My mom was planning to make a life-long dream come true tomorrow. She's been planning this trip to Egypt on a jealousy-inducing 18-day tour for months now. Starting out in Cairo, and heading down the Nile on a cruise boat for several days. The trip features camel rides (can NOT imagine her on a camel...she can't even deal with cat hair), falukah rides (whatever that is), flights to Abu Simbal, Pyramids, Luxor, temples, Valley of the Kings, all sorts of Moses stuff, ancient tombs, King Tut's mummy now that it's open for public viewing for the first time in history, museums, bazaars, handsome Egyptian men and smelly ones too, sand, lots of sand, more sand, sand, sand, and all sorts of other cool stuff.
We spent the Saturday before Halloween reviewing her trip, looking at all her new purchases - I can't think of a better excuse for a new wardrobe, can you? ...and talking about getting there and away, and not having Thanksgiving at home for the first time. Very very excited.
Well, she calls me tonight 'cause she tried to print her boarding pass out and couldn't. I didn't worry. Most airlines don't allow that yet for international travel. So, I asked her a series of questions and made her read EVERYTHING to find out what kind of ticket she has - e-ticket or paper. No paper tickets anywhere, and I myself remember looking for them when I was looking at her paperwork and thinking, oh yeah, it's an e-ticket. So, there were no paper tickets. I travel all the time, domestic, international, around the block, and I never get paper tickets anymore. But she couldn't find anything anywhere that said she had an e-ticket. Or a paper ticket. No ticket means no flights for you! And she lives 3 hours away so I couldn't look myself. Um...
So, this all occurs tonight. The night before her flight takes off. Jeepers. 24 pairs of underwear and enough clothes to open a store and a visa and a passport with a really nice picture and probably enough meds and vitamins to open a pharmacy and a phone that works overseas and a new camera with 8 megapixels and people to get her from Pittsfield to Boston and back and shaved legs and fresh color in her hair and a new suitcase and carry-on and Egypt books and fiction to pass the time and email addresses and reams of paper about the tour etc etc etc and NO TICKET. How can you not know that you don't know if you have a ticket? But, there we are. Nothing to do but find out for sure.
So, I'm quietly trying not to freak her out by asking said questions and eventually thought, oh God please let it be an e-ticket like I think she said she got. I took the flight info down on paper, and said, "Gimme 15 minutes and I'll call the airline." She said, "Oh I can make the call, you don't have to do that!" and I thought, "OH YES I DO."
If you know my mom, you know, OH YES I DO. I could NOT face the phone call if she found out the hard way that she could not get on the airplane for this trip of a lifetime!
So I hang up and call the airline. I got a LIVE PERSON, my goodness, a live person. Gave her the info and asked confidently if the flights were e-ticketed or on paper. Thinking, PLEASE PLEase please be e-ticketed, or she's gonna have a heart attack.....and I hear...."Yes, it's an e-ticket, just show up at the counter with the passport and visa and it's all set!" WHEW. I thought that was the case. Thank goodness.
Called Mom back, and I could hear her deflate with relief.
Not sure if she'll sleep tonight or not. I know I will sleep hard and pick her up in Natick tomorrow, and after a nice lunch with her and my sister-in-law, I will get her to the airport and check her in and pack her off on her flight for her dream trip with way too much stuff. And then I will come home and open one of the 7 brands of beers I have remaining in my fridge from Poker Night and think, "Whew! Sure hope the makes that 5am flight with no problems on the way back! I CAN'T WAIT to see the pictures and hear the stories!" Hope she has a blast.