Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter travel saga

Today, the kids were supposed to fly out of Milwaukee at 6:05 p.m. on their re-booked trip to San Francisco, and we cleverly managed to experience just about every type of travel frustration.

Last night, or very early this morning, the rain finally stopped and changed to ice and snow - at one point I got up and while I was drinking a glass of water at the sink, I saw that the bush outside the kitchen window was coated with ice. Later, I heard the little icey pellets hitting the house, and lay in bed with my heart beating fast - but both kids got home safe. In the morning, I went out to thaw the car, and shovel, and thought about going to the supper club to shovel, but decided not to because that would have taken long enough to kill the option of making the kids bus down to Milwaukee to catch their plane.

Even though I skipped the extra shoveling, I succumbed to their complaints of "how long do we have to sit in the airport?" (3 1/2 hours) and "I want to watch the Packer game" and "look outside, it's sunny" (it was but it started snowing again). So they didn't take the 12:30 bus.

I tried calling the NorthWorst Airlines re-booking number, their unforeseen circumstances hotline, to see if we could get on a flight out of Madison, and they said the only thing to do was go to the Madison airport, with the side plan that if they couldn't get something out of Madison, we'd still have time to drive to Milwaukee. So we did that for awhile, stood in line for almost an hour, and we actually got to an agent, who re-booked them on the flight for tomorrow, as a back up, and advised us that Milwaukee was our best bet for getting out today. She also gave us NWA's 800 number flight status line.

Then we hit the road for Milwaukee, and kept calling to see if we could find anything out - we went 20 miles, never got any confirmation that the Milwaukee flight would leave, and I chickened out, and we turned around. And the bound for Madison side of I-94 was in much worse shape than the bound for Milwaukee side.

We got home about 3:30, and made sure they had the reserve for tomorrow, and we even pushed their return back a day, so they'd get a little more time in SF with Dad & the GPs. The we made hot cider with shots of Jim Beam, and one of my bottom of the vegetable bin noodle stir fries, with cabbage and onions and carrot this time - I wanted to make a barbecued tofu from Grub, but John didn't want to wait for it to roast for an hour - he's gone to watch football, and Al to a birthday party.

So travel screw-ups in the done column for today:

  1. missed a bus
  2. stood in line at the airport
  3. talked to harassed ticket agents multiple times on the phone, and once in person
  4. drove on scarey bad roads for 40 miles
Must be some kind of record, especially since we are still sleeping in Madison tonight - although in comfort - it looks like the Milwaukee to Minneapolis flight was delayed so long that they wouldn't have made their S.F. connection, so if I'd had the nerve to keep driving, and if they actually got on the plane, they'd be sleeping on the floor in the Twins Cities airport tonight.

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