My last press trip was one of my more stressful travel experiences in a while. I’m usually pretty lucky at the airport, but the last two trips I made (ironically, both to California) involved a cancelled flight. And not just a cancelled flight that was easily re-routed. Both flights were cancelled without another good option, totally interrupting my well-laid plans.
During the first incident back in May, my flight to California was cancelled — the direct flight that would have placed me at the hotel around noon and allowed me an entire afternoon and evening to enjoy on my own before my conference started the next day. I was placed on another flight that connected through Charlotte (hello, that didn’t even get me any closer to California!!) with a 3-hour layover (yes, I said three!) that put me at my hotel around 10PM that night. To say that I was not amused is an enormous understatement. But at least that was on my way out and I was able to enjoy the rest of my trip.
My last travel debacle occurred on my way home from the Bosh event at the end of June. I flew from the Orange County Airport in California to my connecting airport in Dallas, and I arrived at Dallas/Ft. Worth at 5:30PM with about 30 minutes between flights. Fortunately I didn’t have to change terminals, but each gate was about a mile apart. (Only in Texas, right!??)
I high-tailed it down the corridor, thinking I was going to be cutting it awfully close, when I spotted my gate and a line of people at the desk. There were no signs of passengers boarding.
Confused, I looked up at the screen to be sure I was at the right gate, and that is when I saw the CANCELLED sign.
NO WAY. Two trips in a ROW???? Who has this kind of luck!??
With a sigh, I joined the people in line. The man in front of me was chatty, so I asked what was up. No one knew. The line wasn’t going anywhere fast, so I hopped online to see if Expedia had any other flights to Philly from Dallas that night. NOTHING.
Then I got on the phone with the airline. A friendly guy answered, and when I told him about my flight, he looked me up in the system cheerfully informed me, “We have you re-ticketed on a flight tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM.”
Um, no, I explained, that is UNACCEPTABLE, I have no where to stay, I have no luggage, and I need to get to Philly TONIGHT.
He spent a while looking at other possible options while I listened to the gentleman behind me in line having the exact same conversation with an airline representative on his cell phone.
In the end, it was no dice. All flights into Philly had been cancelled due to weather, and I was stuck in Dallas for the night.
And to put the icing on the cake (gluten-free, of course!!) they would not retrieve my bags from the plane.
That’s right. I was stuck in Dallas overnight with nowhere to sleep and WITHOUT MY LUGGAGE.
I took a deep breath, blinked back tears, took my newly revised plane ticket from the ticket agent, and then I did what any other independent woman would do. I called my husband and cried.
He was reassuring, and the people at Bosch were wonderful. (I had emailed them as soon as I found out about my flight.) They arranged to have me put up in a Hyatt that is connected to the airport so I didn’t have to deal with taxis or shuttles, so I thankfully made my way to the registration desk (stopping along the way at one of the airport shops to buy a large t-shirt to sleep in — did I mention that I had NOTHING in my carry-on bag?)
After checking into my room, I went down to the lounge for a drink and a bite to eat, and I ended up making friends with another guy from my flight who was in the same boat. Not one to make friends with strange guys at bars (I think that was actually a first for me!) — I was shy at first, but we actually had a nice chat and it made the time go by much faster.
While it was weird to stay overnight in a hotel without any luggage, I was thankful for a good night of sleep, and I eagerly woke up at the crack of dawn the next day to catch my flight home. I grabbed this picture from the plane on our descent. Pretty cool, right?
NEVER have I been so happy to arrive in Philadelphia as I was that morning! I gratefully claimed my luggage, picked up a shuttle to the parking lot, and drove home to see my family. When I stepped out of my car in our driveway, I practically fell into my husband’s arms.
It was June 29, two days before my birthday. My son was leaving for a week of overnight summer camp the next day, and we hadn’t discussed any birthday plans. Since 41 isn’t exactly a significant milestone, and birthdays aren’t a big deal in my husband’s world, I didn’t have any expectations when I arrived at home. But when I walked in the door, I was greeted by the squeals of children and a big white board covered with birthday wishes and love messages hanging behind my desk.
I had been hinting around for months that I wanted a white board for my wall (by hinting, I mean showing the white boards to the kids every time we were at Staples and telling them to tell Daddy I want one — you know how men are, they don’t always pick up on the subtle hints!!!)
Not only was there the white board, but my desk was stacked with wrapped birthday presents, and there was a plate of cupcakes on the kitchen counter with two (not one, but TWO) gluten free ones for me.
My kids clamored to tell me that we were celebrating my birthday that night. Clearly there had been some planning in the works while I was gone!
Later on after I’d opened my presents and read each of their cards, my husband corralled the kids and they all made dinner. I did end up helping a bit, but they did most of it. My husband is pretty competent at almost anything around the house EXCEPT cooking; he’s just never had an interest, and since I like to do it, he doesn’t need to. But knowing how tired and stressed I was from my trip, he tried to make it so I didn’t have to lift a finger on my birthday.
I know it may sound like a little thing, but I have never felt so loved.
There’s a whole theory about love languages — have you heard about it? Supposedly everyone has a different way of expressing love, and that is also how they best receive love. You can apply it to marriage or parenthood or friendship, but it’s supposed to help you strengthen your relationships by learning how to express love to people the way they need to be loved. If you’re wondering, the five love languages, according to Gary Chapman, are: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.
I must be pretty high maintenance (no comments from the peanut gallery!) because I like them all, but what makes me feel truly loved is the thoughtfulness behind a gesture. I have certainly had more extravagant gifts than the white board, and we’ve had better quality time as a family than a hectic family dinner (what? you didn’t think my husband and 3 kids making dinner would be anything other than hectic, did you? LOL!!) but knowing the thought and planning that went into my little 41st birthday celebration, and the excitement from the kids over showing me the white board and reading the messages, and my husband’s effort of going to the farmer’s market for cupcakes and dinner fixin’s — all of this on the heels of one of my most stressful travel experiences ever — I was definitely feeling the love.