Sunday, May 27, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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My youngest daughter, Jamie, will be coming out for a good part of the summer next Wednesday so I have just ten days to prepare myself for having another teenager in the house. Double the food consumption, double the computer usage, double the water bill, double the amount of dirty laundry, double the looks of teenage angst & despair when told we don’t have the money to do something … I suspect the list could go on and on but I’m pretty sure I can suck it up and deal with it for the 7-1/2 weeks that Jamie will be here before moving to her new home in Florida.

For the past three years, she has lived in Kentucky with her father and step-mother (some of you may be familiar with the story) but her Dad recently transferred within the company he works for to another job in the Tampa/St. Pete area. When Jamie leaves here this summer she will be going to a completely new home in a completely new place. She’ll be starting her high school career knowing absolutely no one else at whatever school she ends up at but she tells me that she’s looking forward to it. Jamie has always been the most adventurous of my children so I’m sure she’ll have no problems adjusting and making new friends.

The change of locale and impending move lent itself to an adventure of a different sort when it came to making plane reservations to get Jamie out here for the summer. Due to financial constraints, she wasn’t able to come out for Christmas this past year (some of you may be familiar with that story) so there was no way that I was not going to figure out some way to get her out here this summer. The biggest problem came in trying to determine whether she was flying here from Kentucky or Florida and, for the longest time, her father wasn’t able to give me an answer on that one as he just wasn’t sure himself.

First he said that Jamie could drive down to Florida with her stepmother in mid-June and then fly up from there but after some negotiating it was finally decided that she could fly out from Kentucky after her 8th-grade graduation and then fly down to Florida at the end of her visit with us. After that was established, we entered into “time negotiations” with her father stating that she could only come out from June 6th to July 14th. This seemed like a fairly paltry amount of time in my book but he seemed pretty adamant about it stating that she needed time to register in her new school, etc. I didn’t like it but I could see some of his reasoning.

After finally having a confirmation on her departure city and date, I then began the “fun” task of combing the internet for what I hoped might be a reasonably priced one-way fare. Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Yahoo Travel, Booking Buddy … the number of websites that one can go to is just as mind-boggling as the number of airlines! My eyes were beginning to cross as my mind was going numb {insert headache here} when I was finally able to find a dirt-cheap flight on Delta Airlines. Trust me when I say “dirt-cheap” as the actual price of the ticket is LESS than the cost of the unaccompanied child charge. Can someone please tell me what is wrong with this picture {insert look of confusion here}.

Because Jamie is returning to a different city I didn’t book her return trip at the same time as I wanted to take a little extra time and see what available options we had going in that direction. Fortunately, Southwest Airlines offers non-stop service from both Providence and Hartford to Tampa and they don’t charge an unaccompanied child fee over the age of 11. Oh happy day {insert dance of joy here}! I saw a couple possibilities that looked quite do-able but I still hesitated in booking her return flight as I was hoping that her Dad might relent a little and let her stay at least until her birthday towards the end of July. Well, that and I was doing the usual paycheck juggling that I do every two weeks!

Last Sunday I took a phone call from the ex fully expecting to be read the riot act for not having booked a return trip yet but - much to my amazement - he was calling to tell me that he had given it some thought and decided that Jamie could stay until the weekend after her birthday {insert look of incredulity here}. Seems that a friend of his that still lives in the area pointed him in the direction of this little blog and he read some of the posts that I’d written during the Christmas holidays lamenting Jamie not being able to come out (some of you might remember some of those posts). He decided that because I hadn’t had the chance to see her then that perhaps it would be okay for her to stay longer this summer. Well, what could I say except ‘thank you’ and ‘wow, I’m glad I hadn’t booked that return trip yet’!

With the fare sale at Southwest Airlines ending last Thursday, I finally booked a return flight for the 28th of July for what I thought was a pretty reasonable price, especially considering that there was no unaccompanied child fare attached {insert happy dance here}. I was pretty pleased with it right up until I got an email from Southwest yesterday announcing another summer fare sale which I made the mistake of looking at. Turns out that the same flight that I just booked could have been booked at half the price had I just waited another couple of days {insert look of abject misery here}. Somehow I feel cheated. I could have used that extra $50 to help feed the two hungry teenagers that will be occupying my house this summer or bought a good pair of earplugs for myself!

Oh well, at least the tickets are bought and paid for – that’s the important thing, right?? {Insert continued grumbling at the airlines here}

13 comments:

  1. Congrats on working everything out for your daughter to visit this year. Despite your grumblings, ect., anyone can see the "inner happy dance" you're doing - remember, you're not just "a" mom, but an "EPIC" mom!

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  2. I am so pleased that she is on her way and for a nice length of time!

    It is totally crapola that you have to fork out the spondoolies as i know that cuts out money for treats.

    As the Bulldog says we know that there is more inner happy dancing than grumbling, life just sucks sometimes!

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  3. Hooray!! So happy that Jamie will be visiting for a nice, long visit.

    I so hear ya about the angsty teen "looks". I have three teen daughters right now and I'm about out of my mind with the looks and drama.

    I pray the boys are easier on me when the three of them enter the teen years.

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  4. That's great that Jamie can stay with you longer.

    It's always a mistake to look at prices after you booked them - they're invariably cheaper. What's done is done now eh?

    Have a great summer with your daughter. :)

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  5. enjoy her visit, being a divorced parent i understand all this stuff. Have a great summer and a wonderful Memorial Day, thanks for your service.

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  6. good job honey! now forget the $$ and have some fun with her. there is lots of fun stuff that doesn't take $$, you'll find it too!

    smiles, bee

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  7. Boy, I'm soooo glad I never had to deal with arranging travel for my kids to go visit their Dad at any time when they were growing up! One year, when their dad was living as close to us as Ohio (we live in PA), I did drive them out to his place and they stayed there for two weeks but that was the ONLY time between 1980 and 1994 that they did spend any extended time with their Dad. He later moved to N.Mex and then, to Nevada. Arranging stuff for kids of divorced parents though SUX big time no matter what the circumstances or where you (and they) are!

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  8. Glad to hear she's coming for a visit - I'm sure you three will have a wonderful Summer together! :-)

    Airline pricing sucks the big one, doesn't it? My girlfriend flew to England for less than it used to cost my Mum to fly to our place - within the same province! (shakes her head)

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  9. More fun all round, Linda!

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  10. How wonderful that this wasn't a difficult time like Christmas. Excellent writing too. I always enjoy your posts. You will have a great time with your two daughters this summer. I can just tell. Happy Memorial Day. :)

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  11. I'm happy to read that you'll be able to spend your daughter's birthday with her and that the ex is being cooperative. It's so much nicer when we all work together for our kids because in the end, isn't about what is best for them?? (Hoping people take notes)

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  12. Linda - I read this and wonder how we coped with six crazy kids! Gee, it's no wonder I'm a basket case now... ;^) After all, it was in the days of heavy metal music! (I still listen to AC/DC)
    They really did pretty well, considering. We bought a tent trailer and a van and went camping a lot. I'd croak if I had to do that now but we managed!

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  13. YAY! Crap!! YAY!!

    I'm glad she's getting to stay longer. But, it does suck that you booked that return ticket too early. Have you tried making a phone call to see if they would give you the extra discount?
    It might not hurt.

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