It’s finally here, the last post about my cursed trip to visit family in Oregon. At the end of yesterday’s post, I had turned in early at a hotel near the airport in Portland, ready to wake up at an ungodly hour to drag my kids onto a 6 a.m. cross-country flight.
Day 5: Tuesday, May 15
My alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., and I jumped out of bed and started getting ready. I had a long day ahead of me. I had booked the kids and I on the hotel’s 4:00 a.m. shuttle to the airport, where we would hopefully have plenty of time to make our 6:00 a.m. flight to Newark. It was going to be a 5-hour flight, and then we would have a 4-hour layover (gross) in Newark before our final flight home to Upstate NY.
When the clock struck 3:30 a.m., I made my way over to the beds to start waking K-Man and Ell-Bell. They are slow movers, and I wanted them to be dressed and ready so we could head down to the shuttle by 3:45 a.m.
I whispered K-Man’s name and started to gently shake his shoulder. But then I was distracted by my phone buzzing. Who could be texting me at this hour?
I checked my phone and saw the following text:
Your flight to Upstate NY is canceled due to air traffic control. We’ve rebooked you on an alternate itinerary. We’ve rebooked you today on our 11:25 p.m. flight via Chicago, arriving in Upstate NY at 9:37 a.m.
I blinked at my phone, completely dumbfounded. If I’m being honest I had expected some kind of problem with the flights. That’s just the way this trip was going. What I wasn’t expecting was a full 17-hour delay in my itinerary, followed by a redeye. Were they kidding me with this shit? Was there really no faster way to Upstate NY? Was I really going to have to spend all day at the Portland airport with my two travel-weary children? Was I really going to have to keep them up until 11:30 at night, and then wake them up again 4 hours later to make a transfer in Chicago?
I couldn’t bear the thought. I started frantically searching the internet for alternate itineraries, all while dialing the airline’s customer service. I was finding nothing good online, but I was hopeful that when I got on the phone with an actual person, they could pull some strings and find me something to get me even remotely close to Upstate NY before the day was over.
After 30 minutes on hold, I finally got on with a representative. He was way less than helpful. Which, I guess, is not his fault, there just weren’t a lot of ways to get to Upstate NY that day. When I discovered that it was only the Newark-to-Upstate NY flight that was canceled, I asked if I could still get on the flight from Portland to Newark, and then figure things out from there. I was hoping that maybe once in Newark I could get on standby or something. Or worst case scenario, I could rent a car and drive home from Newark, it was only a 4-hour trip. I just knew I needed to get the FUCK out of Oregon. ASAP.
The representative on the phone assured me that he had restored my Portland-to-Newark reservation, so I quickly hung up and got my things together. I woke the kids up and we went downstairs and caught the 4:30 a.m. shuttle to the airport.
We got to the airport at 4:45 a.m., and I felt like we had a comfortable amount of time to get through check-in and security. We waited in line for a kiosk, and then I swiped my credit card and told the machine I was headed to Newark. The machine could not find my reservation on the flight to Newark.
“Fuuuuuuckkkk,” I moaned audibly. I entered my itinerary number and the kiosk told me I was still booked on a flight to Chicago at 11:25 p.m. So the representative on the phone had just been dicking me around, and he had not, in fact, restored my reservation on the Portland-to-Newark flight.
I needed to speak to someone, and quickly, but it was a free-for-all. There was no line you could stand in to wait for an agent. The agents were just free-floating from kiosk to kiosk, helping whoever was the squeakiest wheel. I kept trying to flag someone down while keeping my kids close by, but I was having a bitch of a time. Time was getting tight. Finally, at about 5:15 a.m., I was able to get an agent to tell me that she would help me right after she was finished talking to the travelers she was currently helping.
Relieved, I waited patiently at my kiosk. But I watched her like a hawk. I watched her finish with the travelers she was currently helping. And then I watched her walk in the complete opposite direction to go handle something else. Quickly, I hoped. And then I watched some other traveler walk up to the agent and start peppering her with questions. “Get on with it!” I grumbled to myself, but instead, the agent hunkered down and started having a full-blown conversation with this other traveler.
I’d had it. I stomped over to the agent and, as politely as I could, reminded her that she had promised to help us next, emphasizing that I was about to miss my flight. The agent got huffy, told me she was doing the best she could and that she had no control over who walked up to her and asked for help. And then she told me to go wait back at my kiosk, and that she’d be with me when she could.
I sulked back to my kiosk, fighting back tears. I knew I had been rude, and I hate confrontation, but I was beyond frustrated with this situation! I just wanted to get back on the fucking flight that I had made a fucking reservation for.
A minute later, the agent walked over to me and said, “Now, how can I help you?”
I tearfully (ugh) explained what was going on, and the agent hopped on her computer to see if she could help me. It turned out, the “computer” wouldn’t let me get on the flight to Newark without having a connecting flight out of Newark also reserved. After 10 minutes of typing and making phone calls, the agent had ironed everything out, and we were on our way to security at about 5:35 a.m. For the second time this trip, I walked up to an empty gate and boarded my flight under the judge-y and watchful eye of the Final Boarding screen.
I quickly texted Hubby an update of our situation, letting him know I would figure things out once we got to Newark. Then I put away my phone and hunkered down for our five hour flight.
The flight went by quickly. K-Man was totally engrossed in his tablet. Ell-Bell slept on and off for at least half the time. I mean, Ell-Bell did throw up twice, but we somehow survived it. The first time she threw up, I had an empty drink cup in my hand, so I managed to catch almost all of her vomit in the cup. It was super awkward walking her back to the restroom whilst holding a chunky vomit cup in the air, but most of the passengers seemed oblivious. As for Ell-Bell’s second vomit, well, it all just kind of disappeared into the folds of her neck. So I let it slide. Because I had been doing this for four days and I just didn’t care anymore.
As we began our descent, I started to worry about the task ahead of me. How, exactly, was I going to get home from Newark? There were like three flights a day from Newark to Upstate NY, and they were all canceled or booked for the rest of the day. I could try and get on standby. I could take an hour-and-a-half taxi to another NYC airport for a flight out of there. I could take a bus back to Upstate NY. I could rent a car … but wait, what were the chances that I could find a rental company with two car seats available for rent? It all sounded so overwhelming, but I knew I had to figure it out.
When we were on the ground I turned on my phone and saw a message from Hubby asking me to let him know when I landed. I sent him a quick text and then started to pack everything up. Hubby immediately called me and when I picked up, he sounded way too cheerful. “Hi! How was your flight? So I’m here in Newark, waiting to pick you guys up and drive you home.”
Oh. my. god. You guys. It took everything in me to not burst into tears as relief washed over me. I love that man so much. It’s not just that he volunteered to drive 4 hours to Newark to pick us up and then drive another 4 hours home. This day was his ONLY day off in a stretch of 12 days. And he had just come off 6 night shifts in a row. And he had 27 patients notes to do. And instead of enjoying his single day off or getting his work done, he opted to spend 8+ hours in the car for us. My hero.
I hugged Hubby tightly when we got to the luggage carousel, and then we headed out for our 4-hour drive back to Upstate NY. Well, it was supposed to be 4 hours. You know how driving with small kids can be — numerous stops for potty time and food needs. And then there was the apocalypse storm that we had to drive through (the reason that my flight had been canceled in the first place). We hit a few bits of traffic where people were slowly navigating around downed trees in the road.
About two hours away from home, Ell-Bell threw up in the back seat. Surprise, surprise. We had just gotten back on the road and were not about to pull over, so I did something stupid. Something that I’ve done more times than I care to admit. I climbed into the back seat of our sedan and wedged myself between the two kids’ car seats. I sat there for several minutes wiping up vomit and then, without thinking much, started to climb back into the front seat. As I was making the climb, I had a brief inkling that I shouldn’t be doing this. We were in weird fast but also start-stop traffic and it’s just really not a safe practice. That inkling made me look up quickly right as I was standing on the divider between the two front seats. When I looked up, I saw that we were speeding towards the brake lights of the car in front of us. “Stop!!” I screamed to Hubby, and he slammed on the brakes. And I flew through the air, face first into the windshield.
Time stood still for a few seconds as I peeled my body off the dashboard, crawled back into my seat, and put my seat belt on. My whole forehead and nose were numb, and the bridge of my nose was stinging. I looked up and realized with disgust that my face had put a huge spiderweb crack all over the right side of the windshield. Holy shit.
Hubby was horrified. “Oh my god, are you ok?”
“Um, I think so,” I stammered, blinking through the tears that were quickly falling down my face. “Um, I don’t know, I think maybe I broke my nose. And my forehead hurts.” When we could, we pulled off at a gas station and Hubby examined me. I had a split on the bridge of my nose that he said needed to be glued up — but not stitched. He couldn’t say for sure whether my nose was broken, but it wasn’t disfigured. There were no other cuts or notable symptoms, so Hubby (who I will remind you is an ER doctor) didn’t think I needed to go in to the hospital.
So we hit the road again and finished our ride home. Hubby with his hands clenched tightly around the steering wheel, me obsessively pulling on the seat belt and engaging the automatic lock. I honestly felt like there was some sort of Final Destination-esque plot on my life at this point. I lowered my standards significantly and just hoped we would all make it home alive.
Well, after one final hiccup (K-Man pooped in his pants in the car again), we were finally home at about 9:00 p.m. We went inside, and Hubby cleaned up my cut and glued it back together. Somehow, magically, we convinced the kids to go to bed, even though they had been sitting all day and were operating on Pacific Time. Hubby and I ordered a pizza, which I ate with difficulty since my nose was nice and swollen.
And then we went to bed. And that was the very morbid end to my fucking trip to Oregon.
Thank you so much to all who indulged me and read through my entire 5-day bitch fest. I really, truly, never want to leave the house again.
Until next time,
- I developed a really classy looking double black eye. It was purple, and then it was purple and yellow, now it is a dull brown. Nobody has dared ask me where it came from because it looks very sinister.
- Two days after we got back, K-Man woke up and promptly threw up all over me. He would go on to be sick for a full three days.
- Three days after we got back, I learned that my beloved 92-year-old grandpa’s health is rapidly declining, and that my entire family is descending upon him in a month to spend some final moments with him. So I have reluctantly purchased tickets for me and the kids to fly to Missouri — again, sans Hubby — in the middle of June. Am I crazy?