So here we go again! Glad you’re all back for another adventure! This won’t be as “out of our element” as China, or as “back in our element” as Italy- but I think it will be entertaining….you know how I know? Because I’ve spent the past 2 days trying to make It to Toronto. And its already been entertaining.
I will start by saying that I know absolutely nothing about Spain. Like, nothing. Other then the running of the bulls….which until recently I thought was just a total tourist trap and not an event taken very seriously by the Spaniards. So, I expect nothing from this trip more then a relaxing time with my people. Honestly. And I started out Friday morning the most relaxed I’ve been for a trip since the last time I went home to Newfoundland. I’ve been pretty chill the whole lead up actually. Which should have been my first clue……
First of all, I would like to begin with an admission. I, Karen Drover Keddy, am the Michael Jordan of washer toss. Like, if there was an Olympic team for washer toss, I’d be on it. I’d have been recruited by the Phil Jackson of washer toss and I’d be signed to a 2.4 mil contract-complete with beer and muscle shirt endorsements and those weird pink Deer profile logo people would be my sponsors. Juss sayin. And I’ve roped my people into it also. Chris is moderately good, Gary is as good at it as he is at any sport-and Nicole brings up the rear of my game. She’s like my washer toss caddie. Gives me advice on my swing, holds my washers. Etc. (Picture me-“I need my blue washer-I’ve got a little glare here- brow wipe please……okay. Wind test—- I’ll aim a little to the left…..no….no…you think the white washer? You sure? How do I look? Cute? Quick-…..gin…..okay….*Nicole running around in her plaid shorts, wipes brow. Drinks gin*)
If You are asking yourself: Why are we taking about washer toss? Allow me to explain.
Since I’ve found the only sport that we are collectively decent at (okay mostly me) I demanded what I thought would be the impossible. A washer toss box. For Spain. And you know what? Keddy freakin made it happen. Cause he loves this semi/lean-mean washertossin’ machine. Like, no joke. I have a full washer toss box. In my suitcase. As we speak. A regulation size (thats a thing right?) box with 8 premium washers.
So as we pull into the desk at Halifax airport, I realize how insane that really is. We have an entire extra suitcase. For washer toss. We tell the ticket agent that the bright green bag has all my professional athletic gear- so please be careful with it. She eyes me up and down. Jerk. And we explain its a washer toss box and 8 perfectly balanced washers. She looks at our final destination again. No. Not Alabama. Spain. I know. You wish you were with us…….? Right?
Anyway. The trip starts as usual. A&W before security. The usual strip search at security (I am bringing and ipad, iPod, huge buss battery, blue tooth keyboard, another ipad, iPhone, and 4 extra washers-all in my carry on. It takes a while to scan these bags.) and then we wait.
We are set to fly through Toronto-then on to Frankfurt overnight-then to Madrid in the morning-for a 12noon arrival and on to Toledo for the first night. We board the plane, and I immediately make everyone in my party bang on all the windows to make sure they are air tight-and we take off on time! On our way to Toronto for a nice 4 hour stop over. We start by finding a movie to watch. I’m explaining to Nicole that “Molly’s Game” came recommended by Melissa, so maybe that…or we could do The Post, or some other oscar nom that will really get us thinking and get the creative juices flowing…..when she SCREAMS in delight….”FERDINAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. Eye roll. Dear god.
About 30 mins before landing we start to experience turbulence, and notice that we are turning around….then around again….then again…. the pilot explains that we are in holding- Toronto is experiencing some “weather difficulties”…..but he’s attempting a landing now and should have us on the ground in 25 mins….. and the REAL turbulence begins. The attempt becomes a failed attempt, and we start to make more and more holding pattern loops.. we attempt 3 more times to land, more turbulence. More Karen rocking and crushing Ativan on the tray table. The map of our flight path looks like an etch-a-sketch at this point…..When finally the pilot says that we are running out of fuel and have been diverted to…..Windsor, Ont? Of all places…… due to high wind in the area. 45 mins later we get in the Windsor vicinity and the pilot announces that this will be a very bumpy landing-the wind is ALMOST as bad here in Windsor, and we have to do it. Sounds fun. And like a ton of therapy. I have to say-and yes I know I’m an exaggerater- but in all honesty-it was the worst flight experience I’ve ever had-although I’m quite sure the pilot is amazing at his job just for getting us landed. I am shaking by the time we land. Weak knees and texts to Greg at work to take care of my parents, Murphy my dog and Jessica my coworker. It. Was. Hairy. I’ve never been so glad to be on solid ground in all my life. Gary quickly says “the eagle has landed” which is met with a few claps. To which I reply “the eagle just crapped itself” which is met with a ton of nervous laughter.
We are kept on the plane while this tiny airport tries to figure out what to do with all these extra people-so we make the best of our time and start amazing race style planning. We find out that Toronto and area is at a grounded stop with wind and thunder and lightening storms. And nothing is going in or out for the foreseeable future. Then we find out our flight crew has timed out as they just came from London England to pick us up in Halifax…so there will be no return to Toronto tonight anyway. So Nicole goes in to problem solver mode to re-book our flights-while I begin searching for rental cars in case we need to make a quick 3 hour dive to Pearson to get out in the morning. We are able to call Tammy, manager of Maritime Travel in Kentville, Nova Scotia, and she is already on it. I beg you now, if you book a trip-do so with a travel agent. And if you have a choice, do it with Tammy. She. Is. Incredible. And a dear family friend. And everything we need right now. While everyone else on board is at the mercy of Air Canada, she has booked us a flight out of Toronto tomorrow night direct to Madrid. Canceled our first night hotel and fixed our car rental. We just need to get to Toronto.
We get off the plane after about 4+ hours in the air and another 1 and a half on the landed plane…and start the long wait for hotel vouchers. In the meantime-We’re Newfoundlander’s. Not savages. So, after about 15 minutes of waiting, Nicole and I realize the liquor stores will be closing soon. And its our Wedding Anniversaries. And be it in Windsor, Detroit, or back on that bloody plane, there WILL be wine tonight. So, we sneak out side, procure a cab, and send the boys to buy wine and beer. They are back in 45 minutes carrying liquor store bags. In front of about 200 hangry Canadians. They may as well be wearing meat panties to a dog fight. I fear for their safety (the wine and beer), so we usher them to seats off to the side and stand in line.
We take turns waiting for the vouchers, and by 10:30pm-we have a hotel. And a promise of a flight back to Toronto in the morning. A full 24 hours after leaving Halifax. But Nicole and I have done nothing but laugh all our eye makeup off. At one point we look around and realize that about 6 planes were diverted to this little airport and only 2 staff to process all the travelers. We spend a hot hour coming up with ways to turn this in to a Broadway musical. A less entertaining “Come From Away”…with hit songs like- “Mo town is Yo town now” “Windsor, more then just salt” and the finisher, “phantom of the washer-toss”.
Travel is unpredictable. And if you don’t approach the journey to the destination with a “it is what it is” attitude-you’ll be disappointed more often then not.
The boys on the other hand, are getting a little hangry by 10. And who can blame them? But they have a particular type of cranky. Chris gets cranky by becoming a martyr. He says “no no I’m okay” every time you ask him if he needs anything-all the while looking at you like he wants to cut you into tiny pieces with a dull butter knife…and Gary? He just gets stupid. I love the guy. But dear lord-he hits the dummy wall about 15 hours in to a day. He keeps trying to come up with ways to get us out of the airport and to a hotel-or to Spain, or to Toronto. At one point I swear he suggests we rent a flying squirrel to take us to Dubai where we can catch a sassafras to London and then hitch hike to Frankfurt and catch a slow sheep train to Madrid. He’s a mess. We just give him a lot of “good idea! You keep brain storming!” Encouragement. At least he’s entertaining.
We finally leave- but Air Canada has put everyone up at a hotel about 20 mins away on the waterfront of Windsor-overlooking Detroit. And they have rented a bus to get us there. I say nae nae. We quickly get our vouchers, and call a taxi to bring us to the hotel. And get there and roomed before the bus shows up. Judy Drover didn’t raise quitters. We explain that this is our anniversary, and offer to pay-but are quickly and without cost-upgraded to water front rooms-beautiful view and lovely room.
We order pizza and wings and enjoy our beer and wine in the Keddy suite with a view of Motor city instead of Madrid- but we are all happy and giggling…. and on our way. We think of all the ways the day could have turned out better….Upon reflection, we think we should have set up washer toss and had a quick tournament in the airport. Missed opportunity for sure. Thinking back-it must have been quite the night for little Windsor, Ont. The agents all looked frazzled-and more then one said “thank goodness it was a plane full of east coasters that were diverted”. All and all everyone was in a pretty good mood.
We decide that no matter what-we WILL get to Madrid tomorrow. As god is my witness, if I have to pug-it in an overhead bin and hope for the best- I WILL get there. But in the end, we’re on vacation, and together, and somewhere we’ve never been before. Making the best of it is what we do.
Off to bed-because I suspect tomorrow may be a very long day. Or it may turn into a wicked airport washer toss throw down. Either way this girl/elite athlete needs her sleep.
Happy anniversary honey………