That’s what my Dad likes to say any time we arrive anywhere, but last week it was true… it was close but we made it.
To Florida. Last week was our annual week of retirement living. And we almost didn’t make it.
It started like all good stories do – with travel from a land far far away, by multiple modes of transport.
In order to get to our 4:00pm flight the Boy and I left our apartment at 12:00pm drove to my Nanny’s condo, parked the car, took a taxi to the bus station, took the 1:15pm airport express bus to the airport, took the monorail from terminal 1 to terminal 3, took several moving sidewalks, elevators and escalators. Then we checked in, and waited in line for customs… and that’s where our story got interesting.
For those of you that know the Boy or have gotten to know him through the blog it will not surprise you that he’s not a great traveler. He likes to travel, in theory, he hates getting there and he won’t plan it. There’s a reason I didn’t leave “planning the honeymoon” up to the Boy. He hates the crowds, the waiting, the lines and because he won’t plan it he does not have the travel itinerary in his email or in his brain so he insists on asking me about a million times – When are we going? What airline? What time? Do you have everything? Do you have my passport? Did you put scissors in your carry-on? Are you sure you didn’t? Can you check again? And so on and so on.
So when we got to the customs line and it was winding it’s way around the crazy line maze the Boy started getting nervous.
The Boy – “What if we don’t get through in time?”
Me – “Stop worrying, we have LOTS of time!”
We waited and slowly made our way to the front, eavesdropping on whiny children fighting over the window seat.
We made it to the front. We explained that we are married but since we still have different last names we weren’t sure whether to fill out one customs form or two (for future travelers – you fill out one per household). We gave our passports, we answered where we were headed. I was given the clear. The Boy was told that there was some information they needed that was not available on the passport so he would need to come with them.
They took the Boy’s passport.
I was confused. I wasn’t planning on going far, I wasn’t planning on going any further at all actually, but it is customs so I didn’t know if I was able to go with him or not so I asked, and our friendly agent said, “You’re married right?” Me – “Yes” Him – “Well then you can come with him.” I mention this because we didn’t have anything that said we were married – apparently your word is all the U.S. customs needs… almost.
We went and sat in a room to the side of the customs line and waited.
Until a new customs agent and his friend came and spoke with us.
They addressed the Boy and he stood up.
Agent 3 – “Daaaaamn man! You are TALL!”
Agent 2 asked the Boy to confirm his birthday, his height, his weight, his hair colour, his eye colour, and whether or not he had travelled outside Canada or the United States in the last 10 years.
Then he told us that there is someone with an outstanding warrant, who has the same last name, and birthday as the Boy. So we would need to wait until they could confirm that this Boy was not the Boy they were looking for.
They came back. They assured us that the Boy’s height would likely help the situation, they couldn’t tell us what this mystery man is wanted for they just continued to tell us that they couldn’t let us go until they confirmed with Washington that he wasn’t who they were looking for.
They asked to go through his bag.
A quick look and it became increasingly apparent that the customs agents were going through the motions and while they weren’t able to let us go – they didn’t think that the Boy was the boy they were looking for.
It was 2:53.
We asked how long we would have to wait. We were told that they had to wait to receive a clearance call from Washington. They couldn’t let us go until they got the call but they expected it would only be about 20 minutes. We asked if we would miss our flight. They said they hoped not, we were only 10 minutes from the gate and they would do everything they could to get us there but they couldn’t let us go without the call.
At 3:25 we heard the phone ring.
Agent 3 came out again.
They took my passport.
At 3:30 we got a thumbs up and a new agent brought us our passports and boarding passes and thanked us for our patience. He took us through customs got our bags dropped on the conveyor and wished us a good flight.
The Boy went to drop off his golf clubs and that helpful person, while staring at our boarding pass asked “What time is your flight?”
Boy – “4:00”
Helpful baggage guy – “You’ve got to go! You’re really late!”
Boy – “Yeah, I know!”
Golf clubs dropped off we practically ran to security.
Shoes off and running through without a scissors incident.
We ran to the very last gate – 3:37pm we arrived just in time to hear the announcement “We are now starting pre boarding for the flight to Fort Myers Florida.”
We made it.
I’m pretty sure the whole ordeal took at least 6 weeks off the Boy’s life for the stress of it all.
It was close. But we made it.
*The best part is we’re still not clear on what will happen the next time we try to go state-side. The customs guys only advice… “leave lots of time”