Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Trials Of Travel

So. I didn't write yesterday, but I gotta tell ya, the day was a doozy.

We woke up at 5:30am to get ready for our 7:30am flight out of Houston to Vegas.

We were running a little behind, but when I saw the relatively short security line, I knew that we shouldn't have any problem making it to the gate on time.

The night before, I had gone through my laptop/camera bag and cleared out anything that wasn't absolutely necessary to cut down on weight, and remove questionable security items. One time I got stopped at security for having a pair of snips in my bag, a common phoneman tool. I told them to just throw them away, apologized profusely and I was on my way.
Anyway, While clearing my bag, I told Amy to clear her bag.
She rolled her eyes.

Back to the story, we're in the short security line, I'm hobbling through, and when they wave me through the sensor, they pull me over to powder test my hands and walking cast. No big deal, I figured they would make me take it off, but they didn't. That's when I looked up at Amy who was ahead of me. She was looking back at me with fear, no, terror in her eyes. She mouthed the words "Oh my God!"
That's when I saw the security guy that was checking her laptop bag pull out a small black case.
Do you want to know what was in that case?

Last Christmas, my good ol' brother-in-law got gifts for everyone. The gift he got for my son was a pair of Nun-chucks aaaaaaand a Ninja throwing star. A martial arts weapon. An illegal to carry in Texas martial arts weapon!
I watched as Amy was escorted away with several TSA agents.

So, I stand back watching as they question her, they photograph the deadly ninja weapon, and I overhear them say that because it is an illegal weapon, they have to call HPD. I have a seat on the bench next to where they are holding Amy... I can see the that she is trying to remain calm as she explains the situation, how the deadly ninja throwing star weapon of mass destruction was placed in the bag by our son, and she didn't even know it was there. I can see that at any moment, she's going to lose it.
So I sort of step in, and confirm to the agents that I am her husband and that she is telling the truth, then I turn to Amy and begin to comfort her, "Amy I TOLD you to check your stupid bag!! GOD!! What is wrong with you?!? You ALWAYS think that I'm going overboard, and yet here we are!" haha kidding, I didn't do all that until later.

So the cops get there, and they say that they have to call the District Attorney to see where to go from here since it is an illegal Ninja throwing star mystical weapon of mass destruction and psychological warfare.
The female cop is not too nice...
We've now missed our flight.
I am unhappy.
Amy is unhappy.
It's going to be a great trip.
The cop comes back to us and says that the DA doesn't want to press charges, but the TSA will probably be sending us a letter within 30 days that will notify us of a fine. It is important that we respond immediately to this letter.
We're being fined??
How much will the fine be?
Well, sir, it can be up to $10,000.
When I regained conciseness, I think I may have cried a little when she finished her statement: ...but you're probably looking at something like $1,000 since this a first time offense.
I held up my useless ticket and said, "You know what? I don't even want to go to Vegas anymore. Take me home."
We didn't go home.
After missing the first "stand-by" flight, we managed to get on the next one. The kind airport employee saw my leg, and beautiful locks of curly red hair and put us at the front of the line. hehe We finally made it to Vegas at around 2pm or so, and we were happy again.
Amy called TSA PR group, and they told her that there MAY be only a nasty letter coming, but no fine. Then again it may be about $250, so, I guess that's not so bad. Maybe I can win that much at the Blackjack table, then, "no blood, no foul".