This was the plan: Fly out of Syracuse, the three of us, at 6:58 Wed. morning on a Continental flight to Newark, connect there to a flight to Houston, arriving a little before noon. Yes, a distressingly early flight, but that and an even earlier flight back saved us $150 on the trip. At Houston, get lunch, hang out, meet my sister Janet and her daughters Laura and Julie when they arrived closer to 2:00, then board the shuttle we’d reserved for about $75 (for the party) and head for our hotel near where my mom and my sister Pat and her husband Tom live. That night we’d celebrate Mom’s 90th birthday (but without Pat and Tom, who were out of town and arriving back Thursday).
This was the reality:
The flight to Newark was delayed, apparently because the pilot and co-pilot had been on a delayed flight the night before and needed more sleep. So we didn’t fly out until about 8:30, by which time, of course, we’d missed our connection to Houston, so we were sent to Atlanta to catch a flight to Houston from there.
The flight out of Atlanta was supposed to leave about 2:30. The aircraft flying in developed a mechanical problem, though, and had to go back. Then there were thunderstorms in Houston preventing the plane from taking off. By the time it got to Atlanta and we got on board it was nearly 7:00.
So we got to Houston about 9 hours late. Needless to say, we’d missed our reserved shuttle. So we had to pay about $75 to get onto a shuttle along with about three other parties. The shuttle left the airport, and then, about ten minutes into the trip, turned around, returned to the airport, and picked up another passenger. Then it left the airport again. We were, fortunately, the second party to get dropped off. We got to the hotel around 10:30, absolutely wiped out.
Hence, missed Mom’s birthday.
We spent the next two days with my mom, my sisters, my nieces, and my sister’s husband. Had dinner Thursday and Friday at my mom’s apartment complex: Chinese takeout on Thursday and a roast beef dinner in a private dining room Friday. Other than that we were mostly at Pat’s house, and Kenny was mostly in her pool, learning to use a mask and snorkel. Back at the hotel, at various times, the water stopped running, the elevators were out of service, and then there were several hours without power.
Saturday evening approached and I realized I’d made a fundamental blunder by not discussing the schedule for our departure to the airport area where we had a hotel reservation for the last night, the better to catch our 6:30 am flight. To get Kenny to bed by 9:00 we’d have to leave Pat’s house by 7:30, and my sisters and nieces had left around 3:30 to go on a “quick” shopping trip from which they returned around 6:40. Not entirely their fault, there was traffic and construction. Still, things were a little tense, especially since I’d made another fundamental blunder by assuming Pat or Tom or even Janet would be taking us to the airport hotel. The reality: they were expecting otherwise. So around 7:00 they were still cooking dinner and Tom and I were trying to line up transportation. The shuttle couldn’t get there until 9:30, the taxi driver Tom knows wasn’t available but knew another taxi driver who was supposed to call us back but din’t — however, he turned up at about 7:20. By this time my wife’s migraine was starting up for the third day running and dinner had just hit the table. Kenny and I ate fast, Heather didn’t eat at all, we got in the taxi and left.
Things got better from there. The taxi trip actually cost less than Wednesday’s shuttle, I liked the driver and the car was comfortable. The Airport Inn was a decent place from what we saw of it, which wasn’t much. We caught the 5:00 shuttle to the airport, got through security (one bag searched — apparently my wife’s bar cookies look like plastic explosives), boarded the flight to Newark which was running only a little late, and arrived without incident. In Newark they announced a delay on our flight and Kenny and I went off to the bookstore, only to find on our return Heather and none of the other passengers in the lounge — they’d nearly finished boarding. But we got aboard, got to Syracuse on time, retrieved our checked luggage, and went home. Well, Heather and I went home. Kenny went with his grandfather to the beach for some more swimming.
Well, at least my mom won’t be turning 90 again.