Saturday, May 21, 2011

Utah Trip - Home at Last!!

After a fun month, it was time to go back to Georgia.  (warning: this is a bit long...but a good story to remember!)  We were all so sad to leave our cousins in Utah.  Andie said, "Mom - I want to stay at David's house!  We can skype Dad everyday!"  Isn't she considerate?  She did not want to go.  I told her, "Dad misses us, he loves us and wants us to come home."  She said, "I want to live in Utah, I don't want to live in Georgia."  It definitely was a great time.....we can't wait to go back again someday!!

So, our story of the travel home.  We were supposed to fly out of SLC at 12:45.  We got to the airport just before noon (cutting it close, I know.)  I went to the kiosk and signed us in, to find out we weren't flying out until 2:30.  (Good - I don't have to rush.)  I then looked at my phone to see that our airline had called about 15 minutes earlier to tell us our flight was cancelled and we had been re-booked to 2:30.  Because of this, checking bags was free - YEAH!!!  So I was able to unload another bag I was planning on carrying on.  This was good news.

We were about the 5th party in line to check the bags - AN HOUR LATER!!!!  we made it to the counter.  Everything looked good.  So, we said our last goodbyes to "the other uncle tys" aka Perky aka Eric.  Headed for security.  It was just past 1:00, so we had just over and hour to wait for our flight.  We get to the gate and find out it had been delayed another 30 minutes.  Thank goodness for the portable DVD player.  After yet another delay, we finally left Salt Lake at 4:00pm.

Here are the girls *finally* on the flight home - well the first flight.  They did really good on the airplane!  Every plane we took.
We flew into Dallas/Fort Worth, arriving at 7:30 - which was the time of our connection flight - oh no!!  No worries though, they took us and parked us on the tarmat, because our gate was busy.  The captain then came over the speaker and said "We could be waiting for 30 minutes to 2 hours!"  My first thought, "Oh man....this is going to be a longer plane ride than I thought!"  Plus, we had already been delayed 4 hours from our original flight!!

So, I called Shawn to see if he could look up our flight, if it had been delayed.  He looked it up and guess what - it had been cancelled!!  Fantastic - now what?  The airport gave us another gate, so we only had to wait about 20 mins. rather than 2 hours.  We get out and of course, no one is around to tell you what to do next.  I get in line for a flight going to Canada (might as well flee the country, right?)  I got up to the person and said, "I'm not going to Canada, our flight was cancelled to Atlanta and I'd like to know what my options are?"  (Thinking in my mind - Yes, I'll take the hotel, dinner and free tickets you would like to offer me.")  The lady said, "Well first of all, we don't offer any compensation because this is weather related."  (bummer!)  "They have you re-booked on a flight for 5:30pm tomorrow."  In my mind I'm thinking - "Are you nuts, you do realize I'm traveling with 3 kids, by myself and you expect me to stay in an airport overnight and all day tomorrow?"  So, I calmly ask, "What other options do I have?"  She said, "There is a flight scheduled for 9:15, you can wait on standby for that!"  So, we voted for that.  It was about 7:30, that would give us plenty of time to find the gate and hopefully get some dinner.

We get to the gate to find that the flight was delayed (surprise!) until 11:00pm.  (by the way:  All of these delays were because of tornado threats and thunder/lightening storms IN Dallas.)  So, I call Shawn, give him the current plan and then we go find some dinner.  We get back to the gate about 10pm, children now getting tired.  Well, the flight was delayed for an additional 45 minutes and as people were boarding at 11:45pm, I was realizing that we were not going to get on that plane.  I was regretting not finding a hotel at 7:30 and somewhat enjoying a good night sleep.

Instead, here are the girls, waiting somewhat patiently as Mom tried to figure out what to do next.  I asked the lady if we could fly in to Greenville, SC or Birminham, Augusta, Savannah, Columbia - ANYWHERE - the next morning, there was no way I was going to wait till 5:30pm for our flight to Atlanta.  So, she booked us on a flight for 8:30am to Birminham, AL.  It's about 4 hours from our home, but worth it to GET home.  I really, was blessed with cooperation from my lovely daughters.  If they would have been having melt downs with me, it would have not been good.
So finally, as I'm in tears with Shawn telling him the new plan,  I was tired, frustrated and just trying to find a place to sleep.  We were told to head to Concourse D  and we would find couches or more comfortable places to "sleep".  One lady was so great, she was waiting on standby as well and brought us 3 blankets and said, "You're doing great - hang in there!"  So, I wiped the tears, toughened up again and found us some cots and a cozy little corner.  By this time, it was about 12:45am.  Ali feel asleep pretty quickly, as well as Adalyn.  Andie didn't finally fall asleep till about 1:15am.  Just before then, she said, in a tired, exhausted voice, "Mom!  We don't belong to Texas, we belong to Georgia!!"  Andie, I couldn't have agreed with you more!!

She finally fell asleep, and I tried to cozy in with Adalyn.  I might have got maybe 40 minutes total worth of sleep, in about 10 minute intervals.  Andie woke up around 3am and had to go to the bathroom, Ali woke up too.  Fortunately, we were by this really nice old couple, whom I had to just say a prayer and put my faith in Heavenly Father as I asked the lady (who slept about as much as I did) to watch Adalyn while I took the girls to the bathroom. 
It was THE LONGEST NIGHT EVER!!!!!  I would look at my phone after closing my eyes, thinking, "Surely another hours has passed!"  Nope, maybe 15 minutes, usually just 5.  Finally at about 5:30am, everyone was awake, the airport was getting busy again - so we gave us trying to sleep.  We still had 3 hours to kill.  So - we went and found some breakfast.  Then we got on the train. 
Ali was so loopy, lack of sleep!!  They carried around their little blankets.  We went to where the gate was supposed to be, to find out they had changed it to the other side of the airport.  So, we got to ride the train again - definitely the highlight of the Dallas airport.
 Finally - they were ready to board our airplane. Adalyn was done for the day (at just 8:30am).
Ali lost her energy, and just laid down on the floor, waiting for "group 4" to be called.
Andie, with her messy hair and tired little eyes, was just so excited to hand the lady our tickets!!
And we FINALLY made it almost home - to Alabama.  We were all so excited to see Shawn, the girls ran to him as soon as they saw him.  Our luggage we found out was in Atlanta, so we just had to swing by there on our way home.  We all slept for the first two hours - poor Shawn, exciting crew he just picked up!!

We I picked up our luggage, I told the lady we were supposed to not fly in until 8:00pm that night, so I was glad our luggage had been sent on the 11pm flight the night before.  She said, "Oh, you're lucky - they've been canceling flights out of Dallas this afternoon and are supposed to have a big storm again tonight, so you probably wouldn't have made it!"  CRAZY!!!  SO glad we decided to fly somewhere else.

We did stop at a Golden Corral on the way home for dinner (at 3:30) - we hadn't eaten all day.  The girls were exited to get some food!!

Ali, I think had just enjoyed some ice cream.
We were HOME AT LAST about 5:45pm, we all took a shower, read scriptures, said prayer and I was in bed at 7pm and didn't wake up till 9:30am the next morning.  I have a great husband!!  He got the girls in bed, woke up with him and took care of them.  They were so funny when we walked in, "MOM....LOOK!!!"  They pointed out all the different things we had, the tv, computer room, toys - as if they had been lost and were now found.

I'm so grateful for the wonderful trip that we had, despite the difficult journey home.  I have such a wonderful family, immediate and extended.  We love them all so very much!!


carrie r. said...

That is BIZARRE! What a crazy journey to get home. I would have had a major meltdown and I know my children would never have been as well behaved as yours. You deserve several trophies. ;)

lillie said...

Wow what an ordeal. I can't believe you did all that with three kids. Good job. Glad you had a good time and glad you're home.

ALYN said...

Um... nightmare! I'm sure it'll be a good story to tell after you forget how painful it was. Crazy.