Clearly, I Have Angered the Gods

And they are very, VERY angry, indeed.

Tuesday, I took a car to the airport and boarded my flight to Dallas. We taxied away from the gate and waited to be next in line to take off and then the pilot spoke over the loudspeaker to say that there was "thunder boomers" in Dallas and we were going to wait a bit. After a while, he came back to say that so far, 700 flights had been diverted from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport and it wasn't looking so great for our plane. He was going to take us back to the gate where he unofficially advised us to book ourselves onto another flight because he really thought this one would be cancelled. He was so cool and so nice that on the way off the plane when I passed him, I said, "That was the all time best flight I've EVER had! You're a master--such a butter-smooth landing!" and he just cracked up.

So, then I sat on the phone with a really nice guy named Percy who managed to get me on a different flight the next day and moved my flight back to New York with the girls to the FOLLOWING day. He even managed to get us seats all together, at least on paper. We had a nice conversation where he thanked me for being so pleasant, telling me that I would just be amazed at how many people had yelled at him that day as if he was personally responsible for this storm that had ruined their plans. I said, "Well, Percy, if you have the kind of pull with the weather, it seems sort of like a bad idea to yell at you, huh?" He said, "Sometimes people say to me, 'What are you going to do about this?' and I just say, 'I'm going to talk to God.' They never know quite what to say to that."

There were more than 1000 flights cancelled or diverted from the weather in Dallas. That's a lot of really cranky people.

So then I grabbed a cab to take me back to my house and the woman, a lovely South African woman who had been in this country for 35 years and had been driving a cab for 24 of those, has to be the only cabbie in all of New York who refused to exceed the speed limit. It took well over an hour to get home but she was so nice, I didn't mind.

Thus endeth the first day of travel: five fruitless hours.

The next morning, I woke up (or did something that sort of looked like it) at 4:15 A. M.. As in: in the morning. I was picked up by a car at 4:45 (A.M.--Dudes, it is really DARK then) in the pouring rain. My driver this time was a neighbor from our general area of Long Island who had owned his own business and retired from it. When his wife started taking care of the first grandchildren regularly at his house, he decided to go back to work as a driver. Seven grandchildren; six girls, one boy.

My flight was perfectly on time. Except, um, it was a really small airplane. In the pouring rain. And I had to go to Washington, DC first and after that I had no seat assignment for the second leg of the trip.

I know what THAT means.

Percy, Percy, Percy.

I mean, at least he got me on a flight. A lot of people had their Spring Breaks ruined by this whole weather thing in Dallas.

While I was standing in line in Washington waiting to get my seat assignment, I got to chatting with a flight attendant who was trying to catch a seat back to Dallas. (She is based out of there.) I suddenly realized that as horrible as it was to have all those passengers derailed, the airline also had thousands of stranded flight attendants and other crew members all over the world. So I asked her how the airline handled that. She told me the most interesting thing about American Airline: each flight attendant bids on his/her schedule a month in advice and the schedules are awarded based on seniority. But no one ever retires, apparently. This woman had 19 years with American and she said she was still basically like a new hire. She said that there are some flight attendants who are in the EIGHTIES and still flying.

Anyway, while we were talking, I am SO not kidding, a woman in front of us turned around and SHUSHED us. Clearly she was under some stress over the delay in assigning her seat but DUDE.


Calm yourself because none of your histrionics are making the situation one bit better. In fact, you've now left an indelible memory of your shrewish horrible reaction to what was not the most pleasant situation for any of us. My favorite part, though, was when the counter clerk told you that if you didn't sit down and let him work, he could guarantee that you wouldn't be on the flight.

(I saw her later on-board, though. I just wish she'd not felt the need to add her little bit of negative energy to the whole situation.)

I did get a seat on the very full flight, which left a bit late and then, after it landed? Couldn't find a gate that was unoccupied. For, um, one-and-a-half-HOURS. We sat and we sat and we sat.

And meanwhile, my kids, whom I hadn't seen in over a week, were less than an eighth of a mile from me.

At any rate, eventually I got to deplane and the reunion was just about the most joyous thing I've ever experienced. Ana looked about a year older --SO grown up -- and was suddenly into cooking and when we got to my parents house, she made me a cup of tea. All by herself. I'm serious!

And Jane was... well, Jane was pure Jane in the best Jane way possible. I wanted to just...EAT her. Especially when she showed me a scarf she is KNITTING for me.

I could have died happy right there. You know how it is when you suddenly remember how winsome and special and smart your kids are and you just can't even believe they are related to you because they are so incredibly cool? It was like that. It PASSED, you know, but it was like that for a good 24 hours.

Thus endeth the Second Day of Travel: eight hours spent getting to my kids. Total to date? 13 Hours.

The next morning, we had to wake the kids at 6:30 in order to leave for the airport by 7:30. My parents live a bit of a way from the airport and it was rush-hour.

Naturally, there was very little traffic, except for a huge bottleneck around an accident. We were at the curb, checking our luggage, by 8:15. Our flight was scheduled for 10:10. And then it was scheduled for 10:30 and then 11:20.

I love to entertain children in the airport, don't you? I think we spent about $350 dollars trying all sorts of really unhealthy fast food.

And then we boarded the airplane and taxied away from the gate and then the pilot announced that due to high winds in New York, La Guardia airport was down to one runway. ONE. Runway. For both arriving and departing flights.

So, we sat for two more hours on the plane, waiting to be told it was okay to take off.

I love trying to entertain children on an airplane, don't you? That tray table--there's a good two minutes of entertainment.

Finally, we took off and flew across the country and the Gods relented a bit and the airline showed the movie "Enchanted." Which is lovely and sweet and SET IN NEW YORK!!! Right as it was over, we began our descent.

Unfortunately, our descent halted and we started this circling thing while we waited to get clearance to land. It was very turbulent. Ana turned green. 45 minutes later, Ana was still green and the whole airplane was filled with the sound of people retching.

You can't buy that kind of glamour, you know.

We finally landed and collected our bags and the girls practically tackled Coop when they saw him. By this time it was rush hour (starts at 3:00 PM and goes until 8:00 PM, apparently) so we took the girls out for their first New York pizza and then arrived home at 8:30.

Thus endeth the Third Day of Travel: 12 hours. Grand total: 25 hours spent en route.

Still no Edward.



DK said… least...welcome home.
Anonymous said…
Oh, dear. I am so very sorry.

I wish I could say that this was not the way NYC air travel works. I wish I could, but I can't. A tip, though? Try flying out of Islip?

It's further out the Island, and may be further away, but traffic should be lighter. And you can just about guarantee that there will be fewer hassles.

Southwest does a lot of business through there, and down to Texas, IIRC.

And, since we fly through LGA, JFK and EWR frequently, I've got tons of delayed in transit tips and tricks. Next time you try it, blog the subject, and see what your community can come up with! I'm sure we'd all love to share.
Lori said…
So glad you made it home safe and sound with the girls.
Really sad to hear Edward hasn't shown up yet. I've been checking your blog on and off, looking for good news.
Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
Anonymous said…
Hey! I've been thinking about you... waiting for you to pop up in my reader again... glad you're home safely. So sorry to hear about Edward. Hope he finds his way home soon!
Mokihana said…
Oh Edward.... I hope and pray he comes home soon, or you find him quickly. How devastating.
Ei said…
I'm so glad you are home with the whole family (sans Edward...dangit cat come home!) I like, really miss you when you aren't posting every day.

I hate travel drama. It sucks the life out of you and you've had enough in the life sucking department lately. I hope you are eating your wheaties.
Wow. Glad that was you and not me! But that woman in the DC airport? She needed a talking-to.
Karen said…
I really do bet Edward is travelling south, and I bet he makes it, so tell your former neighbors to watch for him. It'll be like a story you hear about on the news.
Mon said…
You poor thing, what an adventure you've had. I'm sorry to hear that Edward is still MIA, he has been in my thoughts all week, poor kitty. I wish I could have had a piece of that New York Pizza, I've never had it, but it has always looked like exactly the type of pizza I adore.

Happy unpacking!
LaDonna said…
So, I finally arrived home on Friday and the last thing I wanted to do all weekend was look at my laptop. I'm just now catching up on your blog.

Welcome home! So glad you made it! Yeah, I can about imagine how your trip went...sounds like it was about as good as mine. I'm working on my own blog entry for that.

But the good news is, you're home and you're all together again...well, except Edward. Go home, Kitty!!