RM and I left last Friday for a week in Canada — specifically, Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria for our summer vacation away from the heat of Texas (still hot here when we came back – what is up with that?). Just the two of us. It started out a little rocky. We arrived at DFW airport with just the right amount of time to get bags checked, through security and on the plane. O.K., we cut the time a little too close but RM keeps telling me we don’t need to arrive three hours before the flight because the process has so improved with faster security and on boarding. I reluctantly agreed to cool my jets and go with his flow this time. We were holding hands going up the escalator to the Alaska Airlines check in, feeling lucky and relaxed. We had parked at the south express parking lot and arrived at the terminal lickety-split. We saw a family with two young children, lugging car seats, diaper bag, toys, kid food and fodder and had secretly winked at each other like…”remember those days? fun but aren’t you glad we don’t have to deal with all of that when we travel now and we just take care of ourselves for a change”. We checked in with the electronic device, tagged our bags and were proceeding to security when RM did his classic clinch move that alerts a wife of 30 years that something major is up with her spouse. He stops in his tracks and says “where is my backpack?” I gave him my classic “what you talkin bout willis look” He says, “I left it in the back seat of the car.” So I say with my calm this is not a crisis voice, “so what is in the backpack that we can’t replace in Seattle?” He ran through a list quickly…book, Aleve, ear plugs, extra jacket, and then… passport. RM sprang into action and said, “you go on without me, I am going back for my backpack.” So I did go on, in my best stiff upper lip way, made it through security in 20 minutes, and walked to our gate. RM had 40 minutes to get back to car, retrieve backpack, get through security, and then to the gate. I know he can make it, I said to myself. He managed to flag down the remote south bus, commandeer it just for his needs (no stopping for anyone else all they way to our car and back to the terminal), suavely talking his way through security, taking long strides down the terminal to the gate to find me waiting nervously, last in the line snaking through the loading tube, a cold ice tea in my hand just for him (I knew he would be thirsty), waiting for our turn to enter the airplane fuselage and find our seats. We were the last two on the plane but we were together. While calm on the outside, I was so relieved to see my man and his yellow LL Bean backpack coming toward me that day at Terminal E.
So crisis averted, we enjoy the nearly four-hour flight to Seattle, land without crashing and head to the baggage claim area around 4 p.m. Seattle time. My bag popped out onto the carousel but no RM’s and there were several other passengers with that same lost look on their faces as they too realize their bag was not one of the ones spinning around the luggage loop. We traipsed down the terminal to Alaska Airline customer service and wait with all the other luggage losers. After much clicking on computer keys and quiet conversations between the staff, it was announced that several bags missed the Seattle flight and were sent instead to Portland and would arrive overnight. RM had worn shorts, shirt and flip-flops on the flight and we had reservations at a lovely Seattle restaurant for 7 p.m. that evening. The agent said that they would reimburse him for the clothes he needed until his bag arrived. So instead of exploring Pike’s Market we head to a Men’s Wearhouse (MW is what RM and I call it) located near our hotel. RM gets all his nice clothes from MW as they understand the psyche of freakishly tall man who hates to shop for clothes. RM tells the salesperson that he has one hour to get him proper attire to wear to a nice Seattle restaurant. To tell the truth, RM could have worn the casual airplane outfit to the restaurant and no one would have minded. Seattle is relaxed that way. You can drop a couple hundred bucks on a dinner and eat in your birthday suit for all they care. But not RM. This is a man who showers before taking me to the hospital to deliver a baby or who must change his clothes into something nicer before going to the emergency room to have life saving stitches.
The MW sales man pranced about finding RM a beautiful pair of slacks, ice blue dress shirt, three pair of socks (they only come in sets of three), briefs, and brown shoes that complimented one another very nicely. Nice sales bonus for sales guy, nice outfit for RM. The slacks had to be hemmed on the premises. Finding clothes for RM is always a challenge but MW staff loves the kind of challenge equal to styling the Jolly Green Giant (Cha-ching,Cha-ching). The final bill topped $500. RM looked so handsome in his new duds and we went on to have a lovely evening with my Aunt Myrna and cousin Deanna noshing on seafood and catching up on Hauck family news. The whole evening both RM and I are thinking, ” there is no way Alaska Airlines will reimburse him for that amount? Will they?” The hemming of the pant legs alone was $80, the socks were complimentary. At four a.m. the next morning, the lost bag arrived at our Holiday Inn Express and we left town with it to cross the border into Canada and Vancouver and the real start to our vacation. The rest of the trip went off without any hitches, no problems with reservations or accommodations. We both remarked how great the beds were at all three hotels and the showers were tolerable; at least better than London.
Eight days later we are back in the Seattle airport terminal headed for home. RM stops by the customer service desk to share his MW receipts with the agent. He fills out a form, attaches the receipt, comments on the deal RM got on the socks, cuts him a check, and thanks him for flying Alaska Airlines. It was a great vacation, RM came home with a nice outfit and as always we learned lots about traveling in the process. Did I tell you we say a gam of wales off the deck of our ferry? — priceless. And the inside of an awesome MW in Seattle. Happy travels to you and yours.