One of my dear friends from college, who I haven't seen in probably 12 years, lives in San Francisco. Months ago I let him know we were coming and told him I hoped to get together for lunch while we were in town. It is a long and boring story, but as of Sunday night, I still hadn't seen the whites of his eyes. I would have felt bad, naturally, to have been in his town and not have seen him, but the worst part of it was that we were relying on him to take us to the airport the next morning. By 7 o'clock, I was getting worried so I quickly started on a Plan B. I got my rental car in SF, but our flight was leaving out of Oakland. No big deal, I thought. I'll just switch my car drop off location. I called Alamo to purpose that exact scenario. They wanted to charge me an extra $100--even though it was just across the bay! Well, a taxi would have been cheaper than that, so I formulated Plan C. Then D. And ended up with Plan E--public transportation.
After a great deal of online research, I figured out our route including prices, times and locations. After doing some calculations, I knew we would need to be out of the hotel by 6:30 to get to the airport by 8:15. I stayed up late to get the suitcases packed and carry-on bags (including in-flight lunches) organized. I crashed at about midnight. The kids were great about getting going right away the next morning and we got out of there on time. Well, five minutes late, but I had given us a buffer so I figured we would be okay.
From the rental car drop-off to the Air Train to the subway to the bus, each transfer chipped away at my buffer until there was no buffer. Isaac tried to be optimistic (which was primarily to help his stressed-to-the-max mother), but I know that even good public transportation is slow. Things were not looking good.
We tried to enjoy the "adventure." The kids had never been on an air train or a subway and certainly not during rush hour on a Monday morning. Knowing there was nothing I could do about the time, I tried to cool my jets. I'm not sure I was successful. Okay, I know I wasn't successful. I knew that Southwest schedule by heart and I knew that ours was the only direct flight that day. I also knew I was exhausted from the weekend. And there was the whole eight months pregnant factor.
When we finally got off the bus at the airport, we hurried to the Southwest counter to tell them we were there. They hurried us through security, but I can't really run right now so "hurry" is relative.
Two minutes late. Two minutes.
I looked down at my daughter and realized she did not look good--not from the stress of the morning or from running through the airport, but something else. Reaching down, I touched her forehead and discovered she was burning up with a fever.
We went to the counter to see what could be done. At least something could be done, but it added about six hours of travel time to the day (we had to go to about the southernmost part of the US in order to get home to about the northernmost). We found a place to sit and I called my mom to let her know not to pick us up at the airport that morning. I told her that we had missed the plane, but that we would be coming in at 4:30. After the business of the conversation, she asked the fatal question, "How are you?"
That was it. The flood gates opened, despite my determination to be hold it together. When we got on the first airplane two hours later, we were the last to board. A very sweet lady volunteered to move to a middle seat so my daughter and I could sit together. (I was able to get some Tylenol in her and her fever had subsided somewhat.)
On the flight, I looked through the Sky Mall catalog and found the most wonderful thing. It was a doormat that said, simply, Take a deep breath. You're home now.
And that, my friends, is the San Francisco story. I hope to never have such a "vacation" again--especially this pregnant!