…and Clusterf**k of the year goes to…

Our original plan for Big Shoulders was to drive up to Chicago.  But Paul is doing rotations, so he wasn’t sure what time he would be able to get out of the clinic.  The drive is about 6 hours, and if he got held up I didn’t want arrive at like 1am when I had to be down at the start to check in at 6 on Saturday morning.  We decided it would work best if I flew up after work, met up with my friend Jenny who we’d be staying with, and then Paul could join whenever he got there.

I spent the whole day at meetings in Louisville.   Here is how the breakdown of the rest of the day went:

3:30pm: I get dropped off at the airport by my coworker.  Flight is scheduled to leave at 5pm.

4:30: Flight is delayed to 6pm.  Mechanical issues.  I eat Quiznos.

4:45pm: Finish book #1.  Decide I’m going to be strong and wait it out and not buy another expensive airport book.

5:15pm: Paul calls.  He is leaving Lexington.  He has to drive through Louisville to get to Chicago.  We decide when he gets close to Louisville, he’ll call again and we’ll make an executive decision about whether or not I should hop in the car with him, depending on how the flight is looking.

5:30pm: Flight announces that departure is now delayed to 6:45.  Still due to mechanical issues.  I think back to all the emails I have received from Big Shoulders over the past week about the weather and how it’s supposed to thunder storm in Chicago Friday night, but clear up by Saturday morning.

6pm: Flight is delayed to 7.  I look up weather.com, see the storms aren’t really supposed to start until like 9ish, so we’re still in the clear.  I lay down and take a nap.

6:30: Wake up.  Decide I do, in fact, need another book as well as a bag of Gummi Savers.

6:40pm: Paul calls.  He’s about 15 minutes outside Louisville.  I go up to the AA ticket counter and ask if our flight has left its original destination.  They say it has, and it will be on the ground in 15 minutes, they promise we will be on board and in the air by 7:15.  I call Paul and tell him to keep going, I don’t need a ride.

7pm: Flight is now delayed until 7:30.  Go up to ticket counter to ask how that is possible when my flight should have already landed, only to learn that they had given me info about the WRONG FLIGHT TO CHICAGO (which was, in fact, boarding).

7:05: Call Paul 10x in a row hoping he’s not too far away to come get me.  He’s not answering.  Start texting him: PUT YOUR PHONE SOMEWHERE WHERE YOU CAN HEAR IT RING.  Because that will get him to answer.

7:10pm: Go up to ticket counter, ask about the correct Chicago flight.  They say it is in the air, will be there by 7:45.  Announce on the loudspeaker that the flight delayed until 8.

7:15: Paul calls back.  He is sorry, phone was on vibrate.  He’s 20 miles outside Louisville.  Asks if he should turn around.  We hem and haw and finally decide no, the flight is on it’s way here, no need for him to drive an extra 40 miles.

7:30pm: People in the waiting area are starting to talk about thunderstorms, start calling AA customer service and playing the updated flight status on speaker in the waiting area.

7:40: I see our plane pull up.  Wait for them to start boarding us.

8pm: Announce that the flight is delayed “at least another 45 minutes” due to weather.  Say that anyone with a connecting flight should come up first, people who have Chiciago as their final destination they’ll deal with when the flight actually gets cancelled.  Not sounding promising.  I call Paul.  He is just outside Indianapolis.  He says if I don’t get on a flight to Chicago, he is turning around and coming home, he’s not staying at my friend’s house without me.

8:15: I get up to the ticket counter and explain the situation to the ticket man.  I ask him, if he were me, should I rely on the flight getting me there tonight?  Or should I have Paul turn around and come get me?  He says: “You want my honest opinion?  Have your husband come get you.”

8:20pm: Paul turns around from Indianapolis and starts driving back to Louisville.

8:25-8:45pm: I call AA, they say if I cancel my flight I can get a voucher for another ticket.  So since Paul is already heading back, I cancel and accept the voucher.  They then explain that I can use my voucher on any flight for the same value or less.  Sounds good!  Not a total loss, right?  Horray!  BUT: In order for me to use said “voucher”, I will have to pay a $150 fee for rescheduling.  My ticket cost $120.  Thank you, American.

9pm: I hang up the phone with AA and call Jenny to tell her the situation.  As I’m doing that, they start boarding my flight.  That I just cancelled.

9:10pm: I call Paul.  He’s 20 miles outside Louisville.

9:20pm: I give the stinkeye to the guy behind the counter as he swiping tickets for people to board the plane.  He sees me and goes, “What are you still doing here??  I thought your ride was coming!” I ignore and walk out of security to the pick up area.

9:45: Paul arrives.  He’s been driving for 5 hours by himself.  He’s exhausted.  We decide the swim is not worth another 4 hours in the car.  We debate staying in Louisville for the night but don’t know where to stay.  Decide to head back to Lexington.

11:30pm: Arrive home.

…and that is how I hung out in the Louisville airport for 6 hours without ever getting on a flight, made Paul drive in a 6 1/2 hour circle and, after so much hype, did not end up doing the swim in Chicago.