When Caleb was born back in March, only Mom was able to come for his birth, while my Dad and brothers had to stay home. As such, Mom has not seen him since he was two weeks old and Dad and my brothers have never seen him. The plan was to come visit at Christmas but we just couldn’t wait. In June we began to make plans to come down and visit the family… but without telling them! Over the next few months we casually asked their fall plans, specifically for the different holidays (including the all-important Labor Day weekend). We let our friends and family in Anchorage know our plans so we could arrange things back home, but only 5 people knew in TN, out of all of our friends and family members here.
Finally, after months of anticipation, we got on the plane leaving Anchorage, Alaska at 11:30pm Wednesday night. Taking the red-eye to Chicago, we were blessed that Caleb slept the entire way, only crying once because he was hungry.
Then we arrived in Chicago.
First, our flight to Nashville was delayed thirty minutes. Then an hour. Apparently they were having mechanical difficulties and had to get a plane from somewhere else. Well, they couldn’t get a plane. At all. I was actually on the flown with our friend that was supposed to pick us up and drive us to Mom’s work when they announced the worst possible news: our flight had been canceled.
Suddenly, a mass of people swarmed the ticket counter and rebooking phones. Micah and I got in line, all the while I was trying to keep back the tears. Why? Why did this have to happen NOW?
Once a phone opened up, we found out that the next open flight to Nashville did not leave until the NEXT DAY. That obviously was not going to work at all, so we asked what was the closest that we could get to Nashville? The answer was Chattanooga, three-four hours east of Portland, the small town where my family lives. Micah and I decided that we would simply rent a car in Chattanooga and drive the distance ourselves, instead of waiting for a direct flight.
That meant that we had to actually book a car. First of all, thank goodness for being military. After calling no less than eight different car rental companies and being quoted prices of $85, $105, $150, we finally reached Enterprise (who happened to be the first place we had tried to call, but couldn’t get through) and found the awesome rate of $41! A lot better than $150!!! And with being military, our young driver discount was waived, and we got a 10% discount on top of that!
We made the final booking for the rental car just minutes before we got on the plane for Chattanooga… then we sat on the tarmac for another hour as the second flight attendant who was supposed to arrive on another flight was, you guessed it, delayed!
Finally, we were in the air and then we were landing in Chattanooga… almost there! We got the car with no problem and got on the road within minutes. Well, apparently I don’t remember the area as well as I thought I did because we looked and saw the sign for Cleveland, TN.
Um… wrong direction.
Turning around and heading in the right direction, we ended up getting stuck in road construction and then navigating back country roads in the pitch black with a dying GPS.
But finally.. we arrived….
And my family was in store for the surprise of a lifetime.