I often write about the universe yanking my pony tail. How the sudden tugs act as everything from a gentle reminder to an all-out hair-pulling event. It’s been a hairball travel type of week and no surprise that “Take the Long Way Home” is the Muzak playing in the Philadelphia terminal. I’m in the middle of four days of travel that started in Sioux Falls, SD on Monday and (hopefully) ends with my butt at home tonight.
I should have recognized the signs early on, but stubborn nature as well as an aversion to disappointing anyone had me pointing my car north at 6 a.m. for the 5.5 hour to drive to Sioux Falls. It wasn’t until after I arrived, that the days became a streaming comedy of errors.
After arriving at my first appointment, the check engine light came on and I spent the next several minutes trying to get an appointment with a trusted mechanic. I called one of my co-workers and he got me set up. Kyle, the nice guy at Sioux Falls Ford, took care of me and felt that it was head gasket issues. My fleet company didn’t want to fork out the cash for a rental car, so Kyle handed me the keys and said, “PLEASE be careful. You could be fine or you could blow the whole motor. Get to your dealer as soon as you get home on Thursday.”
So, I held my breath and limped to the next destination in Omaha three hours away. Got to the hotel without any car problems only to find a missing reservation . After a minimal wait, got checked in and ate what felt like my last meal.
That was Monday.
Tuesday started with an eight a.m. meeting and a 10:30 appointment in Omaha with a flight out at 1:30. The appointment ran late and had me running into the airport terminal because I had NO idea where to park. Who knew security gets so upset when you try to park in cargo?
Even as I write this, I have NO recollection as to where my car is actually parked right now. When I fly out of KC, I park in the same spot every time (Tower 2, Row 22) so that I don’t accidentally get my trips mixed up. There are no landmarks or numbers in the Omaha parking lot – not that I would have noticed.
I made the flight knowing that I had a tight connection in Charlotte. Tight being 15 minutes get to from Gate E to Gate B.
In high heel boots.
I peeled those puppies off and sprinted like Usein Bolt through the terminal. Fortunately, my knee held up and I arrived as they were calling my name. By the time I was sitting in my seat, I had a HUGE smile on my face. I had made it!!
I landed in Philly and ended up standing next to a disheveled couple arguing by the baggage claim. The poor girl had mixed up where she was supposed to pick him up and he was livid. She had alligator tears in her eyes and that whispered of, “Help me.” I wanted to tell her to run, but when I texted my husband about it, he reminded me, “Not your circus” to which I replied, “Not my monkeys.”
Finally got my bag only to discover that TSA apparently inspected and LOCKED it. Does anybody lock their bags? I never have and certainly don’t have a key.
Thinking like McGuyver, I grabbed a ball point pen and pried the zipper. I was even able to get it zipped again before I hopped into the cab and on to the next part of the adventure.
About twenty miles in, the driver was getting noticeably agitated. It wasn’t until he pulled up to the turnpike booth that I saw the check engine light was on AND we were out of gas.
Tug. Yank. Tug. TUG!
He called his brother who helped him find a gas station. He later told me that the tank had zero miles on it for the last 15. I arrived at the hotel at 10:00. “Oh, Miss! I was so worried and I didn’t want to worry you.” The guy high-fived me when I exited the cab.
That was Tuesday.
Wednesday went off without a hitch (because I didn’t have to travel, duh!) But, about 3:00, I got a call from the airline informing me of a cancelled flight for Thursday. I stayed calm, made new arrangements and spent the rest of the day in blissful ignorance of what would be happening next.
You know me, I’m the weather girl. I always check the weather apps, watch the news and KNOW when a storm is coming – especially when I’m traveling. It wasn’t until I tried to get a cab for the ride back to the airport that I noticed the blizzard outside my window. No cabs were willing to make that trek back to the airport. I was feeling stranded and trying to problem-solve when the cab company called me back and asked if I’d be comfortable riding with a driver in his personal truck.
TUG! TUG! TUG! TUG!
I said yes.
Bill showed up in a Maroon Chevy Silverado with all of his credentials and had his boss call me because nothing screams ‘stranger danger’ like a woman traveling by herself at the mercy of a dude in a pick-up truck.
Bill was an awesome and nice guy and I didn’t even freak out when he asked to stop by his house to pick up his EZ pass. BIG apology to my hubby who, if he’s reading this, is finding this out for the first time. I’m a fighter, honey and had my exit plans and fight strategies ready.
Plus, I told Kelsey (the bestie) and had her on stand-by.
So, here I am on Thursday…my flight is ninety minutes delayed and set to arrive 17 minutes after my connecting flight leaves from Chicago.
Yank. Yank. Tug.
I’m staying positive, but my resolve is weakening and tears are threatening. I haven’t let myself even think about what happens when I arrive in Omaha and my car doesn’t start. Ha! I have to get to Omaha first!
Thank God for the kind people who have helped me get this far. It serves as a reminder that there are compassionate people everywhere. We spoke last week how difficult compassion can be…I’ve interacted with several people this week who speak compassion like it’s their native tongue.
If you don’t see my usual Friday post tomorrow, don’t worry. It probably means that I’m still sitting at Gate A9 listening to Super Tramp.
SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE:
- No flights out on Thursday
- Lost bag – recovered 4 hours later
- No flights to Omaha on Friday
- Booked a flight to KC (an hour from my home)
- Rented a car from KC and drove to Omaha on Friday (3 hours)
- I found my car, it started!
- Drove back home (3 more hours)
- Hugging my son by 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon
- Casualties: 2 bags of gummy worms, suitcase lock, sanity
Thank you to all of my bloggy friends who came to my mental rescue! xo