Saturday, August 26, 2006

If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

Dear Readers-
I would like to introduce a post from my first guest blogger: Mrs. Chanman. Take it away Sweetheart....

I was explaining my recent experience in the Sacramento airport to Mr. Chanman and I could tell he was formulating a future BLOG post in his mind. He insisted I tell my story....I took our two kids, Chanman Junior who is two, and Baby Chanman who is 4 months old, to San Diego last week. Thank goodness my mom was with me, or we might still be in the security section of the airport! I had gone to the TSA website before going to the airport to make sure there would be no surprises due to the recent airport security scare. I had read that milk was legal and I wasn't really concerned about anything else.

When we got to the security area, Chanman Junior was riding in a stroller and I was carrying Baby Chanman in a Baby Bjorn. I was lugging a diaper bag on my back and a purse on my shoulder. When we got up to the machines, I was told that Chanman Junior would have to take his shoes off (I had purposely put him in tennis shoes and socks so I wouldn't have to worry about his sandals slipping off in the airport...never did I once think he would have to remove his shoes... he is two for goodness sake!). I removed his shoes and he went through the gate, no problem. Then they told me I would have to dispose of the contents of his sippy cup-- you know, the most common ingredient used for making airplane bombs-- whole milk. I told them that I had just read on a sign that children could keep their milk. They opened the container to make sure it was actually milk. Which it was-- SHOCKER!!! The security lady held Chanman Junior's hand until my mom could get through the metal detector.

I folded up our stroller and put that through the machine, took my own shoes off, and shoved my purse and diaper bag into a gray container. All this, while Baby Chanman is patiently waiting in the carrier on my chest. Fortunately, they let me keep her in the carrier while I walked through the detector. (I had read on the TSA site that babies had to be removed from carriers, and it also reminded parents NOT to put their baby through the x-ray machine. Can you believe that?????? As Mr. Chanman said, "obviously someone did it or they wouldn't warn you about it!"). On the other side of the metal detector, I was informed that my diaper bag would need further scrutinization and could I please step aside. Again, thank goodness, for my mom who was now putting Chanman Junior's shoes back on him, after putting her own shoes back on. At this point, Baby Chanman is getting a little ticked off...she is hungry now.

I followed the TSA guy over to a private station (what to they think we put in diaper bags anyhow?) where he proceded to go through each and every pocket, taking each and every item out. Okay... this diaper bag was loaded perfectly! I spent a long time making sure I could squeeze everything in. I had diapers for both kids, a change of clothes for both kids, toys, puzzles, snacks, bottled water, medication, blankets.. you name it. This guy honed in on my hand apparent NO GO. Going, Going, GONE right in the bin with all of the other contraband items. Then he found some free samples of diaper cream that I had gotten from a swanky baby store. French diaper cream. Apparently the security team isn't fluent in French, so the pricy samples...going, going, GONE! Then he found the tube of Burt's Bees Diaper Cream. This is the good stuff. This is the stuff that costs $8-$9 per tube. This is where I drew the line. He asked me what it was... I said, "diaper cream, AND IT'S EIGHT OR NINE DOLLARS A TUBE!" Apparently he was unable to give the diaper cream the go-ahead, so he called his supervisor over. The supervisor looked at the tube, took the lid off, smelled it, and said (and I kid you not...), "I am going to let you keep the cream, but I can't guarantee the supervisor in San Diego is going to be as nice when you are flying home." UGH! It took us almost as long to deal with the security area of the airport as it takes us to fly to San Diego! Something just isn't right.

To sum it up, I understand we have to be careful these days. Most people are good, but there are a few others who ruin it for the rest of us. I just don't understand why I have seen many sketchy people slide right through airport security (Mr. Chanman and I have flown quite a bit since September 11, even venturing over to Europe), while watching the TSA folks search a nun (I am NOT KIDDING!) and a wheel chair-bound very old lady. I don't have any answers, but I wonder if it will ever not be worth the effort it takes to travel. Especially with kids. I think, instead of looking for those contraband items, let's look at the people who might be potentially carrying those contraband items instead.

FYI-- We slid right through security in San Diego... they never even unzipped our diaper bag!

Good day to you, TSA (and lay off already!)


Darren said...

The TSA is horrendous. They do nothing to promote airline security.

I have my own war stories about them, but I'm too busy preparing a post about the crazies rallying downtown....

Anonymous said...

As one mother to another, I feel your pain. Luckily, my daughter is way past the age of diaper bags and bottles. And she can undress herself when going thru security. Thank goodness for your mom!

I can understand the need for security, and I also understand that some people are low enough to use their children as human bombs, but it is getting a little ridiculous. Soon they are going to start doing random body cavity searches. I will start taking the train at that point.

What do you think airport security would have done if you had all shown up in just your undergarments/diapers with your clothes still on hangers? "Gee officer, we were just trying to make the checking in process go a little faster". :)

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