Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day adventure

We celebrate Christmas a day early. As kids my family opened all of our presents on Christmas Eve, then we had stockings from Santa on Christmas morning. Now, as a blended family we have had to work out an arrangement that allows the two oldest girls to spend time with both of their families at Christmas. Some people alternate years, but I'm so glad that we didn't choose to do that. Knowing that it didn't matter to me growing up which day I opened my presents on, we offered to always have the 23rd and 24th in exchange for them going to their other homes on the 25th. We wake up on the 24tha and Santa has filled their stockings and we open all of our presents and we never remember that its not Christmas for everybody else. Then on the 25th we are always shocked that the roads are empty and the stores are closed. Christmas is over for us, where is everybody?

Now that we've added three more kids to our family we get to relax and let them play with their gifts all day that day. We might try to clean up all of the wrapping paper and packaging if we feel like it, but usually we don't. Generally we take turns napping and that's about as exciting as we get.

Kai leaves at 9pm on the 24th and Kiki has always left the next morning, but now her dad lives in Utah, so we have had her fly out there on Christmas day and spend time with her family there. She stays until New Year's and then we head to the cabin with the Thayers. It works out perfectly.

This year, though, we have snow. It's a first in my memory, having snow on Christmas. We were a little worried about the flight status, but the airlines assured us that everything was fine.

Getting out of the driveway proved to be the biggest challenge. We only had one chain on our tires, since one had broken and we hadn't put the replacement on yet. We couldn't even get moving, so we had to stop and put the missing chain on. Then we had to use all of the momentum we could build just to make it to the end of the driveway, where we were luckily able to stop before sliding into the road of death like we did a few nights ago.

We pulled over after a minute to check the chains and one had broken. To Kiki's credit she didn't say a word. Her breathing was labored, but she did not lose it, she held it together while we got the chain unwrapped from around the axle and got back on our way. Just as we reached the on ramp to the freeway we heard the other chain break. We had to find a place on the freeway to pull over and remove that chain. Still, she remained in control.

By this time we were about two hours out from her departure time. Our airport recommends arriving about an hour and a half prior to departure, and we were only 10 minutes away, so we're still looking good, but Chris dropped us off in front of the terminal just to be on the safe side.

As we entered the Southwest Airline doors Kiki questioned why so many people were standing outside. I thought it was odd that so many people were using the sky cab, but who am I to question? I knew soon enough, as we walked past the line of people waiting at the ticket counter and it seemed to stretch a bit far down the hallway. We just kept walking, trying to find the end of the line. It wrapped all the way past the Northwest counter, the Frontier counter, around the corner toward security for the C & D gates, then back all the way to the entrance.

I've never seen anything like it.

Neither had my daughter. She was pretty sure we were wasting our time standing in that line. We might as well go home, we're never going to make it now. I kind of had to agree with her, but I assured her that even if she missed the flight there was always another one. As we wrapped around our first big switchback in the line, I asked her why she was being so quiet. Why she wasn't FREAKING OUT like she does when she's seriously stressed about something at home. Why she didn't scream at her fellow line captives that this is SO RIDICULOUS, like she does to me. She said Because, mom, this isn't THEIR fault.

Then she saved her life by smiling sweetly and giggling at herself.

That mile long line moved in record time. Our plight seemed to shrink dramatically when the mom in front of us explained that she and her daughter had spent the last three days at the airport trying to get the daughter on a flight to Utah. Every time they thought she was leaving the flight would get cancelled again. It sure made the line seem like less of a burden. That and the new boyfriend I picked out that looked like a college football player. I'm pretty sure he loved me back. We shared a moment from across the terminal (call me).

We were through checking her in before it was even time for her to head through security. We fed her some fast food and warned her that she might be stuck on the plane for a while before take off, but they got her flight boarded right away. She texted me that they were taxiing down the runway and she'd call me when she got there. Then she texted me that they stopped. Then they turned around. The snow had started again and they needed to apply more deicer. They waited and waited for the other planes to get sprayed, then they finally got their turn. They were taking off again. Then they were stopping again. And turning around again. Now the runway was too snowy and all of the plower people had gone home, so they had to wait for them to come back and plow the runway. At this point I figured I might as well take the family home and wait there to see if she needed to be picked up again or if she was really going to Utah. Finally, three hours later, her flight really did take off. I'm glad she took a book.

She arrived safely and I'm sure she's having a great time. We had a great time trying to get up our driveway with no chains. Chris ended up pushing, after he moved some trees that had fallen across the road. I think we're stuck here for awhile unless there is some serious melting.

Have a great trip, Kenzie, we miss you!


Lars said...

Thanks for sharing your traditions. What a great way to have the whole family together.

I'm so glad she finally made it to Utah..where we to the south have had enough snow to make getting out of our own driveway/alley ridiculous and the roads snow packed.

I really hope we all get a break from the storms, sunshine, and above freezing temps for a while.