Monday, October 22, 2007

Who said, “Third Time’s a Charm”?

“Why me? Why is it always me?” I flew Airtran for the first time on vacation two weeks ago – a connection flight out of Philadelphia to LA through Atlanta. Now I have experienced lost and/or delayed luggage before. I will admit…I go psycho! There is nothing worse than standing at the baggage claim belt….alone…then witnessing the luggage conveyor belt suddenly stop!

First, let us go back in time. I have lost my luggage twice before while flying U.S. Airways from Philadelphia to Indianapolis. Both times U.S. Airways delivered my 65 pound suitcase a day later to my door. Both times I went on a tirade of hysterics about my “stuff”. Please understand... to a single woman, her suitcase and her belongings are her life…Kind of like a mother and her child. So you see, when my suitcase gets…“kidnapped”, I panic. Waiting at the conveyor belt is like a mother anxiously awaiting for her child to come off the school bus. I’m sorry but that’s my best analogy.

Sunday’s return trip out of LAX began on a bad note. My $7.00 bottle of Banana Boat After Sun Lotion was confiscated by the TSA at the airport. The TSA woman opened my bag, pulled out the large pumped bottle and asked me. “Aren’t you aware of the carry-on rules? A little annoyed I replied, “It has a pump which doesn’t lock and I didn’t want to put it in my suitcase, so I carefully put it in my carry-on so that the lotion wouldn’t go all over my clothes” (looking for a little understanding – you know, woman to woman). She took my $7.00 bottle and re-zipped my bag shut. Ugh! I left thinking, oh yeah, I’m a real threat…me and my brand new, hardly used, Banana Boat lotion could somehow be part of a terrorist plot!...Why do they only make that lotion in a freaking pump? I was furious!

Standing alone at Airtran’s Conveyor Belt in Philadelphia, I realized my karma was undeniably bad when it comes to air travel. I immediately walked over to the Airtran lost luggage area to report a claim. Since there were 4 others there already, I made a major attempt to control my frustration. When it was my turn, the luggage lady didn’t have to say a word. I walked up and said, “Hi, I was on a connection flight from LAX through Atlanta and my luggage didn’t arrive here in Philly!” The woman took down all of the information off my luggage ticket and then showed me a piece of paper with 50 types of suitcases on it and asked me to pick which one was most like mine. (See, I told you it’s like missing a child…you have to identify both by a picture when lost). Then she asked, “What was inside the missing suitcase?” (Now this is like being asked what you’re child is wearing). I nervously tried to gather my emotional thoughts of my beloved suitcase and bolted out “tampons…., um, um….” (You might have thought I was on Family Feud answering "Things in a suitcase"!) Meanwhile my mother reacts because I said the word “Tampons” in public, and jumped in saying, “Tara, describe some of your identifiable clothes!” Finally focused I said “a bright blue dress is on top, and a black ¾ sleeve jacket”. Done. Later after 2-1/2 hours of waiting at the airport for the next flight in from Atlanta at 1 a.m., my 65 pound baby with the bright red ribbon came up the conveyor belt finding its way home and into my arms. I was so happy and so relieved!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Annie Oakley Wears Prada

By age 18, I had three must-dos for my life. One, to graduate from Indiana University…check. Two, perform on a Broadway Stage…(I was chosen as a volunteer "Speller finalist" in Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee last Spring)...check. And finally, to ride a horse…Check!

Last week my family went to Southern California for a vacation. We had a fabulous time! Adam and I were given a choice. We could visit the famous San Diego Zoo or go Horseback Riding. We both agreed to go Horseback Riding so off to Bright Valley Stables near San Diego…we went. It was a beautiful day (as it always is in So Cal) and perfect for fulfilling my final "must-do".

Our car stirred up the dusty trail to the stables. We all sat there for a moment all looking at each other like we were about to set off for the New World. The walk to the stables was interesting. I made my way up the dirt covered road to the stables on tip toes, strategically avoiding herds of horse poop that was…all over! Heaven forbid if I had that in the treads of my pretty new Nike's.

Since we were riding novices…they chose our horses accordingly. My mom (who hasn't ridden in 25 years) asked, "Do you maybe have a pregnant female horse that doesn't really feel like moving too fast?" In turn, they gave my mom a filly with a bad back!

My horse's name was Petey...I loved him! The four of us rode with our guide along trails, up and down hills and through woods. What a rush! Petey and I followed my brother, Adam and his horse, Olivia. Behind Petey and me it was my Mom on Moon and finally my Dad on McPhee. People back home wouldn't have believed it. Four Cherry Hill-ites on horses! It was so….I don't know….rural! Adam, of course, broke out in singing songs from Oklahoma. Not a surprise. He'll probably add horseback riding to his acting resume as a skill.

Once back at the coral, our guide snapped numerous pictures of us on our horses as well as beside them. The entire experience made for real family bonding. Totally fulfilled with life, I walked back down the dusty road to the car not giving the poop in the road a second thought. I was Cherry Hill's Annie Oakley…Poop in my Nike treads and all.