Thanks to the arrival of my sister’s new progeny and a cheapish airmiles-reduced-rate plane ticket from United, I was able to convince the professor to let me run away to the heartland for a few days. Alone. Because I didn’t want to ‘compromise’ our finances by buying another ticket for one of the boys. And I couldn’t very well take young Percy along, lest he take any of the attention away from the newest member of the family.
(Oh, and I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm at the thought of flying with a nearly-sixteen-month-old [not] sitting on my lap.)
So, on the appointed departure date, I found myself running around the house like a chicken without a head. Trying to make some meals for the professor and his spawn; running a series of random last-minute errands. And, looking for my passport.
Finally, much later than was prudent, we headed to the airport. I nervously eyed the clock while doing the math in my head….how much farther….how long will it take us….will I get to the airport with more than an hour to spare before my flight takes off? Tick…tick…tick…
At 2.40pm, the professor pulled up to the United departures curb. I had one hour and nineteen minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave. I kissed the boys and ran inside to get my boarding pass, while the car-van and its male occupants headed home.
I attempted to scan my passport at the self check-in station. ‘See ticket agent’ the message on the screen informed me. I got nervous. ‘Maybe they’re going to give me flack for cutting it so close to my departure time,’ I whipped myself into a panic-frenzy, as I waited anxiously ‘for the next available agent’ who was nowhere to be found.
Finally, I was summoned by a brown-haired woman. ‘Are you going to Indianapolis?’ she asked. And I nodded vigorously. Pleased that they had the correct destination, at least.
And then she shook her head. As if to say ‘no, you’re not going to Indianapolis.’
I didn’t hear much. ‘Air traffic control’…..’San Francisco’…..’three hour delay’……’no other flights leaving Chicago for Indianapolis after 11pm’…..’United won’t pay for a hotel room’.
‘It would have been nice to know this before my husband drove off in our car,’ I complained.
‘Let me see if I can find you a seat on another flight,’ she offered. And then she reviewed her list of eligible flights ‘sold out…no seats available on that flight…..no seats going to Denver….sold out.’ I just stared at her, a mixture of despair and irritation. What exactly was the point of reading from a list of flights that couldn’t get me anywhere?
So I re-booked my flight. For 6 o’clock the next morning. Via Denver. Even as I agreed to the change, all I could think was ‘I will need to leave the house at 4. I will need to get up at 3 something. I will need to take a cab because there’s no way in Hades the professor is going to agree to yank his children out of bed at that hour.’
With my new boarding passes in hand, I was left to ponder another dilemma. How was I going to get home? I had no cell phone. I was quite certain the professor didn’t have our cell phone. I didn’t relish the idea of waiting thirty minutes until he got home, only to ask him to get back in the car with the boys and return to the airport. During rush hour.
So I hailed a cab while trying hard not to think about the fact that I was going to drop $100 within twelve hours for the sheer privilege of riding from (and to) the airport.
After informing the driver of my destination, I leaned my head back inside the yellow minivan, bemoaning my travel fate.
‘Where from?’ the cab driver finally asked, obviously thinking I’d just flown in from London. Or even Toronto.
‘Calgary’, I replied.
Thirty minutes later he pulled up next to our car-van in Killarney, as the professor was retrieving some pieces of foam core from its trunk. (Supplies to make a fort while mom is away?)
Guess who’s back? Back again? Nicola’s back. Tell a friend.