Well, okay. The last four days of my life have been, to say the least, kind of awful mixed in with some good. But mainly I've been perceiving them as awful because I almost thought I wouldn't be able to get home to Oregon for Christmas (just to ruin the end of the story, I did make it). I will, in a later post, report on my actual Christmas happenings, both in Utah with my roomies and in Oregon with my family, but right now, I'm focusing on the excruciating travel chronicles.
Considering practically everyone in the country has been hit by this so-called "arctic blast", it's common knowledge that anything having to do with getting people from one place to another has been totally messed up. Thank you, Mother Nature. Portland, as much as I love it, has one major downfall. It completely shuts down with snow. But usually any snow in Portland is about a quarter of an inch, and everything is resolved within a couple of days. To have more than one inch of snow is rare, and to have fifteen inches accumulate on my parents' back porch is completely unheard of. The Portland airport is NOT equipped for this kind of thing. At all. So my first flight out of Salt Lake on Saturday morning was cancelled. That's right. Cancelled. After they let us board the plane! What's a girl to do? (i am attempting to make myself seem the victim here, even though i didn't have it nearly as bad as many more people out there have had)
After the disappointment of cancellation and the hassle of getting my bag back, I went to my sister's house, knowing that the weather would be worse in Portland on Sunday, therefore re-booking myself on a flight out for Monday. So I at least had a day that I could kind of relax (well, as much as you can with the crazy Henne brood, -wink-), but this was the first time anything of this sort had ever happened to me, so I was suddenly thinking that all was lost.
I headed to the airport on Monday, hoping to have better luck. No such luck. We were all set to be the second plane to go into Portland in three days, and yet again, I boarded the plane, but they kicked us off within seconds. And this time, when I called the reservations line, there were no tickets available until AFTER Christmas. No, thanks. But I could always try standby. -sigh- How does that work again?
Well, I went back down to Provo, surprising my roommates by reappearing. And they did a great job of trying to find options for me and keep my spirits up and telling me not to give up. I had my first (and surprisingly, only) break-down into tears pretty soon after Esther came home, but I made myself stop. (which never happens, by the way. i usually like to drown myself in my sorrows . . . the drama queen in me, i'm afraid)
Tuesday came around and I went back to the airport. For standby. Waited ALL FREAKING DAY. There's really only so long you can read a book, even for me. I became increasingly discouraged as the other standby passengers were called and I was continually left behind. I was ready to give up. I didn't want to come back a fourth day. -sigh-
Again, I'm very lucky in that I know people who are around, I have a car to get me places, so I wasn't stranded in a bus terminal or anything, but I still hated this feeling that I might as well just spend another Christmas in Utah. GRRRR I headed over to my uncle Floyd's house in Salt Lake, where they very graciously put me up for the night after commiserating with me. Then Floyd drove with me to the airport at five this morning so that I wouldn't have to park there yet again. How nice.
When I arrived at the ticket counter to ask to be on standby, the woman at the counter recognized me from yesterday and immediately exclaimed, "Oh, you're still here? You poor thing!" I felt like a poor thing, especially at 5:15 am after four successive nights of about five hours of sleep, and still no closer to getting home. So I was put back on the list, priority listing number 1 (count it, baby! ONE!), made my way through security, where I guess they figured that after having gone through it FOUR TIMES in the last four days, they should be kind of wary of what I might be up to, so naturally I was selected for extra screening.
I sat at the gate for the 8:30 flight for quite some time (yeah, considering i got there three hours early), all the while wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' that I would, in fact, make it on the morning of Christmas Eve. And at 8:20, a Christmas miracle. My name was called over the intercom! When I was a little girl, I hated my first name. I thought it was totally trite (because i used such words when i was four years old). But never again will I think the name "Megan Jensen" to have a disgusting sound, because it was the most beautiful thing I'd heard in four days.
We touched down in Portland two hours later, amid snow and ice, and had to wait nearly a half hour to actually get off the plane because the other plane in our gate had to be de-iced before it could head out. But I finally met up with Dad, who braved the roller coaster-esque conditions of the freeway to come get me. The road conditions here are nothing like I've ever seen before. There are icebergs on the freeways that rattle your insides into jelly! I was amazed. I hope that the forecast about the temperature possibly going up in a couple of days is true, because . . . there ain't much more these Oregonians can take of this unprecedented snow. (and no, oregonians aren't wimps . . . snow becomes ice here on the roads . . . you try having fun driving on that)
So, anyway, I'm here, and the world is rejoicing. Both Becky and Esther cheered for me when I answered my phone five minutes after touchdown. Becky, at first, was disappointed that I'd answered my phone, because naturally that meant I wasn't on a flight, but I oh-so-subtly stated that I'd had my phone off the previous two hours. And the villagers rejoiced. And Megan rejoiced. Because I'm here. Phew!