Monday, October 29, 2012

The Lady Who Crashed Allume

It is a curious thing that my six-year-old has become obsessed with natural disasters in the last few weeks. Whenever available to bring home from school, my first grader has greedily squirreled away his favorite reader on the subject, and has made me cross-my-heart-promise that I'll sit with him and lift fact after fact from its pages.

His greatest preoccupation?


He has had so many questions about hurricanes!

Some of what he has wanted to know has been satisfied with the flipping of dogged edged pages, but other actualities have only been seed for more questions.

And all that I have had is feeble offerings. I'm from Central Oregon; we do late summer forest fires and volcanic eruptions every couple of hundred years, not swirling vortexes of terror.

I have been a poor resource, and I've been fine with that.

When I boarded my flight for our blogging conference last week, I had no idea that it was about to adventure me into the hub of a superstorm.

Not exactly what I had in mind when I declared that we 'never knew' what might happen.

My roommate and I are currently hunkered down in the Harrisburg Hilton where our conference was, and they are treating us very well.We can't say enough kind words.

Our flight was scheduled for this morning and up until daybreak, it still had not been cancelled. We spent the night engaged in an mad-dash hunt for information (Please, will a real live person talk to us!?) but were turning up nothing but roadblocks. There was one point where Alia thought she'd had a break-through after being on hold for an hour, but was asked to wait again while the agent spoke with a manager and then was hung up on after another hour had passed.

On the next attempt, we were connected, but then informed that the closest possible date for rescheduling  would not be for another eight days, and that they'd have to charges us for the changes because we were not in the path of the hurricane.


We had budgeted finances and resources through our stay at the conference only, and I envisioned ourselves camping in the hotel lobby and throwing periodic and pitiful I-have-no-food-glances towards the in-house restaurant staff, while simultaneously trying to avoid gale force winds. 

We had to make a decision but were getting mixed messages. On one hand, the governor was telling his state to stay indoors and to take the warnings seriously (the worst of Sandy would be happening the same day as our flight), and on the other hand, every time we looked at our Delta flight information, it was all-systems-go.

 Never mind the fact that other planes coming into the airport had been cancelled hours before.

We tried to contact our carrier once more but could not spare 5-7 hours to wait for them to call us back.

With conflicting feedback, a very anxious conclusion was reached--We would shoot for the airport at 5AM and try to get an earlier flight out. We were risking getting stranded at the airport at the height of the storm, but still had no clear answers.

Alia picked up the phone and put out a fleece: If they could get us there, we'd give it a go.

Thank-God-Hallelujah, the front desk man thought we were crazy.

He reported doubt that anyone, including taxis, would even be available, and confirmed our gut instinct that this was a BIG deal. He also offered us a special rate to soften the financial impact of being grounded.

Alia picked up the phone to leave a message for the airlines, letting them know that we'd tried to cancel our flight in advance, and to both of our astonishment, it rang once and an actual human answered.

Yes, she would happily book us something for Wednesday! 

Thank you, family, friends, and twitter pals for praying for us.

Trust me, we have noticed.

We are safe right now and have plenty of reading material.

Could you also keep our families back home in your thoughts? They are doing a lot to pick up the pieces and this is impacting them too.

Husbands and Kids- we miss you!

Myles, sorry that I'll miss your field trip. Please have fun!

Girls, sorry about your costumes.

Ailish, hope that your chicken pox have flown the coupe.

Si-Guy, can't wait to read with you again (a different book, perhaps?)!

Daddy, you are a rock star. Good job with the waffles. I love you immensely.

We will do our best to keep everyone posted--thanks again for all the love that we have been shown.


  1. Kathi, dear! So grateful to read an update on you and Alia. And man, you do weave a good story in the process. Praying for you and your families -- safety and no more airline craziness! Xoxo

  2. Ah, I felt like I was there with you - thanks for sharing, I hope it all goes well. Good job Steve!

  3. Thanks Ladies! Hopefully we will be back into our own beds tomorrow night



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