Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8: Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event (Guest Post by Adrienne McDonnell, author)

Ok Adrienne McDonnell, I have no idea who you are, but I googled your book.  I refuse to read books (even fiction) about the infertile, as it's a condition, I have a lack of sympathy for.

But, I accept your writing prompt.

I must start this one out by saying, yes, I have had trauma, probably more than my share of trauma for the average 41 year old person.  Trauma is not something to joke about, I know that, I don't make a joke out of anybody's trauma. I urge people who have experienced trauma of all types to seek healing, for there is much healing to be had depending on your willingness to face your pain.  Freedom does exist. 

In starting this blog with my sister, I do think we had something of a lose agreement, to blog about things that were not super grim, I won't speak for my sister but God knows I have enough of that.  Life is serious enough, we decided to concentrate on the not so serious, enough funny things happen in a day of my sister and I's lives, that we could probably keep you laughing for quite some time.

So here is a somewhat joking look, at a time this past summer when my family experienced trauma, or what seemed to us like trauma. But in the big scheme of life, it was far far from traumatic.

The Family Vacation Fiasco... 

This past July my family, my husband, 3 sons and I went on a family vacation to Chicago.  To visit a Aunt, Uncle and Cousin.  Typically we go to Chicago every summer.  My Aunt has a swimming pool, and we literally spend the entire time we are there in the pool, only getting out to use the bathroom and get something to eat and to sleep.  It's our once a year two week overdose of fun.

This past year was a bit different in that my husband, who has changed up his work life and works from home, decided to come with us.  He can now pick and choose when he takes time off.

My family lives in a place that has no airports, so to get to an airport that will fly us to Chicago (remember, I am an American-- who is also a Canadian, who lives in Canada) so, when we fly, we drive to our nearest American city, in Washington State (150 miles south of where we live), stay in a hotel the night before, and then fly out the next morning.  We left the house, in our newly mucked out van, excited and grinning for all that summer vacation was going to provide.

We didn't sleep much the night before, and the boys were so excited to get to Chicago.  We arrived at the airport, I checked in one bag.  That part is important, I checked in ONE bag.  Everybody else each had a small roller bag and a backpack.

The first leg of our journey we had to fly to Minneapolis/ St. Paul Minnesota, we were to arrive at 4.30 PM, and then at 5PM board a flight to Chicago O'Hare.  Flying from the west, we hit a two hour time difference. 

We were told at check in, that our plane (slated to leave at 11 AM-- it was 10 AM) was delayed, but would probably be maybe a half hour late.  Ok we could wait a half hour.  No problem.  We got all settled, sat down to wait.  The ipod's were still all charged and ready to go.  The boys were smiling.  We waited, a half hour, then an hour, soon the gate we were supposed to board at, suddenly displayed no information.  My husband went to walk around...

Soon enough, I had to go and get in line, saying, "We have a flight to O'Hare, and we won't make it if we can't get to Minneapolis soon." The guy said, "yeah, Lady we know.."
The reason the plane was late was because of a huge thunderstorm that had locked down the Minneapolis airport.

Now, after almost 3 hours of waiting in the airport, my kids were no longer happy, and the batteries on the iPod's were almost completely depleted.   Oh this was looking bad.  We were sitting there in a crowd of over 100 pretty upset fliers.

Delta Airlines, was suddenly on everybody's shit list.

At one point, my husband and I went and drank glasses of wine at the bar.  The kids filled up on chips and candy, and still we waited.

I got in line with the ticket agent, to ask again, if they could book us on a later flight to O'Hare.  We currently had it down to where if we got on the plane to Minneapolis in the next 10 minutes, we could make our O'Hare flight.  The guy told me it was impossible.  "Lady, you're not going to make it"

Then they announced that our plane to Minneapolis was not arriving until 5PM, and would board at 5.30 PM.  I asked could we book on a later flight to Chicago?  He checked and checked, and said, "I have nothing until tomorrow morning..." He assured me he had nothing else, and I booked us on the flight the next morning.  As I walked back to where my family sat, anticipating, what I was going to say... I tried to break it to them gently, but halfway through, I decided to just rip the band-aid off, "SO... we get to spend the night in the Minneapolis airport... it'll be an adventure!"
I did not get the reaction I had been looking for.  My youngest started to cry, "But I wanted to go in Auntie's pool!"

Somewhere along the line in the conversation, I remembered my one checked bag...  I quick got into line again.

The guy told me, "well since you have a checked bag.. when you get to Minneapolis, you will need to go down past security to get it, and then you will have to wait there, with your bag, until 4 AM and you can recheck it to O'Hare."  Me thinking, wait just a cotton-pickin second.... we have to wait down where people go into the airport?  And cross security again?

I failed to tell you why I checked a bag to begin with.  I did it because, I had wanted to pack more than a 3 ounce size of shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel.  You know all that time in the chlorinated pool takes a toll on your hair...
When my husband asked why I had checked a bag, and I told him, he shook his head and said, "All for shampoo?  Don't you know they have shampoo in stores you can buy?"

It was a moment to behold, for certain....

We got on the plane to Minneapolis.  The flight was good, the storms had passed.  They apologized to us profusely, but then told us we could not get a free hotel, because, they only give free hotels when it's the airlines fault-- not weather related.

We got to Minneapolis, raced down past security, got my one checked bag, and got in line to see if we could get on one flight going to Chicago, that took off in 20 minutes.  We got down there, breathing heavy, but alas, no, we could not get on.... why?  Because of that dammed checked bag. 

It was 9PM.  There was nowhere to eat beyond security, we had had no dinner and we could not get past security until 12 midnight, due to the fact that one can't get past security at any airport unless it's on the day you fly, since our flight was the next morning... to add insult in injury, we could not re-check "the bag" until 4 AM (3 hours before flight time).  We sat down the those hard, airport chairs to wait.  The boys and I walked around, explored the airport, looked outside, it was a humid Minneapolis summer night.  My husband, who is not much for travel, parked it in a chair, and glared.  I tried to make the best of it.  But as the night wore on, the crankiness set in.  My Dear husband said, "So we have to sit here till 4 AM for SHAMPOO??  What if we took it out, and threw it away, and didn't check that bag? I could take the bag through as a carry on."

As time passed, 10PM, 11PM, my sons were getting hungry, if you have been around hungry teenage boys, you know what I mean, a very volatile situation.

We went back and forth about the shampoo.  At one point we tossed it in the garbage can, then one of us got it back out, repeat that scenario x4.  It seemed at the time, because we were tired and stressed to be a life or death matter, we were fighting over shampoo...

It tuned 12 midnight, I stood up, said, lets go, tossed the shampoo, and walked away.  It took them a few moments to figure out what was happening (remember, they are men-- hungry men).  My youngest son, looked at me and said, "Mom, does this mean you are just going to buy shampoo?"

We crossed security, and walked slowly up to our gate.

When we arrived at our gate, only to have to wait another 6.5 hours before boarding, for our 1/2 hour flight to O'Hare... there was a large screen TV hanging from the ceiling at our gate.  It was belting out CNN, loudly, "...Today, the Obama administration..."  My husband, was determined that noise had to go... he got up and pulled out some wires, the monitor started to sway back and forth.  He manged to kill the picture, but the bright lights were on, yet the sound kept on... it seemed to get louder.  Nothing he did seemed to make the sound go away.

My husband seems to have that uncanny ability to sleep anywhere, under any type of circumstances.  He gave up with the TV monitor laid down across some chairs, wrapped a blanket, (you know one of those flimsy airline blankets) around his head like a turban, and went sound asleep.  My sons and I marveled at how he could mange it.  As after all of this, we were wide awake, not to mention starving.  For about two hours, while my husband slept (even snored) my sons and I sat, (they did get to charge the iPod's) we caught up on all of our news, with CNN blaring, it was easy!

Eventually we decided we would go and explore the airport.  We had races up and down the long halls.  We laughed hysterically.  My sons seemed to be surprised I was letting loose and having fun. (I didn't realize they viewed me as such a hard ass) A guy passed us, and we asked him if there were any restaurants open--- there was!! 24 hour McDonald's!  We proceeded there, and we all ate, and drank coffee, yes I let them have coffee.

We must have sat in that McDonald's for about two hours.  Then the thunder started, and the lighting started, you could see it cracking off the runways, splitting the building.

We proceeded back to where Dad was sleeping, he was still there, sleeping away.  I made the kids all lay down, just to make me feel better, so I could say we "rested".  The storm really got going then, the building was shaking, the lights flickered.  I was sure our flight would be canceled.

Thankfully it was not, but we had a delay, and 3 gate changes, but we got on that flight for O'Hare.

We did feel traumatized, but we got through it.  They say common conflict brings people together, this was true in our case.

I learned never to hang on so tight to dumb things, like shampoo, or you miss your flight.  Besides, I bought some when I got there. 

When we got to our Aunt's house, we hit the pool right away.  Stayed there the entire two weeks too.

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