December 11, 2011


we're home
LUCKY to have made it home! we almost didn't make it thru TSA security checkpoint at oakland airport...and nearly had a heart attack as a result!

note to self: ALWAYS travel with passports

we handed over our nexus cards to the officer at the security checkpoint...just like we've done 1,000 times before.

security says, "i need to see your passports."

"UMMMMM....we don't have them."

security grimaces, shakes his head and authoritatively states, "i'm sorry i can't let you thru with just your nexus pass."

i nearly dropped dead on the spot...visions of the plight of tom hanks character in the movie Terminal streamed through my head. my stomach took a nose dive and i am pretty sure the pounding of my heart was volatile enough to cause seismic shifting in the tectonic plates beneath my feet. 

my ghostly white husband stuttered, "we don't have our passports. ummm, my wife and i have our driver's licenses...but nothing for the kids. would that suffice?"

as if echoing through some long tunnel came the same reply, "i can't let you through. i need secondary PICTURE ID for EVERYONE. nexus is not enough."

at this point, my faintness was quickly replaced with extreme irritation, forget seismic tremors, dark, thunderous clouds were booming above me now.

"SINCE WHEN?" i huffed, "this has never been an issue before and we fly out of this airport every 3 months. as a matter of fact, for the last 8 flights we've been rather abruptly told to put our passports away because they are NOT necessary because we have nexus." 

totally brazen, i know, right? but i was parlaying between panicked desperation and P-O'd incredulousness.

then i figured i better temper my irritation with an air of demurely, pleading desperation. so i turned my big, teary blue eyes on him and pathetically stared him down.

and graham quietly added, "um, we just flew in 5 days ago. nexus was acceptable then, has something changed?"

finally, he took pity on us. "ok. fine. i'll let it slide this time. obviously, there are some consistency issues with the TSA. just make sure you travel with passports from now on."

we passed thru the rest of the security screening without incident. what a relief...after that, i was worried... 

we finally made it to our gate - only to find out our flight would be delayed an hour and we couldn't access the airport wi-fi! argh! but at least we made it home.

yes. home suite home. i meant to use "suite" not "sweet". that was an intentional misspell and not the result of my lyme brain (albeit we had one epic lyme brain fail moment on this trip)

homewood suites is the hotel we stayed in. it is our home away from home. this was a second stay in california. we accidentally stumbled upon this amazing chain of hotels this summer. we had appts scheduled in seattle with DR D...and had tagged them onto the tail end of our holiday on whidbey island. which meant that we expected we'd have the dog with us therefore we had to book a dog friendly hotel.

with some research, graham found the homewood suites. it ended up being an AWESOME discovery! 
the rates were decent and included breakfast and it is a "suite" hotel. suite = more space... space for meds. space from kids :). additionally, they have a pool. they have a hot tub. they have a grilling area. they even have bball courts. they serve fresh baked cookies EVERYDAY at 3pm. the one in california is in SJ  - which is always at least 10 degrees warmer than SF. it has AMAZING staff. and it ended our somewhat fun yet somewhat stressful on line priceline bidding. 

we jumped for joy during our first seattle stay - when we discovered that the rate included breakfast AND supper. we couldn't believe it. aside from the great ammenities, it was incredibly cost effective. a bonus was that it meant graham got a break from cooking. we were hooked and we were so thrilled with our stay that we decided we'd look for one in the SF area. 

we found a homewood suites in SJ and booked a room for our august visit. we arrived and we were incredibly disappointed to be checked into a SUPER SMALL room... like "i'm breathing down your neck" teeny tiny small and NO storage - given the staggering amount of meds and supplies we travel with there was no way to "make" it work.

5 days worth of IV supplies
i went back to the front and asked the gal if there was a room that was a bit bigger. i explained the configuration of the room we had had in seattle and explained we had thought that that was what we had booked for at this hotel. she was so helpful and said, "no problem, i know exactly what you are talking about and yes we have that same kind of room here. i'll change rooms for you."

she went on to say that a room was available but it was still being cleaned, so we wouldn't be able to check in right away.

"oh, no prob." i said. 

it really wasn't. i was just so grateful and relieved they could put us in a bigger room. it was time for parker's next dose of IV...but hulloooo, i've done ivs in airports, airplanes and just about everywhere under the sun. certainly setting up shop in a hotel lobby didn't phase me in the least.

IV in the car
but i figured it could alarm the hotel staff. so i said, "hey, my son's due for his next dose of IV. i'm just gonna set up shop here but just so you know - it is all needle-less and not bloody in the least. just want you to know so as not to alarm you."

guess that alarmed her. it was really NO BIG DEAL to me. honestly. and it is so normal to us, i guess we forget how abnormal it really is!

IV at in-n-out
"OH no!" she said, "let me see if something is available now."

"really this is NO BIG DEAL" i said. "we do this all the time and in less than appealing places, i might add! your lobby is lovely. there is coffee. there are cookies. this is super."

she didn't even look up as she frantically clicked away, eyes fastened on her computer screen.

"oh, look!" she gasped in sheer relief, "there is a room available. i can upgrade you for free - it's a 2 bedroom, is that okay?"

"is that okay? are you kidding me? that's awesome!!" i could hardly believe my ears

in short order, i had a room key in hand and we were off to check out our new digs. 
i opened the door to room 304 and proceeded to skip, dance and tra-la-la-la my way thru the spacious suite. 2 bedroom, 2 full bathrooms, living room, kitchen AND 3 flat screen tvs. i thought i'd died and gone to heaven. the kids thought i was certifiable again.

we were so thrilled and so grateful that we bought the front desk girl flowers.

at dinner that night, the hotel manager, doyle, came by and introduced himself. (probably curious about who that family, with the copious amount of drug paraphernalia, was that had checked in to rm 304. ha ha.)

he introduced himself. we chatted. he asked if we were there on vacation.

um. no. medical reasons.

and thus our story was told.

"how often do you come?" he asked
every 3 months we said.

"here's my business card. you call me before your next visit. i'd like to help you out with accommodations on your next visit."

that is how we found ourselves back at our home away from home again.

a couple of weeks ago, graham gave doyle the manager a call. he let him know we would be back and booked a 1 bedroom because that is what we can afford. we had no expectations.

last monday afternoon, we arrived at homewood suites
there was doyle on the steps.
ready to greet us and check us in.

front desk clerk smiled at graham and said
"wow, you know your somebody when the manager checks you in"

despite the fact that we had booked a 1 bedroom, doyle gave us a 2 bedroom at a rate that is even less than a 1 bedroom. how astounding! we were blown away - in fact he even gave us "our room" again - #304. 

once again, i found myself skipping, dancing and tra-la-la-laing my way through our home suite home(wood)

thank you God for doyle and our home away from home.


Kathy said...

There really are wonderful people in the world. So glad you ran into one of them. Tra La La La La. :)

LizS said...

This makes me very happy......which is more than most of your posts :). Glad to read this trip went so well, especially given your visit to Bcch today