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January 4, 2011 / thegrrlspot

Traversing Stygian Christmas Nimbus (or the Christmas Raincloud that Follows Me)

Somebody thinks it’s funny to put the Evil Eye on me each December.  I’m not kidding. No, really, this is serious.

Hara, if you are reading this, can’t you do some crazy Greek toof-toof-your-baby-is-beautiful-but-he-has-crooked-tows magic?  Crush some herbs in oil with hair of goat while spouting incantations?

Let me preface this by explaining what happened last year.

The gf and I first got together sometime around the holidays a couple years back (we settled on the anniversary of our first kiss since we can’t remember when exactly I finally stopped having cold feet and agreed to the status of “girlfriend”).    Thus, last year I decided to pull out the romantical stops and plan a big Washington D.C. trip as an anniversary/Christmas surprise.  I had booked us a hotel room in downtown, made a dinner reservation at a swank restaurant, gotten tickets to a play at the Eisenhower Theater, and had plans to visit all the amazing monuments and museums.  Well don’t you know it…the biggest snow storm the East coast has seen in years decides to show up and send D.C. into a whirling dervish of chaos and car accidents.  My glorious planning quickly became all for naught and instead we ended up having dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Norfolk, VA.  It was around this time that Girlfriend’s jet lag finally caught up with her, as she had spent the previous two weeks in Japan for work, flew back and spent one night in Alaska, and then flew to the East coast.  She promptly fell asleep in the guacamole.  Happy Anniversary, Dear.

WELL…December 2010 was not to be outdone!  The whole thing started on a bad note with me setting my alarm wrong and waking up 30 minutes before my plane was supposed to depart from Savannah. doh! The Priceline guy told me that not only would I have to pay a $130 re-booking fee, but I would also have to cover any price difference between the original ticket and the new same-day ticket I wanted to purchase.  Trying to fly out of Savannah would have necessitated selling a kidney on the Black Market.

Luckily!  I remembered one of my co-workers mentioning that flying out of Jacksonville was way cheaper than flying out of Savannah, so I asked Priceline guy to work with me and we managed to agree on a flight.  I looked at my dog, who realizing I was about to depart on a journey as indicated by the packed suitcases, had been attempting to change herself into something that resembled baggage for the past hour.  “Stop worrying, I promise you are coming,” I said, shaking my head.  To which she responded with suspicious eyes and continued with her attempts to turn herself into a small brown suitcase.

Both the dog and I made the flight out of Jacksonville to Philadelphia without any further incident and were picked up by Girlfriend and my Dad.  Maya (my dog) did almost cause a Transportation Security Incident when, overcome by excitement at the sight of Girlfriend, she proceeded to cause her travel bag to start expanding and rolling violently around in the crowd at the baggage area, thereby alarming many travelers who could not fathom what evil possessed this bag causing it to move on its own.  We made it out of the airport before being questioned by any super-sleuth TSA agents. 😉

Arrival at my parents’ home in Jersey started what can only be described as a mega-marathon of binge eating…with two days of running mixed in for good measure.  I’m pretty sure I ate enough to feed a small, third world country.  I consumed the following:

cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, stuffed mushrooms, pasta, snicker-doodles, oreo truffles (the devil!), salted caramels, Andes mint chocolate chip cookies, chips & salsa, sour cream & onion potato chips, regular potato chips, cheese n crackers, cheese n pepperoni, Mexican layer dip, beer, liquore,  and more beer.

yeah, I should also mentioned that was just on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day came and the glorious fest of gift-giving commenced!  I sure do love Christmas…actually I love the whole Christmas season.  I think I might know 95% of all Christmas music ever written and can be found singing it at the top of my lungs starting the day after Thanksgiving (much to Girlfriend’s chagrin!).  I mean, heck, I even know Silent Night in Spanish.  I was especially excited this year because I had bought two tickets to a show on Broadway and a night’s stay in a hotel in Manhattan for Girlfriend who, despite having grown up in Rhode Island, somehow never made it to New York City.    Not only was I taking her to see ‘Wicked’, a show she’d been dying to see, but I promised her a “dirty water dog” from a NYC street vendor! (girlfriend is a hot dog aficionado)  How’s THAT for romance!

WELL…it was that first blissful evening amid the sensory cacophony of car horns, neon lights, exhaust fumes, and a rushing mass of bodies…when I got the text. Why is my mother texting me? I thought.  oh…just to tell me there’s a BLIZZARD that will be hitting the northeast tomorrow morning and we will need to take the 8am bus back to New Jersey or suffer the resulting stranding in a hotel room in the middle of New York City with no transportation, food, or clean underwear.  you. have got. to be kidding me.  WHO DOES THIS HAPPEN TO TWO YEARS IN A ROW!?!? right, well, … yes. Me, apparently.

Girlfriend tried to comfort me, but it was to no avail.  I had been so very excited to give her the “New York City Experience,” questionable processed street meat and all.  I looked up in anguish at the lights of Times Square, overcome by a sense of existential longing….

ok, so maybe I just cursed a bit and trudged back to the hotel like a child who’s had their toy taken away.  But still. I was upset! My super cool present was getting ruined by snow…again!  On the bright side, this was a slight improvement from last year – girlfriend was awake for the whole thing and we DID get to see ‘Wicked’, which totally rocked.  She also got to experience the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which if you’ve ever been there, you know is an experience in itself.  (I once almost got arrested by the ‘Runaway Police’ there in college…the plight of looking perpetually 16).

I have to say it was a good thing I listened to my mother. (Did I just admit that in writing??)  By the time we reached New Jersey, it was snowing sideways with winds gusts so strong they rocked the bus.  And yes, NYC was pretty much shut down.  And I like clean underwear.  So I’m glad we made it back…to eat more Oreo truffles.

Both girlfriend and I were set to fly out Monday morning, but as Sunday wore on…it became increasingly apparent that this would probably not happen.  At least it did to Expedia…who extended the courtesy to girlfriend of automatically re-booking her flight for the next morning in anticipation of all the chaos caused by the shutdown of every major airport in the tri-state area.  Priceline? not so much.  At midnight, snow topping out around 19 inches, my flight was still showing as “on time” for 10:30am. bullshit.

The next morning, realizing we didn’t have much choice, my Dad, Girlfriend and I took to frantically shoveling the driveway to make the hour drive to Philly.  As luck (or the Evil Eye) would have it, the flight was canceled just as the snow shovel frenzy had ended and we had all piled into the car. Back in the house we went to look for a new flight.  The dog was so distraught at this point by the moving of luggage in and out of house and car that she wasn’t sure if she was trying to be baggage or dog.  I contemplated giving her a valium…

The next flight I could get on would not leave until the following night with a connector in Cincinnati, so the next day I said goodbye to girlfriend who was to be picked up by my friends in Savannah and entertained until my arrival.  The dog and I headed to the Philly airport that evening and settled into the seating area …it was here I was informed that my flight was delayed nearly 40 minutes!  WHAT?! I exclaimed inwardly.  I only have a 47 minute layover in Cincinnati! How am I going to make my connector!?!

There was already another disgruntled passenger waiting to speak to the Delta desk lady, who left to go use the bathroom.  Said disgruntled passenger snarled at her in dismay and sat down on the floor in front of the desk in a huff.  I pondered her for a moment and wondered if I was making any of the same faces…I surely hoped not!  Because of this presentation of what can only be described as “ugliness,” I decided to be patient and accept what was happening (<—total yoga ninja mind trick…try it, it works!)

Finally, after quite a long time (hope everything came out ok?) the lady came back.  After she finished dealing with disgruntled girl, I informed the desk clerk of my plight.

Delta Lady: “Ohhh…um…yeah…you probably won’t make it.”

Me: “Yes. I know.”

Delta Lady: “Well let me see…ooh..that’s not good..hrm…well I could,nope…um…jeez”

Me: (growing anxiety) “That doesn’t sound very good…”

Delta Lady: “Well, there’s no more flights that I can get you on tonight.  The next flight I could get you on would be either 6am out of Cincinnati or 5:45am out of here.  You’re going to have to stay overnight in an airport.”

I opted to be extra booked on the 6am flight and walked back to my seat to break the news to the dog.  Whereas before she was determined to go to any length to stay by my side, she now looked at me as if threatening to call PETA at the prospect of having to stay overnight in a travel bag at the airport.  Seriously. I could see it in her eyes.

Forty minutes later, we were on the flight to Cincinnati and I had resigned myself to finding a nice corner of the next airport to curl up in for the night with nothing but my jacket and wiener dog.  However – a beneficial twist of fate.  I turned my phone on after we landed and received a text message from my Mom.

JAX flight delayed until 9pm!!! run!!!

Well, you don’t have to tell me twice!  Weenie, we are going home! I yelled at Maya…who looked at me like I had totally lost it from her spot under the seat in front of me.  I burst into a sprint at the door of the ramp, frantically scanning for my next gate.  WOOHOOO! We made it in time!! I called my Mom and breathlessly reported the news whilst those around me stared at the panting crazy lady who had just run into the seating area.

FINALLY! We boarded the plane for Jacksonville and I could feel myself relax.  The dog curled up in her bag and I leaned back and closed my eyes. HA! Did you think it would going to be that easy? really?  Cuz then the Captain came on to announce a “hydraulic anomaly.”  Yes, he used the word anomaly. As in “odd”, as in “peculiar”, as in THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG!  ahem.  Sorry…not a fan of flying.  Also not a fan of the horrific visions of fiery death that come to mind when thinking of hydraulic anomalies…you know like hydraulic steering failure…or landing gear hydraulic failures…mhm…no big deal…  It also did not help that the mechanic came on board and busted out the manual – call me crazy, but I don’t really take it as a good sign when the guy has to break out the MANUAL to figure out what is wrong!  Ujjayi breathing attempt, take one.  Epic FAIL.  Ok so I’m not quite a yoga ninja yet.

Ok, brain, the breathing didn’t work…so what will we do now?  How about read everyone’s favorite – Sky Mall magazine! Yes, that will help to keep your mind off melting piles of flesh and metal strewn on the ground.  …So I think everyone has pulled out the Sky Mall mag before, but has anyone actually bought anything from it?  Like, are there people out there who do their Christmas shopping through Sky Mall?  and do people actually want anything you can find in Sky Mall?  For example – a Magic Shower Head!  Because everyone wants a shower head that can turn the water red, orange, blue, or green!  Or maybe you’d like a floor lamp made of cast iron in the shape of a woman’s body – only instead of a head, you have a lamp shade.  Because that’s not creepy at all.  I feel like people who have headless woman lamps probably might have headless women buried in their basements.  But I digress…

After much ado (and failed Ujjayi breathing), the apparent “anomaly” was determined to be a busted signal transmitter in the hydraulic system.  After cannibalizing (yes they used that word too) another plane, we were ready for takeoff.  I tried to sleep on the way home, but never quite reached an adequate level of relaxation to do so.  The dog, however, seemed completely un-phased by the “anomaly” and slept soundly. hrmph.

It was a two hour drive home from Jacksonville, but finally at 2:30am, I walked bleary-eyed into my apartment and into the arms of my waiting love.  Sigh. Thank heavens for small rewards, eh?  She was watching…what else? The Food Network.  Probably preparing for next Thanksgiving 😉

All in all, it was a good Christmas.  Though there was a touch of sadness without Pop there with us… I know that crafty old man was smiling down on us and raising hell in heaven’s Christmas party.  We kept the spirit alive for you, Pop – craziness as usual!  A lot of merriment, laughing, and talking over each other.  Aunt K had a “GREATTTT TIMEEE”…which only increased with each drink of sour cherry liquore 😉

I would do it all over again.  I’d even get stuck in the blizzard or sleep in an airport because Christmas with my loved ones is worth so much more.

…And in case you are looking for Christmas ideas for me next year, the Magic Shower Head was on pg. 23 😉

 

Maya and Willy watch horrified as Jen turns into a giant Oreo truffle

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2 Comments

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  1. Hara / Jan 6 2011 9:09 am

    after finished laughing from all this craziness u described (how on earth do u actually manage to pile up all these insanity around u is beyond me) i stopped and think.
    toof-toof-your-baby-is-beautiful-but-he-has-crooked-tows magic? i am not aware of this specific voodoo magic…are u sure its Greek and not from New Orleans?
    Crush some herbs in oil with hair of goat while spouting incantations? Now THAT i could do! just next time, u need to send me ahead some of your hair and maybe Maya’s as well! that will do the trick!!
    Or just try Europe next time. At christmas was 65F here and sunny 😛

  2. Shanon / Jan 26 2011 8:15 pm

    Maybe your next Christmas/Anniversary should be spent in a place that actually expects that much snow . . . You could use all that snow equipment from AK 😉

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