Leaving on a Jet Plane

This week has arrived and although I've been thinking about it and sorta preparing for it for a few weeks now, my anxiety has kicked in to overdrive every time I really sit down and think about it.

Jason and I are headed to Germany on Friday. I know, poor me, right. In all honesty I was not gung-ho about this trip. Jason has to go for business (since his last trip was cancelled after the flood) and he asked me to tag along with him. At first I said no. I just didn't think it would be a good idea. The kids are in school, they have busy sports schedules, homework is a royal pain in the ass and so on. It would be harder to go than to not.

After a few discussions with my mom, she said I had to go and she would come stay with the boys for the week. My dad reminded me that I may not get a chance to travel to Germany (at least not this cheap) again and I should take full advantage.

So Jason booked me a ticket and that was that, I was going to Germany.

We leave Friday and come home the following Saturday. Just long enough for my mom to be left to deal with basically two full weekends of hockey, baseball and a birthday party thrown in for good measure. She will be run ragged after a week of sweaty hockey pads with Joey and math homework with Jack. I just hope when it is all said and done she still loves her grandchildren and they still like her.

My parents left my sisters and I with my grandma (who was less than grandmotherly) when I was little to vacation and I hated them for leaving us with her. It was a week of her yelling at us to "get your feet off the davenport" when in reality none of us even knew what the hell a davenport was. She wasn't an overly affectionate woman and was definitely not the same as having our mom home with us. It was the longest week ever and although I was only 6 or 7 I remember that hell to this day.

In all fairness to my mom, she is not at all like my grandma in terms of her nurturing at all,  but she will nag the living daylights out of them, I'm sure. It's what mom's (and now grandma's) do. I also know she will take great care of them....even if they all want to kill each other by the time I return. My mom raised daughters and although she has spent tons of time with my boys, they are always surprising in only a way boys can be. (I have bets she falls in the toilet at least twice during the week due to the seat being left up.)

Speaking of returning...we have a slight technical difficulty with my passport. When the house flooded, both Jason and I had our passports stored in a bin in the basement. I found them when cleaning the basement out. They were stuck to the cement floor, covered in mud and obviously sopping wet. I cleaned them up the best I could and I laid them flat to dry. Then we planned this trip. My passport was wrinkly and a bit dirty, but you could read all the information and still see my picture enough to recognize it was me. I didn't think it was worth the few hundred dollars to replace it. Then I learned it had to be scanned....obviously I am not much of a traveler.

I was less than certain my passport would scan. It resembled a 10 year old dollar bill that had passed through a million hands, half a million vending machines and at least 50 wash cycles. I was confident you could read it, but scan it? Not very likely.

After calling some place in the city they suggested we drive downtown, pay $200 a piece, wait for god only knows how long and then hopefully get new passports. I was feeling like that was a bad idea since we leave on Friday and what if they told us they were no good and we couldn't get new ones in time...and honestly I am cheap (and did not want to fight traffic downtown, yadda, yadda, yadda.) We decided to instead drive to O'Hare (much closer to our house) to see if they would scan.

Jason dropped me at the United curb and inside I met Gil, a manager at the United counter. He was incredibly nice to me and he scanned Jason's first. It scanned with no problems. Then he tried mine (admittedly, mine was in much worse shape than Jason's) and no bueno. It would not scan. He tried 5 scanners before getting it to scan, once. He told me I could look for him on Friday and since it was obvious I hadn't defaced it and the information and numbers were still legible, he would get me on the plane to Germany.

I was just about to hug him when Gil uttered the word....But. But what? I thought. He then explained that he could get me out of the country, but he could not guarantee they would let me home. Whaaaa?? Obviously me getting home is a crucial step in the logistics of this trip. I have to get home...I am freaking out about leaving! I will be dying to get home to my babies!  Gil explains that hopefully they will enter the information in manually if it won't scan in Germany, but again there are no guarantees. There is the chance that they won't let me on my flight and I will be detained until they can run further security information on me and I get "clearance" back in to the US. I just went from a US citizen taking a vacation with a wet passport to being detained waiting for clearance....holy shit. I then explain to Gil that I will be bawling my damn head off if they won't let me go home because I have kids to get home to and ohmygod, what if they keep me there and surely they will see me crying and realize I really need to go home....and while I am rambling on, Gil calmly places his hand on my arm and explains that trying to get through customs into the US is not like getting out of a speeding ticket. He simply said, "they could care less if you cry." When did Americans become such a-holes, people. A crying mother detained waiting for clearance to get home to see her children and they could care less? Geez...tough crowd.

So here's the deal. I'm leaving on a jet plane on Friday and everyone needs to pray to the sweet baby Jesus that I get home the following Saturday. I do not eat meat, or any type of schnitzel product or kraut, I don't drink beer and my figure would not look good in a Drindl. I do not belong in Germany! Jason has already informed me he will leave me there if I get detained. As if my anxiety was not already kicked up a notch worrying about my kids for a week...now I have the worry of leaving them motherless, with their father. Pray for me!

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