Readers will know a little about this family's proclivity for summer camp. This weekend marked what I think is the high point of ridiculous. Thanks to Worldwide's surfeit of frequent flier miles and the perquisites of "titanium" status, or some such elevated aviary caste, she was able to set up a complicated, complimentary plan for me to get the OG to Ontario from dance camp in North Carolina; pick up the BG from theater camp in Ontario; escort the BG to animal camp in Missouri; and return home. And all in the space of a weekend, with time to see both daughters perform.
On Friday night, I went to see the OG perform at her dance camp. She was in 5 dances--hip hop, jazz, contemporary and world, as well as a duo, which she earned by winning the duo or group competition among campers. She and her roommate performed a very entertaining routine, set to "Loathing" from Wicked.
After the performance, we packed up, returned home and got ready to leave the next day. Rather than unpack, we decided to supplement the camp suitcase with a couple of things, and trust in the provenance of G Hel to sort out the laundry. We left the house shortly after 4 AM, and encountered a slight problem at the Raleigh Airport, when the usually easy-to-negotiate Terminal 2 was packed with passengers. Someone told me that because Saturday is a big day for international flights, the airport is busiest at that time. Who knew?
But luckily our boarding passes had "TITANIUM" printed on them, and a helpful United employee--assuring me that we didn't need to be the playas ourselves, but that the halo came with the ticket--steered us into the exclusive line, bypassing the scores of people waiting in the snaking line with looks ranging from grim determination to utter panic. So we made our flight, as well as our Dulles connection without incident, and drove up to Gananoque in a rented car, arriving just in time for a 2 PM performance of Treasure Island. Although they both had smaller roles, the BG and her cousin, as, respectively, blind and hard-of-hearing pirates, had a number of funny lines involving their disabilities. Suffice it to say that the jokes were not quite as funny the second time, at the evening performance,
With the OG set for a playwriting workshop next week at the Thousand Islands playhouse, after the show, the BG and I got ready for a flight to St. Louis and a two-week session at Cub Creek Animal and Science Camp. I set the alarm for 4:45, and we were in the Tim Horton's drive thru by 5:10, delighted to find it open, but devastated that the filled donuts (BG likes her jellies) were not yet ready.
Because of the uncertainty of the border crossing, I had left us plenty of cushion for the two hour drive to Syracuse, and when we stopped near the airport to fill up, we discovered that our flight was delayed, and that we would likely miss our connection in Cleveland, and have to get a flight to Missouri the following day, checking in to camp a day late. Since the connection was scheduled to leave only 5 minutes after our delayed flight was now scheduled to land, I harbored hope that we still might make it, and prepped the BG for a mad dash through the airport.
But of course we didn't, and as we walked to the counter, I told the BG to work on her sad face, hoping that the prospect of their union requirements for flight crew rest periods denying a child the first day of animal camp might spur United to help us get to St. Louis. And although, seemingly to her credit, the agent did spend an awful lot of time hitting various keys and staring intently at her screen, she was unable to do anything for us, so we checked into an airport hotel, enjoyed a lunch of tacos with a shell made from real Doritos (a family joke inspired by a commercial that aired incessantly during the NBA playoffs about a group of friends who drove across country to get their hands on this amazing product) and headed over to the mall to purchase some things from the packing list that we had forgot. I must say, that after the "Locos Tacos" had gotten a relatively positive review in the New York Times (the New York Times!), and as a lover of Doritos, I was intrigued, but the product tasted like a regular Taco Bell taco that had been coated with the powder from the bottom of a Doritos bag. It was really kind of gross. Oh well, perhaps the advertising is not to be believed. After the mall, we read for awhile (Thirteen + 1 for the BG, the Lacuna for me), had dinner at the Olive Garden (my first time), watched some of the Olympics and went to bed, preparing for my third straight pre-5 AM wake up call.
Monday morning, we returned our rented car, had breakfast at the airport and arrived in St. Louis at about 8 AM Central Time. Hopping into my third rental car of the weekend, we made the two hour drive to Rolla, Missouri, and I left the BG with the critters and the cheerful counsellors.
I had been hoping to spend Monday morning seeing a bit of St. Louis, but the delay forced me to limit my excursion to lunch at a BBQ place along the old Route 66. Despite the positive reviews from Yelp, I found the food disappointing, and the vibe of the place made me feel like it had been conceived and designed at Bain headquarters.
I got back to the airport in time for my return to Raleigh; started my second book (A Short History of Progress) and, after the second worst sandwich of my life waiting for my connection at the Newark Airport, touched down in Raleigh at 11:30, where the car that had taken the OG and me to the airport on Saturday morning was waiting. I'll pick up the BG in two weeks, after driving up to Gananoque, before my Grandmother's 100th birthday, flying out of Syracuse again, and the whole family will drive back to reality, capping another busy summer. But 6 airports, two countries, 6 states, three cars and three camps in four days deserves to be celebrated. Or something.