Friday, December 26, 2008

A Tale of Two Trips

Most of you have already read or heard the tale of trip #1: on Monday we braved snow and ice to go to the airport only to find our flight was canceled. Meanwhile, Jared and Camryn were already in Utah with Grandma and we faced the prospect of our first Christmas without most of our kids.

On Christmas Eve, the snow finally started to melt. We decided to go deliver gifts to our friends. We pulled out of our driveway and into the street... and that was as far as we got. The 15 inches of snow had melted into 8 inches of slush. And while chains can make even very slick snow drive-able, they are no match for slush half as deep as your tires. It was like driving through sand or trying to swim with our car... less than successful, shall we say. So we had a very jolly Christmas Eve spent cleaning the house, doing some laundry, re-packing some bags, addressing Christmas cards and making a simple Paella (which was fabulous, by the way, and remarkably easy and mess-free).

In the midst of our cleaning, we realized that it was a few minutes to midnight and we had to at least try to celebrate Christmas Eve a little bit, so Dave and I stopped and took a break to sing Christmas carols at the piano. Even though we had already taken down our Christmas Tree and decorations before our first trip to the airport, even though two of our three children were in a different state and the prospects of us getting there the next morning were less than certain, suddenly it felt like Christmas. I felt very grateful: grateful that despite being unintentionally separated for the holiday I had a wonderful family that were all safe and well with a warm house and food to eat. I was grateful for a wonderful husband who was willing to spend an entire evening cleaning house with me and helping me finish up Christmas cards. But most of all I was grateful for the birth of a baby in Bethlehem a very long time ago.

Christmas morning we piled our stuff into Dave's car (the one with chains) and I held my breath as we braved the mounds of slush filling the streets of our neighborhood. I exhaled a sigh of relief when we finally made it to the main road. The weather was clear: so far, so good. On the way to the airport we mailed some letters and returned a movie. There were people coming out of the grocery store, holding their Starbucks cups, just like any other day. But the one that perplexed me was the lady who was recycling soda pop cans out front. Who wakes up on Christmas morning and thinks, "Hmmm, this would be an ideal time to go recycle some cans!"?

We allowed plenty of time so the fact that the lines to check luggage looped around half the airport didn't faze me. The plane was even on time. We boarded the plane, got de-iced and pulled away from the gate. And then it started to snow... and snow... harder and harder. A few minutes later we pulled back in to the gate. We had enough snow accumulation that we needed to be de-iced again. We waited for the de-icer. Then we had idled so long that the plane needed to be refueled. By this time it was almost blizzarding. By the time we were ready to go again there was an accumulation of slush on the runway and we needed to either wait for it to melt or wait for them to call back in the snowplows that they had sent home.

We spent 3 hours sitting on our plane at the gate. During this whole ordeal Jackson sat quietly on my lap like a little angel. (Haha, that was a funny joke.) Actually he spent this time dumping the diaper bag, opening a bag of crackers and emptying its entire contents onto the floor and randomly flailing about, ripping magazines and bumping his head. A few minutes after we took off he FINALLY went to sleep.

We finally landed more than 4 hours behind schedule. We drove to Dave's parent's house and it started to snow again hard. We finally made it home... home to Dave's family, to Jared and Camryn. I didn't realize how much I missed Jared and Camryn until I saw them again. After a week of only having a one-year-old they seemed older. We immediately started with our traditional Christmas Eve dinner: a buffet with Susan's famous dinner rolls, cheese, meat, cranberry salad, shrimp dip and chips, vegetables and dip, mandarin oranges, homemade fudge. It was good to finally be home... away from home.


Jacki said...

Wow! I'm so glad you finally got to be together! Merry Christmas!

Rebecca said...

Wow! I had no idea! I can't imagine Christmas morning without the kids! My in laws got stuck in Portland too after two trips to the airport. They finally left today.

Greek Goddess said...

I'm glad you made it. I was wondering how things went.

rlmquest said...

I love how positive you were through out the whole ordeal! This is a Christmas you will never forget! Enjoy the holidays in Utah!

Suzie Petunia said...

What an unbelievable adventure! I'm sure the difficulty of the path made the destination all the more sweet. I'm so glad you were able to get to your children by Christmas.

And thank you again from the bottom of my heart for taking us in when our power went out!

Cassie said...

What an adventure! I am glad you made it safely to Utah. Thanks for the christmas card. I am pretty sure we sent ours to your old address--I'll send another. Happy New Year!!!