May 30, 2023

Texas trip: I thought I signed up for 'getting there is half the fun', but alas

My sister, Ann, texted me the week before we left for Texas to ask if she and her son, Ben, could ride with us to the airport. They were flying out east at 12:30 for her youngest daughter's college graduation the same day that Ed, Dad, and I were flying to Texas at 12:00.

*Ann has four kids. She's divorced. Her youngest daughter has nothing to do with her father anymore. This was a chance for Ann to enjoy a college graduation with her 4 offspring without dealing with Mr. A** Hole of the World, who had a habit of hitting Ann when they were married. While it's a mystery how this poor excuse for a man hasn't gotten his a** kicked by me or my siblings, I'll give you one guess on who came the closest.

Coach was in St. Louis to teach a PT class and I had no other drivers available. I was like: HMM, WELL - I'LL LET YOU KNOW IF I FIND A DRIVER. I made a collage banner for my friend Becky's college graduate the week before, so she agreed to swap out a ride to the airport for my banner services. 

The plan:  Ed was gonna work out early before picking up Dad at 9:30. 

A not-drawn-to-scale, but fairly-accurate map:    

X (ann's) . . . .  . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . .  X (my humble abode) . . . . X (mom & dad)

                                                         . . . . . . . . . . . X(Coach's clinic)

X (A-Hole house) *I can possibly make his address available so you can send him stuff about how to stop being an A-HOLE. Just a thought. 

 . . . . . . . .X (O'Hare - much further north than I am demonstrating here)

I was up crazy early. Hello, SIBO - is that you still causing the 'stitch' in my side that interferes with my sleep? I have questions, but my follow up with my doctor isn't until mid July even though my procedure was in April. Very frustrating.

I worked out for an hour, showered, finished packing, and made a frozen GF pizza for my carryon before leaving at 9:05 to drive 12 minutes to pick up Ann and Ben (opposite direction than Dad, but Dad is 3 minutes from my house). I was ON time. 

*this is noteworthy, because try as I might - this is not how I roll. 

Ed's phone didn't charge so he'd stumbled downstairs upset that he missed his chance to workout. I insisted that he still go. "I'LL HAVE TIME TO GET DAD. JUST GO. GET BACK HERE AND BE READY BY 9:30." 

Ann, Ben, and I were halfway back to my house, where Becky was going to meet us at 9:45 am, when Ben mumbled from the backseat:  "OH. WAIT. I CAN'T FIND MY WALLET."

I glanced at Ann. "WHAT'D YA WANT ME TO DO?" Driving back to her house, was possible but that might screw up the rest of THE PLAN. 

Ann waved me on, while she spit choice words at Ben. I wanted to crawl on top of the car and adapt my arms to be plasti-woman, so I could be far, far, far away from the SITUATION.

I'd venture a guess, OK - an educated guess, that her Ben is the equivalent of our Lad. No clue how I'd manage a challenge like that without a grounded, supportive father to lean on. I empathized with her total frustration mode. Been there. While I drove, I grilled him about where it might be. 

He wasn't sure -  at his apartment in Indianapolis - a good 3.5 hours away?
Yikes. I can't even drive to the grocery store without my license. Is it me? The digital age might be messing these kids up a touch. 

It might be at his dad's, where he slept the night before. It might be in his car, which was parked at Ann's house. He had the keys on him, bummer -because no one else could access his car. His very responsible brother, Jake, was at his mom's house. He was flying to the graduation the next day after he attended a wedding. 

Ben called Jake and asked him to peek in the windows of his car to see if he could see his wallet. He couldn't see it.


Ann refused to drive big rig. She was gonna hop out at my house and uber back with Ben. SAVE YOURSELF. I told her to just stay the course and let Ben go back and look for his wallet. 

We got to Dad's and Ben started to exit in order to uber. I told him to stay in the car - I could drop him at Coach's clinic which was halfway to Ann's house and on our way to the airport. I told him to text Jake and have him come pick him up there. Jake agreed. 

After scooping up Dad, I pulled into my driveway to get Ed. Becky was chatting with him in the kitchen. I raced inside and quickly debriefed Ed and Becky in my kitchen. "SO, STRESSFUL CAR RIDE - YOU'VE BEEN WARNED . . . . "

At Coach's work, Ben hopped out to wait for Jake and we drove off. I told Ann that this was not within her control, and hopefully Ben would find his wallet. 

Ann:  I'VE BEEN PLANNING THIS TRIP FOR A YEAR (after graduation, they were going to plays in New York City, etc.). HE'S GONNA RUIN IT. 

Ben alerted her that his wallet was not in his car and he was driving to his dad's house, so things were still TENSE. Becky has heard of my family dynamics but never dreamt she's be in.the.thick.of.things.

While we were in the security line at the airport, Ben texted Ann to say his wallet was in his room at his dad's house. THERE WAS MUCH REJOICING. He was waiting for an uber. His dad wouldn't drive him to the airport. How's that for nice? Jake was on his way to a wedding in southern Illinois. Ann was annoyed/worried that he wouldn't make it in time.

At the airport Dad wanted a
 hot dog. There were
 no hotdogs to be found
. . . until we got to
 our gate, a hotdog stand.
Wonders never cease.

I hugged Ann good-bye before we boarded and urged her to play like Elsa and let it go, so as not to beat a dead horse with Ben all weekend. Beating of dead horses is, unfortunately, Ann's strength. She assured me she wouldn't.

As I buckled Dad in his belt, Ann texted to say Ben had made it to the gate. 

I was ready for a distraction from the Ego investigation, but this was more than I bargained for. As usual, there's more. Tune in Thursday for the next installment of the Texas adventure. I'd invite you to guess, but not in a million years could you.

What's your worst airport or drive to airport drama?  


mbmom11 said...

Glad this worked out- I get stressed just reading it!

mbmom11 said...

My worst drama recently was getting pulled over for a pat down at security! With 2 daughters and son-in-law watching. Luckily, the TSA agent was swift and professional. I assure you I was no smuggling anything.

Nicole MacPherson said...

How stressful, glad it worked out!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Holy Mackeral. Kids not having their shit together makes me nutty! Like, you knew you were traveling, have your damn wallet/id ready to go! And Ann's Ex sounds like the most enormous ass ever. Won't drive his kid to the airport? Thanks.

This stressed me reading it, so I can't imagine how you and your belly were feeling!

Your dad and the hotdog desire...SO funny!

Kari said...

This sounds exhausting. I need a nap.

I love the picture of your Dad eating a hot dog.

Pat Birnie said...

My god my stomach was in knots just reading this. So glad everyone made their flights! Also you are amazing with your sister - considering how she has treated you. You are very good person Ernie.

Nance said...

Anything airport-related stresses me out. And I have a son who constantly misplaced his wallet until he got to be about 37. Don't ask me how many debit cards he got replaced. Ridiculous.

Charlie said...

Oh that made me stressed just reading this! When my mum was poorly last year I jumped in the car with my phone but forgot my purse. I was away for a week and was surprised how well I coped with no cards or cash. All my credit cards are on my phone/watch, so not a problem to pay that way when I had no choice. So I can see how the next generation are coping with no wallets.

We were invited to Barbados with friends for their wedding. When we went to check in at the UK airport with them the bride realised she’d forgotten her divorce papers from her first marriage. She needed these to get the marriage license in Barbados. So the groom had to hop in a taxi, rush back home, and hope he could find them and get back in time. That was really stressful! We didn’t see him until all 20 of us in the wedding party were boarded and ready for our 8 hour flight. Big relief when he made it onboard just in time!

Kara said...

Traveling cross country with three kids under five. Had a stop in Atlanta, that should have been 90 minutes- plenty of time to get to the next gate and have a bathroom break. Instead our plane got stuck on the runway for 45 minutes waiting for a gate to open. Finally got out of the plane, our gate checked stroller did not make it to Atlanta. Gate agents were not helpful. Sprinted to the connecting gate, about as far away as possible, and barely made it to our flight. Being as we were the last people on board, some people had decided to re-sit themselves in our row, and were grumpy about having to give it up. I almost handed over my kids and said "fine, you can occupy them, I'll take your seat."

To add insult to injury, our gate checked stroller was in lost and found in Phoenix when we got back, having never left our departure airport.

Bijoux said...

My only airport drama was at 5 am at our home airport, checking our family of 5 in for the first leg of a big vacation out west, only to be told the flight was cancelled. They booked us on another airlines to a different layover city and because it was a last minute booking, security treated all of us like terrorists. We had to go through a separate security line and be patted down (my kids were children at the time). It was so damn ridiculous and humiliating. When we arrived at our final destination, all our luggage had been rifled through. I’ve had no patience for the TSA ever since.

Ernie said...

mbmom11 - It was stressful. I thought my biggest stress would be traveling with an elderly man. Nope.

Yikes. You must be a suspicious looking lady. ;)

Ernie said...

Nicole - My gut was feeling all clenched. It was such a relief that it wasn't in Indianapolis. Nothing seems to be easy when organizing family events.

Ernie said...

Suz - This is exactly something that Lad would've done. Mind blowing. Is it that they think they can google their way out of anything? Lad needs ADD meds to function . . . I suspect my nephew is in the same boat.

My ex BIL is a one of a kind creep. I haven't crossed paths with in years, but he better hope I don't anytime soon . . . since we last met, I've been pumping iron. :0

I initially explained the saga of the hot dog a bit more, but I cut it out to make the post less book-length.

Ernie said...

Kari - By the time we heard that he'd found his wallet, Ann had a headache. Understandably. The hot dog situation was pure entertainment. Ed still giggles about it.

Ernie said...

Pat - You are too kind. Ann has no filter and she does get me upset. Deep down, I feel for her. She's had a rough time - some of it I feel could improve if she let some stuff go, but maybe easier said than done. The controlling nature of both my sisters is nauseating on a good day. I was so relieved that this worked out. It was not the low stress airport ride, where I incorporate my sis in our ride in order to save her a buck, that I'd envisioned.

Ernie said...

Nance - Lad had a wallet issue recently and he was SO unaware of how it could have ended - it irritated me to no end. I migfht have to share what happened in a post. Even my more organized kids have applied for an ATM card and then flaked out, so they never activate it when it arrives in the mail and we start all over again.

Ernie said...

Charlie - See - that's what I'm thinking. It seems like people aren't really in NEED of their stuff as much as they used to be. So, that might be a contributing factor. He had NO idea where he'd last seen his wallet. Good grief generation 25 year olds - gather yourselves.

That wedding sound equal parts fun and HOLY stress ball. Glad it all fell into place. She must be one organized chick to be able to tell him where those papers were. I'm convinced that I'm the ONLY person who can find ANYTHING in our house. Ever.

Ernie said...

Kara - The stroller didn't even get on the plane. Stop it. That sounds like the kind of travel day that called for some adult beverages upon arrival. My brother and his family once arrived at O'Hare airport and THEN realized their flight to Disney was taking off from Midway airport - a solid 30 or 40 minutes away with no traffic. I could crap my pants just thinking about that one.

Ernie said...

Bijoux- That is crazy. I think my patience would have expired after the cancelled flight. Why treat you like thugs? Clearly a young family trying to make a fligbt.

The girls, my Dad, and I were stuck i. heathrow for like 14 hours because we missed our connection. Dumb Orbitz scheduled the flights too close to one another. It was a nightmare at the start of our trip.

Colleen said...

You're giving me more reasons to never fly again :) I love that your dad wanted a hot dog and there it was, I wish things happened like that to the rest of us!

Ernie said...

Colleen - Ha. It is stressful, but having your ID is typically a non-issue. The hot dog stand placement was very entertaining.

Nicola said...

I cannot even imagine all of the stress!! It might have taken me the whole trip to recover! And so frustrating that it was not really 'your' stress but impacted you so much. I'm glad that it all ended well though.

Bibliomama said...

Dear god, I was hyperventilating just reading that. We tend to overprepare and leave super early when traveling, and there are fewer people in play, so I don't think we've ever had an experience like that. Matt did once fly home from Asia and the flight was delayed and he committed three moving violations and broke a land-speed record in order to make it to Eve's Glee recital on time.

Ernie said...

Nicola - You're right - it wasn't my stress, but by default . . . eek. I was so relieved that it worked out.

Ernie said...

Ali - It was A LOT. I tend to run late, but with Coach out of town and three different houses of people hopping in a car to get to the ariport, one of which was my elderly father, I was like I MUST BE PREPARED. Flight delays suck - especially when they throw off other plans.

Anne said...

Maybe the hot dog was some kind of sign from the universe - you made it this far, you navigated all of the (completely insane and completely avoidable) havoc that a (clueless) person wreaked on your innocent group, so here's your Dad's hot dog. That picture made me laugh - this story made me sweat. So, so glad it worked out, but good grief. I constantly pat the pockets of my jacket (purse? who needs a purse?) where my wallet and keys are, to make sure they're there. I can't imagine leaving home without them!