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  • by Carolyn Lackey


Alan and I flew to Chicago yesterday for a visit with our firstborn. It’s been a weird trip so far.

Two Days Ago:

Alan called me at around 2PM to tell me that he had some bad news. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to go to Chicago.” He had me locate an old school file folder that was in a stack of file folders that were piled on a shelf over our computer desk. “Found it!” I said, “Now what?” “See if you can find the printout of my Southwest confirmation number,” he said calmly. My palms began to sweat. When I spied the printout, I let out a big sigh of relief. “Found it!” I said again. “Now, do you see one for you?” Crickets. No. There was not one for me. He forgot to book my companion flight.

Alan is a meticulous trip planner. He rarely makes mistakes. He was concerned that the aging process was getting the best of his memory. I was more concerned about the fact that I had spent a long while that morning neatly reorganizing my toiletries into smaller containers that I meticulously labeled with my Brother P-Touch PDT210 label maker. For that reason alone, I pretty much had to be on that flight. Long story short. He called, and a nice lady at Southwest got me a seat. The day and my toiletries were saved.

Yesterday Afternoon:

We flew into Love Field from Lubbock. As we were preparing to board the plane to Chicago, the lady announced that it was a totally FULL flight and that we were not to go stuffing coats and the like into the overhead bins. The lady in front of me was pulled out of the boarding line because she was carrying on a piece of luggage, a backpack and a purse. “Ma’am, you’re going to either had to check something or consolidate a couple of things!” They were not messing around. Many announcements were made in both our boarding area and on the plane instructing us to get our stuff stowed and our bottoms in the seats in a fast and orderly manner so that we could have an on-time departure. The plane load of people complied.

Then, we sat for about 15 minutes before we were told that we all had to get back off the perfectly packed and loaded plane because the heater on the windshield wasn’t working. One by one, we gathered our belongings and trudged back up the aisle of the aircraft into the jetway and back out to the boarding area which became a sea of panicked people in search of connecting flights. We Chicago people were told to “hang tight” until they could “figure out what was going to happen.” We waited.

After about 30 minutes, we were reboarded onto the plane. It was all fixed. Here’s the weird part. I was chatting with my C group buddies, we talked about how nice and empty the flight would be now that we had jettisoned all of the transfers. We worried about the young lady who had been in line with us the first time we boarded. She told us that the flight back home to Chicago would be her second time to fly in her whole life. She was not in the reboarding line with us. In fact, she was nowhere in sight. As the lady rescanned my boarding pass, I said something about how empty the flight would be. “Nope. It will have about the same number of people.” For the sake of keeping the line moving, I didn’t challenge her math. But, sure enough, the plane seemed as full. We never saw Miss Flight Newby again.

Last Night AKA The Visitation of Goldilocks:

We checked in to the fabulous Renaissance Chicago Downtown around ten o’clock. Jonathan was waiting for us when we arrived. Famished, the three of us rode the elevator up to the nineteenth floor and quickly found our room so that we could drop off our luggage. Walking in, I looked around at our new digs and said something like “nice!” I then proceeded over to the window to enjoy our fabulous view of the river and the “Corncob” buildings. As we bustled out of the room towards dinner, I quickly peeked into the bathroom and gave it a “nice” as well. We made our way back down the elevator, into the lobby, and onto the street where we ventured across the river to Siena Tavern for pizza and pasta.

It was around 11:45 when we returned to the hotel and sent Jonathan Ubering back to his apartment. Worn out by a long day of travel, Alan and I rode up the elevator to the nineteenth floor, took a couple of lefts down the hallways and found our room. Our key opened the door. We walked in, and something seemed amiss.

”We’re in the wrong room!” Alan exclaimed pointing to the bed. It seemed as though someone had been sleeping in our bed. Pointing towards a table he said, “There’s someone’s trash in the trash can!” My internal creep out meter began blinking red lights and clanging large gongs. Alan commenced to look in the beside drawers and told me to see if there was anything in the closet. It was empty. I made HIM open the bathroom door. A bath towel had been tossed onto the floor and a small half empty bottle of shampoo was sitting on the side of the tub. I looked to see if the door to the adjoining room was still locked. It was. Our luggage was sitting exactly where we left it. Exactly. Alan quickly looked in our carry-on to see if his iPad was still in there. It was. Nothing of ours had been stolen. My mind began to spin. I was in full-on twilight zone mode. Alan called the front desk and explained the weird situation.

The front desk person sent up a security guy with a key to another room. The guy came in and looked around. I expected him to launch an in-depth investigation into the matter. He didn’t seem to be concerned by the situation. “I can help you guys move to a new room,” he said. We were more than glad to move. “What on earth happened here?” I asked him. “I donno,” he said, “but, I can help you move to the new room.” Off we went shaking the creepiness from our shoulders.

I swear to you that if the bed had not been made when we entered the room the first time, between Jonathan, Alan and me, SOMEONE would have noticed.

Alan and I woke up this morning and relived the incident. We’re still scratching our heads. Our only reasonable solution: Goldilocks was making her rounds last night. Our bed was too soft. Or too hard. It simply was not just right.

For the record: We are about to head out to dinner. Our bed is made. I’m going to take before and after pictures tonight.

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