We left early Saturday morning for the preseason game in Pittsburgh with plans to arrive in the afternoon with plenty of time before kick-off at 7:00 p.m.
The drive was beautiful and we got to the hotel with plenty of time to change clothes and eat dinner before walking across the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
Since I started this post a couple of months ago I feel like brevity is in order ... especially since I would love to churn out several posts and try and catch up! It is probably best that I have taken such a while to decompress. It will allow my words to be less offensive ;)
Let me give it to you in bullets:
I did exhaustive research in regard to bag & purse sizes, camera's, food, etc. that Heinz Field allowed into their glorious stadium. Please feel free to click on the following link which details the Security Guidelines.
*However, do not feel as though you have gained proper knowledge of what the security requirements are. The "real" guidelines are apparently kept under lock and key and only given out as you are trying to cross through the entrance gates at kickoff.
Because I have a baby I was allowed a diaper bag but I told my girls to keep their purses at the hotel. I did bring my camera bag and it did meet the above "guidelines".
Please read the quotes with a great deal of sarcasm.
We carried the Hoss 2-3 miles because the rules do not allow for strollers.
We did not bring our flasks of whiskey because we like to follow the rules.
*However, we would find out later that flasks of whiskey were greatly needed in order to curb my overwhelming desire to jump and/or push someone from the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
My point? We meticulously followed said guidelines in order to ensure that we had absolutely no delays.
After realizing that the will-call booth was located on the other side of the stadium and the tickets were in my name, I waddled as quickly as I could and collected the tickets and I made my way back around to the gate where my family was waiting. We proceeded to security where we were appropriately groped and sent on our way through the ticket gate.
After handing our tickets to the woman who nearly ruined our life ticket collector we started to make our way through the turnstiles when she abruptly stopped us and asked about our 6th ticket ... one for Benjamin.
*I think I may have nervously giggled at this point and then said something like, "He is under two ... he doesn't need a ticket."
Then the sky grew dark and she may have laughed ominously (or maybe it just felt that way) and she said that everyone needed a ticket, regardless of age ... even infants.
*We bantered back and forth about this new tidbit of information and how ridiculous it was until we realized that we were left with little choice in the matter. We were given these specific instructions:
Because all of our tickets had already been scanned they were now void. They needed to be reissued.
We would then need to buy an additional ticket for Benjamin. No matter that the seats would not be together AND no matter that he would be sitting on our lap the entire game because the seats would envelope him like an alligator.
These things DID NOT MATTER.
We made our way around the other side of the stadium (again) where they sell the tickets. I informed the sales person of our dilemma and slid my credit card through the slot.
She said the words: "Cash Only"
I began to shake violently because I was certain that we did not have $100 cash and turned to Chris who had turned a very light shade of gray and looked terribly woozy at this point.
He dug around in his pocket and thankfully pulled out enough cash. In the meantime I tried in vain to avoid the ugly cry and listened to the fellow beside me lament over the very same issue we were dealing with.
A woman who was sitting on a stool behind the glass (where all the secrets are kept) got up and whispered something to the woman who was helping us. I assumed it was something about a rule regarding flip-flops or ponytails ... but I was wrong.
She GAVE us her ticket. She wasn't going to the game after all and she had this extra ticket ... and she gave it to us! The guy beside me wasn't as thrilled with this arrangement and so we hastily made our way back to security.
*Please recall that we have already made it through security once before.
I am the last one to go through security and when the woman who hates me for no apparent reasonsecurity person sees my camera bag and she asks me to open it. I oblige and she asks for the length of my camera lens ... to which I have no answer for. She opens it and says it is too long ... and YOU. CAN. NOT. COME. IN. THE. STADIUM. WITH. IT.
*It got ugly here. A lot of crying. Children crying. Adults crying. A whole lot of crying. Visions of the nightly news started to flash before my eyes and I dug deep for some resolve. In retrospect I could have used a friendly slap across the face to jolt me back into reality.
I took a deep breath and told Chris to head into the stadium with the kids. I would make my way around to the other side of the stadium (AGAIN) and choose a more kind and gentle gatekeeper.
About 30 minutes later and without drama I entered the stadium and I found my family. I had missed kick-off and Chris was still in deep-breathing mode. We looked each other in the eyes and made a determination that we needed to let it go and enjoy the game.