Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Planes, Trains, and...

I thought that my next blog post would either (1) be good news about our adoption application, or (2) be a post about how we are adapting to our 700+ mile commute (that one will come next week; the other, I'm not certain).  But today has been quite the adventure in travel insanity.

I have a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday.  Weeks ago, Jake and I decided that I would fly through Kansas City on the way, drop Howie off with his Daddy, and then continue on to Kentucky, returning to Kansas afterward for a weekend with my boys.

But then Winter Storm Q intervened.  Anticipated multi-feet of snow can really change things, so I've learned today.

First off, for reasons I do not understand, the entire parking garage for B Terminal at Intercontinental was full today. I can only assume it's due (a) to hold-overs from NBA All-Star Weekend, or (b) earlier arrivers to the BBQ Championships at the Rodeo this weekend. Either way, Howie and I wound up parking at A Terminal instead and taking the train around the airport. Howie was super excited (he loves trains!) but keeping a toddler close by while you manage two suitcases maneuvering from car to train to plane is stressful. So I was not thrilled.

Just as Howie and I were buckling into our seats for the flight from Houston to Kansas City, I got an email that my KC to Louisville flight had been cancelled. Ten minutes on the phone with a United rep made clear that MOST flights in the middle of the country had been, and that the odds were looking really slim I'd make it to Kentucky. The woman on the phone was very nice and tried every imaginable combination of flights to get me where I needed to be, but to no avail. I got off the phone with thirty seconds in which to call Jake and explain the situation before I was told to turn off my phone for the flight. Of course, in that 30 seconds my brilliant husband solved my problem for me: if the planes aren't working, better start driving. What would I do without him?

When Howie and I landed in Kansas, I booked a car (fortunately there were a few still available!). Then I called United to make sure that the Kansas-to-Kentucky leg of my itinerary was cancelled properly. Turns out, the woman trying to help me earlier in the day had booked me on three different combinations of flights between Kansas and Kentucky. None of them actually worked for my schedule, but they sure made for interesting reading for the NEXT United lady trying to help me. I mean, my actual itinerary (Houston-Kansas City-Chicago-Louisville-Cleveland-Kansas City-Houston) was convoluted enough to begin with. With the new additions, it took her ten minutes just to figure out which of the flights were supposed to be there and which were "extras." But she was also very helpful and thankfully we got the itinerary sorted relatively quickly considering. 

Howie was such a trooper through all of the craziness! But he napped on the plane to Kansas City and woke up hungry.  So as soon as we got off the plane he started to get just a little fussy. I'll admit, I snapped into full on bribery mode. I told him if he gave me five minutes to finish my phone call, he could have a bag of M&Ms (his favorite!). He was so good, and oh boy, I delivered. Hopefully the sugar didn't make him crazy for Daddy later.

Jake met us at the airport and got Howie, dropping me off at the car rental place so Avis could set me up with a vehicle, before they drove the two hours back to Junction City to hunker down for the storm. I think we got all of ten minutes together, but hopefully we'll get more time this weekend.

Since I was renting one way, I did not get a choice in which vehicle they gave me. This is the only car they had on the lot that was eligible for a one-way:

Not too shabby, though not really my style (green). Fortunately it got better gas mileage than I expected. I got on the road around 4pm and got to St. Louis, Missouri by 8pm. That's where I am now. The good news is that I had Starwood points saved up, so my hotel for the night didn't cost me anything. The better news is that I got a for-no-reason room upgrade at the Sheraton I booked. Too bad that never happens when I actually plan to spend time at a hotel...

Tomorrow I'll drive the rest of the way to Louisville.  Ironically, after eight-plus hours of driving I'll actually get to Louisville earlier than my original itinerary had me arriving. I guess sometimes it really is better to drive.

So there you have it. My real life story of planes, trains, and automobiles. I'll (hopefully) be flying back to Kansas City after my hearing Friday afternoon, then I'll drive to Junction City to be with the boys. There is a real possibility that the snow will still be a factor on Friday, so please keep us in your prayers. It would have been bad to miss a hearing, but I'll be devastated if I can't get back for our family weekend.

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