Listening to: Newsies - Seize the Day
Okay so its been more than a week since I wrote and I am back from the trip. Miracles of mircales.
On Tuesday morning we parked the car at Diamond Parking and shuttled to the airport. Of course it was me that got patted down in security. I sat next to Cole and Mindy. I got the window seat and off to Chicago we went for about 3 hours. A giant swing a plane feels like. Peeing on a plane is also an interesting experience. Once in Chicago we had 30 minutes before that same plane would take off to Greenville/Spartanburg airport in SC. So I hopped off and bought some souveniors. I'm a real traveler now.
Off to Greenville for 1hr 48 min about which made the plane ride somehow worse going straight up into the air and seemingly coming straight back down. I got more sick on that shorter ride. I didn't have time to adjust. A bit queasy there. I sat next to Braxton that time. Min saw my faces I made behind her and she turns around and tells me not to puke in her direction. So the stranger next to me thinks I'm gonna puke now.... poor girl. The flight attendant called Brax my lil' brother when handing out drinks and snacks. hah. Cute. The drinks really helped the sickness, but not the potty issue.
We got to Greenville airport, a very small one compared to the ones we just came from, around 7 or 8pm whatever that really means in the time difference between UT and SC... We rented a van and took off for a 2 hr ride to Columbia SC to our hotel. We had interesting adventures in navigating as we usually do on any of our family vacations... Mum started out reading the mapquest directions from the beginning (after we were already on the freeway and needed the next exit) and said each direction as if it were a question. I quickly became the backseat navigator. Throughout the trip we learned that Mum decided to bring TomTom to 'help' us navigate more 'efficiently'. Kill me now. I HATE TomTom with a passion if you recall my last vacation in which I brought Mum, Dad, and TomTom to southern UT. *twitch* Not only did we have TomTom giving directions that we didn't trust most of the time (Mum put in the addresses....) but we also had a MumMum repeating everything he said. "Turn right in 800 yards" followed by a "You know you're going to turn right up ahead right?" Yes Mum I heard TomTom the first time.
Anyways, we found the hotel and promptly went swimming. Mum and I never went swimming at the same time, we ended up taking turns for some reason. Min and the boys always went tho. It was like 9, but we still felt like it was 7pm so we played and watched TV and stuffs til bedtime.
The next day (Wednesday) we had a wonderful breakfast and went swimming again. This time I went swimming. Claine called us while we were playing. Silly soldier thinking they army will actually give him accurate information. Then we went off to 'Family Day' on Fort Jackson base to have our first reunion with Claine in 10 weeks. They have 5 companies and because of the weather they had to shove Family Day and Graduation inside the lil' gym there a few companies at a time. They had some dumb speel in the gym place for like 20 minutes and then let us see our soldier. Mum and I took pictures while Min and the boys found Claine and embraced. He's a lot skinnier .... and more bald. (He didn't need help with that....)
We were stuck on Post with our soldier til 8:30pm and they had to be back in their barracks. Every company was stuck on post with ALL their families too. Needless to say Post was packed and I'm sure ran out of food cuz everyone went to lunch after that and the few places to eat. We got Chinese and ate in the van. We shopped for some stuff on post and then played at playgrounds the rest of the day. We also went by the church and met the missionaries that befriended our solider. We took him back to his barracks and back to the hotel which I'm sure we swam yet again before bedtime.
The next day (Thursday) they snuck in an hour of swimming before we had to go to Graduation. Again we were all packed into the gym with two companies. We didn't see anything. Good thing it was only 30 minutes and back outside to find our soldier and this time take him off post til 8:30pm. Everyone else stood on a lil' hill away from the crowd while I dove in and searched for Claine. I found him up front and center almost and got pictures of him and his battle buddy that he seems so fond of. I should've gotten a video with their whole shouting routine before being released. Then he wanted us to meet the other 'old guy' at bootcamp Truax that he became friends with. Min got to meet his wife. They talk on facebook all the time, finally got to meet her. More pictures and then we left.
We took him to the Waffle House for lunch. The waitress there was prolly the closet we'll find in southern folk so far since we've been here. She was a delight. She said it was obvious we were all family because of our eyes apparently. She said Brax and Claine had the same eyes, and me and Cole had the same eyes.... I think she thought Cole was mine. I sat by him and fed him lunch. She seemed surprised that me Mum was the 'grandma' of the bunch. She also congradulated and praised the soldier and mainly his wife for their bravery and raising children. That was kind of awesome. Then off to the hotel with Claine where we went swimming again. I was tired and my sinuses were starting to hurt with the rainy weather so I laid down and promptly fell asleep.
Meanwhile, they sent Mum off to the pizza place to get dinner. Two hours later she returns and informs us that southern folk take their time and are never in a rush for anything... Min had a slight conniption when Mum didn't show up and left her phone at the hotel which incidently woke me up. She already had Plan B and C ready for action. I told her to wait for Mum, she's not lost, she'll find her way back, blah blah. Anyways, FOOD. It feels like thats all we ever did on that trip. Food. Swim. Post. Travel. Then it was time to take Claine back to post and leave him for another 2 months. He'd be in Cali for those two months, but still you can imagine the pain Min had finally seeing him for like 14 hours and then losing him again for another two months. I tackle hugged him from the backseat. It was like the perfect hug. Min was drained emotionally and physically after that.
Then comes the real adventure. Getting home.
Friday we got up and did the routine breakfast and swimming before checking out of the hotel. We went souvenior shopping and found...well nothing. Can't really be that surprised I mean of all vacations ppl choose they don't exactly choose the middle of SC... not really a tourist spot. We wandered off to the State Museum as that was the only attraction for miles. We bought some stuff at their store and toured the museum. We planned on leaving at 2 to get the car back at 4 and get on the plane by 5pm. Here's what really happened: We left Columbia at 2:30 and drove speedily AWAY from the airport for about an hour and didn't get turned around til 3:30pm, took another hour to get back where we started, and then had an hour to get to the airport (which takes 2 hrs to get to) and we already passed our rental car return time soooo... you can imagine the conniption my sis had then. Thankfully Claine could use his phone and called asap after my emergency text to him and therefore calm her down a bit. By the way, I blame TomTom. No, it was prolly me I was the navigator trying to read the directions backwards from whence we came...
So as our plane was leaving we still had an hour to drive. We showed up around 6pm and asked if we could still return the car without being charged and they said yeah. So we lost our vehicle and our plane and became a bit stranded. We reserved a hotel room from the airport and were shuttled there. They went swimming again. I ordered Chinese and waited for it in the room. This is when my stress and panic arose. The plan was to be on standby for the two flights out of this airport all day on Saturday hoping for a few extra seats on a flight to another city where we would again be on standby for the next flight for SLC. Leaving -many- possibilities that I was not comfortable with. Waiting on standby and only having like 1 or 2 seats available. Getting laid over in Chicago or Orlando waiting on standby, and if there was no seats available being stuck in that city til the next flight out the next day all alone, and the list goes on... I was kinda freakin out. With such a big group as the five of us, what are the chances eh?
Saturday April 2, 2011 the unplanned day of 'vacation'
Needless to say, we packed our bags very wisely the next day. We were sending our luggage to SLC that morning with or without us so all we had were carry ons full of essentials in case we were stuck in this airport or another at any time. We stood in the luggage line foreevverrr and my body was screaming stressful things the whole time. I did not feel good. We finally got our turn and the first thing she says is that a plane cancelled all their flights. Apparently it was going to Denver. Which means everyone that wanted to go to Denver has to find another flight to another airport that might get them to Denver which means all our 'standby' or 'extra' seats are going to be taken. Greeaatt. She put us on the standby list, we went through security and waited til the first flight at 10:40am to see if any seats were available.
10:40am came around and everyone was boarded and we waited...and waited ...and waited for someone to tell us A) if there was room and B) why hadn't it left yet? About an hour later, plane still there with passengers boarded, they informed us that A) the plane is packed but B) they are having troubles getting the connecting flights to correspond now that they are late. Southwest airlines then turned upside down in troubles from then on. I think the airplane had to have an inspection before it could leave first of all, which made all the connecting flights late and everyone running around with their heads cut off. They managed to...make all the connecting flights late enough for them to catch up....the only one they couldn't connect with was the Denver flight. So those Denver ppl on our plane really have no hope getting to Denver that day. So the Denver ppl got off the plane cuz it wouldn't help them at all which left room for us.
During this chaos I thought it'd be a good time to go to the bathroom. Turns out I was wrong. I got off the john and heard a country tune of "Your momma is calling youu" and thought it was cute and then realized it was my phone. I knew I didn't have time to call back and see what was up I just took off running on the other side of the airport to my gate. They were boarding as I was running. Eep. The hard part was getting out of this small airport with fewer flights. We just needed to get to a bigger airport and we'd have a better chance of getting home sometime this weekend. And yaayy we caught a break.
They helped us rearrange so Min could be with her babies. The emergency exit seating was left for me and Mum. Only adults are allowed to sit in that section. The flight attendant yells down the plane/aisle as I'm coming up "are you 15?" What the hell kind of question is that? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to ask my age or give a general range of age instead of pinpointing one? How do you answer that? Did she have to say that so loud? I'm like uh no, I'm older... My sis told her I was like older than 21 or something. Now its stuck in Min and Mums heads and they laugh about it every so often. Argh. Anyways, the short flight to Chicago with drinks and snacks. The poor ppl who waited on the plane with kids that whole time.
Then we got to Chicago and raced to the next info desk with a flight to SLC. Turns out they had us on the standby list and they had room for us... and they were waiting for us....they called us once our flight landed (we didn't hear it) and we showed up and they said Oh there you are. o.O They don't...wait for standby do they? But the airlines did delay everyone else just enough so that most of the connecting flights would work. We were the last ones on that flight to SLC. Miracles of mircales. Well they did let another man on after they shut the door, the pilot gave permission. The airline and staff are very cooperative with such delays and hysterics. It was nice. I asked the girl I sat next to how long they'd been waiting she said not long. Crazy. They rearranged for us again so Min could be with her baby. Brax looked like he's 10 so they didn't care where he sat. Me and Mum scattered also. The long flight home with like three drinks in me and no window to look out to ease any sickness. Other than that it felt like the same as at work. I slept in the same position, played the same games, chewed gum to relieve boredom and hunger like I do at work... so boring.
But I did get to see the small dot of buildings near the mountains that we call a city verses the gigantic skyscrapers of buildings with the lake behind it that Chicago calls a city.... I never thought an airport would feel so much like home. And after the possibility of not getting home this weekend...week...or ever it was very nice coming home. I was the last one from our group to get off the plane in SLC so they were all waiting for me and I come off and Cole sees me and yells my name and runs into my arms like he hasn't seen me in weeks and I twirled him around in our happy reunion as if I wasn't sitting a few rows behind him on that last flight. That was fun. He's so enthusiastic sometimes. It made me smile.
Keep in mind we hadn't eaten since breakfast at 6am or 4am if you wanna get technical and we waited at the airport til about noon, 1 hour and 48 mins on the flight to Chicago, transfer planes and another 3 hours to SLC, pick up our luggage and shuttle back to our van before we could eat again. We stuffed ourselves full.
And of course, if you are me, after all that stress, worrying, hunger, running around an' stuff you think its only gonna get better from here now that I'm home, right?, and then it gets worse. After stuffing my face with food and my stomach now hurting the other way all I wanted was a shower. So I went over to Gmas ("home") and found that the annoying group (of all groups) had followed Gma home from Idaho. Aunt Diane, mainly. Kill me now. I hate their questions. I'm tired and I hurt and I just want to be clean and sleep and be left alone. I took a shower and had the boy come save me asap. She learned I had a bf and wanted to know -everything- simply to satisfy her curiousity and gossip in her life, she didn't really care about me and my bf. I was so annoyed. I am so tired of not having a home to go to. I just want my own place to do my own thing in...and to have a cat. I just want to belong somewhere. So I stayed over at the boys place til relatives left.
Sorry I tried to summarize it. Thats how I summarize from like 10 pages to 7 pages... I typed it all out really fast so sorry for mistakes, just had to get it out.