So May 29, 2012 was supposed to be our first day of our trip to China. Alas, it was not meant to be.
We got up at 4 a.m., even Bug, who was so excited she couldn’t sleep, and my wonderful brother showed up at 5:30 to pick us up to take us to the airport. So far, so good.
That’s when the first snafu happened. I had the bright idea that we shouldn’t leave the back porch light on while we were gone, so I went back up the back stoop, opened the door, and turned off the light. Bad move. In the dark I missed the last step back down to the driveway and fell on my shoulder, dislocating it. Being the martyr I am, I laid there for a second, sat up, called for help, and then popped my shoulder back in. I wasn’t screwing up the trip because I’m an idiot who can’t walk in the dark! 🙂 So, off we went, aching shoulder, bleeding hand and all.
We got to the airport, checked our bags, washed and bandaged my hand, and made our way through security thinking all was well. When it was time to board our flight to Chicago, it became painfully clear all was not well. The poor gate agent, looking flustered, announced there was a minor mechanical problem, but the problem was being fixed and we’d leave shortly. No big deal for us– we had a five-hour layover and wouldn’t miss our flight.
Or so we thought. About 45 minutes later another gate agent came out and fessed up that it wasn’t really a mechanical problem (the first one didn’t lie– she had been lied to). The problem was really that the plane couldn’t fly without an ADA-compliant wheelchair on board, and for some reason the one supposed to be there was missing, and there wasn’t another one on the entire airport premises. Not to worry, we were told– one was being driven down from Indianapolis, and we’d take off by 10:30. We were still fine. We’d be cutting our connection a little close, but we’d still make our flight to Beijing. We decided to hang tight.
Of course, most of the other people on the flight didn’t have such long layovers, and they were in line to rebook. As 10:30 and even 11 passed (mind you, this was a 7:15 flight), still no word, and people were still in line to rebook. Someone in line looked up and noticed the sign behind the gate agents had changed to “FLIGHT CANCELLED.” In typical fashion, the airline hadn’t even bothered to call to inform the gate agents, who found out about the cancellation from angry passengers who told them to turn around. Sheesh. (An aside– the gate agents were wonderful. They were mortified by what was going on and they were doing their best to get everyone where they were going. I felt horrible for them.)
So it was clear we weren’t going to China that day. There was only one flight a day from Chicago to Beijing, and even if we went later in the afternoon we wouldn’t make it. Poor Bug. We’d been telling her all morning that we’d find a way to go, and we weren’t going to be able to do it. She handled the news pretty well, but after sitting in the airport about six hours at this point, she was tired and unhappy. Truth be told, G. and I were too.
I waited in line to rebook but in the meantime called the 800 number to get things moving. We were put on a weird route from Louisville to Cleveland to Newark to Beijing. (This becomes relevant tomorrow.) I thought that was odd, but said OK. Once I made it up to the front of the line, the gate agent fixed that and put us on a flight straight from Louisville to Newark, and then on to Beijing. That sounded much better to me, so I took it, and we made our way home for us to nurse our disappointment and for me to nurse my aching and almost-immobile shoulder.
That night, I gulped down steroids, wrapped my shoulder in ice, and hoped for the best for the next day. We would still get to China, come hell or high water, and we’d see everything we wanted in Beijing due to some last-minute rescheduling by our wonderful travel agent, Louie Yi at Lotus Travel. All would be well!