Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Long Road Home

In the afternoon it was time to make our way to the airport in Rhode Island... flying out of Providence was an experience... Chicago was experiencing delays due to a severe thunderstorm (multiple lightning strikes per minute) so we were unable to take off for several hours. Our plan had been to find dinner during our two hour layover in Chicago... but when it became clear that we wouldn't have two hours (if we were able to catch our connecting flight at all). The airport is small enough that the few restaurants they had closed early and we had a hard time finding food to buy. Thank goodness for prepackaged sandwiches and fruit at Starbucks... and for the packages of fruit snacks and Oreos that Bruce and Terri insisted we take :).  We finally got word that our plane could take off, and the flight attendants all but promised us that all the other flights going into Chicago were delayed too, so we should be just fine. Maybe it was good to have that false sense of security on the flight to Chicago?

When we landed in Chicago we were welcomed with a wait on the tarmac... so many planes had finally been able to land that there was a big back up and no empty gates... so they had to start clearing out the planes and of course our plane to SLC was one of the ones to go, without us on board. There would be more flights the next day...We were informed that because the delay was due to weather the airline wouldn't help with food or a place to stay.... but they kindly told us they would be setting up cots in the terminal for our "convenience." Hah! Maybe if it were just Ryan and me... but there was no way I was going to stay the night in the airport with our kids... especially a busy two year old who is prone to wandering.

Coleman was devastated... he was so concerned that we weren't ever going to make it home. I think he was on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. He was worried that his stuff was lost forever (including his beloved dinosaur pillow pet).

Bruce and Terri to the rescue! They secured a room (the last one, anywhere) at one of the nearby Marriott hotels and the kids and I hopped on a shuttle bus with our carry on luggage to get settled for the night. Ryan stayed at the airport hoping they would find the suitcase that held our extra diapers and wipes... wouldn't you know that the ONE time I don't over-pack our carry on bags is the time we will surely need it the most!?! The very kind woman at baggage claim tracked down some diapers for us along with another of our bags (the one with the pillow pets, hooray!).

We were all so hungry... the kids were begging for "real food"... so right when we got to the hotel we ordered pizza and Chicken Parmesan from Barraco's which came highly recommended from the guy at the front desk. While waiting for said food to be delivered all three children promptly fell asleep... they were so exhuasted! I wasn't the nicest mom and woke them up so they could eat the pizza that they had wanted so badly... Sophia had nothing of it though and refused to open her eyes :). Both kids ate a couple of small squares of yummy pizza and fought to keep their eyes open. They were so glad when I finally said they could climb back in bed. Ryan finally got back from the airport (after fighting the Lollapalooza crowd to get onto the shuttle) and ate what he could... then we put the rest of the pizza on ice and saved it for our breakfast the next morning (we totally forgot it was Fast Sunday). We woke to find that an army of ants liked our leftover chicken and cups with root beer residue... but luckily the pizza was left alone. Despite the ants, the room was great and we were so, so happy to have a safe place to rest our heads and a place to shower before putting back on our dirty travel clothes (also because of my grand idea to "pack light").

We slept well and made it back to Midway airport... got through security (again!)... and enjoyed a non-denominational Christian church service in the airport. We had an uneventful flight to Denver and then to Salt Lake City. We were most grateful that all of our luggage made it home (likely long before we did). Home Sweet Home! We were grateful that my mom picked us up from the airport and took us to her house where she fed us dinner before returning to our home.

We LOVED being in Connecticut for a week--it was so fun to be with Ryan's parents and see and do so many fun things... and we loved coming home too.