My Dallas/Springfield Travel... Experience (Or nightmare. Both fit.)

12/08/2013 11:23:00 AM
UPDATED as of 9:15 p.m. Sunday night. See below.

So this all started on Wednesday, December 4th. I was watching the weather reports and read about Winter Storm "Cleon."


I sat on the couch the night before my scheduled flight to Springfield,Missouri, nervous. I was a little worried because it looked like it was shaping up to be a race against the storm and I really wanted to get to Missouri to see my little sister. Since Shirl died, I've just felt like I NEED TO BE with my sister. So, I had some travel fears and to top it all off the little passenger that I was going to take with me had a 100 degree fever the day before we were going to be flying all day...

SIGH.

I honestly though, "Hmmm... I wonder if I should postpone this..."

Um, I'll answer this now: I should have postponed this.

Here we are at the San Jose airport. We had no idea what was in store for us. :)



The first 8 a.m. flight to Dallas was easy and perfect. 



Vivi slept a little and all was well. We arrived in Dallas and waited for our connecting flight to Springfield. Outside everything looked fine! Finally, we boarded - I kept thinking, "We dodged the storm!" I texted Taryn, "On the plane! Almost there!"

THEN... after we all board, the super-snippy flight attendant was like, "THERE IS NO CREW HERE. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY LET YOU ALL EVEN BOARD. THERE IS NO CREW, NO HEAT. WE NEED TO DE-PLANE IMMEDIATELY."

Um.Ok. This is disappointing. We get off the plane. We waited. 


Within 20 minutes we were back on the plane. Only to be told, "Yeah, the weather is REALLY looking bad in Missouri. Visibility has vastly diminished and it's not safe. Freezing rain. Ice."

Boom. Off the plane. Standing on the jet bridge in 20 degree weather waiting for them to get our stroller off of the little plane. I'm holding a 25-lb carry-on and a 25-lb kid. We are wearing no coats. It was terrible. Enter the first moment when I thought I was just going to cry.

SO, while this is all happening my incredible husband booked us a room at an on-property hotel (Hotel #1). Amazing. We just needed to take a shuttle there. First, we waited in line at the American Airlines desk to see if there was ANY way we could get our hands on our luggage; since we had no coats. 

Here's Vivi sleeping while I was talking to the American Airlines peeps. She proceeded to fall asleep at exactly the right moments the past few days; when I need for her to be the most patient, she sleeps. 



The lovely woman at the desk (she really was), said that we could wait 1-4 hours for it to be brought to us. Um, not worth it. The terminal was freezing, we were hungry and well...no. Besides, I had packed some toiletries (my makeup, facewash, etc.) and I packed a change of clothes for both of us in my carry-on. Only later did I experience the amazing surprise that I actually randomly packed FOUR pairs of extra underwear for myself. Um, best surprise EVER. It pays to be a constant multi-tasker.)

That's us before we ventured out into the ice storm. Blech. We had no idea how cold we'd be.


SO, the lovely woman gave me two first-class blankets that I wrapped Vivienne in and off we went downstairs to the lower level to wait for Hotel #1's shuttle. It was FREEZING. I was wearing a cotton long-sleeved shirt and had tears in my eyes because I had never been so cold. And we waited in the freezing cold, got on the shuttle, got checked in.



I was disappointed, but I ordered room service. The hotel was great. Really? Life could be worse. I was cozy in bed reading my kindle with my little sweet pea next to me watching a Veggietale Christmas with her little underoos washed and drying in the bathroom. :)


It wasn't always so lovely after this point.

Then here's a quick rundown of the next four days:

• (Thursday) We stay the night at Hyatt Regency (Hotel #1). I buy Vivi a 75% off t-shirt in the hotel gift shop to sleep in. We buy chocolate and water and therefore we're prepared for the night. The front desk gives me a toothbrush for Vivi, a razor and shave gel. I'm thrilled. I love little things.

That's the beautiful view from Hotel #1. Notice on the ice on the railing.


• (Friday) We try to get to our friend A.'s house that morning, but the roads were horrid. Ice on everything. A tree fell across her driveway. So, I call the front desk at Hotel #1 to make a reservation for the next night because our flight out isn't until Saturday.
• (Friday) No reservations at Hotel #1. No room at the inn. SERIOUSLY? NOW WHAT? You've got to be kidding. Where are we going to go? It's FREEZING out and I don't want to be traipsing all over Dangerous Dallas without a coat.
• (Friday) Mad dash to find a place to stay, I book a room in an "airport" hotel (Hotel #2) that is actually 13 miles away on the terrifying, non-plowed, non-prepared Dallas highways.
• (Friday) Friend, "A." (with the tree across her driveway) awesomely makes an expedia reservation for us at Comfort Suites (Hotel #3), just 3 miles from the airport. (Angel #1)
• (Friday)  I cancel the hotel reservation at the far-away hotel, Hotel #2.
• (Friday) We stay in Hotel #1 for as long as we possibly can (1 p.m. - late checkout), then we beg the front desk for a room again (no go - I try to use the, "I have a toddler with me!" card -- um, no one cared), then we decide to eat a terrible meal in the really-slow restaurant at Hotel #1.
• (Friday) Upon finishing meal, I ask concierge for a cab so that I can go to Hotel #3.  Um, fat chance. "No cabs are running, Miss Kylee. Let me see what I can do."

[This is one of the many times that I honestly thought, "Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? What do I do? Tears started forming many times the past few days.]

• (Friday) Concierge at Hotel #1 tells me that he has a plan. I need to take the Hotel #1 shuttle back to the airport whereby I can call Hotel #3 and get THEIR shuttle to come and pick me up. At the airport.

Sigh.

Sounds complicated and like my only option.

Off Vivi and I go into the blowing, freezing insane weather with no coats. (Vivi still wrapped in those American Airlines fist-class blankets whilst in her stroller.)

• (Friday) So, we did that. We waited at the FREEZING cold airport for the Hotel #3 shuttle... which promptly drove past us after a 35-minute wait in the cold. I call the hotel, (thank GOD for cell phones.), they tell the shuttle to make a loop. They pick us up.
• (Friday) It takes us more than an HOUR to get from the airport to the hotel 3.5 miles away. The road is frozen, not snow-removed and it's so, so cold. No salt anywhere. It was actually scary. My text to Craig was, "I'm scared." [I'm from Ohio. SNOW doesn't scare me. However, snow that is not removed from highways and is left to collect, melt and re-freeze is TERRIFYING. Especially when you're riding in a shuttle with a man whose driving record isn't familiar to you.]

The drive from the airport to Hotel #3.



• (Friday) At one point I tell shuttle driver, "Hey, it's totally ok to just slow down. NO ONE is in a hurry." Everyone on the shuttle agrees. Let's just go slow, buddy. Precious cargo, homey.
• (Friday) The lovely woman next to me on the shuttle is from Michigan originally and now lives in Dallas. She tells me that the roads will be like this for AT LEAST two days. I think this is insane and that she is absolutely lovely. But I'm hoping she's not an accurate source of information.
• (Friday) I get to Hotel #3 and realize that we are starving. No food delivery. [obviously]. No room service. SO, Vivienne ate a $6 kid cuisine frozen meal that the hotel had and I ate an Cup-a-Soup and a twix. We just chilled.
• (Friday) I get a text that indicates that the Saturday flight is CANCELLED. Next flight is for Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Sigh. Another disappointment. At this point, we've clockedThursday night, Friday night and now it's going to have to be SATURDAY night in a hotel...
• (Friday) I make a new reservation for Saturday night at the hotel at the airport. (Hotel #4).
• Vivi was holding it together just fine. At that point we were planning on getting up in the morning, taking the shuttle to the new hotel, hanging out, flying out Sunday morning.

[The entire time, Vivienne is being AMAZING. No fits. Nothing. She has, however, woken up throughout the night again and again because she misses Lila and Daddy. Sweet pea.]

• (Saturday) Wake up to a Facebook message from W.. She's a friend I've known since I was a KID (her Mom and sister, too) and her Dad is my father-in-law's brother. (Got that?) The connection, we have decided, pretty much makes us family. She says, "WE WILL COME AND GET YOU. You.Come.to our house. Where are you? We're picking you up now." This THRILLS me. She has two little girls (3 and 6) and toys and she doesn't live in a hotel room. So, we ate some breakfast and waited.

(Vivienne doesn't like Fruit Loops! Crazy kid. She only liked the bananas. Whose kid is this?)



• (Saturday) I tell W, please don't come if the weather is bad. She locks her keys in her rental car accidentally and her husband, who is an ANGEL, from Cleveland originally, therefore knowledgable about snow/ice driving), RESCUES us from the Comfort Suites.

Vivi waiting to be rescued.


• (Saturday) We get to their beautiful home and relax, change into clean, borrowed clothes, eat, chat, the girls play and it's AMAZING. It's the first time in three days that I'm relaxed. I'm happy.


• (Saturday) I cancel reservation at airport hotel (Hotel #4) for that night because we can stay at their house. Boom. Even got the non-refundable deposit back.
• (Saturday) We proceed to have a lovely day and evening that included wine and sledding. (Not together.) 

Vivienne was exhausted.



• (Sunday) Wake up at 4:30 a.m. and get ready to make the trek to the airport. I keep waiting for my 7:30 a.m. flight to be cancelled because the roads are horrendous. SHEETS of ice. Nothing. No calls. No texts from American Airlines. Whaaaat?
• (Sunday) I wake up D, the hero-driver-from-Cleveland to tell him that we're ready to go to the airport. I have ridiculous anxiety because it's pitch-black out and the entire neighborhood is a SHEET, a SHEET of ice. I look at my sleeping baby in her bed and my stomach hurts. I simply CANNOT put him at risk driving us, my baby at risk in the car and me at risk because I have a husband and daughter in Mexico. He's a Daddy of two. My Mom just died in a car accident and my travel anxiety is at an all-time maximum (and I never have "travel" anxiety.) That said, I made the executive decision to call American Airlines and try to change my flight. It wasn't worth it.
• (Sunday) Um, the wait time for American Airlines at 5:15 a.m. was 2 hours. So, they have this, "Give us your phone number, and we will call you back, you won't lose your place" option. It had worked for me in the past couple of days, so I tried it again. They never called me back.
• (Sunday) There were about 5 more flights on Sunday so I called American back AGAIN. I was on the phone on hold for 2 hours and 20-some minutes... and then the system hung up on me. (Seriously.) (Going to lose it.)


• (Sunday) On hold again... finally someone answers, she says she can't hear me, hangs up on me. (Oh my gosh. I'm going to lose it. More.)
• (Sunday) On hold AGAIN with American Airlines... finally someone answers... someone with a familiar voice. The lady says, "I remember your name, I think we talked recently." Indeed, we had talked and she was sweet and she said, "We'll get you and Vivienne to Springfield... tomorrow."

My heart sank.

So, that's the plan.

If you had told me that I would have had a four-night, five-day layover in Dallas I would have told you that you were nuts. That I had been through FAR TOO much in the past 3 months to go through something like this.

These past few days have been filled with so much anxiety. So much frustration. Exhaustion. Anger. Heartbrokeness.

I booked this trip on November 1st because I just NEEDED to be near my sister. On that day, I didn't have any other reason to go there than to just be with her. To hug her. To laugh and cry with her. TO BE with her. She's my connection to my Mom.

And to have this trip be delayed over and over again has been tough on my heart.

But there have been so many perspective moments:

My husband has been amazing and supportive. When I was ready to turn around and go back to Cabo on Friday night he said, "You're half way there. You're almost there. GO.BE.WITH.YOUR.SISTER."

And then there's this kid I'm with. She is such a sport; just going with the flow. For all she knows, this is what our trip was supposed to be. Only once did she throw a fit.On Friday night she was overly-tired and annoyed by the hotel room and she pulled off her shoes and ripped off her socks and SCREAMED.

Um, I wanted to join her.

And then my friend A. finding us a hotel room. Rescuing me when I couldn't even think straight. Then W. and D. opening their home to us and D. risking his LIFE to come and get us.

Yeah, this is inconvenient, but I'm not stranded at the airport. I'm not trying to get to another state because someone has passed away...

All is as it should be, I guess. Just another life lesson that I'm not quite ready to laugh about yet.

And tomorrow I will arrive in Missouri at 4:15 on December 9th, exactly 3 months to the day that my Mom died.

Ah, life.

But look how cute Vivienne looked in a snowsuit.


Ah, life.

Update as of Sunday, 6:33 p.m. My flight on Monday at 3 p.m. to Springfield has been cancelled. And, the American Airlines phone number actually hangs up on you when you call. "They're dealing with a winter emergency." I'd go home at this point, but I checked and the flights to Springfield AND Cabo are both cancelled.

Sigh.

Why?

Update as of Sunday, 9:15 p.m. After my flight was cancelled I got a call-back from American Airlines from my initial 7:00 a.m. request this morning. Then, after about an hour on hold, the represetnative accidently hung up on me. Bless her heart, she CALLED ME BACK about 15 minutes later. (ALWAYS GIVE THEM YOUR NUMBER WHEN THEY ANSWER YOUR CALL.)

She's booked me on a flight back home on Tuesday, December 10th at 6:30 p.m. That's the earliest I could go anywhere. 

I'm flying back home on the original day that I was scheduled to fly home. 
This has been unbelievable.

I'm heartbroken, as is my sister.

I don't understand this all yet.

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4 comments:

  1. Crimeny. I was so relieved when W and D were coming for you. Godspeed, friend. Get to your sissy safely.

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  2. that is just insanity. all of it. but i'm SO glad you're still safe, and i'm so thankful for all the kind angels who have crossed your path, given you blankets, opened their homes to you. you, my friend, would do EXACTLY the same things for someone in this situation. and when you see your sister, hug the heck out of her! then it will all be worth it. xoxo

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  3. You soooo deserve first class seats on the way back!!!!

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  4. UGH.

    I mean, really.

    Following this on FB and instagram I just couldn't believe it. The whole thing just sucks. But I am SO happy you had people helping and opening their doors to you and Vivi to make the situation a little better.

    I always follow, it happens for a reason. Who knows why you didn't make it to your sister and it totally sucks to be gone that long and never get to see her. But there is some reason you two were not suppose to be there that week. But seriously...UGH.

    Just glad you both are home now!

    ReplyDelete

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