Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'll Be Home For Christmas... Unfortunately

True to the title, I will be home, here in the great Northwest, for Christmas. This was not planned. In fact, the entire day Monday ran like a slightly messed up rerun of "Home Alone." Dave and I had tickets to visit his parents in Utah that left on Monday. But on Monday we had 15 inches of snow in our yard and it was still snowing (understand that in a typical winter we get no snow that sticks and our area of our great state does not have de-icing equipment or plows for snow removal).

Dave and I were getting ready to leave with Jackson for the airport when a friend called us to say that the power was off in their house due to the snowstorm and it was getting colder by the minute. They have a newborn baby and soon the temperature inside would be close to what it was outside, so they wanted to know if they could come hang out with us where it was warm. So they came on over, bringing some other friends of ours who also had their power out with them. They had no idea how long the power would be out for, so they brought bags with food, changes of clothes, etc. which soon covered our front rooms (not to mention the piles of our bags that were out for us to take to the airport). Soon we had 11 extra people milling about and I was throwing towels in the washer and trying to figure out where we could put makeshift beds, if necessary (this honestly was not a problem at all except that the thought of having people, even close friends, see my upstairs rooms and kids bathroom at their current state of tidiness was raising my blood pressure slightly).

Despite taking all precautions and leaving 5 hours early for the airport, chains on our car, just before we got there we found out our flight was canceled. This was very disappointing, but not hopeless. We went to the airport anyway to try to harass the people at the ticket counter and see if we could get on something. It turned out that ALL Southwest flights after 2 pm were canceled. Not to be deterred, I stood in line at the ticket counter for every single airline that had flights to Utah. (At this point a man in line with me suggested that maybe I should hitch a ride in the back of a U-Haul with a jazz band.) =] The soonest flight available on any airline was Dec. 27th. To even get on standby on another airline I would have to be a ticket for later in the week, knowing that I had 40 people in front of me already. This was very disappointing but would not have been fatal, except that Jared and Camryn were already in Utah at Grandma's house. I found myself going from counter to counter searching for any way to Utah-- or anywhere even close-- but there were no flights to be had- for any price. (I guess this is one of those few exceptions to my Uncle George's theory that there are few problems in life that cannot be solved -or at least helped- with a good credit card.) Even the highway to Utah was closed.

What do you do in such a predicament? When you realize that after exhausting all possible options to no avail you are going to have to spend Christmas away from two of your three children? You go out to dinner. Dave and I went with Jackson to the nicest sit-down restaurant in the airport to wait it out just on the off chance that they decided to un-cancel our flight. They didn't, but by the time we had both finished our dinner we felt much better about life anyway. We also were happy that we weren't one of the people settling down to sleep in the standby line for the flight leaving the next morning. We drove home via my favorite pastry shop and then tried to figure out our options.

Southwest Airlines helpfully informed us that didn't have any flights available until the 27th. But as it so happens, our friends whose power had gone out (who were still at our house enjoying the warmth) had tickets to go to Utah on Christmas Day that they were not going to use because he had gotten behind in work because of the storm. We were able to call Southwest and finagle them into giving us their spots on the Christmas day flight. This negotiation was actually quite easy compared to calling Jared and trying to negotiate with him to write a letter to Santa asking Santa to come a day later so mom and dad could get presents too. ("But mom!! I've waited so long already that I even told Camryn that Christmas was tomorrow...") But, as it turns out, Santa wrote Jared a letter, telling him that an elf had informed Santa of his mom and dad's predicament, so Santa would come a day late-- just for them.

So cross your fingers for us that the airport isn't snowed in again tomorrow and that we can make it to the airport. We tried to go out to deliver Christmas gifts to some friends today, but after attempting to drive down our street in six inches of slush we decided it was inadvisable- even with chains. So here's hoping that we'll at least get to spend part of Christmas together as a family. And if not, I suppose we can always go out to dinner.


Lara said...

Oh man! Good luck!

Greek Goddess said...

What a story. I hope you made it safely! Merry Christmas!

LCM said...

Oh my gosh, how awful. I hope everything turned out well in the end. You are awesome to open your house to all of those without power.