Saturday, February 5, 2011


I'm stranded at the edge of the world.
It's a world I don't know.
Got nowhere to go,
Feels like I'm stranded.

I was sitting by a man in the airport once and he opened his briefcase. Inside was a pair of underwear, mixed in with the papers. He glanced at me as he hurriedly hid them and I wondered why in the world he actually carried briefs in a briefcase. After this past week, I know!

My job requires that I travel quite a bit. Usually there are delays but it’s no big deal. In fact I get a lot of knitting done while I sit at airports, waiting. Getting through security is enough hassle though, without the chance that they might hold up a big old pair of panties for the world to see. So I don’t have any extra undies tucked in my carryon. In fact, it’s such a bother to have to take the computer in and out, find the baggie of liquids, etc., that I check everything I can. It’s less stressful for me to stand and wait for luggage than to drag extra bags around and try to shove things in the overhead compartment. After last week, when I inadvertently missed a flight, I find that maybe I should re-think this strategy.
I had no idea when I dressed to fly home from South Carolina Monday morning, that I would still be wearing the same clothes on Thursday. Missing that one flight started a domino effect with everything falling straight to the ground. When I went to the counter to ask what I could do, the man was very nice to me. He said, “I’ll do what I can, but this is a small airport and there aren’t a lot of options. If you have someone you could stay with here it might be best just to come back and start over again tomorrow.” I don’t know a soul in Charleston, so I toughed it out. There was a chance I could make a connection in Dallas. I took the chance.

When we were preparing to land in Dallas the flight attendant came on announcing all of the connecting gates. This was the latest information, or so she said. She went on and finally came to Midland, Gate 17. Wow! I do have a chance after all! I get off the plane and hurry to gate 17. The attendant took my boarding pass, started punching buttons and said here, it’s at gate 4. Hurry. So I did. I got to gate 4 to see the flashing ‘ready for take-off’, sign. I ask the attendant at the next gate if I can do anything. The plane was still at the gate. He tried, but it was too late. If I had known the right gate I might have made the flight.

He gave me a voucher to help pay for a hotel, and I was thankful for that. At least I didn’t have to spend the night at the airport. The shuttle arrived and the lady didn’t seem to speak English. She reminded me of Natasha Fatale from Boris and Natasha, of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, except her name was Karen. She barely spoke. Another man got in, from Columbia, and he spoke limited English as well. It took over an hour to get to the hotel. It was only raining at that time and the temperature was still 48 degrees. I checked in and Natasha, I mean Karen, grunted me in the direction of my room. I went down the hallway she indicated and was outside. This was one of those hotels that opened to the outdoors. Yuck. Now I don’t stay in 5 star hotels, by any means, but I have gotten spoiled, especially in a big city, to hotels that open to an inside hallway, and not a parking lot. The room seemed clean enough but it had a funny smell. It was kind of like it had been a smoking room and now it wasn’t because it was covered up with incense. I think that’s what fueled my respiratory problems. Anyway, I survived and was in the lobby at 5:30am to go back to the airport. When I got there the shuttle hadn’t been started. The doors were iced shut. Natasha got hot water to put on the windshield. I was waiting for it to crack. The owner drove up and ended up taking me and the man from Columbia to the airport in his personal car. At least it was warm and 4 wheel drive so it may have been a better option in the long run. The roads were treacherous but we finally got there.
A frozen DFW in the 2011 snow storm.
The problem with waiting on a flight is you don’t know until it’s cancelled that it’s cancelled. I waited in anticipation as it was delayed, then rescheduled, then delayed, then finally cancelled again. I immediately went to get a hotel voucher and luckily Natasha’s place was full. I got a nice room at a different hotel. Waiting for the shuttle, however, was another ordeal. DFW is not equipped for passengers to wait outside for a shuttle in sub freezing temperatures. The wind was horrible and the cold almost unbearable. I had a scarf, hood and gloves but was still uncomfortable. The twenty minute wait went well over two hours. When the shuttle finally arrived there were two seats available in a minivan. There were 18 of us waiting. After much discussion about who would go, who was ill, who was old, who was born in Texas, (kidding), etc., I got in. Seriously, they were taking so long deciding that another lady got in and said we could be there before they decided. I honestly have never been so cold in my life.

This hotel was nice. I got a room and showered to warm up, got in bed, and went to sleep. I received a call from the airline at 4:30am that I was now on the 2:45 flight so I called the front desk and asked for a late checkout and was able to stay until 2:00. I felt bad and I slept for approximately 16 hours, and I think that is what probably kept me upright, and not sicker than I already was. Then it was like the movie, Groundhog Day, back to the airport for another cancellation and back to the hotel, including the horrid 2 hour shuttle wait. This time I went to the assigned room and opened the door about halfway. I see gym shorts in the floor and a back in a blue shirt and I start backing out. I just said I’m sorry and shut the door. He got up and looked out his window at me but I kept going! I got a new private room and went through the routine again.

By this time I was getting tired of the clothes I had on, even though I was able to bathe and wash out some essentials. I was just ready to get home. Thursday was the magic day when the weather cleared just enough to get our plane out. It was supposed to leave at 8:35am and we finally took off after noon. We sat, boarded, for over an hour, watching out the window, the plane next to us as they tried to push it back. The ice was so thick the wheels just spun. All of the passengers were getting worried when we finally pushed back and prepared for takeoff. I’ve never been so happy to be in the air!

Looking back, it was an experience I really wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was very fortunate, to get a room and have the means to eat and be comfortable. Well, as comfortable as one can be in clothes of four days anyway! I wonder how the poor people lounging in chairs under the thin blankets the airline gave out were faring. And I am glad I wasn’t one of them.

I'm stranded,
Between the devil and the deep blue sea.
There ain't nowhere else to be,
'Cept right here and I'm stranded.

It’s day 307, February 1, and it’s not the way I wanted February to start. I’m stuck at the airport and frozen, as well as everything else. Ice covers everything and the town is practically at a standstill. I choose variegated grayish green with white. Day 308 is February 2, and I’m getting a little nervous that I’m not going to get home on this day either. And I’m right. I chose pinkish gray wool. February 3, and day 309 brings another day stuck at the airport. I can’t believe I was so dumb to get myself into this mess. I’m anxious and hoping today is the day I can get out of here. Nothing against Dallas but I’d rather not camp out at the airport hoping for a flight. And finally, I’m on an airplane! My luggage is waiting at the airport when I get there and I go by the pharmacy and head home. I choose a bright multi color fun fur. It’s a good day! Day 310 is Friday, February 4. It’s my day off and I’m so glad! I’m relieved I’m home and able to sleep late and maybe get well. I still feel bad and have to get on a plane again Sunday. I picked a ribbon yarn that’s pink and turquoise and white. Day 311 is Saturday and haircut day. It’s February 5 and since I missed my appointment because of the airport I feel lucky to get in. It’s a late appointment and I’m glad because I’m still just worn out. Pink and green wool is the yarn I picked for today. I’m gearing up for tomorrow to take off again, this time to Austin. I’m apprehensive to say the least! But it will all be okay. I’ll get there and back. It just might not be on my time schedule!
Everyday, everyday,
It's hustle, hustle time, hustle time.
Everyday and every way,
One more, one more mountain to climb.

It's leaving me stranded...


  1. I can't believe you had such an ordeal! Here's to sunshine.....

  2. What an ordeal! Poor you. Glad you got home safely eventually!

  3. Thanks ladies. I'm sure it will be funny in a few days, no, months...well years! :)