I hate summer.
Not the whole summer. Just the beginning of it.
Every year I start from a place of love. Ready to accept summer's warm embrace. I run toward it in slow motion like a reunited lover in an airport arms outstretched my face beaming with excitement...then I trip over someone's luggage, and fall face first next to the baggage carousel.
I'm beginning to think Summer has it out for me.
Of course, this year was no different, except for the happy news nobody had lice...yet.
It started with our eventful trip East last week.
My sister said "take the first flight out of LA in the morning. That way, you're out before the delays pile up and you still have half your day when you get to NY." Seemed like sound advice. And she is my big sister. Don't all big sisters know best? So we were all up at 5am. Packed, dressed and groggy as we shuffled like zombies into the taxivan that came for us at 5:30am.
We got to the airport uneventfully delivered by a surly cab driver who refused to accept payment by credit card and had me diggin' for cash, making me realize I forgot to go to the ATM. Crap.
We optimistically flew threw security and waited at the gate for boarding to begin. The kids were so excited. Even Livi, who refuses to admit to ever being excited about anything, seemed to be brewing with anticipation. Smiles and happy spins bubbling out of her. Bob of course, was about to burst at the seams - so psyched to be reunited with her summer buddies. Ben reserved judgement, as always.
In my celebratory mood, I bought coffee cake and hot chocolates for everyone to eat while we waited to board the plane.
Once we were in the air, the kids were happily occupied with their in-seat entertainment and barely noticed the hours passed as we were flying. And flying, and flying...for an unusually long time.
Then we heard "Attention passengers, this is your captain speaking...Due to storms in NY air traffic in and out has been halted. We've circled as long as we we can and we're out of fuel. We're being diverted to Dulles Airport in Washington DC."
Bob freaked out. I popped a Xanax.
As we came for a landing, Scott looked at me with horror filled eyes "We're coming in really hard!!"
"WHAT?! Don't tell me that!"
"Well we ARE!"
"STOP IT! hate you for saying that! Now I'm freaking out!"
He shrugged with a "way to go down in flames, babe" look on his face.
We landed in Dulles. Alive.
Unfortunately, poor Bob fell apart as she grappled with the massive change in her exciting plans. She kept going up to the ladies at the desk asking when we were taking off. It was horrible. She had tears pouring down her face as the amazing ladies at the Virgin America desk took pity on her and patiently explained how the storm WOULD pass and we would be on our way as soon as possible. Bob was in tears. WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT TO CAMP!!!!!!
"We ARE going to make it! Just not as early as we'd planned."
"WE'RE GOING TO MISS THE FIRST DAY OF CAMP!"
"We're not going to miss it. Camp starts tomorrow. We'll ABSOLUTELY be there by tomorrow! I PROMISE!!!!" Then I pinky-swore promised with her - the highest form of promise you can make - and I PRAYED Mother Nature wouldn't make a liar out of me.
As we waited in Dulles for SOME news (ANY news) we ate burgers and fries, stretched our legs I treated the kids to mini-massages at the massage bar. I'm so generous when I'm medicated.
6 hours later, 10 Isabel freak-outs and a package of tissues to dry the tears, we got news we were clear to fly again.
Once we finally landed in NY at 11pm we went to pick up our bags at the baggage carousel, where SIX other flights were waiting for their bags too.
The kids were exhausted. I said to Scott and the kids "At least we were up EARLY! Imagine if we were on one of the LATER flights!! We wouldn't be here till TOMORROW!"
That's when the lady next to me said "Actually, I took a later flight from LA. They circled a bit in the air, but we didn't get diverted."
I'm never listening to my sister again.
An hour later we had our bags.
When we got to Hertz and my name wasn't on the reservation board, despite the fact I had reserved AND PAID for my car rental two weeks before.
I interrupted the guy behind the counter who was busy with some other irritated person and asked "Um...excuse me, I'm a Gold Club member and I pre-ordered my car. I don't see it on the board."
He said "Are you late to pick it up?"
"Yeah. Our flight was delayed. We were supposed to be in 6 hours ago."
"Oh. It was probably cancelled then."
WHAT??!! Why would you cancel my reservation? A PAID reservation?!"
"Sorry. You'll have to wait in line."
I got in line with all the other plebs. So much for Gold Member treatment.
The clock passed midnight as the kids sat on the floor, trying to entertain themselves but mostly just poking each other, snapping at each other and falling apart.
We got a car and it was 1 am by the time we got to our friend's house and collapsed into the cozy little nests they had built for us anticipating our arrival.
The next morning we awoke to our friends' kids smiles and pancakes. All seemed right with the world.
We made it to camp in plenty of time and as we cued up in the long line of cars outside camp waiting for it to open. Kids hung out of car windows, trolled the car line for old friends, and screeched and screamed upon being reunited.
I thought, "Okay. Totally worth the headache. This is going to be great!"
Then suddenly, in what seemed like a flash, summer had begun as I walked to the car to drive away, my legs gave out under me. Weak at the thought of leaving all three kids behind at camp.
I hadn't realized, the 6 hour layover was a gift.
What I wouldn't give for another 6 hour layover with them.