Monday, February 11, 2008

My trip to Texas

My sister Maxine has been a winter Texas for a long time; her husband became ill and passed away early in 2002, but that's the only winter she's missed in years.  I've been to visit her three times:  once when Cliff and I drove down and took my mother along; once when my daughter Rachel and I flew there on a Superbowl weekend (imagine what the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport was like that weekend, with Dallas playing in the big game); and again with my daughter and her three kids, driving down in her van.  Maxine has always been a wonderful hostess, taking us to Mexico and Padre Island when we visit and feeding us like royalty.

I've wanted to go visit her there by myself for some time; she's eighty years old, and I realize any winter she spends there could be her last.  I've planned on doing this for the last three years, but by the time December rolls around, we've been broke (busted, dusted, disgusted, and can't be trusted, as Woody Guthrie once said).  I can fly from here to Dallas for a song, but to go all the way to McAllen, Texas, it's three times as much.

This year I knew exactly what course to take:  I bought my tickets in October for the trip in February.  

Ever since New Year's, I've reminded my husband, "The weekend after Superbowl, I'm going to Maxine's."

As I counted down the weeks, I have made mention of the trip in my online journals:  "Two weeks from Thursday, I'll be going to my sister's."

I even called Maxine a few days before leaving to make sure we were on the same page.  Unfortunately, we only spoke about the date and time of arrival, not the day of the week.

So last Wednesday I packed my bag, being sure to put shorts and sleeveless tops inside.  My mouth was watering at the thought of the Texas grapefruit I planned to ravish.

About 2:30 that afternoon, I made a sudden decision to get online and print off my itinerary for Cliff, who had just left for work; I'd had my copy printed for months.  When I got to the website where I could have done this, it said, "Trip expired".

I felt panic rising inside me as I retrieved my own copy of the trip plans, and literally became sickat my stomach when I saw that I was supposed to leave on Wednesday at 1:30... I had missed my flight!

I called Travelocity, and a nice lady located someplace in India put me on hold for what seemed like an eternity as she checked out my options.  Finally back on the line, she informed me that if I did not use my ticket at sometime on that very day, I could not use it all.  And by the way, the last American Airlines flight of the day left at 6:20.

I called Maxine and asked her when I had told her I'd be arriving.  "Today," she said.  "I'm just waiting around here until time to pick you up."

"Well, I've made a horrible mistake," I told her.  "I've gotten mixed up on the time.  I'll call you back as soon as I can figure something out."

I called Cliff's cell.  By now it was 3:30, and he was at work, almost ready to start his night's labors.  Crying and moaning (literally), I explained to him my dilemma. 

"Do you want me to come home and take you to the airport?"

"That's the only way I'll be able to visit my sister."

And he was on his way.

We arrived at the airport about an hour before my last-chance flight was due to depart.  The ladies at the desk discovered that Travelocity (I will never use them again) had totally canceled my whole flight, going and coming.  In about five minutes, they had me set up to fly again, at no additional charge.  I told one of them, "I'd hug you and kiss you if it would do any good!  I'm so grateful!"

My sister usually doesn't drive after dark, but when I told her I'd get a cab at the airport, she insisted she would be just fine.

Next time I book a flight, I'm going to have the departure date tattooed onto my hand.

Oh, after all that excitement, I had a lovely time in Texas.

I'll give the credit to God for my deciding at 2:30 on Wednesday to print off my travel agenda for Cliff.  If it hadn't been for that, I'd have been out of luck and $450 would have been totally out the window.  The trip I've planned for so long would simply not have happened.



madcobug said...

Maybe it was God urging you to print that out for Cliff. I am glad that you got to make it after that mixup. Great picture. Going from warm clothes to shorts is such a big temp change. Helen

marainey1 said...

How nice to be sitting outside in shorts.  I know you were glad to visit with your sister, but I'm surprised you didn't stay longer.  I always have to take short quick trips because of work and I hate it that I can't stay longer than a few days at a time.  Glad all went well after that terrible mixup.  'On Ya' - ma

robinngabster said...

Oh my goodness that was a close call.  I have done the opposite...once I swore we were late for a plane...My Mom and I are running thru the San Diego airport thinking we were gonna miss our plane and guess what...we were a day early. My Mom nearly killed me.  LOL

lorinokla said...

wow! Im glad you made the trip okay! it sounds like you had a good time with your sister.

Im flying to FL to meet my 3 sisters the last week of March. I bought my tickets in dec. for under $300. I will rechecking my itinerary a few days BEFORE just incase......

great photo!~

nanlynska said...

God....IS....Good !!  Glad HE worked it all out for you MO.

Looks like you two were really enjoying the warmer temps. If I didn't know better, I'd think the picture had been taken last summer. Imagine....shorts and tank top in the middle of winter !!  LOL.  Welcome Home my friend !

mutualaide said...

Amazing how God works in those ways.  Glad you made the trip and had a wonderful time!

rollinghillsides said...

Wow, what a story!   So happy for you all worked out well though and that you had a wonderful time!  Your Sis certainly doesn't look her age!  Bet Cliff's happy to have you back home.    Judy

domsmom27 said...

Glad it all worked out.  Thats a great picture and she sure does not look 80.

lmitc89854 said...

Reminds me of my last flight to San Antonio. What a nightmare!  I slept in and missed my flight by a matter of minutes. Took me 13 hours and I arrived there but they had lost my luggage!   I can drive there in 13 hours! Well, I used to be able to!

lanurseprn said...

WOW what an adventure! I had trouble with Travelocity and won't use them again either. They caused me some real headaches one time.
That's such a good picture of both of you.

riverdaughter196 said...

Wow, what an adventure.  Glad to hear you had a good time here in Texas.
No place else like it.  Your sister doesn't look 80.
I have heard other bad experiences with Travelocity.  I wouldn't ever use them.

msecz said...

Im glad it turned out well for you. wish I could go somewhere warm. Its so cold here in Wis now , the only good thing the sun is shinning

astaryth said...

Wow!! I'm just glad it all turned out alright and you got to make your visit.

gaboatman said...

I'm glad you got to go on your trip and also that you returned safely.  That was some scare with the ticket mixup, glad you checked your itenerary that day.  I can only imagine how it would feel to have had all that money just vanish into thin air.  Hope you were able to get some of that grapefruit while you were there!

geocachelinda66 said...

Oh no!  Sounds like dreams I have when I'm supposed to fly home or leave to go back in the military and can't find my tickets or the gate or something stupid.  Glad you got there ok.  Linda

gen0507 said...

I'm so glad that everything worked out for you!  Look at you two in those shorts.  What a wonderful picture!!!


jeff466 said...

Glad to hear that the trip went well!  How wonderful that it worked out with the flight-what a blessing when things work out like that.  

I loved that poem you wrote for your banker, what an honor they read it!  

ryanagi said...

Holy cow!  Something like this would have set me into a total panic. Glad you made it ok!

plieck30 said...

Glad to hear you had a nice time and got home safely. Paula

csandhollow said...

o my. sounds like what i would do.

suzypwr said...

I have learned that travel agents can be extremely nice and can be extremely power hungry. You just need to approach the right one the right way. Glad you did! You two look so nice :-)


helmswondermom said...

I'm so glad you got to make that flight and have a nice visit with your sister!!