Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! (Really Long!)

Well, I am happy to say that I, personally, made it safely to Central Illinois for the holidays. I'm not sure I can say the same for my sanity, and I definitely can't say the same for my luggage. While I can grudgingly live with literally the clothes on my back and the couple clothing items I recieved for Christmas, it really ticks me off that they lost BOTH bags, including the one with CP1, CP2, and the I-just-need-to-do-a-quick-seaming-job-to-finish CP3! All three projects are missing! The local airport swears that that bag has arrived there, though, so I'm going up tomorrow to try to retrieve that. Sigh.

My Christmas traveling luck held consistent again this year. I was supposed to leave Santa Barbara at 12:15p on Monday and get into Peoria at 10:30p Monday night. I ended up leaving Santa Barbara around 2:00p on Monday (NO idea what the delay was there, although I can say that the logistics nightmare this delay created was completely and totally avoidable if the airline had made it clear what flight was on which plane when we started boarding - we ended up with two flights trying to fit onto one little commuter plane and it didn't work out well and caused another 45 minute delay!). Got into LAX just in time to miss my connection to Chicago, and got lucky enough to get rebooked on the next flight out. Do make that connection, and spend the next four hours getting subtly hit on by my actually very charming seatmate. Get to Chicago around midnight on Monday, find out there are no flights left to any of the local airports until the next morning, and get to spend the night at Chicago O'Hare. Joy of all joys. Glass buildings with concrete floors are NOT the warmest places to try to sleep. Just saying. Get on a flight to Bloomington the next morning (Tuesday) - supposed to be an 8:30a departure with a 9:30a arrival. However, since it had been snowing in Chicago since about 3:00a that morning (and believe me, I was awake to know), we got delayed and didn't take off until close to 10:00a (we found out later that we were probably one of the last flights to make it out at all before the airport shut down completely). I fall asleep on the plane (finally, warm sleepiness!) and wake up to hear the pilot say "Sorry for the inconvenience folks, but Bloomington is getting an ice storm and we can't land there. I think we're going to be rerouted to Des Moines." We land about 45m later, long enough to refuel the plane and for me to deliver two rather groggy phone calls to my parents saying something along the lines of "Dad/Mom, I think I'm in IOWA. I'm not sure, though, and I don't really know why or how." One lady on the flight was throwing a fit over the whole situation and demanding we land in Bloomington immediately. I'd just as soon any aircraft my butt is sitting in doesn't attempt to land on a dangerously icy runway, but I guess that's just my personal preference. (This is along the same lines as they can take as much time as they want to inspect, de-ice, and otherwise make any plane that I'm supposed to be flying in as safe as humanly possible. Again, that's just me, though.) We finally touch down in Bloomington, and conditions are absolutely terrible. My parents both had to work that day, and so they had driven up the night before and left their truck at the airport for me to get home with. By the time I'd gotten off the plane, I was so bloody TIRED of airports and airplanes and crappy service and overpriced food that I was willing and determined to get the hell out of there as soon as humanly possible, despite the fact that I'd had approximately six hours of sleep total over the past two nights, was not used to driving a big old truck in what were, in reality, really dangerous winter conditions, and the truck is horrendous in icy conditions under the best circumstances. I was going to get my suitcases (winter clothes take up far too much room), get to the truck, and get Out Of There, even if I had to drive five miles an hour or pull over for a nap in the forty miles to my parents' house. Of course, the luggage didn't arrive. It was supposed to come on the next flight, which would land in about an hour and a half. My parents would need about an hour and a half to get off work and get up here to pick me up, so I convinced myself to let them. It probably actually was much safer that way. Anyway, I finally got to my parents' around 5:30p on Tuesday, nineteen hours later and two suitcases less than I was supposed to. I have the WORST luck with traveling. I told them both that next year, we were doing the holidays in Cali and someone else was traveling!

The other bad thing about being so late is that we had known that my great-grandmother was not doing well, and my brother and I had made plans to go see her Tuesday afternoon. Since I didn't get into the area until Tuesday night, we never got the chance to see her that day. She passed away early Wednesday morning. I really wish I could have seen her to say goodbye. It's okay - she was 97, lived a long full life, is out of pain and reunited with her beloved husband, and her timing was perfect. All of her family, including all the grand- and great-grandkids are already in town. It's comforting, somehow, although I'll miss her. Funeral arrangements do put a bit of a damper on the holidays, but family is what the holidays are really about for me. Everything else is just icing on the cake compared to that sturdy and ever-present safety net of comfort and love and support my family gives each other.

Santa still came, of course, and I did get some really cool stuff, though. Three really cute sweaters, a new pair of Cubs pajama pants, a calendar, a new Dilbert book, the first season of Robin Hood (which I have not seen but heard lots of great stuff about and am super-excited to see), a new watch (yay!), a computer game, two posters, a little decorative sign, and a nice new sparring gear bag to haul it all back to CA in (that doesn't have the now-inappropriate ATA logo on it!) My brother's slippers are about half-done, and Dad has already mentioned a few times that his slippers need some love (it's easier to just make a new pair) and, oh-by-the-way-I-need-new-mittens-because-I-lost-one-from-the-pair-you-made-last-year-can-you-replace-it? At least I know that they use the things, I guess!

Happy Holidays to you and yours, and may all your travels always bring you safely back home!


Shrinky Inky said...

HOLY COW! I'm tired just reading your travel account - you REALLY love your family to go through that :)

I am sorry to hear you weren't able to see your great-grandma. Mine was with me until age 97 (I was about 35) and honestly, not a day goes by that I don't think about her or still miss her in some way. She taught me to sew and crochet and appreciate all needlework. I hope you have fond memories of your great-grandma too.

I hope you get back home with an easier trip!

Christina said...

Sorry to hear about your great-grandma.

This sounds like the sort of air travel I partake in -- if anyone's luggage is going to be lost, it will be mine. My husband, who travels much more? Never happened. argh. So I agree, it sounds like your family should come to CA next xmas. (Assuming they can fly OUT of O'Hare.) But you can think about that next year.

Kathleen C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen C. said...

Sorry, too, to hear about your great-grandmother. It does sound like she had a good life and was surrounded by family when she left. I hope the good memories stay alive for you.
And I sure hope you get (got?) your luggage back soon! I've had my luggage lost for a couple days myself... I sympathize.

(sorry, I had to delete my previous comment. It contained some of the worst spelling I've had since kindergarten.)

aj said...

I am all with you on the miserable travelling hell stories, though yours trumps my bad luck in the past! Know that I sympathize!

I am so sorry to hear about your great-grandmother. Know I've got you and your family in my thoughts.

I am really going to miss you around the theatre.