Friday, June 23, 2006

Traveling Tale of Woe

Thanks, everyone, for your supportive comments over the last two days. I feel fortified. And not quite so dull.

Yesterday was . . . not fun. The daughter and I were traveling to my family’s annual family reunion in Kentucky. I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. in order to leave on time to make our flight. Ever noticed when you have to get up really early and really need what sleep you can get, you can’t sleep at all? My mind wouldn’t turn of. I checked the clock every ten minutes, thinking the alarm was going to go off. (Checking the clock’s easy—all I have to do is stare at the ceiling. We have one of those handy-dandy clocks that project the time and outside temperature up there in large red numbers.)

I get a total of two hours’ sleep.

So. We’re on time to the airport. Long security line. Flight’s late. Which doesn’t matter, because we’re on a ridiculous schedule anyway. Instead of the typical flight to Chicago, then to Lexington, we’re have to go to Phoenix first. Don’t ask me why. And we have a long wait there. So we get to Phoenix. Whoa, feel that heat through the jetway. Then the airport’s freezing from air conditioning.

We have breakfast. We have time, you see. A two-hour layover. Yes, this is after being late.

Our plane leaving for Chicago is also late.

Oh, we board on time. Then we sit there. Don’t ask me why.

Finally, after a three-hour flight, we arrive in Chicago. Late. But no worries. We have plenty of time to kill. You see, we have a two and a half hour layover. Yes, even after being late.

We pass the time in a restaurant, eating. Figured, okay, we’ve survived this. Almost there. Next flight’s only an hour. We’d forgotten that we were in Chicago, only the most late airport in the universe. And, of course, we have to walk from terminal B to F. So we get to F. Have another hour to wait. The gate’s hopping. I mean people everywhere, waiting for four different flights at the same gate. Time passes. Nobody calls our plane. The take-off hour slips by. Still no announcement. Meanwhile other planes are announced—how late they are. One flight’s cancelled. Another is two hours late. Still no word on ours.

Then we hear it’ll be an hour late. Then another. After sitting there for three hours—still no word. I’m calling my Mom with updates. Basically saying I don’t know anything. I am very tired. I’ve been working on the computer—rewrite of Coral Moon—and I’m really drooping.

Next up—they start asking for volunteers on our flight to wait until tomorrow. This is without even announcing when our flight is leaving.

A Chicago hotel room is starting to sound real good.

Finally, finally, our flight is announced. Only it doesn't show up. It's announced an hour later. Same thing.

We finally boardat 10:15, three and a half hours late.

We can't take off. Why? Well, I've never heard this one before. Because there's a tour of high school kids on the plane, and all their luggage has been lost somewhere between here and Europe. So the plane doesn't have enough luggage in the back to equalize the weight of passengers in the front.

We sit at the gate until 600 pounds of sandbags can be located in the O'Hare Airport.

That takes a half hour. Do we leave then? No. We sit on the tarmac another half hour. I don't know why.

We land in Lexington after 1 a.m. The bags take a long time coming. No doubt due to ALL the MANY flights landing at 1 a.m. at the little Lexington airport.

We reach my mother's house at 1:40. Exactly 18 hours after we left our California house.

Isn’t flying fun?

All I can say is--this better be a great family reunion.


Pam Meyers said...

ROFL!!! Brandilyn, I'm really not laughing at your horrific day in the friendly skies, but you do have a way of putting it into words. You should have called me when you were here in Chicago. I'm only twenty minutes from the airport. Could of picked y'all up and taken you for a bit anywhere but O'Hare. We had storms coming and going through the area over the past two days and that's one reason the flights were so delayed. I was constantly turning my internet on and off. As for the reason your flight couldn't leave O'Hare because of lack of weight, that's a new one on me. Let's see how long it takes for that to show up in a story of yours!

PTL you got there safe. Have a great time at the reunion and give your mom a hug for me.


Gina Holmes said...

Oh man, that's rough. Glad you're there now. The things we do for family...

Kristy Dykes said...

Sandbags? Never heard of that one. Great day!

Maybe your day in the airpots is an analogy of the road to getting published. A Novel Journey. Listening in, Gina? :)) Plans. Changes. Delays. Cancellations. Frustrations. Fatigue. Brain fogs. Arrival at last. Long after you anticipated. Long after you planned for. Right before you gave up and took the easy road (the hotel). Ah, arrival.

Better late than never, as the old saying goes.

I guess that'll be my Novel Journey story. No, I KNOW it'll be. Cuz I ain't giving up. Nosirreebob, as we say in the South.

Tell your mom hi for me. She's a doll.

Kristy Dykes said...

I meant airpoRts, not airpots.

Though that's not a bad idea, considering how bad your day was. It stunk (I still can't say "suck;" it just won't come out.) Air pot. Er, airpit. That sounds more like the refined Southern lady I am.

Curtsying here.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

I'm a little further than Pam, but close enough to have rescued you for a bit! Starbucks and good conversations works wonders for airport frustrations!

Hope the trip back is better (and call us if you need friends!!) :)

r. k. mortenson said...

Thanks, Brandilyn, for making all of your bloggees' day today seem, well, easy compared to yours. (Sad how we often find comfort in the misery of others, isn't it? Wait, I didn't say that. We're Christians. We don't do that. No.)

Speaking of traveling adventures...last month I flew with my wife, our almost 3 yr. old daughter and our 2-month-old son, who sat in my wife's or my lap, to LA via Houston on a Friday and back to Florida via Nashville the following Monday. Uff da! (as we Norwegians say, though I live in the same town as Miss Kristy in the South, but do we really consider Florida "the South"? It's like there's the South, and then there's Florida. But we're in Jacksonville, which is practically Georgia.... I guess the point I'm trying to make is: I don't curtsy.)

I hope you enjoy a wonderful reunion with your family!

Stuart said...

Hey, at least there weren't any snakes! :)

Hope you have a great reunion!

Lynette Eason said...

Ugh...sounds like my flight to AND from Hawaii. I was ready to tell you S-Man..."send in the aliens to kidnap me...or at least find Scotty to beam me up!"

Hope your flight back is smooth and frustration free...oh, right, this is air travel...sorry.

Well, I guess I will pray that you have such a wonderful family reunion that all of the agony is worth's that? Blessings!

Audra said...

My husband had to fly into Chicago on Wednesday...he had an hour layover in Seattle and then a two hour delay thanks to nasty weather in Chicago. AND they confiscated his lighters lol. I told him it was a good time to quit. ;) I'm hoping his return flight on Monday is uneventful and on time (is there such a thing?)

I've got horror stories, too, but I'll spare you. I hope you have a wonderful family reunion. :)

C.J. Darlington said...

Starbucks and conversations works wonders for just about anything.

Chris said...

Hey, any day they don't ask me to move to the back of the plane to balance things out is a good day in my book. And no snakes (on a plane!), also good.

Still, your story tops my worst airplane misadventures (though combined, I'd still be in the running...).

Enjoy the reunion.

John Robinson said...

I DESPISE O'Hare!! And even that doesn't fully convey my loathing. I can't back this up by scripture, but I remain convinced that when a soul is condemned to hell, its journey starts in Chicago. I'm just glad you made it, Brandilyn, and with your sanity relatively intact. By the way, you're from Kentucky? Me too. My hometown is just south of there, Danville, and my wife and I graduated from EKU in Richmond.

Wayne Scott said...

I had to fly through O'Hare in February. My trip was from Denver to Chicago, Chicago to Munich, Munich to Lyon. Then a drive to Grenoble. It was during the Turin Olympics. Sadly, I was traveling on business. I had a two hour layover in Chicago, then seven hours in Germany. Don't get excited - from 6am to 1pm. I had to leave my house at 5:30am - after staying up all night rewriting the second chapter of my Genesis entry from scratch (at least that part went well :)

None of the US guys I met in Lyon knew how to get to our hotel in Grenoble. By the time we found it, from my house to the hotel was 27 hours.

Oh, and I sat next to a really chatty guy on the flight from Chicago. He liked to drop the F-bomb frequently. About 3 hours into the flight, I brought up the fact that I'm writing Christian Suspense. He said "You're a Christian? Me too!" Yeah, but the only F-word I use is FICTION.

Oh, and after all that, I just found out this last Monday I'm being laid off in a month. I think I might kill a few extra people in my WIP. Of course, I blame myself - last weekend I prayed for God to give me more time to write! I guess I should have been more specific. :)

Sabrina L. Fox said...

18 Hours!!! Sheesh, might as well drove. LOL. Glad you made it safe and sound. Bet you sleep tonight. =)

Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Ouch! 18 hours with layovers, lack of communication and oddball delays. Then again, this *is* Brandilyn, so we should expect to hear reports like this. LOL! And I'm sure we'll see some of it in your books somewhere.

And sandbags to even out the weight? B, you shoulda told them you had some extra bodies from your books to toss in there. Woulda been perfect!

Hope your reunion is great. Give Mama Ruth a great big hug for me. She's a doll.

Ane Mulligan said...

And people wonder why some of us prefer to drive. :o}

Sandbags? Never heard that one - lost luggage, yes, sandbags no. But it sure makes for great fodder for fiction. Hey, were there any body parts in the overhead?