The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Yes, the last 2 days have been fucked up beyond all recognition, but all is well and I’m glad I have a 3 day weekend. Son #1 is in London with a friend from camp, GirlT, visiting other camp friends in the UK. Getting Son#1 and GirlT on a plane to London was the essence of FUBAR.

GirlT lives in Small town PA, in the northeast corner of the state, but goes to school in Harrisburg, which is to the south and west. Valentine’s Day storm brought snow and mostly ice and Pennsylvania was hit very hard, to the point that several interstates were closed, trucks and cars are still embedded in 6 inches of ice. So GirlT was not able to get from Harrisburg to Smalltown on Thursday, as planned. She was able to get a bus to Scranton on Friday morning, which should have given us enough time to get from Scranton to the airport in Newark. So I agreed to drive to Scranton (about 2 hr drive) to pick up GirlT and drive both of them to Newark airport (another 2+ hrs). On our way out I spied Son#1’s cell phone on the table and said, “don’t forget your phone,” to which he replied, “I don’t need it ‘cause it won’t work over there anyway.” BIG MISTAKE. Parents, never allow your children to leave home without their cell phones.

We got to Scranton at about 4:00 without too much difficulty, but the bus hadn’t arrived yet. After a few telephone conversations, we figured out the bus was nowhere close to Scranton, that the bus driver had gotten lost and driven into at least 1 snow bank, and GirlT wasn’t going to make it (her bus didn’t arrive in Scranton until 9 pm). So Son#1 and I left for Newark Airport. This also was not too bad a drive, except for the part where we followed the signs to the airport (bad idea?) and had to drive through downtown Newark which took way too long. I dropped Son#1 curbside at 7:02 pm for an 8:30 flight. Then I headed north on the NJ Turnpike, on my way home (this is about a 90 minute drive). I needed gas and got off at the Vince Lombardi Service Area, where I had to wait about a half hour to get gas. It is now about 8 pm and I’m hungry so I had dinner there. I won’t even tell you what I ate for dinner, it resembled food, but I’m not sure. I finally got home about 10 pm, having started my journey at 1:30 pm, and when I walked in the door, DH looked at me and said, “he called 15 minutes ago, he got bumped.” I thought he was kidding. What a cruel joke! But obviously it wasn’t a joke. My 18 year old son was in Newark Airport at 10 pm with no flight, no cell phone, and no traveling companion. He said he would call back in about a half hour when he got things figured out. 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, no phone call. Now Son#1 is very responsible, this is very uncharacteristic, why hasn’t he called back. I didn’t want to be on the phone in case he was trying to call, (and did I mention that we do not have cell phone access from home so I couldn’t use cell phone to call the police), so I called my brother and asked him to try to call airline/airport/police. As soon as I hung up with my brother, Son #1 finally called at midnight from a hotel room, apologizing for not calling earlier, but no cell, no quarters, no open stores to get quarters, no airline staff willing or able to allow him to use their phones, has already asked 2 strangers if he could use their cell phones, runs off the shuttle bus so he can be the first person at the desk to get a room, runs to his room so he can finally get to a telephone to call us. When I hung up the telephone, I started crying. I couldn’t fall asleep for a couple of hours, despite being physically and emotionally wiped out. I’m surprised my anti-dinner stayed down.

So now Son #1 is rebooked on the same flight as GirlT, leaving Saturday night at 10 pm. His luggage is (hopefully) somewhere in Newark airport, and the airline has promised but not delivered a $700 voucher for getting bumped. On Saturday morning, I got back in my car, drove back to Newark airport, picked him up and went to visit my brother who lives less than a half hour south. We went out for lunch, sat around, watched a movie, it was actually quite a pleasant afternoon, and I hadn’t seen my brother in quite a while. We then set off for the airport, with directions that did not include driving through downtown Newark, and I dropped him off at 6:03 for a 10:00 pm flight. When I got home, DH looked at me and said, “where can I take you for dinner?” I did call Son#1 a little later, he and GirlT were all set, boarding passes in hand, luggage recovered and rerouted. Son#1 had fought and clawed until he got his voucher, I’m sure he is already thinking about how far $700 can take him! He called this morning from London, having arrived safe and sound, but exhausted.


Laurie said...

I am stressed just reading about that. I am glad your kids got to the UK safely.

Audrey said...

Parenting sounds hard!!!! Just wait, in a few more years you can leave him to his own devices. My parents now just assume I don't want to hear from them (I didn't need my parents to micromanage my airline lost my luggage filled with formal clothes and I was on my way to West Virginia in a car with just a bathing suit and my x-mas presents.) My sister, who was with my parents, restrained them from calling and convinced them to just see what I showed up with a few hours later. Plus they also have 4 kids so it is just too many people to keep track of. :)

I actually think he did pretty well for himself all things considered!! I can't believe they bumped him though...and you are parent of the year for all of your driving!