Friday, May 10, 2013

Why couldn't this just be easy?

I'm somewhere above central Alabama right now in seat 40B of a Delta 757. The past day or so has been...shall we say, challenging. After an awful lot of encouragement from various people on Facebook and in person, I deduced that I had the whole Priceline thing sort of psyched out and decided to put in a bid. I figured that all of the flights I was seeing looked doable, so why not attempt to get one blindly, particularly if I can get it really cheap. However, when I discovered that you can only put in one bid on the same route every 24 hours, I had to rethink my lowballing strategy and be a little more reasonable. I put in a bid similar to one that had previously been accepted under similar circumstances, and voila, it was accepted. Much to my dismay, I discovered they gave me the worst possible outbound flight—one leaving at 6pm and getting to Seattle after midnight! Add into that a 2-1/2 hour drive to British Columbia and a three-hour time change, I was more than a little worried about that scenario. The good news was that my Sunday flight was better than expected, an 8am departure that arrived around dinnertime. Panicking, I called Delta to see if I could fly standby. I was told that I could, for a $50 fee. Well, if I could get one of the early flights, it would be worth it to get a whole extra day out west. Initially the woman I talked to told me that I could do one of two flights because they were within the same flight class. I had to call at midnight and they could book me. While I didn't want to sink anymore money into this trip, it seemed wise for a lot of reasons.

So, I picked up the boys that evening, rushed through dinner, and packed like a maniac. We managed to get on the road by 8:45, and got to my parents' by 10pm. Jacob went to bed rather quickly after that, and Carter needed his last feeding and two diaper changes before nodding off. By that point I headed up to take a shower so I didn't have to do it at 4am.  At midnight I called and had an estimated 12-21 minute hold time...which turned into an hour. When I finally did talk to someone, they had to pass me around and put me on hold a couple times. Eventually I found out that I could only really get booked on one of the available flights because I had to also maintain the same route. In the end, I was told that I was booked on standby for a 6am flight that got into Seattle around 1:30pm. A little later than I'd been hoping for, but better. Oh, and no fee. Of course, when I was off the phone and got my “revised” itinerary, it was the same one! By this time it was well after 1am and the estimated hold time was eternally long. I had no choice but to go to bed and hope for the best when I went to the airport at 4am.

Well, I couldn't sleep. I was so concerned about the itinerary, nervous and full of adrenaline, sleeping in the same room as both my kids, and overtired. Bad combo. I didn't sleep at all. I finally got up at 2:30 and called the airline again, at which point they confirmed that I was set up for standby on the 6am flight, but that I wouldn't know if I was on it until I got there. Hmmm...not quite the "confirmed standby" they had told me about. I felt a little better after that but was still preoccupied with whether or not I'd get my flights or be able to change my unchangeable car rental. By that point I was convinced I'd made a huge mistake and all I wanted to do was stay home and snuggle my kids. But the money I'd sunk into this dictated otherwise. I almost fell asleep right before 4am, but instead got up and started getting ready before I got too tired.

I got to ride in my dad's new sports car—a purchase he'd talked about making if the stock market continued to improve, and he took the plunge on last week. I accused him of possible insanity via Facebook, and he countered that I was nuts for this trip, to which I responded that the apple must not have fallen far from the tree! Anyway, flying standby is not for the faint of heart. It was still the better case scenario here, but man, it is nerve-wracking. Long story short, I've gotten on both my flights so I'll be in Seattle by sometime after 1pm Pacific time. Depending on how the rental car issue goes, my goal is to take a quick trip down to Tacoma to visit the Museum of Glass, which I have wanted to go to since I first found out about Dale Chihuly, then passed by it via train seven years ago. It's only a half hour south, and while it'll make my drive north a bit longer, I think the museum would be worth it. My goal is to get up to B.C. for a slightly late dinner. I'll have to talk to Craig, but we'll see how it goes. I'd like to do one extra thing for myself on this trip in case the game does not go well!

Today has been challenging mostly because I haven't slept. I've tried on the plane, with limited success. I've spent a lot of time in airports without WiFi...because one wouldn't work and the other charges money. The $10 charge on my eternally long flight is tempting, but I'll hold off. A 4-1/2 hour flight and you have to pay for movies on this flight...arg. At least they give you cookies. And I have an in-flight map at my seat, which makes this geography geek very happy, particularly since I don't have a window seat. I've been relatively okay despite the sleep deprivation, thanks to adrenaline. No caffeine yet, believe it or not, since I do want to try to sleep on this flight. But I can tell that I don't have the attention span for reading, and I fear that the second I have to drive I'm going to get sleepy. I'm hoping for fantastic scenery to keep me awake, though. I better sleep well tonight after all of this, and with no kids to wake me up.

Speaking of the kids, I miss them. I got a call around 5:30am from my parents. Apparently both kids woke up after I left. Jacob wanted me, of course, so I talked to him briefly on the phone. I feel bad Carter was up, because that kid is a fantastic sleeper (both are, really) and I wouldn't have done this if I didn't think my parents could get a reasonable amount of sleep while watching them. I hope it's just bad luck for one night. It was sad saying goodbye last night and this morning. As nuts as Jacob makes me, I know that it's not easy for him to stay behind. My parents went on vacation without us periodically, and I think it's necessary sometimes, so I think this is a good experience for him. Still, it's hard. Carter doesn't really know better at this point, but I will miss kissing his chubby little cheeks for the next few days.

Despite all of the frustration leading up to this point, I am hoping that the next couple days are totally worth the trip, for multiple reasons. I'm hoping for my trip to the museum, gorgeous scenery, a great game, and some quality time with Craig. Hopefully that's not too much to ask. Hopefully more to come soon...

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