There are days when you wake up in the morning knowing in advance that you are stupid, and that your stupidity is going to cost you. Yesterday.....
When we arranged for Dad to come and visit we set it up for two weeks. When Auntie joined the fun, my head was set in Two-Week Mode. After all, if Dad is here for two, isn't she? That makes picking her up and dropping her off at THEIR airport rather than MINE so sensible. My cousin then told me that it was only ONE week for her, so I readjusted my thinking and made mental plans. I picked both of them up in Buffalo last Saturday, so I'd have to take an extra trip to Buffalo THIS Saturday. Right, inconvenient but not a big deal. It wasn't until Thursday that the itinerary dates sank in: I was going to have to go to Buffalo on FRIDAY. Changing plans at this point? Well, we did try.
Everyone else who might have gone had a legitimate reason as to why that was impossible. The fact that it was also impossible for ME became irrelevant - this is entirely my responsibiliy. So I went to work for an hour, set my office in an uproar and walked out. It wasn't pretty. And it was absolutely my fault.
I loaded Auntie and her delightful granddaughter in the car after her tearful farewell from my Dad. I think both of them rightly suspect that this will be the last time they see each other.
It is just short of 200 miles from my front door to the Buffalo airport, and the trip was uneventful, although toward the end I suspected I needed to add air to a tire - there was a slight shimmy around that last cloverleaf.
When I parked the car I checked the tires. Air? I think not. The inch-long gash in the side of the right front tire left me wondering how there was any air left in there to start with. Ah, well, no point in upsetting Auntie - I'll deal with it once they're settled inside. We waited while my little cousin took a photo of a 'foreign' (Ontario) license plate LOL.
Check in was a breeze, and although they had standby tickets the clerk assured me that the flight had plenty of room. I watched them clear security (after another tearful goodbye) and headed for the information desk, where they called the airport parking assistance folks. I arrived back at my car just as the Man In The White Truck arrived.
Let me say this: Buffalo airport ROCKS. It's not so big that you can't find everything. The shuttles are prompt, the staff friendly and helpful, and wheelchairs are plentiful and complete with a personal assistant. The parking lot has free car location, tire and lock service and a few other handy-dandy features, including call buttons at shuttle stops. But 'tire service' means 'we will inflate your flat' not 'we will change your tire'.
Not such a big deal. Needless to say, adding air to a tire with a huge hole in it was ineffective, so I pulled out the donut, jack, and.....Fuggital. Where the heck is the jack handle/lug wrench device? Seriously???
This is where kind, creative White Truck guys come in handy. He observes, "You are handling this rather well!" I laughed. "I've had enough Real Problems to be able to tell one of those from an inconvenience." He's not allowed to change my tire. But he's not going to leave a middle-aged woman with a handicapped tag in her window to deal with this alone either (the tag is for my old folks. I shamelessly left it hanging there. Don't judge me). He found a huge screwdriver in the truck and I began cranking the jack around with it while chatting with God about the fact that it was starting to rain: "Hey, God - you know I'll still love you whether it sprinkles or pours. But I'd be grateful if You'd keep this to a sprinkle. Please?" White Truck Guy went to his own car and brought back a 4-way lug wrench. His supervisor tagged along, sending him on his way because he is NOT supposed to actually change my tire. The supervisor, however, then announced, "But I'm off the clock!" and proceeded to change my tire. Many, many blessings upon him. And thanks, God - the sprinkles were okay.
So now I have to decide: Drive 200 miles home on the donut, or find a place at 3 PM on a Friday in a strange city to get a new tire? It's a couple of miles to the Thruway entrance. I decide to stop at any gas station that looks like it has a garage between here and there. If there aren't any, I'll take it as a sign that I'm good to go on the donut. Five miles later? Apparently I'm good to go, so I hop on the highway, set the cruise 10 mph slower than I usually go and point Beauty's nose toward home, hauling the steering wheel to the left against the pull of the little tire on the right. I'll be home for dinner, and Babygirl and I can go to the Boo at the Zoo!
OMG Babygirl! When I left this morning she was lying in bed looking perfectly terrible and complaining of a sore throat. She had no fever so I left her with instructions to take her temp frequently and push fluids, shoving all thoughts of her out of my mind so I'd be able to do what I needed to do. Well, no news is good news, and neither she nor Hubby had called, so....
Sigh. I can only juggle so many balls, you know? And they have been dropping all around me all day.
Halfway home (halfway!!!!) I get a call from my cousin in California. The plane that is supposed to be taking Auntie and her granddaughter to JFK has some mechanical issue. They could go to NYC but they won't make their connecting flight, and because they are standby they don't qualify for a hotel room courtesy of the airline. Can I go back and rescue them?
Seriously? Let's go over this again: Cancel work, long drive, flat tire, sick kid, and......dead airplane???? Okay, gotcha.
Off the thruway. Call to Hubby to update him on what is happening. He had left in the morning before I did and had no idea that Babygirl had even stayed home, so he went to check on her. Back on the thruway (I'm thinking my EasyPass bill is going to be interesting this month). I arrived at the airport nearly 10 hours after we originally set out this morning, and considered my options. I don't think I have four more hours of driving left in me. I am exhausted, they are exhausted.....so I call a friend.
You know you have good friends when they will put you up for the night with no notice. You know you have GREAT friends when they don't blink when you include Auntie and cousin to the request, and give all three of you a warm welcome and a bed. Bless you, Tony and Judy!
Somewhere in the middle of the Great 200-Mile U-Turn Run a sob ran up my throat without warning. I have to say that I faced most of the day without whining or complaining, but apparently my heart got overwhelmed while my mind was busy dealing with the sucky reality of my day. So I kept driving, listened to some uplifting music on the radio, let the tears run, and dealt with it.
This past two years have taught me a lot. I know how to identify a Real Problem and understand that for the most part we are blest to only have a couple of those. I've learned how to deal with annoyances and inconveniences even when they stand higher than the tall stack at IHOP. I've learned that when the balls drop, they ALL drop - and there's nothing I can do about it until they all stop bouncing - and then I have to start the juggle over. Sometimes I even discover that some of those balls never mattered in the first place.
I woke up to a text from my cousin telling me that the flight has been rebooked to a more local airport on Sunday. I had coffee with good friends, warmly embraced by their love and support. I'm taking my family out to breakfast, driving them home, and taking Babygirl and her Cousin to the Boo tonight. It's all very, very good - as long as the donut makes it all the way there.