Monday, May 4, 2009

Good News, Bad News...

The good news is that we made it safely to St Charles! The bad news is that it was an adventure getting here and we had a new experience - sleeping in an airport!

It all started with the classic weather scenario - bad weather in Dallas-Ft Worth (DFW) causing a chain reaction in air traffic across the country. But unfortunately, our flight to Chicago was to connect THROUGH Dallas. Besides the plane arriving an hour late into Tucson, DFW ground control kept us on the tarmac in Tucson until the storm had passed there, so we finally took off about 2 hours late. We, of course, were concerned about our connecting flight, but hope it was also delayed so we could continue on. Well, the storms reformed over DFW, closing the airport again, so after circling in central Texas for a while, we got diverted to Austin to refuel and wait further for the storm. Some had enough and chose to exit in Austin, without checked luggage and any further commitment from American Airlines (AA) to reach their destination, and it wasn't 10 minutes after they departed that the pilot announced we were taking off again, finally reaching DFW about 12:15 am, about 7 hours late. Oh - our connecting flight? While in the air over Austin, both of us had gotten cell messages from AA that that leg had been cancelled...

Once in DFW, Melinda got the AA re-booking desk on the phone (a number we had to get from a gate attendant). We both had been re-booked on to Chicago the next morning but because our last names were different (Melinda was using frequent-flier miles under her maiden name) we were on different flights. She got us on the same plane, leaving at 6:30am to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, then 3 hours later on a connecting flight to Chicago. We had called my sister-in-law Susan who lives in Dallas about possibly staying with them if we were stuck for any length of time - turns out my Mother-in-law was also flying in that very night, though the storm delayed her somewhat too, she arrived an hour before us. We had the invite to join them, but with our flight leaving in 5 hours, chose to ride it out at the airport.

Let me tell you - sleeping at the airport isn't all it is cracked up to be! Yes there are cots available - but they are not much more comfortable that the carpeted floor, but in our spot, the floor was wet from roof leaks from the storm. Of course, all the food areas are shut down, so there is no food available, though there were restrooms a short amble away. I was horizontal for a while, but between the full lights, the 55 degree temperature, and the TV on in the background, sleep was fleeting. Thankfully, Melinda got a couple hours - she had gotten on the plane after a work shift and only an hour nap before we left Tucson.

We got up early, verified our bags were still checked into Chicago and stopped at McDonalds (the only place open at 5am), then boarded for Cedar Rapids! I think we both napped on that leg of the trip, but coming down over farmland woke us up as we were about to land. When we got in, we saw there was a flight to Chicago leaving in less than an hour and asked if we could get on that flight rather than wait 3 hours to ours. Turns out there was only one seat available, but we got on standby, and magically, we got on, so got into O'Hare at about 10:15 - only 12 hours after our original schedule. The picture at left is our view of the Mississippi - at center is Sabula, "Iowa's only Island City" near where my Aunt Velma lives! Savanna, Illinois is at far left.

We got the rental car and got to our "summer cottage" we've not seen in 6 months. What a transformation! Melinda's sister Maj has been busy with home improvements pretty much since the day we've left, it appears. There was not a room untouched by her efforts, from painting, plumbing, duct work in the furnace room, ceiling work, and roof reinforcement in the guest room where there was some rotted supports. It was just amazing! Pictures to come in the near future!

We showered and changed, and headed over to Maj and Jeff's place for an afternoon cookout. We also picked up friend Carolyn to join us, and sister Susan also came by. It was a tearful reunion, as we've not seen them since we left for Tucson in October. Besides our house by the river, Maj had been busy on their place as well, and we got a tour of their basement which was mostly unfinished last time we saw it. Their place is mostly done, though, and since the work on our cottage is never-ending, she continues work on ours! She is quite the resource to marry into!

The cookout was great, and it was fun catching up with all the sisters. Carolyn is considered a full family member and I think of her as Melinda's third sister! Picture at left shows Carolyn, Melinda, Susan and Maj. We finally got home about 8 and I was just about walking into walls like a drunk without the benefit of alcohol, so crashed by 9. Melinda was working on the computer trying to reset the key to the router (obviously was successful, as here we are blogging!). She is up now too, so it is time to get out and enjoy springtime in St Charles. More later!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dean and Melinda!! So glad you made it safe and sound to St Charles! How does the river look? Are there flowers peeking out yet? I'm looking forward to more bird watching pictures! Enjoy! ~Ewica