Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Spectacular Ordinary: Day 14

I'll be honest, friends. Finding the spectacular among the ordinary has been a bigger challenge this week than I thought it would.

In fact, there was a whole lot more crummy than spectacular in the past week.

A car accident (and everything that goes along with it).

Some disturbing news.

A lack of speed skating medals at the Olympics.

And yesterday.

A few weeks back, as we were looking at our calendars, B and I realized that we would not be together on Valentines Day, but instead, we'd be high five-ing each other at O'Hare as he came in from a trip and I left for one.

Earlier this week, however, B's trip got canceled thanks to federal regulators and some intense work he needed to get done. Thus began hell week for him. Early mornings (hello, 4:30!); late nights (see you around 9:30!). He's exhausted, but still at work, even today.

I was still looking forward to my trip to Dallas to help celebrate my niece's first birthday. This is a big deal because it's not often in our family anymore than someone actually is born and has a FIRST birthday. It's been 15 years, folks.

So I was looking forward to that, AND being with my mom who flew in from Texas AND seeing the rest of my family. After the sick Christmas we had, literally, I was looking for a do-over, and I thought this would be it.

Besides, I got my nails done!

So yesterday after class, I rushed home to pack. Caroline and I had scheduled lunch together, and I didn't want to miss that, so I had about an hour and a half to throw everything together before lunch, and then I was going to be off to the airport later in the day.

While I was at home packing, the phone rang. Caller ID said it was "Toll Free Caller," so I ignored it like I always do when Ms. Toll Free calls. She's so annoying.

I'm so stupid.

After my lunch with Caroline, I came home for a little while, and something inside me said to check messages on our home phone, which is an activity I save for about once a week when I'm really bored because these messages are usually of the let-me-sell-you-roofing-materials variety. Cell phones are where it's really at.

But I checked my messages, for some reason. And there, on my voicemail on my home phone which I never, ever check, was a message from the airline telling me that my flight was canceled and I was rebooked for Saturday afternoon.


Ms. Toll Free didn't bother to tell me she was actually the airline.

You guys. In all the years that I've been flying, I have never had a flight canceled. I didn't know what to do. Saturday afternoon was completely unacceptable because it meant that not only was the weekend already half over, I would miss Gracie's party.

Definitely unacceptable.

So I did what I always do when I don't know what to do: I called B.

He said to call the airline.

Which I did. And after 20 minutes on hold, I found out that I could get on a flight that left Chicago at 10:30 p.m. and arrived in Dallas at 1:00 a.m. These times, they do not compute in my brain. These are times when my head needs to be on a pillow--when everybody's head should be on a pillow--so I panicked again. I needed to talk it out.

I called B again.

He said to go for it.

So I called the airline again, but by the time I finally got through to an agent--a guy this time, who sounded like he had been drinking or smoking something on his lunch break--the seat was gone and there was nothing available until 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.

At this point I waved the white flag and asked for a refund.

And I cried.

I have been so disappointed since that happened and so incredibly sad and some other feeling that has been nagging at me that I couldn't put my finger on until just before I went to bed last night.

I realized that I'm mad at myself, because I feel like I am somehow responsible for missing my weekend away (and 70 degrees!) and for letting down my entire Dallas family.

If only . . .

If only I had picked up that "Toll Free Caller" when I was packing, I would have heard the message, called the airline, and easily gotten on another flight. By the time I finally got the message and called, everything was booked.

If only I had taken the flight that got in at 1:00 a.m., I would have woken up at my sister's house this morning and still made it to Gracie's party.

If only I hadn't been so stupid.

And that's what's eating me today. My own stupidity. My own lack of travel sense (ironic, huh?) about what to do when a flight gets canceled. My own indecisiveness.

I know I need to see this as somehow God's plan for me this weekend, but to be honest, I'm having a hard time with that right now. I'm buried under two feet of snow, I haven't seen even 30 degrees in about two weeks, and I'm discouraged.

How's that for spectacular?


  1. This is a wonderful column. I am blessed by it.
    Due to a cancerous brain tumor,right in the middle of his brain, my husband lost his ability to make decisions; and at the time, I was caring for two small children, a mom with dementia and a father with leukemia. I'm an only child and my husband's family was in Europe. Over 10 years, while I slowly lost my husband and parents to illness, I made hundreds of decisions, big and small. I was always at church on Sunday, learning, always in prayer and usually in bible study. My intention was always to do God's will but I also had a desire for security and wished for fun times for the children . I have the greatest pastor and church family and the most wonderful children and christian friends. But I am slow to make decisions and that is usually a very good thing, but once in a while, being quicker would have been helpful!! I missed a few good opportunities! And I think I took a couple unnecessary detours in my pursuit of safety/security. A good friend encouraged me that the careful/cautious/steady side of my personality was a great asset and that the few missed opportunities did not outweigh the value of my 'Steady Eddie' personality. I have held onto their encouraging words as I look back! Proverbs 14:16 New Living Translation is an encouragement to me! May God heal your heart and give you another, more blessed time to be with your family!

  2. Thanks, Nancy. You are an encouragement! And, yes, you do have great kids!! :) I know I'll have other visits with my family--it's ok.

  3. I love you even when you think you are stupid.(I do not think you are.)

    You are wonderful and I am sorry that you are having a rotten week. And sorry you missed the adorable one year birthday party.

    And I love it that you call B when you don't know what to do.

    Praying next week holds only good surprises.


  4. Hey sweet friend.

    I've pretty much disappeared from the blogging universe over the past several weeks. Not because I wanted to or am doing something wonderful, but because I've just been dried up and discouraged. And being away has made me think about some things--such as the way blogging USED to be, when we used to make real connections with one another. That's still part of blogging, right?? I think it must be, because I just read through about 10 of your posts and I find myself wishing that I could just sit with you at your kitchen table and talk about everything with you. I'd help you fold all your laundry so that you'd have time to sit and talk, of course. Heck, I could even help you grade papers! But I'd love to hear firsthand about your girls, the long winter, your upcoming retreat, and all the rest.

    Of course, sitting and talking with me would not make up for the missed trip for your baby niece's birthday. I'm so sorry you missed that. I'm amazed that you've never had a flight cancelled before--you've flown a LOT, so the fact that you've never had a cancelled flight is remarkable! But of all the flights to be cancelled. Ugh. I'm so sorry.

    And I know all about the "if-onlys." The road to perdition, my friend.

    Take care of yourself. Be warm. And be encouraged. You're awesome.