Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ups and downs...

The last few days have been full of good and bad. We started our weekend with a flight to Buffalo, where we met up with family to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's 70th anniversary.

Aww... how cute are my grandparents?? The rest of the family dressed in white shirts and dark pants for a big family portrait... which sort of made us look like we were in a weird cult (but will probably result in a good picture :))... And actually, on our way to the party, we passed an Olive Garden that was about to open for the day -- the entire staff was dressed in white shirts and dark pants. I thought about inviting them over for the family portrait as "extras" -- just so we could look like we had a HUGE family -- but decided against it. I did, however, stop by the Olive Garden later on in the day and made about 200 bucks in tips... (okay, maybe not... :))

The party was held in the banquet hall of an Indian restaurant, but sadly, we didn't have any Indian food. That's just wrong. I was literally steps away from all manner of Indian food, but could not partake. (If I had stealthily crept into the kitchen, would anyone have noticed? I should've tried...) But we DID have an extremely yummy cake at our party, complete with purple flowers (I should have also stealthily stolen some extra cake :)):


Afterwards, everyone went to my cousin Kevin's house and hung out for a while. But Eric, Rachel, Rick and I had to leave pretty early to head back to the airport for an 8:15 flight. When we got to the airport, everything seemed fine, and the departures board said our flight was "on time," so we settled in at the gate to await boarding. But we were soon informed that our plane (which was also flying in FROM Chicago) was delayed due to storms in Chicago. Our departure time was pushed to around 9:15... and then 9:30... and then 10:10... and then 10:30.

A little after 9, an announcement was made that the plane from Chicago was finally on its way to Buffalo, so at least we knew that we WOULD have a plane eventually. When it landed, around 10:20 or so, the guy behind the desk at the gate said that once everyone was off the plane, we'd have to board as quickly as possible, because we HAD to be in the air by 10:46 to beat the next round of storms in Chicago. The idea that we HAD to get into the air to beat gigantic storms was already stressing me out... but when there were STILL people walking off the plane at 10:35, I lamented to Rick, "there's no way we're getting on that plane by 10:46..." It takes people fifteen million years to board planes... I don't know why... it seems like a simple process. But there are ALWAYS people who stand in the aisles for twenty minutes, trying to shove huge, over-sized bags into bins the size of a mailbox. (Can you not SEE that your bag is bigger than a mailbox???) Nevertheless, we all gathered our bags and stood up, ready to run for the plane as soon as they made a boarding announcement...

And then, with about five minutes to that 10:46 cutoff, the guy behind the counter announced that the flight was canceled and rescheduled for 7 the next morning. (I should mention at this point that the "departures" board at the airport continued to say that our 8:15 flight was "on time"... it never changed... we thought that was funny...) So after a call to my parents (who, fortunately, were still staying at a hotel across from the airport), and after my dad made a few calls to hotels (because their own hotel was completely booked), my dad picked us up and dropped us off at a Holiday Inn Express. We ran into a fellow Chicago-bound traveler in the lobby, who warned us to be at the airport NO LATER than 5 am for our 7 o'clock flight. He was quite adamant. He insisted that the security lines at the Buffalo airport were of Biblical proportions on Monday mornings... wending through mountains and valleys and treacherous volcanoes... slipping underwater and shooting to outer space... security lines that ripped families apart... battles won and lost... travelers disappearing forever into a vortex of TSA pat-downs and three-ounce bottles of liquids...

And after a (nearly sleepless) night, we arrived at the airport at 5 in the morning and checked in for our flight (again). We then worriedly made our way to the infamous, epic Monday-morning security line and ended up waiting... oh, about five minutes. It was quite anti-climatic. Apparently that guy doesn't travel much...

And of course at the time, the whole thing seemed like such a big deal and such an inconvenience. And then we heard about the massive tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri... and suddenly, our canceled flight not only seemed like less of a big deal, but also a SMART decision on the part of the airline, which decided not to take any chances. We made it back to Chicago safe and sound on Monday, so who are we to complain?

And then yesterday afternoon, we got word that my uncle, who had been very ill with leukemia, passed away. And once again, little things like flight delays and sleepless nights were put into perspective. In the grand scheme of things, a canceled flight now and then is no big deal. Sometimes we need reminders about what's truly important in life.

Uncle Charley, of "jump off the garage into the pool" fame...

2 comments:

G said...

Congrats to your grandparents and condolences for your uncle.

However, that has to be the highest cannonball I've ever seen anyone attempt.

Very kewl pic. :D

Lisa said...

Thanks! That was behind the garage of the very first house I ever lived in. We always thought it was so cool that my uncle would jump off the roof into the pool. I'm not sure who took this picture (maybe my mom?), but whoever it was captured it at the perfect "mid-jump" moment! :)