Thursday, February 11, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

In a way, my travel experiences of late are a lot like this movie.  In my 23 Christmases in Oklahoma, not one time did I enjoy a white Christmas.  But of course, when I’m trying to get home from NYC there hits the Oklahoma Blizzard 2009.  1 taxi, 5 airports, 3 airliners, 1 really nice hotel with revolving restaurant, 1 SuperShuttle, and about 100 United/Continental flight delays later I made it home.  All that was missing was the side kick.

On to 2010.  Surely my travel woos are over for like another 10 years right?  Wrong…

Jan. 22 – “I” book a ticket home for Feb. 10-14.  I pick the 10th because I want to minimize the class time I’ll miss.  The whole time I’m thinking to myself, “NYC flight in Feb?  I’ll be fine…”

Feb. 5-6 – A snow storm rolls through the mid Atlantic.  Doing some quick prob and stats in my head I tell myself that there is NO WAY another storm like that is going to hit within the next 4 days?!  Haha, that just doesn’t happen! 

Feb 8 - Of course, that is pre-Global Warming logic.  Global Warming = more snow storms.  Duh Leighton!  I check the weather and it looks like NYC might get some snow on, you guessed it, the 10th!!  I get online and switch my ticket from a 7PM departure to a 5:30AM departure.  Okay, now I should be good to go.

Feb. 9 -

9:00 AM – Holy smokes this is going to be a huge storm…

10-2:00 – Wow snow for 24 hours.  It’s okay, they’ll still be flying at 5:30.

2:40-5:30 – Class

5:50 – I get back to my apartment and figure I should start some laundry since I have zero clean clothes and I need to start packing sometime.

6:10 – Laundry started, let’s check flight status…

6:11 – @#$%@$#%!!  Dialing Continental to try and reschedule!

6:30 - “Sorry sir, all airports from D.C. to Boston are either shutdown or we have no flights available.”

6:31 – Listen lady, if you have to route me through Abu Dhabi to get me home tomorrow, that’s fine I’ll do whatever.

6:32 - “We can’t get you to Oklahoma until Feb. 13 at 10PM.”

6:35 – Pray for forgiveness for swearing so much and that Emily doesn’t throw herself off a cliff when I tell her the bad news.

6:40 – Prayer works, Emily is still breathing, but only in huge gasps of air.

6:45 – 7:00 – I lose my mind and start looking up other ways to get out of NYC tonight. 

7:10 – Hey there is a one-way flight at 9PM on American that will get me to Columbus, OH tonight and home tomorrow.  Why not?

7:15 – Frantically pulling my clothes out of the washing machine…

7:30 – Packed with all the essentials, 1 shirt, 2 boxers, 4 wet socks, and a set of dress clothes all shoved in a bag.

7:33 – I’m SPRINTING down 121 towards Amsterdam to catch a cab.

8:10 – I get to the airport and wait in line to buy my ticket for the 9:00 flight.  Thanks to some Asian lady with about 1 million pounds of luggage and a 5 word English repertoire, it took about 20 minutes to get through the line.

8:45 – Plenty of time to reflect on how crazy my life is and how hungry I am from no dinner before we board the plane.

Feb 10 -

12:45 AM – I’m sitting in the Columbus airport, almost alone with all my we clothes hanging over an empty chair to dry.

1-4:30 – I try to sleep.

4:30 - “A…B…C…D…E…F….G” “1…2….3….4….5….6”  I roll over and two three year old girls are practicing counting and their ABC’s.  A) Who gets to the airport at 4:30?  B) What 3 year old is awake enough at 4:30 to sing?  C) The two of you are lucky you are going to have a chance to see life at 4 years-old.

6:40 – On the plane to Dallas.

6:41 - “Ladies and gents, this is the captain speaking.  Due to an UNBELIEVABLY light snow storm this morning we are going to have to go through the de-ice pad.  Should just be an extra 20 minutes.”

6:51 - “Ladies and gents, my mom told me not to lie and I’m not going to start now.  We’re having some problems with the plane pusher backer.  The pin is frozen and we are getting a guy with a blow torch over here so we can get moving.”  Great.  And there are blow torches at the airport?  I can’t have 4 oz. of toothpaste but there are guys walking around on the ground with BLOW TORCHES?!

7:20 – It’s FINALLY our turn to get “de-iced” which amounts to a guy in a lift attached to a truck driving around the plane at .0001 mph to spray us with some stuff. 

7:40 – Liftoff

8:50 – Landing/boarding has begun for my flight to OKC

9:10 – SPRINTING through terminals A and D like a maniac trying to get to my flight.  I think I can see my plane pulling out from the air tran…

9:15 - “Sorry sir, your plane just backed out.  We’ll get you on the 12:25.”

9:30 – I’m in an Irish pub.  Before you rush to judgment, remember that it was 10:30 in NYC…

And from there, pretty much everything went as planned.  All of that for a few days will all the people I love the most.  Well worth it.


I do take two!! said...

Oh Leighton, poor guy!! I hate to say this but that story cracked me up! So glad you made it home safe! We love you!!

Jon said...

Wow. That's all I can say. Just... wow.

Aunt Jude said...

Bub Hey I have a couple of things to add to that. Flew from Dusseldorf to Madrid, then on to Fuerte Ventura last friday. The captain speaks in Spanish from Madrid to Fuerte Ventura, but then he is kind enough to repeat everything in English. Unfortunately, the only part that I ever catch is "Ladies and Gentlemen," in his very thick accent. After that, I get really nada. Supposedly he is speaking English, but I don't understand. I take all my cues from the flight attendant. If she is still pouring coffee and not running and screaming for the life vests, I keep reading my book. Just goes to show ya, you don't really need to know anything the captain is saying.

P.S. YES, 4 year olds are always awake enough ONCE WOKEN, to talk incessantly. Even at 4:30 in the morning in the airport. And so are 13, 11, and 9 year olds. I know because we left for Dusseldorf INternational last Friday at 0400. yack yack yack.