The comings and goings of travel are perhaps its greatest challenges. I am talking about the angst found in association with airports.
Oh, to be able to be whisked off to our desired locations throughout the world without having to deal with driving an hour to the airport, dealing with rush hour traffic, the stress of being on time for one's flight, facing the risk of delayed or cancelled flights, and just as stressful, the long drive home from the airport when all one wants to do is crawl into her own bed.
I have learned through painful process that if I want to continue this chosen course of being well-traveled, it does come at a price.
As some of you may know, we took a great trip to Florida for Christmas. I made the mistake of stating in a blogpost just days before our trip:
"So this detail person will be spending the next five days making lists and checking and re-checking them, so that no child will be left behind, or any reservation number, or any Christmas present, or any shoes, or any...
And then Monday morning I will head to the Portland airport, fly to Salt Lake City where I will meet up with the rest of my family, then we will all board the plane to Orlando. Once I get to that point, I should be able to relax and enjoy myself, reveling in the fact that all the details will be combining to make the Happiest Christmas Ever!"
Sometimes things we say eventually come around again to bite us in the butt. We never made it to Salt Lake City that day. We never met up with the rest of our family. We never boarded the plane all together for Orlando.
We did spend hours and hours waiting in the Portland airport after our flight was cancelled for mechanical problems. All the passengers were trying to re-route their trips and it was a nightmare I have tried to forget. If I had only to worry about our little Oregon group, it would have been a little better. But I had kids in Salt Lake that were expecting us to fly to Orlando with them that evening, renting a big van together, and driving to Vero Beach for a restful stay before the craziness of Walt Disney World.
Fortunately I had my new little Acer Aspire with me to help change, cancel, and adjust reservations online. What I wasn't able to take care of on the computer required a few phone calls. I am proud to report that I held together pretty well most of the day. But I am ashamed to admit that I did lose it while on the phone with the rental car company. They had just quoted me the price for a mini-van, taking into account that this was Orlando over Christmas Break. $1000 a day!!! I threw up my notebook and used less than acceptable language...
When we eventually all came together we had a wonderful time.
Then all we needed to do was go home when it was over. After all the fun was had, after all the food was eaten, after all the gifts had been exchanged.
Our returning flights went as planned. No delays. No cancellations. What a relief, right?
As we were getting closer to Portland, the pilot announced that we would be flying into snow. What a surprise! How fun! We rarely get snow so this was an unexpected treat. Hmmmm......
What should have taken an hour at best to drive home took nearly SIX hours. Add these six hours to the time spent flying across the continent and it was enough to punch us in the gut. I have tried to put this terrible memory in the past. I was so disappointed in myself that night. Sometimes a wife's most important role is to be a support to her husband. I failed that night.
I had taken some Nyquil during our layover in Texas for a cold I was battling. When my husband needed me most during this gruelling drive home, I was simply unable to stay awake. I tried. I really did. As miserable of an experience that it was for me, the real hero that day was Brian. I don't know how he did it. The rest of us were sleeping. He was not. He suffered the whole nightmare almost exclusively by himself. I'm so sorry, my dear.