Monday, April 29, 2013

Earthquakes and Blizzards and Lost Luggage, Oh My!

We left home very early the morning of November 10th and took Ethan to Nana's house.  I knew I would miss him terribly, but not knowing how long we would be out of state and knowing our little girl was in NICU and had some healing to do, we knew it was best if he stayed with Nana. 

I barely even remember the 2 hour drive to the airport.   I do remember that we got turned around and missed our exit and I *may* have freaked out a bit thinking we would miss our flight. 

But we made it and as we were sitting at our gate, we were still working out the details of getting the payment to the agency.  As they started seating all the passengers for our flight to Minneapolis, I remember looking at Ben and saying, "This is really happening!"
Waiting at the gate.
Our first flight together!

Our flight took a little over an hour (I think) and as we landed and were aloud to turn our phones back on, Ben and I both see texts on our phones from a few different people saying things to the effect of, "Please tell me you got off the ground before the earthquake!"

I immediately called my mom to check on her and Ethan and learned that at the exact moment we were taking off, an earthquake occurred.  It was felt all around Kentucky and although Ethan felt it and it shook the house a little, everything was fine. 

We had just enough time to grab some lunch at the airport before our next flight was scheduled to take off.  As we walked by what was to be our gate, I noticed there was a lot of people already sitting there...hmmm..."There must be a flight leaving from there before ours."  I thought.


As we made our way back to the gate after lunch, we see a huge amount of people gathered and the flight attendant at the gate making announcements.  After talking to a few other passengers, we learned there was a huge blizzard that just hit North Dakota and the flight that was supposed to go to Bismarck earlier that day had made it just hundreds of feet from the runway to land and had to turn around because the whole thing was ice.  So now there were two planes full of people waiting to get to Bismarck. 

We began talking to people around us and telling them why we were going and before long we had a little support group willing to give up their seats if only one flight got to go.

It didn't take long for the flight attendant to announce that no flights would be getting into Bismarck today and we needed to go to the Delt.a service desk and make arrangements for a later flight or a hotel.

We literally ran to the service desk to be one of the first in line.  The man infront of us turned out to be a Catholic priest from Bismarck.  We made conversation and he told us a few different options we may have.  He said there was a train we could take part of the way, or get a rental car.  He had been stuck in Minneapolis many times over the past year apparently. 

When we got to the service desk, we told the attendants what was going on.  She looked at me and said, "Honey, get a rental car and GO!"  She said she would pull our luggage from our flight and we could pick it up at baggage claim.

At this point we were on the phone with our agency and trying to work something out.  While we were making our way to the rental car area she called ahead to try to find us something 4-wheel drive and Ben and I separated.  He rode the tram to the rental car area and I went down to baggage claim.

We had a terrible time trying to find a company that would rent us a car for a couple of reasons. #1 is that no one wanted to rent us a car knowing we were driving into the blizzard.  #2 The others didn't have any 4-wheel drive vehicles.  #3 Everyone wanted us to give them a credit card to rent and we don't have any credit cards.  I called our agency again and again they helped work it all out!  We got a vehicle and we were going to get to our girl!

Our Jeep Grand Cherokee...Ben got a little attached LOL!

I waited down in baggage claim and watched bag after bag come out to it's disappointed owner knowing they were not getting to their destination tonight.  After about an hour, I asked the desk if they could check into our luggage.  They said they were still looking for it...

Waiting for our luggage. 

In the mean time, we started chatting with different people waiting there as well.  One of which was named Jennifer.  Jennifer was from Bismarck and only a few blocks from the hospital we were heading to.  She talked to us about the city and we exchanged phone numbers.  She was such a blessing!

One of the great people we met in the airport!

Another airport worker who gave Ben a map heard our story and bought our daughter a little moose that said "Minnesota" on the antler.  He was a foster parent and shared stories of his "kids".

After 2 hours had passed, I had a bad feeling about our luggage.  I went to the desk again and they told me that they had no idea where our luggage was, but that when they found it, they would send it on to Bismarck...great...

At this point all we could do was laugh!  My biggest concern was that all our baby stuff was in that bag, but the hospital should have us covered until they find our luggage.  Then I realized that it was 70* when we left Lexington and the latest report I saw was saying the high was going to be 7* in Bismarck...and all our wintery clothes were in the "lost" luggage!  Brrrrr....

After hearing about our luggage, we headed out to pick up our rental car and made a few phone calls.  One of which was to the hospital to check on our girl.  The nurse kind of went a little crazy when I told her we were driving. "Girl!  You stay put!  The nurses aren't even leaving the hospital tonight it is so bad!  Don't you even try to drive that distance tonight!"  I assured her we were only driving about half the way because it was getting late and we just heard the Interstate was closed due to the blizzard right around the Minnesota/ North Dakota border.

And like that...we started driving the 6 hour drive!
While we made our way on the first part of our driving journey, I texted back and forth with a wonderful friend.  Little did I know she was working hard to bless us.  She got online and looked up hotels in the area of which we had decided to stop for the night.  She had posted on about our family and strangers from all over were giving a few dollars here and there and before we knew it, our wonderful friend called us and said not to worry about where we were spending the night.  She had called ahead and made our reservations and through the donations of friends and strangers we were getting to stay the night for free!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I've been reading through your earlier blog posts a few at a time and I can't stop the tears as I learn more about your journey. Praise the Lord for the beauty that certainly has risen from the ashes! Your family is precious!