Sorry for the blog absence. I got home from my Chicago trip late Wednesday afternoon. Thursday was spent grocery shopping, doing laundry, and catching up on a long list of things that needed my attention after being away for a week. Friday I had to drive down to Bellingham to pick up Rebekah, who is here again to take care of some things before their move back to Vancouver next month. And Saturday was spent recovering.
There is so much to blog about - a knitalong I've joined on Ravelry, two little sweaters I've finished knitting for Lucy, a new favourite kitchen product, along with some other odds and ends. But I want to devote this post to the Chicago trip.
My mom and I had to catch a 6:00 AM flight. I don't recommend this as an optimal departure time, especially when travelling with an elderly parent. There were some tense moments. Then we were going to leave my vehicle at the Park-n-Ride near the airport, but in the dark, and with my brain not quite engaged due to the ungodly hour, I managed to miss the turn-off. More tense moments.
Then the real fun began. It turns out that Southwest Airlines (or maybe all US airlines, I'm not sure) have a policy that if you don't show up within a certain time period before your flight they can mark your luggage as late, and don't guarantee it will get on the plane with you. We missed the cut-off by about three minutes. More tense moments. The very nice airline employee said not to worry, it was a small airport and she was sure the luggage would make it on. She even promised to come let me know at the gate once she saw it get on the plane. I think she could see my mom was not happy.
So all of that had happened and it wasn't even 5:30 in the morning. This may be an overly pessimistic view of the world, but I think it's a general rule in life that when your day has already started on a rapid downhill trajectory and it isn't even 6:00 yet, things probably aren't going to turn around. We were meant to fly to Denver, then change planes and go on to Chicago. I could do a series of blog posts on the events that transpired over the next eight hours, but will spare you the pain of having to read the gruesome details.
The Reader's Digest version is, our plane got diverted to Pueblo, Colorado due to weather in Denver. Eight other planes got diverted to Pueblo as well, and we had to wait in a queue to get more fuel before we could try landing in Denver again. While waiting they finally got some air stairs pulled up to the plane and we were told we could get off the plane, but if we did so we would not be allowed back on for security reasons. After waiting an hour and a half we finally taxied out to the runway, but then sat there for another hour because the pilots had just been told there was now wind shear in Denver. Any chance of making our connecting flight was gone. All I can say is thank heavens I had my knitting with me. And a phone plan that allows me to use my phone in the US, so my brother and I could alter our plans for when he would pick us up at the airport.
I'll skip over the nightmare of getting us onto the next available flight out of Denver to Chicago. Just picture an airport full of angry people whose flights had all been messed with, and airline workers who looked like their day wasn't going so great either, and you'll have the general idea. Many tense moments, and by now my mom was done. She had had it, and I felt terrible. But there wasn't anything I could do but keep us moving forward. We got on the next flight out with minutes to spare. At this point I would just like to say that sometimes, in the midst of an awful thing, a good thing can happen, and that good thing is magnified because of the timing. As we boarded the flight I spoke with the flight attendant about getting something for my mom, who is diabetic and had missed lunch, a little something to eat. Several passengers overheard and offered food to my mom, and those acts of kindness really took the rough edges off of what was a less than brilliant experience.
We proceeded without incident on to Chicago. Well, except for when the flight attendant snapped at me over the loudspeaker to sit down as I tried to go use the washroom. I've never seen an airline take turbulence, real or imagined, so seriously. Of course, I knew that there was no way our luggage made it onto the plane. We barely made it on. So in spite of the reassurance in Spokane that our luggage would get to Chicago when we did, it ended up coming in on that 9:30 flight after all, and my brother had to make an extra trip back to the airport to pick it up.
I'm happy to report that the rest of our time was wonderful. My niece Danielle was with us for the weekend. We played many hands of pinochle.
My brother and I went for long walks every day. While we were at this nature reserve I spotted cardinals, blue jays, and eastern bluebirds. Here I am trying to get a picture of a jay.
Saturday evening my mom had bought tickets for us to go to Tommy Gun's Garage. It's a dinner theatre set up like a Speakeasy during the Prohibition Era in the 1920s. My mom and dad had gone to the show many years ago when visiting Chicago, and my mom wanted me to see it. We had a great time! Here's my mom being led in by one of the gangsters.
My brother knows how much I love to knit, so he made sure were had time before the show to stop at Loopy Yarns. Thanks to blog reader Sue at Granny's World who emailed me about this shop! Of course I had to buy a souvenir skein of yarn. I had the lady put it into a cake so my mom and brother could see how a ball winder and swift worked.
Then my brother surprised me by buying one of their beautiful hand thrown pottery yarn bowls!
Sunday we played more cards, and in the evening went to Mastro's Steakhouse. The food was great, and our server was a dead ringer for Aidan Turner, the actor who plays the part of Ross in the new BBC series Poldark.
We had an uneventful flight home on Tuesday. The only glitch was a delay with our connection in Las Vegas. Somehow, my mom didn't seem to mind this as much as she did sitting on the tarmac in Pueblo.
So that's it. Chicago done and dusted. My apologies for a very long-winded post. I've gotten behind in my blog reading while I was away, so my apologies for that as well. I'm happy to be home, and hope to catch up with all of you this week.