Dear God, Please Say Life is Not a Highway

Because no offense or anything, but if it is I do not want to ride it. At least until our kids get their own cars.

We go to Texas every summer to visit family. Most of both our families are here, clustered in and around the DFW metroplex where I grew up. We usually fly standby on Southwest, on passes generously given to us by my uncle and aunt who work for them. Last week, as I was checking flights in preparation of our annual lark in airport purgatory, I discovered something horrific.

The flights were booked. And I mean booked. Not just the flights out of the nearest airport, but the flights out of all airports within a four-hour radius. We could get to Louisiana, maybe, but would have to wait a day or more to get onto Dallas; we could get from Tampa to St. Louis and from Houston to Dallas, but would have no way to get from St. Louis to Houston. We could go 1 or maybe 2 at a time, but since the plan was for just me to take all four kids, that would have been really unfair for the long-suffering, preternaturally cheerful Southwest flight attendants. Especially since I probably would have sent the littlest ones first with a luggage tag featuring my parents’ address around their necks, then stretched out for a long, glorious airplane nap. But aside from that admittedly attractive daydream, there was simply no way that I could figure to get all five of us from Florida to Dallas in the next week or two without robbing a bank or something to pay for non-standby tickets.

This is bad, because in the world of standby, the flights book up the closer the date of travel nears. If there’s no way to get out within a week and the week after looks bad as well, the week after that is probably not going to look much better. This was a disaster for many reasons, but mostly because the week after is the week of Edel, and I was planning on taking the train from Ft. Worth to Austin for the conference. And I already got my shoes, and they are EPIC. So, you know, I kinda had to get to Ft. Worth.

My parents happened to be in Destin last week for a little getaway, and when I called and told them the situation, they offered to meet us in Tallahassee and cover our gas and food for the rest of the trip.

Like unhinged lunatics, we agreed.

24 hours later, this was happening:

They were slightly less smiley 7 hours later

24 centuries later, this happened:

It’s so blurry because at this point in the journey I was weeping tears of blood

I’m not kidding when I say that although we drove into Bedford at 3 am on Sunday morning, we’re still recovering.

Yes, we do all have some kind of awful full-body cold that is making everyone tired and cranky without making everyone sick enough to, you know, bloody rest and get better, but still. I figured we’d be out and about and drinking iced mochas at the Cap Bar by now. Not happening. We’re currently taking full advantage of my parents’ glorious DVR function while lying on floors made entirely of pillows and blankets.

In the absence of any real bloggery, though, I will be on A Closer Look with Sheila Liaugminus on Relevant Radio tonight with Tom and Tod, talking about our pieces for the Symposium. It’s been a while since I was on Sheila’s show and I’m really psyched about it! Check it out if you can; 5-6 CT, 6-7 ET. Tweet at me if I start “umming”, though.

And please don’t call in and mention cars or road trips or driving unless you want to hear what a twitch sounds like over the radio.

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