Friday, October 22, 2010

Stressful Start 10-22-10

So our vacation to Bonaire (south Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela) has been planned and paid for since April 2010. Major airlines only fly in there on Saturdays and Sundays, which is ok since I change out at work on Wednesdays. Everyone who knows where I work, knows that there is a distinct possibility the weather will be too nasty to fly. This time of year we contend with freezing fog, freezing rain, 50+ mph wind, so on and so forth. I asked my bosses for special favor: Please let me leave the Point a day early without my alternate being here.

Permission granted, but I can't slack off- I must be working from that end. "Of Course" I say, thrilled that I can now leave on Tuesday. Being in Deadhorse means you have a guarantee time off the slope.

Monday rolls around. We have those high winds i mentioned earlier. A helicopter can fly in those winds, but they can't get out the hangar. Why? because opening the overhead hangar doors will result in damage to said doors, so the helicopter remains parked. No problem- we'll just bump those passengers cancelled to the next day. My day. Tuesday. The day I was allowed to leave.

Tuesday's here, winds have died down. But guess what? There's freezing precipitation in the clouds and the clouds are lower than the helicopter is allowed to fly, and the helicopter can't fly in freezing liquid because the rotors will freeze up and stop turning. Bad for all involved. Chance #1 for me is gone. There's always tomorrow, right?

Wednesday dawns with prayers continually on my lips that weather is good. And praise God! it's clear skies and we can see for miles. Wait! What? Deadhorse is all fogged in and it's freezing? No way! It's always the Point's fault for no fly weather. Well hopefully it clears. And it does, but just as the weather at the Point comes down. And back and forth all day and on and on it goes. I'm starting to freak out. And i'm feeling less than nice towards our weather observer who has told Deadhorse helicopter dispatch that we have minimum weather (as did Deadhorse. at.the.same. time.) but that it was coming down. Well that just allowed the helicopter people to continue sitting on their butts. You know how long it took our weather to come down below minimums? 1.5 hours. Enough time to get a chopper fueled, loaded, out and back with passengers. All because of "Let's wait and see." Maddening. So maddening that I cried for 3 hours on and off until the medic on site took me to his clinic to perform some calming acupuncture after which I was told to take a hot shower and if I wasn't calm after that, he would give me a valium. What I haven't mentioned yet, is that after realizing I wasn't going anywhere on Wednesday, my chances of catching my vacation flight with my husband and our 1st class seats was narrowing drastically. Our flight was as 1239am Friday,which meant my last chance was to be on the 508pm AS54 on Thursday.

I did not need the Valium after the shower. I was exhausted and fell asleep quickly, only to awake at 230am Thursday with my eyes burning because I forgot to take my contacts out. When I got up the weather was crystal clear. But I had no idea what it was like in Deadhorse. So I couldn't get back to sleep with prayers on my lips and my brain just awonderin' away.

Prayers were being said by family members. The power of prayer is amazing.

Thursday I shut my alarm off before it went off at 5am. I was somber and hopeful and somewhat dejected because I didn't want to get my hopes up. The medic asks if he needs to pre-emptively give me a Valium. I think he was only half kidding.

The choppers hadn't flown in 4 days. And the weather had turned marginal at best. I waited and hoped and prayed and waited and prayed and hoped and prayed and hoped and waited. Finally the news came!! The choppers were out and being loaded. Halleluiah! I was going to get out of there and catch all my flights.

So there I was, in Deadhorse finally, 11am, Thursday, waiting for my 508pm flight. Nothing should go wrong. Alaska Air off the slope on time with no issues is a 99% actuality. But of course it's me, and my unbelievable need to be on time and the freak 1% I seem to attract.......

The plane I was supposed to fly out on left Anchorage as usual on time w/ an arrivial at Deadhorse 415pm. But a strange noise was heard from the landing gear at takeoff from Anchorage. Some speculated a blown tire perhaps. Needless to say, it landed and went back to the gate in Anchorage for further inspection. They didn't fly it all the way to Deadhorse, because Deadhorse didn't have the means to fix it or an extra plane to switch to. Turns out, it was a shattered brake. So everyone was deplaned and switched to a different plane and cargo was unloaded and reloaded. New Arrival time to Deadhorse 640pm, but being that it was Thursday, we still had a stop in Barrow to make. New arrival time into Anchorage 1045pm. And that's if all goes to plan on schedule. (Wishing there was still a Valium option.) 

And Slowly I begin to start losing it again....

When will I learn to trust God -ALWAYS?

Off we go, on our way to Barrow. I, meanwhile,in my mind, am trying to coordinate every detail for a smooth transition once I get into Anchorage. A transition that will get me checked in on time for my international flight, carryon stuff getting transferred from my slope bag to camera/vacation carryon bag, freshened up and clothes changed before I would hear my name over the PA system for final boarding call....

We land in Barrow at almost the exact time we were originally supposed to land in Anchorage. I am now checking the time every other minute, willing the ground crew a smooth and speedy cargo offload. The AS counter person comes on board to check off the names of the passengers who stayed on board and compare it to their manifest. She checks off our names and deplanes. The flight attendants give us permission to move around. I am escorted to the rear of the plane to sit in the 1st seat by the exit door. (Thank you Bridgette and Linnette in Deadhorse.) 2 AS counter persons comes back on the plane to count again. But now we've confused them because some of us have moved.
Anyway, it took them 5 times to count 59 people!!! They finally took a roll call and realized that their manifest wasn't right. It didn't have someone's name on it who was on the plane and 2 people who were not on the plane were on the manifest. REALLY people??? simple math..... I am freaking out.

And for some reason my cell phone will only make emergency calls whilst sitting in Barrow. (Valium wouldn't calm me down at this point.)

Melissa the flight attendant trying to reassure me I will still have lots of time, let's me borrow her cell phone so I can call Jerry and have him go ahead and check in with both our bags as soon as he gets to the airport. It goes to message, so now I have to worry about whether or not he'll get it. ( keep piling it on my pile of worry right?) I also tell Jerry on the message, that I will go and check in as soon as I'm off the plane and then meet him at baggage claim to pickup my slope bags.

Arrival into Anchorage: 1115pm.

I speedwalk to Continental checkin where Collin has been expecting me. (thank you Jesus.) I get my boarding passes and speedwalk to baggage claim. Jerry is there, testing the security guards by leaving the truck unattended to grab bags. We get everything loaded and drive back into the parking garage.
On the tailgate I start pulling stuff out of one bag to put into another. I have to wait for the couple parked next to us to reload their dog that's been barking at us and then sit and "warm up" the loudest, most obnoxious diesel engine I have ever heard, before I can start changing my clothes right there in the parking garage. Not even in the truck that is loaded to the rafters with slope bags. And by the way, let me tell you how easy it was to talk and communicate with Jerry with that diesel truck echoing so deafening loud right next to us. Nerves were much to frayed to deal with that. Yes, I had to change my clothes. I was in slope pants that I'd had on for 4 days, a long sleeved shirt and boots. None of which was appropriate attire to travel to the tropics in.

Tensions are rising, last nerves are being jumped upon, and I want to start a brawl with the truck guy.

And no pre-travel shower everyone wants to take especially if your trip is going to take you 24 hours to get to your destination.

More speedwalking to security. Thank goodness we have 1st class priority. Saved lots of time here as it did at Continental checkin. Well worth the price at this point.

Speedwalk to our gate. Boarding began 10 minutes ago. We are 4th from the last to get on.

1215am. My fanny is in my seat for my flight to our Bonaire vacation.

Finally. 1239am Departure

Thank you Lord. it was alot of trial and tribulation, but in the end You were more faithful to me than I was to you. I'm learning. I promise.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Limo Commandeering

Mykenna wanted pix of the round barn, so we commandeered a limo and a very patient driver, to go check it out.

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Great Party Cousin!

Our cousin Kristin and her new husband Ben definately knew how to throw a party! Thank you so much for sharing your day with us. It was awesome seeing you again.
By the Way: My Wonderful and Talented Mother made both my dress and flower girl Mykenna's dress. They were beautiful and comfortable. Thanks Mom/Gramma!
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A Literal Bug in Her Ear....

You know that saying right? But she truly had a bug. in. her. ear. And right before the ceremony.
My Dad is NOT the only goofball in the family.
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A Great Time Had By All

Kimberly and Rebecca gettin' their groove on (non- Elaine style)
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Elaine's Prodigy

Kimberly aka Elaine from Seinfeld

Have you seen this? Now you will understand.

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Isn't She Lovely

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Handsome Couple

But my dad is a complete goofball sometimes. Fortunately he forgot to wear weird stuff as a hat for this occassion.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Very Busy Flower Girl

Beautiful flower girl....

...explorer of round barns....

Eater of forbidden kiwi ( the caterer told her those were for decoration. HA! kiwi is food and a favorite of Mykenna's)

Bouquet tosses and line dancing.....

...dancing with Aunt Rebecca....

....and dancing with Mom Kimberly.
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sad News

4 and a half hours after I posted the pix of my Grandma here, I received a call from my Mom saying she had passed away. I went to bed I thinking I should call my "Road Buddy" sometime today to see how she was doing. She was certainly on my mind.

I feel blessed for the time I spent with her, especially our Roadtrip to New York from the Wedding in Indiana. She is Home with the Lord and finally pain free.

I will miss you Grandma. I love you.

I'm Not Done....

Just takin' a break and going to bed. I did collage everything so it should be easy to lay them down tomorrow. Nitey nite.

So Alike

Seester 2, Kimberly, has often been compared to Aunt Diane both in beauty and mannerisms. It was neat to see them together.
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Pre-Wedding Waiting

Dapper Daddy

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Grandma and Her Girls

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Black and White Affair

Ben and Kristen's rehearsal dinner was a formal dinner.

Flower girl Mykenna, with bride-to-be cousin Kristen
Seesters 2 and 4
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The Wedding in Indiana

I am very aware of some of my family's growing need for me to blog the Indiana wedding weekend. What they don't remember, that in my usual fashion, I shot 800 photos in those 2 days! Please be patient. It's going to be a long process sorting them out. But it will be worth it.