Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What I Learned From Watching The Amazing Race

Originally, my plans for Monday, if I didn't find a house were to go letterboxing and geocaching to help me get to know the areas around Phoenix better.  If I did find a house, I planned to meet with a lender either in person or over the phone before leaving for the airport.  However, it got to be nearly 11:00 AM and my real estate agent still hadn't contacted me with a list of lenders.  I was just about to call her, when she called me and informed me that she sent the information to me in an email early that morning, and she discovered just then that the email didn't go through.  So, she gave me the information over the phone.

I called the lender at two different numbers and he didn't pick up, so I left a message, assuming he wasn't working on a holiday.  He called back an hour later just when I was checking out of my hotel.  He told me that he and his partner are in a meeting until 1:00 or 1:30 PM and would call me then.  In the meantime, he wanted me to fill out a home loan application on the Internet.  I explained that because I had to check out of my hotel, I no longer had Internet access.  He said he'd call me in an hour and fill out the application over the phone.

I went to a restaurant and had my usual problem of being ignored by the waitress.  She apologized profusely when she realized her error.  She said, "I just didn't see you sitting there."  It's that invisibility cloak haunting me again.  When I need some attention, people look right past me and when I want my privacy, people stare at me.  It never fails.  Anyway, because of the delay, I was worried that the lender would phone while I was in this busy restaurant and I wouldn't be able to hear him, so I wolfed down my meal in record time and found a quiet place on campus to wait for my phone conference. Apparently, I ate my meal too fast, because I almost threw up. 

I couldn't stay there long, because the restaurant would tow away my vehicle if it sat in their lot for too long, and I didn't have a permit to park on the university campus.  I waited and waited and waited until I thought I had better at least sit in my car, so that it won't get towed.  I waited and waited and waited there.  A parking enforcement officer came around and eyed me suspiciously, so I drove down the road to a McDonald's and used their restroom.  I sat in my car there and waited for the guy to call.  Nothing.  I called him and said that I needed to hit the road and head for the airport, and I won't be able to pick up the phone, so please leave a message on my phone with his email address so that I could get my husband to communicate with him and email him what he needs to get the process going.  I was in a hurry to get set up with a loan because I've had several houses bought right out from underneath me this weekend and I didn't want to lose this one.

I had written down the directions back to the car rental center based on what I saw on the map, but ended up getting totally lost. The whole time I was driving around, my mobile phone was ringing and people were leaving messages, but I couldn't pick up.  I needed to concentrate on that crazy city driving.  Eventually, I found some car rental return signs and followed them to the place.  When I got there, I couldn't find a single slip to park in.  I had to do a lot of weird maneuvering to just try to get the car out of the aisle and all these people kept swarming around my car so that I couldn't move it.  I finally just jumped out with my bags and left it there partially in the aisle, because I had to catch my plane.

Before heading for the shuttle from the car rental place to the airport, I stopped to listen to my messages.  One of them was from the lender's partner.  It was this snooty voice saying, "You left a message on my husband's phone.  We'd love to help you, but we don't have your email address.  Without that, we can't send you a list of what we need.  In the meantime, go to our website and start filling in an application like everyone else does."

I wanted to scream.  Had the man simply returned my call instead of passing it off onto his wife, I wouldn't have been given the runaround, because he already knew that I didn't have Internet access.  The next message was from the man, giving me his email address, which is what I originally asked for.  The next message was from my husband, worried that I was going to miss my plane.  I told him I was going to forward this text message with the guy's email to him, so he could start work on the home loan process.  After I hung up, I discovered that my phone won't let me forward text messages.  It would have taken too long for me to write it down and call him back or re-type it into a text message for my husband, so I gave up.  Too many screw ups.  If it's meant to be, things will go smoothly.  Something must not be right about this house for us, because God sure wasn't helping make it happen.

I just needed a few seconds to sit and breathe, and when I looked up, there was this man about 20-yards away from me just staring at me.  I stared back at him wearily waiting for him to tell me what he wanted.  Then it hit me.  He and I were the only ones in this long corridor, and I thought I might have -- not totally sure here -- but it's very, very possible that with all the digestive upset of having to wolf down that meal, I might have farted out loud and it ECHOED.  Oh well, I'll never see him again, so who cares.

I walked outside to catch the shuttle and nearly fainted.  There were over 200 people in line waiting for a free ride to the airport just in the line to my terminal alone.  There were hundreds in other lines as well.  I got in my line and talked with the lady in front of me.  She said that Phoenix has the worst lines for shuttles and security, so you have to get to the airport about four hours in advance.  At my airport in Reno, you only need to be there an hour early.  I asked her when her flight leaves.  She said about 7:00 PM.  I said that my flight leaves about 6:35 PM, and asked if she thought I was make it.  She said, "Barely."

Something told me to double-check my departure time, and again I nearly fainted.  I must have read my itinerary six times and every time I read the departure time as being 6:35 PM, but that was actually the time I would arrive in Reno!  My plane was taking off at 5:45 PM.  I ran into the car rental center and begged someone to call me a cab.  She said they don't allow cabs up into the shuttle area.  I said, "Well, I need some help, because there is no way I can make my plane with those lines out there for the shuttles."

The lady finally agreed to call a cab for me, but I had to meet it down in the visitor parking lot.  As I was running out the door, she yelled out that he'd be there in 15 minutes!  I almost told her to forget it.  That wasn't fast enough.  I could probably run to the airport faster.  But I started praying and ran to the visitor parking lot.  About 5 minutes later a cab showed up.  The driver said, "Are you Lisa?"

I contemplated saying yes, but didn't want to stiff Lisa.  I said, "No, I'm not Lisa, but I do need a taxi."

(I'm dating myself here, but remember that old song that goes, "I'm not Lisa.  My name is Julie.  Lisa left you years ago.  My eyes are not blue, though they may see you...")

He said, "Well, Lisa's not here and you are.  Do you want a ride?"

I said, "The problem is that I'm waiting for another cab that someone already called for me."

He said, "I'm here now.  Do you want a ride or not?"

I decided that he must be the answer to my prayer, so I said yes.  As soon as we drove off, my mobile phone rang.  It was the other taxi cab driver introducing himself to me via text and telling me he's leaving now.  I quickly texted him back and said, "cancel, please".  He texted me back and said, "will do.  thank you."

My driver dropped me off right next to the sky cab for my airline.  I didn't even want to bother with going inside the building and seeing how long the lines were.  Unfortunately, the computers were slow at the sky cab.  I kept pressing the touch screen and it wasn't responding.  It took me five minutes to type in my first name.  After about ten minutes of punching buttons and having nothing show up on screen, I screamed for help.  The man helped me finish out the transaction, and then I had to wait another five minutes for the printer to print out my baggage tag and receipt.  I could feel my chest constricting like I was going to have a heart attack.

The sky cab pointed me in the direction I needed to go and told me to run.  I got to the security checkpoint, and there was about one hundred people in line.  Now I was just plain nauseated.  I was sweating and shaking all over, and people in line kept staring at me.  I prayed again, and this security guard stepped up and began yelling instructions to people on how to get everything ready so that they can get through the line faster.  One of the things he said was that if you have a water bottle and do not take it out of your bag, your bags will have to be searched, which will cause more delay for everyone.  I realized that I did have a water bottle in my bag (I think everybody in Arizona does) that I had meant to throw out before going through security.

The security guard was barking off orders like a military commander, and people were running through security.  It was awesome.  When I got up to him, I thanked him for speeding things up.  He smiled really big and leaned into me and started telling me about all the reasons why things move so slowly in an International hub.  Different cultures, different languages, different rules...  While he was chatting with me about his job, I freaked out and said, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to miss my plane.  I've got to go."

I grabbed my ID and ticket and ran, remembering to take my water bottle out of my bag and telling the officer to toss it for me.  Of course, my shoelaces had to get tied in knots while I tried to remove my shoes.  Still so many things were going wrong.  I didn't think I'd make it.  Once I had my shoes back on and everything gathered together, I ran down the corridors, and wouldn't you know it?  My plane was at the furthest gate from the security checkpoint.  It felt like I was running forever, and my phone was ringing the whole time I was running.  My heart was pumping out of my chest.  Sweat was pouring down my face.  I reached the gate just as they were loading the last few passengers.  Whew!

I did feel bad about stealing someone else's taxi, but that's the best strategy I learned from watching "The Amazing Race".  Had I not done that, I would have missed the plane.

Of course, because I was sweaty from all that running, I had to be assigned a middle seat on the freakin' plane.  Sigh.  I had a large man to my right and a petite high school soccer player to my left.  On top of smelling like a pig, my digestive upset caught up with me.  I completely lost control of my bowels.  Gas bubbles were burbling all around.  I made sure that the ventilation air was blowing on me to cool me down and keep everything circulating, but that was all I could do to help my poor victims.  The girl pulled a hoodie up over her head and curled up into the fetal position, trying to get as far away from me as possible.  The man just kept nervously looking at me.

Eventually, they both fell asleep.  Each time we hit turbulence, an air bubble popped.  I wanted to die.  I also wanted to go to the bathroom, but couldn't wake up the man next to me who was blocking my path to relief.  If the plane tipped to the right, I farted.  If it tipped to the left, I farted.  Nose up -- fart.  Nose down -- fart.  It was a nightmare for me, but fortunately it was odorless air bubbles and everyone around me was sleeping.  I made the mistake of thinking that perhaps some ginger ale would settle my stomach, but all it did was force the air out both ends, and I started belching out loud, despite my best efforts to stifle it.  The plane was stuffed to the gills, so it wasn't like I could move somewhere else.

Fortunately, it was a short flight.  When I got home I felt like I could breathe again.  I'm sure everyone felt like they could breathe again.  Arizona was really super crowded because of all the tourists trying to get warm in the winter, and we haven't had as many tourists as usual in Nevada this winter, because we don't have much of a snow pack for skiers.  

So, we never did get our home loan approval, but all I can do is pray that no one else will put an offer on the house in the meantime, and if they do, I guess it's just not meant to be.  Now that my husband has to return to work, things are going to have to move much slower, because we will have to wait for him to get home at the end of each day to sign papers.  It was unfortunate that other people's schedules could not have worked with mine.

One thing I forgot to mention about the house across from State land that didn't have a gate to get through to ride on is that when I walked around the corner of the storage shed, I ran right smack into the neighbors, who were all standing behind it spying and eavesdropping on my comments about the house along with the homeowner.  It was shocking to be in all that open space and then discover half a dozen people hiding behind the shed.  It reminded me too much of my current neighbors always hiding behind my barn to spy and eavesdrop on me.  That's another reason why I lost interest in that house.


Mikey said...

Airports are always the worst. I have a pathological fear for flying, so I haven't in years, but I do remember having that exact same problem you had, lol. It was horrible.
Hope you find something soon. I guess people are just nosy everywhere.

lytha said...

nuzzling muzzles, keepin' it real!

this is why i love your blog. you keep this blog as a journal of your life, and don't worry about if topics are attractive or not. you are honest and life is not always lovely, so you say it how you experience it.

have you ever read martha stewart's blog? go there if you want a dose of the opposite. ugh!

it takes courage to be honest while blogging, and talk about negative emotions. it seems like everytime i do, i get in trouble and told to suck it up. *sigh*

oh, and i cannot believe how long you have to be at the airport before your flight, a local flight! we only need 2 hours to come overseas. 4 hours for Phoenix?! my husband just said, "That's something!"

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sorry to hear you had such a hard time getting to your plane. And I don't mean to make light of your troubles but it was pretty hilarious too. Now that it's over and you're home I hope things work out for you and your gas problems are solved!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Of course, everyone has permission to laugh. I put the humor in for your benefit.

C-ingspots said...

After an extremely stressful morning here at the clinic, you've just given me reason to laugh out loud. Thank you so much!! And, I can totally relate to a lot of it! It's just hilarious reading it and not having to experience it firsthand. Sure hope you find your dream home soon...but you're so right about relaxing about it because if it's meant to be, it will happen against any and all odds. :) Thanks again, I really needed something to smile about.

Dreaming said...

I was getting antsy worrying about time just by reading your blog. Man... I hate it when I feel so pressed for time and eat too fast, and then begin to fret!
Poor you!
I hope things work out - fingers are crossed!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Never heard of it taking 4 hours here in Phoenix, but I don't fly out that often. Last time was about 5 years ago? Usually 1-2 hours is plenty of time.

Good thing you didn't just have a carry on! Lugging that and running like hell to the gate- sucks.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cut-N-Jump - I was just reading a Master Plan for AJ and it looks like the population exploded in your area in the past 5 years. Plus with it being a holiday weekend, the airport was a zoo. I was there 2 hours early and almost missed my plane. I actually had my purse, a backpack carry on, and a rolling suitcase while I was running.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Lytha said pretty much exactly what I was going to say about keeping it real. This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to visit your blog year after year...and well, because I consider you a friend, too. :)

Phoenix is a huge crazy busy airport. Albuquerque is the complete opposite. Much smaller, more laid back, and quick and easy to get to the gates and car rentals and parking. Rarely ever any traffic. I drive there almost every week to either pick up or drop off John so he can fly to Phoenix to work at the airport. Ironic isn't it? lol!


appydoesdressage said...

I haven't flown in years, my business trips died down right around the time things were getting really crazy with security. How horrible.

For a home lender, I would strongly recommend calling a local credit union in the area and trying to set up a loan that way. When I was moving out of state I was getting the run around from all three of the lenders recommended by the realtor. I called a few credit unions, went with the one who I liked the sound of best and it was a super easy transaction. Good luck!

Stephanie said...

OMG!!!! You had me laughing out loud, as i sit in the airport waiting for my flight with people now staring at me! Thank You, i needed that :)

Glad you made it safe and sound and wishing you the BEST OF LUCK on the house hunt! You really do deserve it.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Don't be surprised of the Master Plan includes pushing horse owners out altogether. QC exploded in growth back in 2003.

When we found our place it was the fastest growing spot in the nation. Our place was on the market 2 days when we put the offer on it. Things were selling that fast then, long before the stupid bubble. Our area also was part of the "Drive until you qualify" growth spurt. Oh yippee.

I kept forgetting about the holiday. I had to work, so to me- it wasn't a holiday.

achieve1dream said...

Aww that's the reason I won't bolt my food anymore lol. I would rather go hungry hehe. Sorry the flight was so awful. I avoid planes if at all possible lol.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed you get the house!!!!