Thursday, June 16, 2005

Meet my Maine Weather Pixie

Did you notice I have two weather pixies on my blog? Confusing, no? One, the redhead of course, tells the weather for St. Louis. Those numbers will probably be high all summer. The other pixie, the brown-haired girl, symbolizes Mabel, the daughter who lives in Maine for the summer. She coaches lacrosse and field hockey all summer at a camp for rich girls. It was apparent 2 summers ago that, in order to stay alive and not strangle my older daughter, she could not live at home during the summers after spending the school year at college. Don't get me wrong. We adore each other. We are best friends. We are funny together and have a blast. We are also so much alike that harm would come to 1 or both of us if we lived together too long in cramped quarters. So last year I helped find her a job as a camp counselor in Maine. The opportunities were and remain endless. First, free room and board. Second, free air fare to Maine. She also escorts girls back and forth from various locations. Third, there are weekend trips to locations in Maine that she would never ever get to otherwise so why not take advantage of it. Fourth, it's outdoors and glorious weather. (See Maine weather pixie!) Fifth, it's with teen girls which will prepare Mabel for her teaching career. Sixth, she has met some fabulous people. Seventh, she has learned to pack her entire life (including linens, towels, pillows) into 2 pieces of luggage, a skill she might need in the future. I miss her terribly, but it's for our own goods.

So yesterday her plane left at 6:38 from the St. Louis airport. Last year, when I we were younger and crazier, we stayed up all night until we left for the airport at 5. But this year, we took a cat nap beforehand. We both looked and felt shot at and missed and shit at and hit. Mabel didn't start packing until 10 o'clock the night before. Way to procrastinate, Mabe! I drifted off (after many commands from HRH) around 2AM and got a 2 hour nap. Mabel drifted off around 3 for an hour nap. Got the car packed and away we went. Now, in my defense, has anyone else noticed that they have changed things at the St. Louis airport? I am really good at the "kiss and park" places, but I had to park so as not to kick Mabel out of the car with a kiss. I followed the signs and made it to the garage parking attendant who stopped me to check my SUVette for bombs. He waved me on, and I proceeded OUT of the parking lot instead of through the turnstiles to collect the ticket. Hey, what do you expect? It was 5 o'clock in the friggin A of M. By following the signs, I was soon heading to downtown St. Louis or Kansas City, with no chance of getting back to the garage parking. And I'm not making this up. We found another entrance, the one I was more familiar with, and can you believe it was cordoned off with a "Closed until 6AM" sign attached to the yellow crime scene tape. Back on the highway to find my way into the airport. Minutes ticking away. Now we are racing the clock while I find the airport attendant again at the parking garage who just waved me on, having waited 1/2 hour for me to return. He didn't even stop me to look for bombs, figuring that I didn't have an opportunity to pick up a terrorist while driving around the airport to find him again. This time I drove left, not right and found the turnstile that would barf out the ticket. I parked.

Now how to get to the terminal. Of course, we took the wrong escalator and landed too low. Then we found an elevator that would get us to the terminal because she had to check in her luggage. As we stood on one side of the airport peering into the terminal side, we saw that there was no way across the "park and kiss" lanes so we had to find another level to arrive on. It was madness. I was making Mabel carry her own luggage to prove she could be independent, and she was weighed down with a hikers' backpack and a huge suitcase on wheels with all of her linens. Finally, she was walking at a snail's pace and yelling, "Now that we know I can be fucking independent, can you help wheel this suitcase??" Fine. We got into the terminal and it's barely an hour before the plane leaves and the lines is snaking to check out. This kind security guard explained that we could do the self check-in which was terrific. Done. And then we waited for the personnel to take her luggage. Sorry, it can't take her backpack because of all the straps and all the rollers on the luggage carrier. So we had to stand in line where the conveyer belt is rollerless. We stood behind 5 Tibetan monks in gold "sheets." They had lovely smiles and obviously spoke no English and had massive amounts of what appeared to be very heavy luggage. I said to Mabel, "Who knew those sheets weighed that much?" Now we were giggling, not AT them, but at the morning's capers and my sheet comment. I hope I didn't set our countries' relation back 1000 years.

We took the escalator down and saw the huge line to the scanners. Who knew the airport was this crazy at 5:45 in the morning? We went to a bagel/donut place for breakfast and grabbed a sweet roll just like we did last year (when we stayed up all night and were much calmer and controlled). It's now going on 6 and could easily take Mabel 30 minutes to get through that line so she grabbed the sweet roll and we ran to the line. As she looks up, there are the gold sheeted monks right in front of her. We dodged the bullet when they looked up with their round-faced smiles. We hugged and yelled, "I love you" to each other as I left for the up escalator to snake back in reverse to find my car. Luckily, I had been chanting Green C, Green C the whole morning so I could remember where I parked. I drove home with little traffic beside me and crashed. Well, I read the paper and drank and Diet Coke and then crashed.

Mabel called from Boston to tell me she made it there and then from her camp in Maine to tell me she made it there. She said it was 50 degrees last night so I got the weather pixie to let me know how cold it is in Maine. I already miss her. It's best this way. We adore each other much more with several states in between us.


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