Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stuck in Vegas

How's that for a starter line? I know that lots & lots of people would trade places with me in a minute, but for us it feels a little like "how does this keep happening?" Let me go back for a minute & refresh. In October 2011 we planned to fly to Italy & take a transatlantic cruise across the Atlantic. Unfortunately - a horrendous storm hit the East Coast & we were without power for days. I hurried to work (happily anticipating the hot coffee that would be available) & we stayed with friends for several days. I packed in the dark (which explains what DIDN'T make it on the trip) & off we went. We spent wonderful, relaxing days in Rome & boarded the ship. Finally - our opportunity for recharging would begin. Not so fast ---> a "once in 100 year hurricane" hit the Med & we were held just off the coast of France. That doesn't sound so bad, but the weather was horrendous. When we finally left the Med we found out that we would have to adjust our trip to include an extra evening in Barcelona (that was a highlight) but we wouldn't be stopping in the Azores (which meant a very L O N G trip across the Atlantic). That was 2011 - we came home saying, "no more transatlantic crossings for us in the near future". 2012 came along & David found a great deal on a river cruise. Aha - a week on the Danube (no transatlantic & stops ever day). Sounded great. We coordinated the trip to include an extra week in Bavaria & looked forward to a wonderful time. Weather decided to mess with us AGAIN. Superstorm Sandy decided to head for the East coast & especially for Newark, NJ. Now we never, never, never fly to or from NJ, but David found a great deal on flights to/from Europe so he'd booked it. We have always liked Lufthansa & didn't expect this experience to be anything but positive - BUT there was a storm headed for the East Coast, we had a boat to catch in Vienna & Lufthansa was saying, "wait". Finally - after days of watching the Weather Channel - we opted to get out of town & fly from Boston to Vienna via Dublin on Aer Lingus. Within hours we were on the plane with a "we'll figure it out later" attitude. We had unseasonably cold weather in Vienna [get used to that statement] but we did board our river cruise right on schedule. We had a good week [albeit very cold & foggy] & disembarked in Nuremberg for our week in Bavaria. We had great intentions (including a balloon ride in the Alps, but .... it was cancelled due to weather). David didn't get the full "take your breath away" experience that I counted on, but we made the best of it. Driving in heavy fog on unfamiliar roads & the Autobahn are memories we will never forget. We drove 8+ hours to Berlin for our return trip & went to check-in with Lufthansa (remember we'd flown over via Aer Lingus, but still had a return ticket on Lufthansa & a connecter to Boston). Lufthansa's message to us, "your tickets were cancelled when you were a no-show on your first flight. We can get you on the flight for $6,000 USD per person". You can imagine my reaction. It wasn't "ok - let me get my credit card". It was, "I'd like to speak to a supervisor". After about 15 minutes of explaining, reviewing dates, etc they agreed that it was unusual circumstances & allowed us to return home. So - we've now had 2 major trips with weather issues ~ Which brings us to this trip --- We came out to Vegas for David's National Conference last week. I am not a fan of Las Vegas (don't even try to convince me that I should be - I'm not), but I do love a chance to travel with my husband, so he always adds on to these trips & we have a good time. This time we opted for a few days in Sedona, AZ -- Of course, it's been unseasonably cold [do you see a common theme],but we enjoyed Sedona & came back to Vegas for a couple of days before we were scheduled to fly home. I'd had a frustrating time with trying to add to my vintage linen stash, but had found 3 sets of china [carrying my favorite set in our carry-ons & packing 2 sets in 4 pieces of checked luggage with lots of prayers that any piece arrives at home unbroken]. We thoroughly enjoyed Jersey Boys & had a wonderful meal at Chef Marc's Parma [one of our favorite restaurants]. I stopped at Viva Las Vegas Stamps [an experience not to be missed] & while there David received notification from Southwest Airlines that they recommend we change our flight due to anticipated weather in Chicago. We were 95% packed so I was ready to head to the airport -> no flights available until Wed. We each took care of a specific detail - David rebooked our flight & extended our car rental. I worked to add a day onto our timeshare stay (thank heavens we're in a suite & not a tiny hotel room), our car park time in Hartford & notify work & family. So - we were mentally ready to go home yesterday & David has tons of work to do following the conference & I'm checking emails remotely in order to keep an eye on what's happening at work. But there are positives here -- We're together (always a plus), we're safe, we aren't cold or hungry & it's a story to tell. Additionally, my creative husband went out for snacks & I told him we needed cream for our coffee. He stopped at a small store with no cream - he bought french vanilla ice cream instead. Melted it makes a perfect creamer & we've enjoyed our morning coffee. I also had a revelation. I've always struggled with why am I the way that I am. Why do I have such insatiable wanderlust? Why do I love fabrics (especially embroidered, vintage cloth)? Why do I still read my horoscope when I get the chance? Today I found the answer ~ Either I am (or have been in a previous life) a gypsy. It makes such sense (although I have no known Romanian ancestors). So - stay tuned to see if the gypsy in me shows up again ~

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