15 August 2012

Redneck Lampoon Vacation


Let me tell you a crazy story. A story of a wild, unpredictable and danged near insane vacation. The kind of vacation only a redneck could have.

It all started on a sunny north Texas morning. Sweetheart and I were wrapping up the last of the packing for her family reunion when we realized we were over the weight limit on one of the bags we planned on checking. So we had to repack a little. No big deal. We had already gotten up, drank some of my wife's great coffee and we were bright eyed and bushy-tailed. We had a fantastic, sugar-packed breakfast of donuts (mmm, donuts...) and we would have no problem repacking a little bag. After all, we had five hours before we even had to leave for the airport.

Well, the bags were on the dining room table, and I had to ask Sweetheart a question in the kitchen. So I turned and headed for her. I was doing great until my right foot hit the floor at an angle, with a little twist...

Did you know you can sprain your ankle just by walking on it? I had no idea! I missed that memo. So I was rather surprised to end up in the urgent care clinic getting x-rayed, examined and booted, before being sent out the door hobbling on crutches. Now, if you want entertainment, walk behind a fat man using crutches for the first time in his life. Once they got me loaded up on pain killers, I was willing to admit that it must have been hilarious.


Now comes the real fun. Remember that little bit of repacking? Well, it hadn't gotten finished. Neither had the Furball been dropped off at the vet for boarding. Neither had the bags been loaded in the car. Neither had the air conditioner been reprogrammed. Or the kids water bottles been filled. Or the dog's bed been brought down. Or any of the dozen little things you generally do as you get ready to walk out the door. Normally, this would be no problem. This time however, we got back to the house with 20 minutes left before we HAD to be on the road to the airport. I was thinking of how much I hated having to pay to reschedule the flights when my Sweetheart suddenly turned into a real live Texas Tornado. That woman moved so fast papers were flying around in her wake. The dog, who is normally a foot behind her any time she moves, gave up and just sat confused at his inability to keep up. The kids were thrilled - it was like an acrobatic display. Clothes flew through the air from bag to bag, things rattled and banged down the stairs, vortexes appeared in the air to let us know she had passed. It was cool!

I have no idea how she got us in the car, but she did. I grant you, she did have to turn around and drive back to the house for my crutches and the dog's bed, but she got us moving. The dog got dropped off and we were on the way to DFW. Then we hit the traffic. Then we missed an exit in the traffic. Then we hit the construction in the airport. Lord have mercy, what a trip. Rather reminiscent of the National Lampoons - hmm, we can call it the Redneck Lampoon Vacation. Thankfully, the in-laws had gotten to the airport first and had a sky cap and wheelchair waiting at the curb. We had 25 minutes to check in, check the bags, get through security and get to the gate. We made it with three minutes to spare. I could hardly believe it.

The rest of the vacation went relatively smoothly. For me, it was a happy blur of introductions and pain killers, topped off with an accidental buzz after I tried a small glass of mead. I had entirely forgotten about the Norco I had just taken.

And then, we got back to the airport for the return flight. Oh, my! The service in Louisville just didn't quite measure up to DFW. The sky cap dropped everything at the check in counter and took off, before Sweetheart had returned from dropping off the car, and things started getting confused. The fellow pushing my wheel chair said his shift was ending, so he took off and turned me over to an even older fellow who had the patience of a gnat. Which was not good, seeing as how I was trying to wrangle eight bags, two crutches and two extraordinarily hyper children. Sweetheart ran up to the counter, started checking in and handing over bags and the fun got started. After sending the smaller bag down the conveyor (against my unheeded advice), she found the big one was seven pounds too heavy. A hundred bucks is a little much to pay for seven pounds, so she kind of freaked and started ripping that bag apart, making a pile at my feet. I made the mistake of suggesting she simply pay the extra fee and barely missed getting my head bit off. That was the wrong thing for me to do, because in her frenzy and frustration, she saw the old fellow getting impatient and told him to go away.

Oh no...

After taking a tongue-lashing for suggesting that perhaps that had not been a good idea, I did my best to shut up. We were now a frenzied train heading through the airport. What my Sweetheart had forgotten, and I was trying to preserve my life by not mentioning it, was that the gate was a mile away. Did I mention my size? I'm not exactly petite. My wife, however, is. So she put the baby in the Ergo carrier on her stomach, put a now overloaded backpack on her back, threw another overloaded backpack and two smaller cases on my lap, gave Princess her Pink and began pushing me down the terminal. All I could hear was grunting, deep breathing and the occasional mumble. Sweat flew everywhere as strangers turned to stare (but not help, damned Yankees!) At the very slow convoy passing by.  We finally made it to the gate and started getting settled in. That's when Princess started saying she was cold. I looked at her and realized the fun was just starting. She was burning up, glassy-eyed and shivering. Then Little Man started screaming. He didn't stop until we reached DFW.

Oh my, I'm pretty sure I'll never fly again. Next year is Disney and everyone is flying. Hmm - nope, it's not that long a drive. Maybe I'll put a recliner on top of the car.