Friday, April 17, 2009

The soundtrack of my death is apparently the theme song to "Dallas"

On Sunday I had to leave for a business trip in Kentucky.

I almost died.

I made this dramatic announcement on Facebook, promising an update to the blog ASAP. Obviously it didn't happen.

So, since today is my 28th birthday, I will update you all with the story in celebration of the fact that I did not die and made it to such a momentous birthday.

This was written Sunday night after finally landing safely in KY.

So, it was never in the cards for me to have an enjoyable travel experience on Sunday. First of all, it was Easter Sunday...Colt's first Easter Sunday...that would be MY BABY INFANT TINY SON'S FIRST EASTER THAT WILL NEVER EVER HAPPEN AGAIN...but, hey, I got over that three weeks ago when I found out I was going. Can you tell?

It was also my first "real" trip away from him. I went to Dallas for two nights, but traveling to Dallas is really nothing. This was a trip to another timezone, and at least one connecting flight away and for some reason it felt like it might as well have been the other side of the world. I was very nervous and sad about leaving this time.

Finally, it was an incredibly stormy day. Lots of rain, thunder, lightning...very gloomy. Set the stage quite nicely for a near-death experience.

Because it was Easter Sunday we all were allowed to take a later flight out and forgo night-before rehearsal so we could get some time in with our families. I chose between a 3:15 flight that would get me in at 8:30 and a 4:45 flight that got me in at 11:00. I chose the former because I needed a good night's rest.

Everything is looking good, we're on time, we load the plane, I get fabulous gate-checked luggage (all the benefits of checking your luggage without baggage claim!), I settle in next to a very sweet, thin, sweet-smelling teenage girl.

We move away from the gate and head out toward the runway. I say my usual prayer, identify a few babies on board to make me feel safe, and sit back for takeoff. The plane picks up speed and we're racing down the runway. We start to liftoff and all of a sudden we're back on the ground coming to a screeching halt.

The plane had some mechanical issues and the pilots wanted it addressed before we left OKC. Frightening, but I'm not going to argue. My only concern was for my connecting flight in Atlanta, I only had 40 minutes between them. We hang for a minute on the runway before returning to the gate. We're advised it could be a moment and we're welcome to deboard and get comfy in the airport. I go to get booked on the late flight out of Atlanta when we hear that it is a SEVERE mechanical issue and the flight is now canceled! They unload the luggage and take the plane away!! WHAT?! It was severe enough to cancel a flight that almost took off? What if we'd been in the air?

I haven't been afraid to fly in a long time until today...

Eventually I get booked on a completely different airline, connecting through Detroit. Still getting in around 11:00. I'm just glad I wasn't on that other plane.

Anyway, we takeoff safely - and in all fairness they warned us it would be bumpy (remember thunderstorms) - and I proceeded to have the worst flight EVER. Of my whole life. The turbulence was terrifying. Everyone was white-knuckled and I cried through half the flight. I felt nauseous the whole time. Literally, my life was flashing before my eyes.

I tried to turn my phone on to call home and say goodbye to my boys...that's how scary it was. I kept looking at a picture of Colt, so sad that this morning would be the last time I hugged and kissed that little miracle. I kept thinking of how his Easter pictures were on the camera and it was with me and John would never have those pictures because the camera would be burned up in the wreckage of the plane.

I'm not kidding.

As my life was flashing before my eyes, it was all set to music. A strangely familiar song that I later realized was...the theme song to "Dallas". I used to watch that show as a child with my mom (it was her favorite) and that should have brought me some comfort. But NOOOOO...I'm a conspiracy theorist and I just thought it was my childhood flashing before me as I neared my end.

It was terrifying.

In the end, all that calmed me was endless rounds of solitaire on the iTouch and Huey Lewis blaring off the iPod of the guy next to me that every once in a while would overtake "Dallas".

Now I'm here in Kentucky, settled in to look at my presentation one final time before going to bed and getting up in a few hours to pitch new business tomorrow. Awesome. All I really want is to be at home with my boys and my kitty and falling asleep to some HGTV and baby snores. OR, I'd like to be one of the super drunk army guys that slept through the entire experience as their smell of beer wafted through my nose as I prayed for my life. Because that might be good, memory of those horrifying 2-hours.

Oh, when drinking has a benefit....

There you go. The rest of the story included a flight to Dallas on a plane that had mechanical problems during flight and our cabin wouldn't pressurize. And thankfully a scare-free flight home that lasted all of 45 minutes and allowed me home before Colt's bedtime.

I won't be flying again until...well, next week.

1 comment:

Charly said... I'm glad you made it home safely. I would have passed out the first time when they said major mechanical issues. Happy Birthday by the way!