Oh, dear. I fear that Val has been whittling away the helicopter rotors from two states.
Sunday morning all was right with my world. Hick was off antiquing, according to his text I found when I got up. I figured he did not mean slapping people in the face with a flour-filled sock, but rather driving around aimlessly until he saw a junky display that looked like it might be for sale. The roads (all but our gravel mile, and patches of the county road) were clear of the recent snow. I had lottery tickets to cash in, and a 44 oz Diet Coke to buy.
Oh, how the day went downhill the moment I sat down with warmed-up yesterday's gas station chicken! It went to Not-Heaven in a handbasket, actually. Genius was first. From Portland, you know. At the end of his west coast tour that he asked for himself for Christmas. He first called Saturday night, with a little foreshadowing.
"My flight just got canceled."
Genius had planned since before Thanksgiving to depart Portland, and return to St. Louis around 3:00 p.m. on January 1st. In fact, we had adjusted our schedule around that itinerary. The other two of his housemates on the trip were taking a flight that had a 4-hour layover in Denver. Genius did not want that. He had booked a smaller plane for a faster return. Because Hick would be picking him up, we took The Pony back to Oklahoma a week before he had asked to go. Oh, don't get me wrong! The Pony was ecstatic to be escaping our clutches, and landing smack dab in the middle of unlimited high-speed internet a week early. As Mother Nature would have it, that weekend turned out to be the pick of the upcoming litter for 10 hours of highway travel.
Of course I told Genius we would cover extra expenses needed to get him home. So...Genius said he was trying to book another flight, but that Portland International was virtually shut down, at a Level 5 out of 5 for delays and cancellations. In fact, his travel companions knew that their flight was cancelled, and rented a car and drove to Seattle for their connecting flight the next day. Genius was trying to get another plane, but also considering the 2.5 hour drive on Sunday to get himself to Seattle in time.
"Got a new flight. Arriving in St. Louis at midnight. Friend will pick
me up. Going straight to our house then, instead of home. Can you bring
my car on Monday?"
Every time Genius thought he had a flight, I left my dark basement lair and went out to the bottom of the steps and hollered up to Hick. Every time the new flight got cancelled, I went out again and hollered up to Hick. I felt like that Washington neighbor in Coal Miner's Daughter, walking across the field and hollering to Mooney Lynn every time Loretty's people called from West Virginia. Did Hick appreciate it? Hard to tell. Aside from grunting, all I heard from him was, "I ain't pickin' him up no more! Friend is pickin' him up. So why are you tellin' ME?"
"Oh, I don't know. Just thought you might want to know the flight number. In case you want to check on if it's delayed. Or crashes."
"I don't want to know if it CRASHES!" He's not good at helicoptering, that Hick.
I had just gotten back home Sunday, around noon here, 10:00 there, when I heard from Genius again.
"My new flight just got cancelled. I'll see what I can find. If I can get the same airline, it won't cost more. If I can't get a flight, a rental car is cheaper than another night in a hotel. I'll have to decide soon, to make sure I have time to get there for my connecting flight."
"Okay. Let me know." By 2:25 (his time), Genius was hopeful. He called me.
"I had a fantastic stroke of luck getting a new flight! I was in line 45 minutes, only halfway to the counter, in that maze ribbon line. A lady walked by and announced that she was opening a new counter for people who were trying to get flights because of delays, so they didn't have to wait in line with those checking in. I was right at the end where the line curved again, and I ducked under that ribbon and was 5th in the new line. People were going ballistic! They were SO hateful to her, yelling. It was a free-for-all. I don't blame them for being mad. There were a lot of people that were ahead of me in line who ended up at the back of the new line. But I was really polite to that lady. And she told me Alaska airlines opened up a flight to get the stranded people to Seattle, a 737, and said, 'We'll put you on that.' This new flight keeps getting delayed, but the actual plane I'll be flying on just landed, and is unloading now. We should board in 15 minutes, and be in the air at 3:05 (his time)."
Genius actually landed in St. Louis at 11:35. He was picked up and whisked away on his two-hour drive to his college house. So...all the planning to work around his schedule and get The Pony back to OU early was in vain. We COULD have taken him this weekend. Except that Norman Oklahoma got snow late Thursday night, 3 or 4 inches according to The Pony, so it's probably best that he was already there to take this picture.
Tomorrow you'll be privy to the story of how The Pony needed Urgent Care on Sunday.
I've really gotta get my helicopter tuned up.