Saturday, January 10, 2009

the cat that saved my shop

Actually, Agate might not have saved my shop, but he certainly saved a good deal of my inventory.

Well, the story goes like this. The week before Thanksgiving I visited Crispin and Turid and Tom in Lincoln (Massachusetts). To show off to them, and to show to the jewelry-making sister of Barbara in N.H. where we planned to visit, and maybe to place in the Central Square Emporium in Hillsborough, where I have a few pieces, I wrapped up and packed a large proportion of my finished pieces. Of course I put them in my carry-on, not my checked bag. I'm not that stupid; I know checked bags get lost.

Into the checked bag went the pints of home-made chili sauce and green tomato pickle, since such items can no longer be hand-carried. And into the checked bag SHOULD have gone my new Koil Kutter, which though I love, I thought could possibly be improved with suggestions from Crispin. But not thinking clearly, I packed it with the jewelry in the carry-on.

5:30 am at DFW. I check in, alone at the counter. I go to the TSA guys and give them my suitcase. I go through security. They study the pounds of jumprings, and the pliers (the cutter was checked), and the Koil Kutter. They say the Koil Kutter has to be checked, of course -- little motor tool with a sawblade on the end, never mind that it is completely enclosed in a housing, and won't run without being plugged in.

So back I go (not really worried, plenty of time). Long line now at counter, so I go to self-serve kiosk, put in info, credit card, take "the documents below" and go back to the TSA. The document they gave me was another boarding pass, not a baggage sticker; I held it out as I approached the TSA guy, same one I had seen 15 minutes earlier. He ignored it, and took the bag over to the conveyor. Silly me, I assumed he was doing the right thing. I went through security again and off to the plane. Sorted jumprings and made chain all the way to Boston, to the fascination of the attendants on the empty plane.

Boston. Only one bag. Filled out inquiry form. Called every day while I was there. No bag. Came home. Trudged all over DFW to different American gates where helpful people said I might inquire. No bag.

Next day I thought I might get my photos uploaded to the computer. And what did I find? Helpful Agate crawling into the suitcase the day before I packed, and looking cute, so I took a couple of photos. Helpful Agate demonstrating that yes, there was indeed a name tag on the bag, AND THERE WAS ALSO A UNITED AIRLINES OLD TAG.

Drove back down to DFW. Went to the far corner of Terminal E, where UA has three gates. Waited for baggage attendant to come back from break. "Well, we have these bags." Nope. "And we have those over there ..." You could have probably heard my squeal in Boston. I tried to give the attendants bracelets, but they declined. If I didn't give Agate treats when I got home, I should have.

Moral: Always check anything the least bit weird. And if you don't take off the old luggage destination tags from your hand-carry bags, at least know what airline they are.

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Blogger Mary Ann said...

I loved reading your post. I'm glad it all turned out well. I think Agate deserves some extra catnip just for being cute enough to make you want to take that picture.

January 11, 2009 7:07 AM  
Blogger AbigailM said...

Yep, he's a helpful cat. Of course, "helpful" when I'm winding a coil of jumprings and the loose end of the wire keeps flicking around enticingly, and "helpful" about keeping my lap warm when I am TRYING to write on my laptop, are sometimes not as useful as getting me to document my suitcase.

January 11, 2009 9:41 AM  

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