you been doing this job?! "Oh. Well, I have to do this all over again now." Fight the urge to wring her neck, and call the three wandering kids back over for what seems like the millionth time.
12:35 "The $95 was the international fee; here's $45 back."
12:37 "Your bag is over the weight limit; you'll have to pay $2.50 per pound."
12:38 Sigh heavily, hand her the money back, and receive yet another piece of paper.
12:40 "Are these two children going through the gate with you, too?" "Yes; I can't leave them alone." "Then I have to put their names on this pass, too; hold on."
12:45 After 45 long minutes, we escape and hurry towards the gate.
12:50 We all pull our shoes off, empty our pockets, show our IDs for the thousandth time, pass through security, and collapse into seats at the gate.
13:00 Max's plane boards.
13:15 We head to the restaurant, but are unable to find Jesse. Unwilling to wait, I drag Brian and Roser back to the parking garage to get their bags.
13:30 We wander, lost, through the enormous Central Parking Lot.
13:55 We find our bus, then realize that, once again, we have no luggage carts.
14:00 Appropriate a couple of abandoned wheelchairs and use them as makeshift carts.
14:05 Get a call from Jesse, thank goodness, who says he'll meet us at Brian's check-in.
14:10 We make it back to the Delta counter, and Jesse takes Roser and her luggage off my hands. I am left with Brian, his FOUR checked bags, and his itinerary for a 15:30 flight.
14:20 We get to the front of the line and discover that his plane is now leaving at 15:07. Great.
14:25 The woman refuses to accept the fact that Brian's parents had already paid for his extra luggage, both ways. "We never do that," she kept repeating, "we just don't do that." Brian produces his receipt. She still doesn't believe him.
14:35 After asking every single employee behind the counter (a) the code for unaccompanied minors and (b) what they made of that receipt, she finally gave in and checked all of his bags through, no fee.
14:40 I get my 'unaccompanied minor' gate pass, get scolded for using wheelchairs as luggage carts (well, uh, if there had BEEN any in the parking garage...) and we run to security, only to find that they're using one of the new 'air puffers' to scan everyone and the line is out the wazoo.
14:50 I approach an employee. "Hi - listen, I have an unaccompanied minor here, his flight leaves in 17 minutes, and he CANNOT miss it, because there's no one to stay here with him. I don't want to be a problem, but is there any way we could possibly cut to the front?"
"Oh, no, we don't do that. That line over there might be shorter, but you see, when wheelchair people show up, they have to go through first, and that slows things down." She wanders away.
14:51 I cast around for a wheelchair, planning to plop Brian in it and push him to the front of the line. I come up empty.
14:52 The employee wanders back over. "What gate is he at?"
Hopefully, I answer, "A15."
"Oh. That's far. That's far away from here." She drifts off again, leaving me to tear my hair out. Why did you even bother asking if you weren't going to help?!
14:59 The candy in Brian's pockets sets off the metal detector. We are both going crazy.
15:00 We grab our shoes and other belongings from the belt and take off at a dead sprint, down an escalator, across a moving walkway, and through a hall.
15:02 While dashing up an escalator, we hear, "This is the FINAL boarding call for flight number whatever to Palm Beach. Will passenger Tate please report IMMEDIATELY to gate A15!"
15:03 We push past everyone on the escalator. "Excuse us, excuse us, that's us they're calling, excuse us!"
15:05 We arrive, breathless, at gate A15, two minutes before departure. Brian checks in and races onto the plane. I commiserate with another breathless woman who just made the exact same mad dash to get HER kids on board. When the plane pulls away, I leave.
15:30 I finally get something to eat - orange juice and a bagel from Dunkin Donuts. It tastes amazing.
16:00 I get a call from Tickets.com that the Dixie Chicks concert in Greensboro has been canceled, and my awesome eighth-row-center ticket is no more.
16:05 Call Mom and complain.
16:15 Try to find Jesse and Roser, but can't; they've apparently checked in early and are already sitting at the gate.
16:30 Get a call from camp asking me to find a FedEx and ship Julian Orloff's bag. We go back and forth for a half hour, me trying to find an information desk and Georgia (at camp) trying to look up a location.
17:00 She calls back, and wants me to go all the way back to the parking lot, pay the fee, find my way out of the airport, find the FedEx building, then find my way back and pick up Jesse - who, again does not have a cell phone. Finally I snap and start crying over the phone, telling her it's been the longest day of my life, that I can't deal with anything else, and that it's not MY problem that someone ELSE put the wrong bag in my van.
17:05 Craig suggests that I take a cab. I take down the addresses and account info, then make the long trek to go get the bag.
17:30 I'm almost to the taxi door when Jesse appears - Roser's plane, wonder of wonders, has actually left early. We take the cab together, recounting the horror stories of our respective days.
17:40 We drop off the bag and head back to the airport.
17:55 We pay the parking fee and head to the car.
18:00 We're finally on the road - with Jesse driving this time, thank goodness. We have a really good conversation and discover that we're on the same wavelength about a lot of people at camp.
21:30 Arrive back at camp, return money to Craig, eat some scraps of leftover lobster and a Choco Taco, take a shower, and fall into bed exhausted - no staff party for me, thank you very much!

Now it's Sunday morning and I'm at Camp Laurel, which seems really good so far. After today, I'm going to be working in the office from 1pm to 10pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then I can leave any time I like on Friday to go to Boston. Any time I'm not working in the office, I'm free to do whatever I like - leave camp, use the counselor room (computers, TV, etc.), go swimming, etc. Seems like a good deal! Hope it really is as rosy as it seems...

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