Thursday, December 24, 2009

Home For Christmas--By The Hair of Our Chinny-Chin-Chin

As you may know, last Friday night a huge snow storm blew into the entire Mid-Atlantic Region. And as I mentioned in my last post, as our flight was scheduled for early Saturday morning, this left me a tad bit stressed. So we decided to pack up early and head into a hotel next to the airport, to give ourselves that much more of a chance to catch our flight.

But first, we had Wine and Cheese Club night. Luckily Elizabeth's place was just a couple miles from the hotel, and normally it's just for us girls, but since Jason was with me the other ladies said he could come in. They even gave him a little bit of cheese. :)

By the time we left there was already some snow on the ground and sticking to the roads, and we were very happy to arrive at the hotel without incident. Once there, we learned that three airlines--American, Delta, and I can't remember--had already canceled all their flights for the next day. Alaska still showed our flight as scheduled, although they'd moved up the departure time by an hour.

The hotel couldn't guarantee that the shuttle to the airport would be running in the morning, so we weren't sure if we'd even have a ride; the cab companies had all just stopped answering their phones. So we decided that the shuttle driver would probably at least *try* to run the shuttle... at the very least, he'd try the first run at 5 a.m. If it was too dangerous then they'd probably not do any more after the first one, but we figured that our best chance to get to the airport would be to take that very first shuttle.

So we tried to catch a couple hours' sleep before waking up in the 4:00 hour (which should be illegal, by the way). There was probably 10 inches of snow at that point and it was still coming down; we were excited that the driver was going to give it a shot. Luckily, he was fabulous and we made it to the airport just fine. Then, Alaska checked our bags--another victory! Every little step towards us getting home was celebrated.

At the gate they told us to remain in the area because once they opened up boarding, we all had to hurry up and board because the airport was going to CLOSE and we needed to take off as soon as possible if we wanted to get out. Yikes! Then they came back on and told us that we were waiting for the crew--oh, for Pete's sake! Finally the crew arrived and Jason and I practically cheered. Then we boarded and everyone seemed very blase about the whole thing... I wanted to shout at them, "Do you want to be stuck at the airport? What is wrong with you? Hurryup hurryup hurryup!"

Once we were all on board we had to wait for the de-icing trucks, which were working on a Continental flight and were taking forever. Meanwhile it's still snowing, and they keep telling us that the airport is going to close soon, and Jason and I are trying to think good thoughts and not tell each other all the "we're going to be stuck at the airport" thoughts we're having. Finally the de-icers came over to us, hooray! Midway through the pilot came on and said that once they finished de-icing we had to hurry up and get to the runway because we only had 6-7 minutes after the de-icing to be cleared for takeoff. Jeez, could you please give us more of a sense of urgency, I'm not quite stressed enough back here in seat 20A!

After they finished de-icing, we backed away from the gate and then. just. sat. there. I had my eyes closed, trying to relax, and just praying for everything to line up so we could take off. Seriously, I was praying for the pilot, the flight attendants, the air traffic controllers, Alaska Airlines, the airport janitors, I mean everyone.

Eventually we started moving again, although I had my eyes closed and was trying to relax, so I wasn't paying attention until Jason said, "We're on the runway!" National Airport (aka Reagan) is right in the city, so it has a really short runway. And it was snowing so much, and the wind was whipping everything around, that there was a lot of snow on the runway. A lot. So as we were speeding up, Jason and I are holding hands, just hoping and praying for liftoff; neither of us would have been at all surprised if the plane had slowed down again, slid to a stop, and the flight was canceled then and there.

So when it lifted off, Jason and I both cheered, and fell in love with Alaska Airlines. We flew all the way to Seattle and from there a quick hop to Portland. A lady on the flight to Seattle checked her phone when we landed and told us that her friend was supposed to be on the very next flight out of D.C., flying to Portland via L.A., and that flight had been canceled and she couldn't get another flight until the 24th! So it might have been raining in the Pacific Northwest, but Jason and I were both walking on sunshine, soooo thankful to be at home!

The next day, Sunday, we woke up early (still on East Coast time!) and went to my home church. It was the Childrens' Program, so sweet and cute.

I love the tradition of the Advent Wreath.

Then we went into Portland for the Saturday Market and we grabbed a quick bite at the Thirsty Lion.

On Monday I finished up some jewelry projects/gifts that I hadn't had a chance to finish before we left, and we went to see Avatar in 3-D. [My review: The way they made the movie was fascinating; I really liked some of the surprising and creative ways that the "aliens" were different from humans; the 3-D glasses gave me a headache; the story was nice but very predictable; I think that it will revolutionize the way movies are made.]

On Tuesday we headed to Jason's parents' for the big football game pizza party, which I will not talk about because it was pathetic (the game, not the pizza party).

His parents live up on a hill and it gets foggy here; it's pretty (as long as you're not trying to drive in it!).

One of Jason's uncles made this and it's somehow lasted many years, coming out every Christmas! I love the little icicles.

Yesterday I wrote my Christmas letter, made copies, and put Jason and his mom to work folding letters and stuffing and stamping envelopes. So glad to have this crossed off my list!

Today we're heading back to my parents' for our annual Christmas Eve party, with homemade clam chowder and smoked salmon... yummmmm.

Merry Christmas!!!


Chiara said...

I am so glad you made it home

cynthia said...

I am so glad you made it!!!!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas Dear friend!!!!!!!

~love said...

i'm so HUNGRY from this post! =)

merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

That pizza looks so yummy! And that gingerbread house is adorable.

Sooz said...

YEAH! So glad you made it HOME for Christmas! WHEW! Hope the rest of your travel is less EXCITING! : )

(and I just got home from work....put on a pot of water to boil for pasta while waiting for Rob and Sirryha to get here...and now I am going to open the mail which includes your card!! wee! I love snail mail!! thanks!) xoxoxo

Latharia said...

Glad your holidays were such a success, when all was said and done! Love the photos you captured!!!