. . . or two. Days that is, not lives. It all started yesterday. My nephew was packing up to leave for California to visit his mother on Easter break. I was sitting in my nice comfy chair in the living room. I’d just finished dinner and was contemplating going to Wal-Mart, when he walks in with a letter for me from school. We were having conduct trouble with him at school, nothing violent, just goofing off and not listening to the teachers. I figured this was a note from his homeroom teacher about the meeting I’d requested. But, no, it was a note for an in-school suspension because he had received his third F in conduct. That was definitely not cool, and with him leaving the next afternoon, there really wasn’t enough time to address it at home. The suspension was for the next day. His concern was about missing his flight to Cali. My concerned was about him eventually getting an out-of-school suspension and expelled. I explained to him that if he got kicked out of the nice private school he was in, the only other choice was public school, and he really wasn’t going to like that. He started looking a bit more concerned.
Come to this morning . . . I have the usual stack of kid papers to sign last minute. Then, as I was getting out the door, I remembered I had to print out his boarding pass. I was looking at the itinerary to see where he was flying into and out of . . . it didn’t look right . . . something was the matter . . . the leave date was Wednesday, April 4th . . . yesterday. Oh CR*P.
I started not to tell him, after all, he had to go be suspended, but I wound up telling him. Then I fussed at him some more about the suspension. I dropped all of the kids off, reached for my phone to tell my hubby and . . . no phone. My daughter, trying to be helpful, took my purse to the van this morning sans the phone. Double CR*P. I was going to have to go all the way back home to get it. All I wanted to do at that point was to get off of the road and go be quiet. I could live without my cell phone for one day. Off to work.
When I was almost to work, it suddenly dawned on me – I still had my nephew’s bags in the back of the van – they hadn’t been dropped off at my father’s house. Hell, at this point, it could all be moot. I headed for the quiet haven of my office to deal with all of this and, needing company in the madness, called my father and woke him up. GOOD MORNING! Welcome to my world!
My father got dressed and headed out to the airport to see what could be salvaged. In the mean time, my office started to get busy. I work in an ESL (English as a Second Language) office at a university, so it is not unusual for the people I deal with to speak little or no English. I speak little to nothing else but English and ‘Mandanese (the language of Amanda which all of my friends come to understand).
The first lady was from Taiwan who wanted to get her daughter into the country to learn English; hey, coolness, that’s exactly what we do. She and I had talked the day before - I just didn’t realize she was coming in IN the morning. She had been in the country for 23 years and spoke very good English. We looked over her documents, I made some documents of my own, made her copies of everything that I was sending to her daughter and explained what every piece of paper was for, all the while fielding calls from my father who was trying to get a flight to California the day before Good Friday. Yeah . . . right, good luck with that. No available flights leaving today . . . a flight leaving on Saturday, but coming back on the Monday school lets in (no way in Hell he was missing a day in school after being suspended) . . . nothing under $2000 . . . this just wasn’t working. He decided to go home and deal with it from there.
I wrapped up with my lady and got on the computer to see what flight information I could find. I immediately found a round trip flight for $587. Great! I called my father who turned around and headed back to the airport to book the flight. “It’s with Continental,” I told him. At that point, I think all of the running around and getting woken up abruptly was starting to get to him. “Can you get the ticket on line?” he asked. Luckily, I had just gotten paid the day before, so I actually had money in my checking account.
On Continental’s website, adults are listed as 12+. In the section under security, passengers must have a passport or picture ID. My nephew is 13. He doesn’t have either. When we had traveled with the kids before, security simply asked them their names and compared that with the boarding passes. The lack of ID was worrisome, so I called Expedia for more information. Expedia looked it up – apparently, we needed an original birth certificate and original social security card. Neither of which I had. Neither of which my sister had – she’d lost them. All I had were bad faxed copies and guardianship papers. I got the number for Continental and attacked them directly. My faxed copies were going to be okay, and oh-btw, it’s an extra $190 for an unaccompanied minor. Say what? Delta is only $65 . . . and, they needed the name, phone number, and address of the adult on the receiving end – great, more information to get.
Just when I thought I could stop, breathe, and catch up with myself, a little oriental grandmother was shown into my office complete with little hat; I motioned her to a chair. Keep in mind I have been up since 4am and from 5:45am til 10am, it has been total chaos and high energy - back and forth with my father, as he goes back and forth with my sister in Cali, and back and forth to the airport, then back and forth with me, in addition to the random, quickly handled, phone calls from other people. I still hadn’t had a chance to breathe yet.
I finished paying Continental their $190 “we won’t loose your kid” money. “I want learn Engrish,” says the grandmother. Okay. “What type visa do you have?” I ask slowly. She didn’t understand. I went to my immigration files, sat next to her and showed her a copy of someone’s visa. “Visa.” I point. “What kind?” She pats her purse, “I driver’s license.” I needed back up. “What country?” I asked. “Taiwan,” she says, all smiles. Goodie, we have some of those. I found phone numbers for two of our students that spoke good English. No answer at the first number, an answer at the second. I explained what was going on and asked if she could translate. About a half-hour and many passes of the phone later, the grandmother understood that she wouldn't be able to start until the next session in June. We alos set up a time next week when my student could come by the office and translate so the three of us could figure this out together.
Then came in two men, one from Uruguay and one from Bolivia, cousins, but they were easy to deal with.
Did I mention that I went to the union for lunch? I never go to the union to eat, that's where the students are in their thousands, all trying to eat at the same time. I hate freshmen with a passion - if you’re under 19, don't even try and talk to me. Unless I have met you on a personal basis, you're just one of the chittering horde.
The campus being empty due to spring break, I decide to brave the union. There are a few adults eating, minding their own business, it’s a quiet hum. Then the FIRE ALARM GOES OFF, complete with flashing lights and a recorded voice telling everyone to leave the building. So much for lunch.
Oh, and for the record, I can't get lj cut to work, so I don't want to hear any complaints about the length.
Oh, wait. It did work. Doh! As I said, welcome to my world.