Yesterday, coming back from our annual trip to the beach to spend the week with my family, was one of the most horrible/wonderful days in recent memory.
1. I had to leave my family. I hold a special place in Dante's Hell for airports in which you have to part from the ones you love the most. I see the whole fam together, at most, ONCE a year. Parting is more than sweet sorrow; it wrenches my heart from my chest and puts it on the floor of the security check-in line for sweaty, stressed passenger wannabes to trample upon. It gets a full-body scan as we lay our emotions out in the airport for all to see.
2. We were supposed to take off from Norfolk International at 1:15. We boarded the plane.We pulled back from the gate.
For almost 2 hours.
There was a problem with instrumentation, so we returned to the gate. Luckily, God was watching over us. A mechanic fixed it. We took off around 3:20 p.m. EST.
I was sweating it. Our connection from Dallas to Tyler was supposed to board at 5:30 p.m., CST. We had **just** enough time to make it.
When the plane touched down at DFW, a kind seat neighbor checked online for me, via his phone (mine was dead....**gasp**). Our connection was delayed an hour. We'd make it.
Still, by the time we retrieved our carry-ons - our only luggage from the week - from overhead bins and made our way slowly down the aisle of the American Airlines jet, then up the jetway, we were pushing it.
"RUN," was the only edict I issued to Curt and Luke, who kept up admirably, their camo carry-ons bouncing behind.
We arrived at the next gate in DFW, just in time to board for our connection to Tyler.
The torrential rain had grounded the smaller flights, and a good many of the bigger planes, leaving DFW Saturday night.
We were issues passes for the next flight, 9:20 p.m., some three hours hence. We also were given boarding passes for the 9:40 a.m. flight the next morning. The gate attendant expressed extreme skepticism the 9:20 p..m.flight would take off, either.
I was beside myself. Tired, frustrated, and sad, I wanted to just lose it.
But my kids rock. Yes, yes, they do.
"Hey mom," Luke said, "This is just part of the adventure. It's one more night of vacation."
With those words, my whole attitude changed.
Yes it was.
We made our way to the nearest airport dining destination, Chili's, for some dinner.
It was there, over fried cheese (of which the boys shared exactly 1/4 of one stick with me), that I decided that the effort going into catching the 9:20 p.m. flight was wasted. The gate attendant had already said that, in his professional opinion, the flight wouldn't happen. I could wrestle with a hotel room in Dallas THEN, or at 9:20 after more disappointment.
A quick consultation with my awesome kids settled it: we'd suck it up and check into a hotel for the night and take the sure-thing - the 9:40 a.m. flight Sunday. After all, with the torrential rain and the lightening strikes all around, I didn't exactly want to be up in a small aircraft that night.
After dinner, we made our way back to gate for the hotel voucher. (Oh gee, that $10 discount was epic!) Then we headed downstairs to call the shuttle and get settled into the hotel.
The shuttle shows up to the great...delight (?) of the 15 or so "distressed passengers" waiting to get to the cheap hotel closest to the airport.
We board. We're tired. We're cranky. We're wet (from sitting under the partial awning in the torrential rain for 45 minutes). We stink.
When we arrive at the hotel, we stand in line for another 45 minutes while the beleaguered clerk tries to accommodate us all.
Bless. His. Heart.
We got to our room around 9 p.m.
We were all asleep by 9:30 p.m.
Sunday morning dawned sunny and clear, mercifully.
I couldn't sleep.
I went ahead and woke the boys up.
TWO MINUTES BEFORE THE HOTEL FIRE ALARM SOUNDED.
We yanked on clothes and threw our belongings into our bags...stumbled sleepily down the stairs...and bumped right into Dallas firefighters.
Someone had been smoking in a second floor hallway.
After the proverbial dust cleared, we enjoyed a FINE breakfast of yogurt in the hotel dining room, then boarded a shuttle, again, to DFW.
We had to go back through security.
Going back through security is a BAD TIME for your 10-year-old, with autism, to want to talk about 9/11. LOUDLY.
Yep. Full body scans for Pearson, party of 3.
We finally arrived at our gate, B4, and got settled in for our 9:40 a.m. flight. At approximately 8:50 a.m., an announcement plays over the loudspeaker that our flight has moved to gate B28. In a different building.
We load up and start walking.
The journey involved a sky train. Which we boarded.
A disembodied voice came over the intercom.
"The sky rail is experiencing difficulties...please board the train across the way..." (or something of the @#$% sort)
We quickly moved to the train that had pulled in across the tracks.
BUT...that train was traveling in the wrong direction.....we had to go around the ENTIRE airport complex before arriving at gate B28...WHERE......
for our flight.
At this point, all good humor was out the window. My kids were still rocking, but I was sporting a BAD. ATTITUDE.
But God had it, again. We left about 30 minutes, late, all things told, and arrived in Tyler 22 minutes later.