Banjo Man was supposed to fly to Chicago yesterday at 4:30 PM and from there on to Nebraska.
But this happened in the Midwest:
When I dropped him off at the airport I had no idea about the storms. I had checked his flight status around 1 PM and according to United Airlines everything was on schedule. Banjo Man had given me a $20 coupon for Macy’s Money and I intended to spend it before it expired, so I was going to go to the nearby mall and buy a couple of t-shirts.
It was very weird for my husband to go to Macy’s, but Banjo Man loves pants. Dress pants, business-casual, khaki, work….all kinds of pants. When I have a 20% off Kohls coupon I always ask him if he needs pants and most of the time his face will light up and he will say he does.
So he must have bought pants (or do men call them “slacks”?) before the Texas trip and then got the coupon. I still don’t know why he went to the big mall.
So outside of the airport I told Banjo Man I was going to Macy’s to spend the $20. And then, on the way home, I was going to Kohls to spend my Kohls cash on a new mattress pad (the writers are coming for a pajama party Saturday night). He told me to make sure I could hear my phone in case his flight was cancelled due to the weather. I pulled out the cell phone I hardly ever use to discover its battery was low. What else is new? I never use it, it beeps incessantly to tell me its battery is low and then I charge it, and every week it’s the same thing. I hate this phone, but that’s another story.
So I went to the mall. I have not been in the mall for at least 2 years. I drove right to Macy’s and went inside, except….when I had searched for my phone’s car charger (which Banjo Man had mistakenly **removed** before he went to Texas) I tipped over his bag of sunflower seeds. As I walked across the parking lot I felt like I had big rocks in my cowboy boots and had to stop outside the store to take my boots off and shake out…sunflower seeds.
Country hick, that’s me.
Once inside I had to walk the length of the store to the ladies room. Past a gazillion clothes that looked ugly. Maybe they would have looked pretty if I was in the frame of mind to shop, but on Wednesday I had my first physical therapy appt. for my “almost frozen shoulder” and I was now pretty uncomfortable. Driving does *not* feel good. Walking doesn’t feel that good either. I’m sure it’s going to get better, but that first hour-long appt. wrecked me. Wednesday night I dug out an old bottle of Percocet and even a couple of those hadn’t helped.
The really nice PT guy had two pieces of advice: Don’t sleep on my side and don’t “push through” the pain on anything I do.
So….the Macy’s ladies room is about to be closed for cleaning, but the nice young man who didn’t speak English let me in and said he’d wait (at least I think that’s what he said). Once inside I did what I swore I would never do: answer my cell phone while in a bathroom stall. But it was Banjo Man and then the phone balked and I had to call him back and then hear that his flight was delayed and maybe cancelled and he was in line to get rebooked and he would keep me posted and, he said, “Stay in Macy’s and shop for a while.”
I left the bathroom, apologized for the delay to the kid waiting with his mop, went around a bend and was greeted by a sweet young woman who wanted to know if I would like my skin tone matched to a new make up product by Bobbi Brown.
What the hell. I had plenty of time. I wanted to sit down. I didn’t want to look at clothes.
“Sure”, I told her, making her day. Two sweet young ladies proceeded to apply makeup and lipstick and lip balm as if I was Angelina Jolie. We had a good time. I bought a lip crayon and a stick foundation. Highlight of the day!!! Banjo Man called while I was using my coupon.
“Stand by,” he said. “I’m still in line. I might not be able to get out of RI at all this weekend. I’m probably not going to the game.”
“But you have everyone’s tickets!” I wailed.
“Stay at the mall until I call you.”
Now I had to find a cord and a charger and get my phone charged before the next installment of airport news. So I wandered through the mall to an AT & T store. I hunted down a young man–leaning against a tall round table with another young man—to ask for help. He showed me the charger that would fit my phone and then he returned to his round table (the kind of high round tables you see at airport bars). I went in the opposite direction, to the counter with the cash register. No one was there. The young men looked at me and went back to staring at their i-pads. I looked around for help. No one.
Finally I heard one guy say wearily to the other, “I’ll go get her.”
Turns out the register isn’t used any more. The high round table, in the midst of other high round tables, is where sales techies stand. The “register” is an individual I-pad. I felt pretty stupid and totally out of my league when one of these superior human beings said, “We don’t use cash registers any more.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s different”.
“No,” he said, disgusted. “It’s not.”
Pardon me for being old, you little sh*t.
It got worse, when he had to point out to me–as I was looking for a pen–that I had to sign the I-pad with my finger to accept the charge. Banjo Man called during the middle of this, only adding to the confusion.
“Come get me,” he said. “We need to go home and get on the computer.”
Drive 45 minutes home to get on the computer? I picked him up–interstate, rush hour traffic, spitting rain—and we went to a nearby Wendy’s, where Banjo Man explains the mess that has been caused by the giant storms in the Midwest. Our airport is pretty much shut down. United cannot get him on another flight to Nebraska until MONDAY. We come up with a plan, after looking online at Southwest alternatives. If his flight tonight is cancelled we will book the 5:45 AM flight from Southwest Friday morning. This is all complicated by the fact that I don’t have my Southwest membership number or passwords with me and can do nothing on Banjo Man’s computer to book him a flight using my frequent flier points. No airlines are answering their phones, there is no way to talk to a real person. My Wendy’s hamburger is inedible (they’ve really gone downhill). If United cancels, the Southwest people should be able to access my info and then book the otherwise really expensive flight with free points.
We go back to the airport, wait in line for 30 minutes, talk to the United guy at the desk who says, “Oh, your flight leaves at 7:45 tonight and it looks good to go. You’re going to get out of here tonight! We have booked you a room in Chicago! But you might even make your flight to Nebraska because it has been delayed, too!! You’re fine!!! Have a great evening! Good luck!!”
I kiss Banjo Man goodbye, head 20 minutes south to Kohls. Get some t-shirts and the mattress pad. Stagger next door to the grocery store for special girly writer treats for Saturday and Sunday. It is dark and rainy and I am dreaming of ice packs and bed. I know I’ve bought all the wrong food and not enough of what I need, but I really, really need to go home and lie down.
I had disobeyed the therapist’s “don’t push through the pain” rule and was paying for it.
Five minutes before I reach the house my cell phone–charging as I drive–rings. It is 7:45 PM, the time when Banjo Man should have been taking off.
“The flight’s been cancelled,” he says. “Where are you???? I need you to go home and book that flight tomorrow and get me a room for tonight.”
When I get home I try to do just that, except that the flights on Southwest are all sold out. Using my Southwest frequent flier points, I book him on a flight at 5:45 Am Saturday morning, which means I have to get in the car and go back to the airport to get him. And then take him back at 4 AM Saturday morning, and then be a good–and awake–hostess to my two best writer friends for the weekend.
I call Banjo Man. I cry. I tell him what I’ve done, but that I can’t go back up to the airport to get him. I will call him back when I stop crying. I go online and rent a car for him to drive himself home. I book him a room near the airport for Friday night so he will get a decent sleep and not have to get up at 3 AM and drive in the dark.
The Enterprise reservation doesn’t go through–did I not click the right buttons? Banjo Man calls to ask me to do it again–if you do it online you save 50% of the price. I do it again. I take a big honkin’ pain pill.
45 minutes later Banjo Man pulls up in a cute little white car.
Today he is driving me to my therapy appointment and we are going to rest up for the weekend. Tonight he’ll head north again, with his suitcases and his Cornhuskers clothing.
I’ve checked the weather. So far so good.
GO BIG RED!
GO BANJO MAN!