December 30th, 2008


We made it home, eventually

We had Christmas! It was good.

So, when I left off from our journey, we had been defeated by our attempt to drive home from Boise, and had returned to Boise. When our flight was canceled, they offered us a rebooking on a 9:30 PM flight the next day, but we canceled instead and tried the drive. By the time we had changed our minds, the earliest we could get home together was on Christmas Eve morning, around 9:30 AM.

The lesson I tried to take away from it was one of peace and serenity, of not trying to influence fate, of letting things happen as they happen. But still, the next morning, I was antsy and wanting to try and fix things. I went to the store. I made a snow duck by the pond. Eventually, I called Alaska's customer care line (not the reservations line, which was busy and not accepting any new calls). After 20 minutes on hold, I got a guy on the phone.

"Can you get to the airport RIGHT NOW?" he asked me.

"YES. YES!" I sputtered.

So we frantically threw our stuff back in the bags (I had chosen that time to back up my computer and the hard drive was in the bottom of my backpack, called Tyler's uncle away from baking Christmas cookies, and got to the airport. Again. It took us ages to check in because they were busy dealing with everybody who had been planning to fly to anywhere in California that day, all canceled. This was mostly because Alaska employees had been working overtime and then were not legally permitted to fly.

Our flight hung in there. It was delayed twice, not due to weather, not due to crew problems, but to mechanical issues. But we had a plane, and we had a crew, and nearly 3 hours later, we actually boarded an aircraft. I was a nervous wreck the entire time we were at the airport and spent most of it lying on the floor staring into space. I was nervous when we boarded the plane. I was nervous when we sat on the runway. I was nervous when we were flying, because they could still turn us away...but they didn't. The irony is that the 9:30 PM flight we would have been on later that day if we hadn't tried to drive was canceled.

We got some gift certificates to McCormick and Schmick's, I drank lots of fluids, and we touched down in the morass of Sea-Tac around 9:30 PM. We waded through acres of luggage at baggage claim without incident and eventually made it onto a shuttle. Shuttle Express wasn't going to any residential addresses due to the deep snow (and a number of drivers not coming back when they tried it the previous day), so we got dropped off at a grocery store a half-mile from my house and just walked home.

To recap, here is how I got home:
*Bush plane
*Plane (failed)
*Plane (failed)
*Rental car (failed)
*Plane (success!)
*Airport shuttle
Dinosaurs Rule

And then there was Christmas!

Christmas was great, as usual. The blanket of snow that had flomped all over Seattle was absolutely glorious, and it stuck around long enough to give me my first honest-to-dog White Christmas I'd ever had in my life...big fat flakes on Christmas morning and everything. I loved it.

I decorated the tree the first day we were home, and Tyler chipped snow and ice out of the driveway so we could foray out for a few last-minute gifts (and cat food, and cat litter). We sat in front of the fire, wrapped presents, and played with the cat. It was great.

The cats made out better than any of us when we did the stockings on Christmas Eve, with plenty of toys and treats. On Christmas morning, Santa brought Pan an enormous 5-foot tall climbing tower, complete with high perch at the top and two cubbies below. Pan has enjoyed it immensely so far. I got 4 packages of Milano cookies, on which I am still nibbling happily, and a big book about all the species of extinct humans (Australopithecus afarensis, Homo neanderthalensis, etc.).

Christmas morning was wonderful as usual. I got up early to sit by the tree for a while and start a fire. I was very happy to get the Planet Earth DVD's, which I cracked open just this afternoon. I also got the 7th season of Scrubs, a pretty bracelet, a new sheath knife, a scrummy pair of knitted armsocks, and a set of eight Pez dispensers made to look like the original cast of Star Trek. I got Tyler a new Leatherman tool, a new utility knife for my Dad, some art books for my Mom, chocolate molds for Jason, and an oil lamp for Ilana. It was really nice.

We maintained our tradition of No TV on Christmas. I made Mom and Dad breakfast in bed before presents, and we played dominoes later. Sandwiches for lunch, along with handfuls of cream puffs Jason and Ilana had made the night before, and Eggplant Parmesan for an informal dinner.