Monday, December 22, 2008

The really good, the not-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been and the crazy

Well, my jet plane took me on a little more of an adventure than I had anticipated! And I'll warn you now, after re-reading this again myself that my recap is almost as long as the ordeal -- sorry!
My mom, sister and I arrived in Seattle Thursday afternoon to a city ill-prepared for the snow and ice God sent their way. We stood in a long line for a taxi, even sharing it with a gentleman from Alaska, and eventually arriving to a beautiful hotel room right downtown with a stunning view of the Sound and white-tipped city-scape. After bundling up, out we went to enjoy the Christmas-y weather and fun shopping. However, we seemed to be the only ones with that idea. We started at Macy's, only to find out they were closing at 4:30 (!!!), ran across the street to one mall to find out they were heading home at 5:00. Even Nordstrom was closing it's doors at 6:00, so we were thrilled to find a restaurant in another mall that was staying open long enough for us to grab a quick bite (fresh seafood... yum!). By 7:30 the city was virtually deserted by commuters and shoppers alike - all anxious to start the long trek home on the treacherous roads. So we snuggled in with our hot-fudge sundaes from McDonald's (the only "restaurant" for blocks still open), and were asleep by 9:15, crazy partiers that we are!
Aren't we cute all bundled up in the only moderately-warm clothing we own?
Friday brought out a few more adventurers and a fun day of touring our old hometown just north of the city with friends. On our way back we happened upon this most-unusual site.
Pretty crazy huh? It sounds like there were only minor injuries, and we were glad to have passed by before emergency crews got there and closed down the freeway. Seattle's cobblestone hills, ice and buses apparently aren't a good mix.
But the real highlight was the long-anticipated performance of Handel's masterpiece! I think this is the music we'll be singing in heaven. It is so beautiful and worshipful - even when brought to life by musicians who largely and sadly have no idea of the meaning behind the truth they are proclaiming. We sat in the fifth row so it seemed as if they were playing and singing just for us. By the end of the performance my mouth muscles hurt from smiling so long and wide.
That smiled persisted through most of Saturday with more shopping and the fun, familiar hustle and bustle of the pre-holiday rush. With all of our shopping for others already done, we could concentrate on digging for deals for ourselves - which was fortunately limited by the extra space in our itty bitty luggage.
Later Saturday afternoon we drug that luggage back to the airport in hopes of catching an earlier flight out to avoid yet another snowstorm headed towards the great northwest. The good news is we got on that flight. The bad news is, we got off it again before it left Seattle. Then got back on, then got back off. Through a series of mechanical issues and the snow and wind that began pounding the runways, our hopes were stoked, and then dashed, over and over again. Until finally at 1:15 am, a full 9 hours after our flight was supposed to take off, it was cancelled. By that time, of course, every hotel a cab would even consider taking us to in such weather was full, and every flight for Sunday was booked solid. Which means the only flight they could confirm us on was for Monday night - yes, Monday, as in, if not for the grace of God I'd still be sitting at Sea-Tac airport right now (I'm not, for the record). And the only place to sleep was this little "camp" we set up for ourselves:
Cozy right? (That's me "asleep" there in the orange, and Sarah in yellow). In all actuality though it was so much better than it could have been. Sometimes in the midst of a hiccup like this (hard to call it a trial really), it's hard to see God's plan, but He provided for us in so many practical ways. In such simple things as this spot to sleep, complete with an outlet to recharge our dying cell-phones, chairs without armrests, and blankets and pillows provided by a compassionate airline employee. The fact that we did not have the kids with us, as much as we missed them, was a blessing. My heart ached for the mother of 3 across the aisle from us stuck in the same situation with even fewer provisions. We didn't check any bags so we were able to change clothes, brush our teeth, and feel slightly human again after our four hour nap. But most of all, God gave us a respite in the storm and roused us from sleep early enough to hear a boarding call for a flight to another airport just 30 miles or so from our original destination. We ran over the gate, smiled our best smiles, prayed a little prayer, and were finally given permission to board the plane after the door had already been shut! I felt like cheering when that plane actually got up in the air. The flight itself was uneventful, my brother-in-law was able to pick us up, and I got home just as Danny & the kids were returning from church. So all in all, I consider myself very blessed. I read today that Alaska Air ran out of de-icing fluid yesterday, so between that, the snow, the wind, and all the other cancelled flights, to say nothing of the time of year, I have no doubt that God had a hand in getting us home when He did. We had a wonderful time, but I was ready to see Danny, Alyssa, Parker and Reagan, and they were ready to see me. The cleanliness of the house and the children was far above my expectations and they seemed to have a fun daddy-weekend. But... Dan found out that being home can be challenging, and the kids have all been exceptionally huggy. We do better together =).


Heather said...

Hey Laura! I was wondering how you guys did this weekend in all the snow. I'm so glad you made it HOME! I'm sure you never felt so happy to take off in a plane heading the right direction as you did yesturday. The weather here continues to be crazy, we now have more than a foot of seems we will have a white Christmas for the first time in years. Anyway, I'm glad you had a good time in Seattle and I'm very glad you made it back safely!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an adventure! Glad you got home safely and before Christmas (!). Hope you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.