Today I am living the definition of surreal; I just can’t believe this is all really happening.
I woke early this morning and figured I might as well start getting adjusted to the time change so I got up at 6:00 and took the dogs out for their morning constitutional. I returned via the Club Floor of the Sheraton for some coffee and a bagel then joined Alan back in the room. Around 8:00 I took The Noses out for a nice long walk. We walked along JFK Boulevard to the Houston International Airport where they have at least a mile of nice, flat, grass on which to ramble. I thought the noise of the airplanes and trucks would be a good experience for the dogs, so we took our time and got a nice work-out in.
Back to the room, Alan and I fit in an hour of yoga before hitting the showers and packing up. We had to have the dogs to British Air World Cargo by 12:30 for our 4:30 flight. I was thankful that the drop location was not the same as the [human] traveler’s check-in. It was a separate building at the other side of the airport and, although busy in its own right, not nearly as frantic as an international airport terminal full of humans. (Having spent many hours in airports in my previous life, I can safely say that humans are not at their best when flying.)
The dog check-in was lengthy: While Alan assembled the crates, I filled out the final paperwork, had the health certificates checked, and paid the bill (over $2,700 for the two dogs!) Once the crates were completed, they were taken, empty, to be x-ray’d. Then the dogs were measured and had their pictures taken in front of the crates to prove that they are the correct size. You know The Noses, they were not shy about having their picture taken—particularly Rosco who was thrilled to do anything that involved not getting into the crate. After weighing the dogs we gave them a cheery “Crate!” command and they made us proud by jumping right in. Well, Rosco made one attempt to lunge out the office door, but after that he jumped right in.
I didn’t even cry.
Alan dropped me at the British Airways check-in area with our ten (yes, 10!) giant suitcases and while he was unloading them from Snowball, I hailed a porter. Sometimes it is just worth it to spend the extra money and this was definitely one of those times. The porter and I went to check in while Alan returned Snowball to Hertz.
The seemingly endless loading of bags at the check-in counter elicited a, “Just how many bags do you have?” question from the clerk. “Eight to check in, two to carry on”, I replied to which he countered, “You are only allowed to check six bags.” I admitted to knowing the facts but told him we did the best we could and we will just have to pay for the extra ones. $280 for our two additional bags—I was spending money like crazy and hadn’t even made it to Paris yet.
After the joys of U.S. security, we walked into the British Airways lounge where we were greeted with a, “Mr. and Mrs. Bryant, I am so sorry”, my heart stopped; was the flight cancelled? Good lord! The health certificates were only good until today! Panic! But the clerk continued, “This is the coach lounge, the first class lounge is just out the door and down to the left.” I’m not even sure this last part registered with me I was still in such a panic, I just followed Alan out the door.
A few yards down the hallway we entered the first class lounge and were immediately greeted with, “You must be the Bryants, welcome.” Good lord, I had forgotten just how wonderful good service is. We dropped our bags and headed directly to the Veuve, hot soup, and shortbread cookies.
It is now 3:30 p.m. in Houston, in about 25 minutes we’ll be boarding the plane and changing into our First pajamas while the Veuve is poured again.