How do you make the post-blogging-conference letdown even more painful? Simple. Your flight home gets cancelled, and you spend the entire day at the airport. The morning after BlogHer 13 ended, I arrived at Chicago O’Hare promptly, breezed through check-in and security, was pleasantly surprised to discover I was sitting at the front of the plane for a change, and sat down next to my cheerful yet quiet seatmate. All was well.
Then the pilot made the unfortunate announcement that there was a problem with the lavatory. Apparently this was a problem so severe that not only was a plunger unable to do the job, several coverall-clad crew members marched solemnly down the aisle over and over, carrying mysterious-looking metal canisters. Their efforts were to no avail- we had to deplane.
Things looked promising when we saw the captain and flight attendants pulling their rolling suitcases on board. Then they turned around and came back off the plane minutes later. It was all over. Our flight had been cancelled.
Because of a fucking toilet.
When the announcement came that we should all line up to rebook new flights, you can imagine the palpable SWOOP of all the seated passengers as we descended upon the ticketing agents. I moved quickly, but if this had been the Hunger Games I would’ve been gone sooner than the nameless girl from District 5. It became clear that at best, I would be several hours later in returning home to my family- at worst, an entire day.
So I did what I always do in these situations- I cried. I stood in the never-ending line, and focused my gaze on my overflowing bag full of Buttpaste, board books, and bra size measuring cups (don’t ask) that I’d acquired from the conference Expo building. I tried to stay calm, avoid eye contact, and under no circumstances was I to open my mouth, lest I begin openly sobbing. Despite my efforts, my tears poured silently down my face.
The only thing that had effectively countered my sadness at leaving the conference and my new BFFs (blog friends forever) was the knowledge that in a few short hours, I’d be with my children again. I didn’t want to prolong our reunion by even one hour, and I suddenly felt desperate to hold their tiny bodies in my arms and hear their joyful voices as they greeted me. I felt as though I couldn’t bear to be separated from them any longer; frustrated, anguished sobs rolled up through my ribcage.
40 minutes later, after I’d been able to regain my composure and began chatting with the woman next to me, the overwhelmed staff announced that we should try to call the airline directly to rebook. I was fortunate enough to get through quickly, and then my heart sank when I was told I had been booked on a flight for the next morning. I began to openly cry again, and begged the woman to check another airline, insisting that I had to return to my young daughters immediately. She obliged, and found me a flight that went through Cleveland on the way to Denver, returning me home at 8:00 that night. Sure, it would irreparably damage bedtime, and involved an incongruous stop on the way, but it was better than nothing.
I continued to stand in line for the better part of another hour while I waited to inquire about my luggage. When I finally arrived at the desk, the ticketing agent was unable to find my confirmation. Thirty irritating minutes later, I was told that they had made an error, and there were no available seats for me on the plane from Cleveland to Denver. I would have to leave the following morning- there were simply no alternatives that got me home before midnight.
And I came unglued.
I stood at the desk as a fresh wave of tears hit me; I was dehydrated from too much alcohol the night before, (did I mention how much fun the BlogHer parties are? Yeah.) my feet were in agony from hours of uninterrupted dancing with my new besties to 80s and 90s dance music, and I was exhausted from two nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep. (Don’t worry, I promise to eventually spill all the fun and fascinating details of the conference that led to my poor choices. Stay tuned.) I couldn’t stand it.
I wandered through the airport like a zombie, clutching my hotel and meal vouchers, and blubbering to my mom on the phone. Yes, I actually walked through a large metropolitan airport crying loudly. There may be another woman, clearly more laid-back than I, who would simply respond to these unfortunate inconveniences with, “Meh! Could be worse.”
Let’s be clear- I am not a “Meh,” kind of person. The only scenarios that evoke a “Meh” reaction from me are: Should I feel bad that my kids have been watching TV for two hours while I get things done/talk on the phone/blog/nap? “Meh. They’re fine.” or, Should I eat this cupcake that just fell into the lawn? “Meh, who cares?”
This was not a “Meh” kind of moment for me. Nearly an entire hour later, the Radisson shuttle finally arrived, transporting me to my new home, where I was free to rest and relax until 5:30 the next morning. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that my suitcase was already en route to Denver? Yeah. Freshening up in your hotel room isn’t quite the same when you have no clothes, pajamas, non-shitty body wash or shampoo, contact lens solution, or clean underwear Oh, and I had a vexing chin hair that I was unable to remove, as tweezers are not allowed in one’s carry-on luggage. It was the tip of the iceberg. Or, tip of the irksome follicle, as it were.
However, I am determined to salvage this evening. Here is my six point plan to redeem the shitshow that was my day:
- Soak in a hot bathtub- CHECK
- See if there is a nearby Wal-Mart or other offensive retailer where I might procure a clean T-shirt. CHECK
- Have a drink with the free drink coupon the empathetic desk clerk gave me. (Last thing I need, or hair of the dog? Discuss.) CHECK
- Eat some dinner with my meal vouchers at the subpar hotel steakhouse. CHECK
- Watch crappy TV alone in my bed wearing the clothes I have to wear all day tomorrow, lest I am unable to find a T-shirt to sleep in. CHECK
- Go to bed at 8:30.
To all my fellow BlogHer friends, I hope your reunions with your family were lovely. I will write a post detailing the incredible experiences we shared at the conference as soon as I transcend the bitterness of this day. At the risk of sounding trite, it really was everything I’d hoped for and more. But it sure would have been nice, after flying high from adrenaline, connection, and merrymaking, to be gently eased into the arms of my family, rather than dropped on my ass at a suburban hotel.
Oh no!! I feel bad laughing but you are so funny! Love the picture. You poor baby!! I’m sending the best flight thoughts your way so that tomorrow will go as smooth as can be!! So glad you had a great time at BlogHer!!
I’m so glad I made you laugh! The whole thing is funny now that it’s over…
Your post is the SECOND one I’ve read tonight about a mishap getting home. Go to grownandflown.com and read about how their plane had mechanical difficulties and had to turn back and land in Chicago or Cleveland (I think it ended up being Cleveland). I was getting palpitations just reading her post. As for yours, I’m not a “meh” person either, especially without my luggage. I’d be crying in the middle of the airport too. I love your take on it though; I promise you WILL look back and laugh on this day. Hang in there and I’m glad you had a great time at the conference…I’m already planning to go next year since I couldn’t be there this year!
I read Grown and Flown’s post- much worse than mine for sure !
Oh, girl. I want to tell you to enjoy the good sleep in the good bed with the good chocolate cake, but I’m so pissed off for you that I’m ready to karate chop an airline pilot in the throat. I realize ’tis not the pilot’s fault, but I really wanted to read your BlogHer recap so I could continue to experience the conference vicariously (seriously, how amazing was the Queen?!), and DAMMIT, now I have to wait.
I’m PMSing, sorry I just made this about me. Safe travels back to Denver! xo
I’ll take all the solidarity I can get. And damn, that was some delicious cake! xo
So sorry you had such a crappy end to your trip! I hope it makes your family reunion all the more sweet.
Oh my goodness I so would’ve been the hysterically distraught woman in the airport…except it would’ve been my Hubby on the phone trying to tell me to calm down and enjoy an extra night away. I almost felt like I was walking the airport with you…I hope everything was better by the next morning or at least the hotel bed look nice and comfy. LOL
It was a good bed… I survived! I’m glad I’m not the only one prone to hysterics! Thanks for stopping by!
Oh my heart broke reading this for you and will tell you I too would have been crying not to get home to my husband and kids. BlogHer sounded fabulous though, but this is honestly why I didn’t go, because I really would have missed my family way too much. I cried getting on a plane for my honeymoon (yes I swear I am a crier from way back). So, I truly felt your pain in reading this and am hoping that you get to leave for home first thing in the morning. sending good thoughts and praying for you!!
Thanks Janine! It was definitely worth it- a great conference!
I feel sooooooooooo bad for you. I would do exactly the same thing, probably with less elegance. That’s awful and mean and I hope you get home quickly tomorrow. Xoxoxox
That totally bites! I was stranded in Phoenix once under similar circumstances (hungover, sleep derived, desperate to see y baby & hubs) but wasn’t fortunate enough to get a hotel or meal voucher. I slept in the airport…and didn’t even get a lousy airplane pillow they were passing out for our comfort b/c they ran out!
OK- that is WAY worse! I hadn’t thought of how bad it would have been to be stuck at the airport the whole time!
Aaaaaah. The old fucking no good toilet ruins your life ploy. Well played My friend. Well played.
Hee hee… thought you’d like that one. I got to meet you!!!!
Oh, Stephanie, that super sucks. I’m so sorry. Please rest a little easier knowing that at the very least, you’ve made us nerds who stayed home feel a little better.
Happy to help out in that respect! 😀
Here I was not going to read any posts from people that went to the conference because I’m immature like that… and here I am, reading your post because I care. 😉
*Hugs* It’s just not fair!
However I will say that if you were nearer to me I would have so offered you a shirt AND a pair of pants to wear as well as a place to crash! Here’s to getting back to those little ones ASAP!
Thanks for taking a chance and reading a BlogHer post- hope it was worth it!
I am so terrifying of flying and considered mustering up enough courage to go next year but your story ended that possibility!
Sounds like you are making the best of it but I too would have sobbed!!
Ps hate those stubborn chin whiskers!
Right?! Those hairs are the worst… And oops- don’t let this story crush your aspirations!
Oh My! That totally sucks!!! I really do feel bad for you, but is it wrong that I am also a little jealous??! My kids are driving me nuts, my hubs is off on a week-long business trip, a I’ll be in Vacation Bible School hell all week (is that an oxymoron?). A quiet night in a hotel ALONE with room service sounds heavenly! 🙂 Guess the grass is always greener, huh? Hope you get home swiftly and safely tomorrow!
Lisa- you are SO right, as usual! Now that I am home in the full throes of chaos and screaming, sleeping in that bed in the quiet room sounds OK, even without my pajamas and shampoo! 🙂
no no no! That sucks, Stephanie! I was so emotional getting into the cab last night, I can’t imagine facing the, pun intended, shitstorm you had at the airport! I hope by now you are blissfully sleeping in your sleep number bed, and I hope you have a lovely reunion with your girls tomorrow!
Miss you already, xoxo
It was worth it, though! And we had a great reunion…
Ugh! So sorry. Among all the other things, not having your suitcase is salt on the wound.
I live very close to the airport actually. I didn’t check my twitter for a long time today. Otherwise, I would have tried to contact you. I If you need something tomorrow DM me. I will be busy early morning but I will be around after 10am, by which i truly hope that you’ll be on the way back to your home and wit your family.
Aw, you are so sweet! That’s what I love about the blog community, you know? Fortunately Return Trip Home: The Sequel went smoothly. Whew!
OMG! Just think a few hours ago we were rocking! Geez, I feel so lucky that I got home safely and easily. It was so much fun getting to know you and securing lubricants. What a hoot you are. Tomorrow will be better and by tomorrow night the chin hair will be gone.
I know. The rocking was WAY better than this. The chin hair is history, and I’m so glad I got to meet you- you really are one of a kind!
This is horrible and I’m so sorry you’re not going to be able to see your babies tonight.
I feel even worse because it was the toilet that kept you from getting home. I apologize for that, but I had to go and nothing is more enticing than an empty bathroom on a 747.
You kill me, lady. So glad I got to meet you before the BlogHer clock struck midnight.
Believe it or not, it’s 2:20 and I’m still awake – although I did take a two hour nap. I’m dumb right now. I feel so bad for your flight situation, especially having to be at the airport all day. I know how tired and crappy I felt today and I didn’t drink last night, so you probably felt worse and then tag on the whole “I’m not at home in my comfy bed” part and it totally sucks. And the luggage!!! Gah! That’s awful!!!
Oh, Blergh!!! What a crappy way to end your experience. It is so awful to get stuck somewhere like that…especially over a TOILET…and then to not have your bag!! Good Grief!! Hope you have an UNEVENTFUL and easy trip home today. –Lisa
Oh man! That SUCKS! And to think you were hungover through all of it. YIKES.
Fingers crossed you make it home soon so you can write your post-BlogHer post for us. Because I’m dying to hear all about it!
The happy post is on its way! The bad travel day is but a distant memory… 🙂
Bless your heart! That’s a terrible way to end an otherwise brilliant weekend. How massively frustrating. Hope you get extra-big snuggles with your girls to make up for it when you make it home.
Looking forward to the happy post full of BlogHer shininess once you’ve had time to decombobulate.
Thanks Lizzi! The shiny post should be much better than this one… stay tuned Friday!
I’m totally with you and would have been a sobbing mess! I feel really bad admitting this to you but this post had me laughing. You have a great way of making the misery come out with sarcasm and comedic detail. I laughed so hard at the “I’m not a Meh type of person.” (because well I’m not either!) especially the cupcake on the lawn. (because I too would eat that) I hope you are home or on your way home at this point and able to take a nice long hot peaceful shower. Oh who am I kidding the kids will be standing in the bathroom asking for a snack and just asking a million questions and you will know you’re home. 🙂
I am super glad to hear it made you laugh- then my mission was accomplished! You are so right about that last sentence- ha! :/
Friend, I’m sorry you got stuck in Chi Town 🙁 you made me laugh through feeling bad about your sucky adventure :).
Nightmare!! I would have flipped out too. Love the story, love the photos…hope you are home!
I am home! Hooray! Loved your post, too! 🙂
Sounds like our family vacation story, although our cancelled flight and lost luggage was at the beginning of the trip, and I had my kids with me. There are pros and cons to that. But I get it; I’m not a Meh kinda gal either. I hope by the time you read this you are home safe and sound!
It’s funny, even when I read your post, it never occurred to me that a similar thing could happen to ME! Ha! I will forever travel with clean undies and a T-shirt in my carry-on. :-l
Oh my poor, lovely Stephanie. I’m so, so sorry. I truly would have done the same amount of crying and hell raising. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would have made a much bigger scene, screaming and yelling at everyone and anyone until security dragged me away. The good thing is that you have a sense of humor? But really, you would have had that already. So truly, it was just shit. I hope you had an amazing reunion with your family. xoxo
I would have loved to have been with you, not that I wished for you to be subjected to a similar torture, but you seem to be a good friend to have around in a crisis, you know? The reunion was fantastic. 🙂
This post combines all my favorite things in life: hangovers, flying, separation anxiety, and crying openly in public. Hope you make it home soon!
Right?! And yes, I made it home. Thank GAWD.
oh that sucked for you!! I’ve had one experience pretty much just like that trying to get to Denver from DC – got to O’Hare and everything went to crap.
I look forward to reading all about the awesome parties that I missed!!
It totally sucked… but writing the happy post made me remember that it was worth it!
You poor, poor, POOR THING! I think you handled it just as I would have – except with less nervous breakdown. If you’re anything like me, you’ll sleep all day today in attempt to recover.
PS – I loved meeting you. 🙂
P.P.S. I LOVED meeting you. You are even more incredible in person. Worth it!
Oh that SUCKS! You poor, poor thing!
Thanks! All this sympathy went a long way towards making me feel better! 😀
“I am not a ‘meh’ kind of person.” I love it! And this is what makes you fabulous and so much fun to read. I loved hanging out with you.
I loved hanging out with YOU. I kinda miss you, actually. And dancing. Who knows when THAT will happen again?!
Yup. That would totally have been me. I react the exact same way in situations like that. In fact, come to think of it, it happened to me once. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I love the easiness with which you make a funny and relatable post out of a situation like that and love how you handled it with the aid of a Chicago t-shirt. You rock and I only wish we had spent a little bit more time together.
I wish the same thing, and I am confident we will see each other again and get to have much more time together!
This so reminds me of the Christmas Eve I was stuck in the old Atlanta Georgia airport for 23 hours. At least you got a room and a scheduled flight. Even though I had booked first class, I was chasing flight after flight trying to find a seat in a “Stand by” status! There are only a couple of reasons I don’t care for Atlanta. That is a major one. Glad you finally got home!
I think you already looked awesome in that pic–no tomorrow needed. And to me, you are hero for navigating this whole mess without taking someone out. Love the Sleep Number bed too 🙂
Aw, you are the sweetest thing! I didn’t take anyone out… but I did say the F-word to an employee. Not AT her, but in her presence… (hanging head in shame)
Yeah, we were at O’Hare, too, on our way home to NJ. Each time my husband picked up his phone, he saw our flight was later and later delayed. We were supposed to land by 10pm. We got home (with our 6yo & 8yo kids, mind you) at 330am Monday morning. GOOD TIMES. If I didn’t find seats in the waiting area near a 4-plug outlet for us to keep the iPads charged on, I may have lost my mind.
What the hezzle was up with travel on Sunday? Suckity suck suck.
Anyway. Glad you’re home now?
OK, seriously. What is up with that? One thought I had that sort of calmed me down was, “At least my kids aren’t with me.” As much as I was dying to see them, dragging them around the airport would have been a nightmare. I’m home, and I hope you are settled back in happily, too. 🙂
Dude. I missed you. I can’t believe I was too dumb to go to BlogHer. It sounds amazing and I’m so sorry to hear of your delays “because of a fucking toilet” (my favorite line, sorry). I, too, would have been bawling openly in the airport, convinced that my son doesn’t realize how much I love him due to my extended absence. Sigh. HATE that. Once, before kids, I was on a business trip in France. It was the Thanksgiving before I’d be moving from Denver to the east coast, and so rather than extend my trip and hang out in FRANCE, like a dipshit, I decided I wanted Thanksgiving with my family. The morning started at 4:30 am (also with a massive hangover and 3 hours of sleep). Anyway, I got to Paris from a connecting flight from Montpellier, boarded the plane, and fell asleep (passed out). I was SO happy to wake up three hours later thinking “I just slept through half the flight- whoot!” only to glance out the window and realize we were still on the ground. Fog. We did finally take off but I’d missed my connecting flight and ended up having 5 hours to kill in Cleveland. Because it was 7pm on Thanksgiving evening, the airport was dead, no restaurants were open, and I cried. I get it. At least you had cake? Er, nope. That just sucks. Glad you finally made it home and I can’t wait to seethe with jealousy reading your awesome tales from BlogHer!
I wish you were there, too. One of the only things that could have made it even better. Sigh. Someday!
It was all worth it for that picture with that Chicago tshirt though!!!
BTW, I would have cried too. For sure.
OMG, this is hilarious! And you were SO put together at BlogHer! So sorry for your crap day but thanks for turning it into entertainment for the rest of us.
I am SO glad it gave you a laugh, Louise! My mission is now officially accomplished.