No doubt about it. When faced with new situations, I become wimpy, unsure of myself and a little weepy. Maybe even a LOT weepy, depending on the situation.
I have made myself sick worrying over various experiences in my life:
- Our first trip to Disney World AND Disneyland. (Going to unknown places KILLS me!!)
- When we went to Maui in 2006, I stayed in my hotel room alone while Max was in his meetings because I was too scared to leave and go anywhere by myself.
- I contemplated cancelling our horse back riding trip last fall because I was scared of riding horses!
- I had to take medication for IBS the first time I rode an airplane to visit my sister in Virginia.
This is why last weekend was such a BIG DEAL for me. The kids and I flew -sans Max- to Phoenix for Leo's wedding! I have gone on trips without Max before, but I've always had another "grown-up" with me to fall back on, whether I'm travelling with someone or meeting someone once I get there.
This weekend I had to be the grown-up and take care of all our travelling needs. From getting ourselves to the airport and on the plane, to finding the car rental counter, to checking into the hotel, to finding fun and interesting activities to do while we weren't consumed with wedding festivities.
And, surprisingly, we did okay!!!
I arranged for my parents to take us and pick us up from the airport. That was easy. (Thanks, Mom & Dad for your time!) I had a car reserved, a room reserved and the GPS was ready and filled in with the addresses we needed, and some that we didn't need. (Believe me when I say, I would NOT have gone this weekend if I didn't have our handy dandy Garmin!! )
The biggest and scariest hiccup in the weekend was when our plane landed in a different airport than where we were expecting to land. We didn't know that there were TWO usable airports in the Phoenix area.
I was so pleased to walk up to the car rental counter and give them my name.
"Yes, my name is Valerie and I have a reservation."
The employee types my name into the computer and starts looking up my reservation... she can't find it.
"Do you happen to have your reservation number?"
Are you kidding? I'M A PREPARED MOMMY!!! I consulted my trusty manila file holder that has all the travel information written down.
"Yes. The number is......"
As the clerk types the number in she says,
"This number sounds like it's for Sky Harbor."
My confidence started to ebb... FEAR reaches her cold hand inside and grabs a hold of my heart.
"Sky Harbor? I'm not at Sky Harbor? (Dramatic pause)......Where am I?" I whisper.
I tried to keep the panic at bay and the pitch of my voice level. I can be cool. I can be suave. I can roll with the punches...
"Yes! There is your reservation. Your car is at Sky Harbor Airport and you have just landed at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport. Sadly, because there is the (some big important football) game (involving Oregon and Auburn... a championship game?) this weekend, I don't have any extra cars here. See this map? If you get a taxi just outside that door, you can tell them to take you here (pointing to Sky Harbor) and you can go pick up your car." (I don't watch college football... sorry.)
Holy Hannah! Oh crap! A taxi is gonna be expensive!! AND SCARY!!!
I wrack my brain for any other solution, wishing that Max were there. What would Max do?
Breathe, Valerie, breathe!!
Tears well up in my eyes but there is NOTHING I can do about it. It's my own fault. Why didn't I look at airports when I was booking flights and cars? BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WERE TWO AIRPORTS IN PHOENIX!!! Duh.
Because of the kids, I had to stay calm. What kind of example will I be if I have a mental break down right there? I have to teach them that life throws you all sorts of curve balls and you have to be ready to catch them. (I will admit I did swear just a little.) Rolling with the punches will leave you happier and with lower blood pressure....
So I did what I had to do. I called my friend, Lavender, and told her we'd be a few minutes late. We walked outside toward the row of waiting taxi cabs and said, "We need a ride." We got in the cab and drove across town to the other airport.
Oh, there were many panic moments inside that taxi, believe me. All three of us watched that meter tick up and up and up... Buttercup's eyes kept getting bigger and even Inigo leaned over and whispered, "Mom! Look! It says we owe $50!" Then, "Mom! Look how high the number is going!" I debated asking the driver to pull over and let us walk the rest of the way when we hit $60. I hated watching all our spending money go into this cab ride.
Ultimately, it was my fault though. CONSEQUENCES!!!
When all was said and done, we spent $75 (including a very meager tip) to get our rental car. But the lesson we learned was far more valuable. From this day forward, I will check and double check airport names on all my itinerary. I'm sure the kids will too!
BUT.... we got a darling car! We got to choose which car to drive for the weekend and we voted unanimously on the VW Bug. It was so much fun to drive! It's now on my list of "must-haves." We all hated to turn it back in on Monday (we were able to return it to Gateway Airport so we didn't have the same cab fee back. WHEW!!)
The rest of the weekend went fairly well. I was pretty nervous about doing the pictures and I have decided NOT to do wedding photos again, until I am better versed in procedure and technique. I also need to work more on controlling crowds. Leo's husband comes from a large family and by the time I got everyone corralled for a group family shot, I was ready to kill them! I mean... SERIOUSLY!!!!... you know we're taking pictures. Why on earth would you disappear to change clothes or go look at a cactus? And why on earth would you show up AT THE TEMPLE for a wedding in jean shorts and a bright red t-shirt?
Okay. Calm down, Valerie. They were nice people. Really.
Leo was a beautiful bride and her wedding day is such a miracle! Some day I'll fill you in on all that she's been through in her life. No one expected her to live to see her wedding day... It was a pleasure to be there and share the day with her.
The kids and I spent Sunday exploring areas we hadn't been to before... after all, our family motto is "Making Memories" and we have to live up to that! We got online and decided that going to old Indian ruins would be a fun thing to do. We chose Montezuma's Castle and Tuzigoot National Monument.
It was a beautiful day... the weather gods were smiling on us. The temperatures were mid 50's with a gentle breeze blowing. Sunshine filled the skies and (sadly) no clouds to be seen.
We had a very enjoyable day. Even Buttercup enjoyed spending time in the fresh air. (I'm sure the fact that we were in Arizona away from the cold and snow of Florin had something to do with that!)
Monday morning arrived (very early) and I had to get us back to the airport on time! And seriously, if you know me, you know that punctuality is NOT my strong suit. But I fought hard to get us there and we made it! I would also like to add, for any of you that might be flying OUT of the Gateway Airport... plan EXTRA time. It is an extremely UNORGANIZED airport. Even though we were there in plenty of time, by the time we got our bag checked and through security, we got to the gate just as they were boarding our flight. We should have had -at minimum - 1/2 hour to relax and fill our water bottles before they started boarding. Getting through security was RIDICULOUS!! 'Nuff said.
Ultimately, what this post is about is that I did it! I didn't crumple under the pressure! We had a lovely mini-vacation and even though there was a slight hiccup in plans, we made the best of it and things worked out okay. Yippee! (We really missed having Max with us though.)
I guess this means I'm a grown-up after all. :o)