When Leaving for Vacation Becomes Chaos and Confusion

Last week my family went on a much-needed vacation. This year we decided we’d head to NYC to see Denis’s family, and also to take the kids around the city they were too young to remember when we moved to SC. Since last summer when we booked the airfare, CootieBoy, in particular, has looked forward to this trip like no other.

It was iffy from the get go. We intended to leave for the airport by 5 a.m. to make our 8 a.m. flight. Unfortunately, when I set the alarm for 4 o’clock the night before, I set it for P.M., not A.M. I woke up on my own and looked at the clock and hollered in a panic, “Denis! Get up! It’s 5 o’clock!” We scrambled and managed to leave the house by 5:45 a.m. We drove to the airport, parked the van in long-term parking and hopped a shuttle bus to the terminal. As we were arriving at the terminal, Denis made a funny sound and said, “Look at this.”

His phone had received a text message from our airline. “Unfortunately, your flight has been cancelled.” Uhhhhh….

flights_cancelledTurns out, our plane had mechanical difficulties and our airline had rebooked us on a flight on SUNDAY through Atlanta, arriving Sunday afternoon. UNFORTUNATELY, we had plans already for Sunday afternoon. Denis and CootieBoy were headed to a Mets/Nats game at CitiField, and CootieGirl and I were going to see “She Loves Me” on Broadway. A Sunday flight wouldn’t work. The airline rep was kind enough to give us an 855 number to call, and told us that if we found a flight with another airline (since they had no available flights), that they’d pay for the cost of those one-way tickets. I got on the phone with another airline but gave up when they had nothing because of their own cancelled flights out of Charlotte.

“We’ll rent a car,” Denis said, on the phone with a car rental place there in the airport. He made a reservation, and we schlepped over to the car rental counter to pick up a car.

“We don’t have a car for you.”

“But I literally JUST made the reservation and your rep said you did,” Denis said calmly.

“No, I’m sorry – all our cars are spoken for. We shouldn’t have made that reservation. You can go downstairs and try another car rental company if you’d like.”

So we schlepped downstairs to wait in line for 20 minutes only to find that THAT car rental company had no cars either.

“We’re not going to New York,” Denis said, “I hope you know that.”

“WE ARE GOING TO NEW YORK!” I declared, seeing the tears and disappointment in my son’s eyes.

We took the shuttle back to our van, dumped everything back in and drove home. I immediately hopped online and booked a car rental out of Rock Hill, figuring it was far enough from Charlotte Douglas Airport that they’d have a car available. Denis and I hopped back in the van and drove down to Rock HIll to pick it up.

As we walked into the car rental place, I heard, “Are you Jaynee Cootiehog?”

“Yes.”

“I’m so sorry – I tried calling you as soon as your reservation came in, but the number wasn’t listed right. We don’t have any cars to give you.”

Denis looked at me. “We’re not going to New York,” he repeated.

“We are. We’re driving – but we’re taking my car, not your van.”

So home we went, where we dumped everything into my car and left at 10:30 a.m. – the time our original flight was SUPPOSED to land in LaGuardia Airport on NYC.

But that’s not all, folks.

About 20 minutes north of Charlotte, CootieBoy moaned and said, “Mama, I don’t feel well.” We promptly pulled off the next exit and got to a gas station just in time for him to toss his cookies a couple times.

“We’re not going to New York,” Denis said, incredulously at this point.

“We are – he’ll be fine. He’s just stressed at the thought that we might not MAKE it to New York.”

CootieBoy declared he was fine, and we hit the road again.

Eleven hours later we arrived in Astoria (in Queens) and checked into our rental apartment for the week. At that point we were so tired of being cooped up that we walked a couple blocks down the road and found a restaurant serving some good BBQ even at 10 p.m. That’s the great thing about NYC – at 10 p.m. it’s only just getting warmed up. No one thought we were crazy walking in with two tweens buying enough food to feed an army. We loaded up a tray with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, cole slaw, mac & cheese, and fries. I swear it was the best meal I ever had simply because we had MADE IT TO NEW YORK.

Coming up next: This ain’t Guiliani’s NYC anymore.

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One comment

  1. Unbelievable! That has to be one of the worst vacation stories ever! I hope the visit itself turns out to be one of the best.

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