Thursday, February 26, 2009

The troubles with travel

So it's been over a week since my last post. No good excuse. I could go on and on about

We really had a great visit with Jon and Renee in California. I promise I will put up some of my favorite pictures, but right now I wanted to highlight the one area that proved to be a bit stressful - the travel!

So we got stuck in Denver on the way there. It was a pretty stressful and exhausting night. Mostly because it had been such a long day, starting our travel at 9am when we drove the kids to Clearfield and finally ending when we passed out in a hotel at 2am. So we lost half of a day (but it was rainy so we weren't too bummed) due to the flight issues.

While we were enjoying our time in California Matt and I talked about trying to get an earlier flight out when we left on Monday. You see, there were very few options out of San Jose on Monday (which I totally understood when I saw how small the airport was, we actually walked outside to get to the plane and up stairs to get on board.). This trip was planned back in September so I didn't remember the specifics but I thought I must have had a reason for having us leave San Jose at 3pm and arrive in Pittsburgh at midnight. I did figure that we'd be on west coast time and would have at least three hours before we'd get really tired and would be better off making the drive home then rather than trying to drive halfway to Clearfield, and then drive again in the morning when we really just felt like sleeping. Plus it would be like getting home a day later and driving straight back would enable Matt to get back into the office and be at a meeting he had that night.

I had arranged for my parents to bring the kids the kids home over the weekend, Matt parents came and watched them until Monday night and then our good friends Joe and Rachael came over to put them to bed and spend the night before getting up at 7am to leave for work Tuesday morning. So that means, we really had to be home by 7am.

I started to get a little nervous about driving through the night. While we used to do it all the time before kids, it's definitely been at least five years since we've attempted anything like it. Matt isn't known for his excessive amounts of energy and I kept imagining him saying that he could no longer drive and we'd pull over to take a catnap and wake up to find that we were two hours from home and it was 7:30am. Yes, I do have an active imagination!

When we looked at standby options the only ones involved us leaving San Jose nine hours earlier, making three stops (all of which would have us on standby so our chancing of getting stranded in Chicago was not unlikely).

So we stuck with our original option that had us in Denver almost exactly a week from our last flight (minus an hour) and me just hoping and praying that everyone would go as planned. And it did! We boarded with no problem and took off on time. We arrived in Pittsburgh (we were flying out of and into P'burgh b/c of the flight rates and b/c we were bringing the kids to my parents so it was closer) at about 11:45. I had a plan - Matt would go get the car and I would go get the luggage and we'd be out of there by 12:15 at the latest.

We were lucky enough to have a good friend who lives close by who dropped us at the airport on the way there and then parked our car in the airport exention lot Sunday night so we would only have to pay for a day of parking. I found our suitcase right away and was waiting at passenger pick up a few minutes later. I called Matt and told him where I was and he got off the phone quickly b/c his hands were freezing. It was 13 degrees in Pittsburgh and he was only wearing sweatshirt (and pants and shoes of course). His winter jacket was in the suitcase we checked.

I waited at the door.

He called 15 minutes later to double check that the car was in 13A of the extension lot. I took a look at my text msg, yup, 13A. He was looking all around and couldn't find it. I started to feel a little nervous. He decided to go to the long term lot just in case it was that lot instead. After 45 minutes he called and told me that I had to call my friend and make sure we had the right section (b/c those lots are big, 13A is a section of it, with rows and rows of cars). So after two tries I woke my friend up (I won't reveal any names - that is up to them!) And it so doesn't matter anymore, we are home and we still didn't have to pay much for parking) and she/he assured me that it was 13A. So Matt kept looking. Finally, it was close to 1am and I was really nervous, because we had to be home by 7am or I would be calling people in the middle of the night to see if they could come over and watch the kids. Matt was freezing and finally gave up. He told me to find someone that could maybe help us. So I wandered out into the cold in my light weight jacket with our luggage. A shuttle driver told me to go the police station across the street and I didn't hesitate.

The roller bags were flopping all over the place and I was stressed out and freezing, scared that we just wouldn't find our car. I don't want to admit it, but I walked into the police station and started crying when a policewoman came out to ask how she could help. I told her that nothing serious was wrong, I was just stressed and tired and didn't have much time to get home.

They called for an officer to come and drive me around. While we waited they asked if I knew my license plate because if I did they could pinpoint it's exact location. Of course I didn't. Not at all. They kept asking, hoping I would remember. I tried to explain that I never knew it so the information was nowhere in my brain and I wouldn't be able to recall it. They asked the make and model of the van and I honestly coudn't tell them. But yet, they still held out hopes that I would know my license plate number. Even as we drove around the policeman kept asking me if I remembered the license plate number. It was like I kept being reminded how easy it would make things if only I knew it! (they were all very nice, I'm not trying to be down on the police)

We found Matt walking through the lot and picked him up. We drove around and around and the policeman assured me that they've never had a car stolen out of one of the lots. Even though I couldn't imagine why someone would steal a nine year old minivan, I was still relieved. Finally, around 1:30 Matt spotted the van in secton 13E. I cannot tell you how relieved and happy I was to see it!

We made it home in 4 1/2 hrs, at 6am, just as the sun was starting to come up. There was one point, when we were outside of Pittsburgh that it started snowing hard and we kept passing plows pulled over as it they were waiting for a blizzard. I thought, you have to be kidding me, please tell me that we aren't coming to get stuck in a snowstorm! Thankfully after 20 minutes it stopped and the rest of the trip was a breeze.

So that is how are trip ended. With a lot of stress and little sleep. We were so thankful to have a week with Jon and Renee and to get away from the hustle and bustle of our normal life. Next time we will just do whatever it takes to fly out of Philadelphia!


LifeAtTheCircus said...

WOW! That is quite an EVENTFUL departing and returning flight you had! I can not imagine flying to CA and then driving all the way across PA in the same day. I did it once when we drove the night before and the morning after, but never right from the airport. Add the delayed planes and losing your minivan and wow... what an adventure! At least the girls weren't with you when you were circling the lot looking for your car. Can you imagine that?!

Teri said...

uh oh - the parking lot thing does sound VERY stressful. G always takes a picture of the nearest sign with his cell phone, so maybe your friend could do that next time and send it to you via the phone :)

I'm glad everyone was home safe and sound...although I don't want to think about how your next day went with you having next to no sleep...I would have been a grump!

Crafty P said...

can't wait to see pictures. what a car ordeal, Megan! geesh! that stinks. I was stressed out reading that!

Rebecca said...

OH my heavens, I would have been crying too when the cops asked me what was wrong. I can't believe they kept asking you about the plate number. Craziness. I don't know my plate number either. Does anyone? Having had a minivan stolen I am glad that you found yours and aren't going through that ordeal.

Crazy day for you two. I can't imagine all the catching up on sleep you had to do to make up for it.

Funny thinking about you being in Pittsburgh....

Erin said...

Since i already revealed my identity in the comment on the last post, here it is again. it was me. And i still feel like a donkey's behind. i'm blushing scarlet now just thinking about putting you through that. I am so sorry. I really do not know what happened. I looked at that darn sign 3 times before i texted you. Then, obviously, by the time you called, i couldn't remember. SORRY, SORRY, SORRY. I'm sure the $40 in parking I saved you is not fair compensation for your trouble!

Megan said...

Some thoughts...
There were many times on the way to CA and the way home when we talked about how thankful we were that it was just us and not the kids. Granted, we would have not flown at those times if the kids were with us.
I was surprised how well both of us did the next day with just a few hours sleep. Not that I will do it again anytime soon, but I had more energy than I expected.
Erin - I didn't really think anyone saw that last comment on the other post so I figured you'd make it through unnamed! It was just too good of a story, I had to post. Like I said, we got home and everything ended up alright so it's no big deal.

Erin said...

i hope, in time, it will be a "remember when you lost our car at the airport?? Ha Ha." I can't imagine you're at that place already...

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