A few months ago, we started compiling our calendars and realized October would be a bit of a crazy month. I was scheduled for a work trip out of town for two whole weeks – which is pretty out of the ordinary for me. I may find myself working some long hours, but for the most part, it’s all local. While Steve is an awesome husband and father, by nature of being an awesome Marine as well, his schedule is a whole lot more unpredictable. His October travel plans have changed about 15 times in the last month. Typical. Being a military spouse is a whole lot of go with the flow, and I’ve become a lot better about it. We started to get the idea that we had no idea what to do with our own kids for a few weeks. It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling as a parent, I tell ya. In the past, we’ve always had grandparents come to the rescue. This time, they were busy, darn it. I guess I can’t blame them too much for having their own lives. Both grandpas are still working away and both grandmas are loving the retirement season. We reached out to my parents and they graciously offered to keep the kids in Kansas for a few weeks. They also graciously offered to keep them for a few months, but we politely declined because we kind of love them. So, a headache of plane tickets and a whole lot of sky miles later (thanks Mom!), we had plane tickets and travel plans. Meanwhile I was quadruple checking that I booked everything correctly. (A little insight on how complicated it was, I booked three roundtrip tickets for me and the kids to Kansas and back to North Carolina for three weeks, and then a roundtrip ticket in between for myself to North Carolina and back. It still confuses me when I explain it to people, and boy was I worried about messing that up!) Meanwhile, after I booked the flights, Steve was scheduled to be home, then gone, then home, and now gone. I can sure count on him to be great when he’s around, but we can’t always count on him to be around. He sacrifices a bunch for his country and we’re super proud of him. Given all his changes, we were glad we had our plans for this kids to stay with grandma and grandpa. Because they’d have a whole lot more fun getting spoiled than spending 14 hours a day in daycare for two weeks straight.
So I made it home and picked up the car. Back to our long 2 1/2 hour trip to Raleigh in the hurricane, we were down to about 100 miles of gas for 140 mile trip. Not a big deal, except that I started trying to get gas on the very first exit out of the Raleigh airport, and every gas station to Richlands. Y’all, that’s 120 miles. I reiterate above where I only had 100 miles of gas. Every exit was out of power and flooded, and therefore, no pumps were working. It was a little eerie seeing all of the gas station lots filled with lines of cars just waiting for the pumps to be turned back on. And the highway was closed in the opposite direction for a sinkhole. Tree limbs and flooded cars abandoned on the side of the road. No w0nder they cancelled my class because it was right in the middle of flood zone, North Carolina. In case anyone with a Ford is wondering, 0 miles does not actually mean 0 miles and you can drive at least an extra 20 minutes on an “empty” tank. The hubby was on his way to fill up the gas tank to get me the extra gas I needed to get home. Luckily, I found the only gas station in 120 miles with gas at the last possible minute and made it home. To which I immediately said, “we’re going to Texas Roadhouse.” I wanted steak after this whole debacle because yes, since the gas stations were closed, so was every food establishment. And I was hungry.
We pressed the reset button on Monday. I took the day off of work (Steve had Columbus Day off), and stayed in bed until 10:00 (when does that ever happen?!), went to the gym, spent awhile at the beach, walked the dogs, and binge watched Hulu. By Tuesday, I was still feeling out of whack and completely unmotivated to work, only to find out that Steve’s out of town trip was cancelled that morning. Only to be rescheduled with another trip by afternoon. Y’all, I go through more erasers than pencils on my calendar with our crazy schedules. Or it could have been the dead car battery I was jumping before sunrise, ha! But there’s a silver lining. A fellow co-worker gave me a genius idea (why don’t I ever have them?!). Steve’s gone anyway, we had arrangements for the dogs, speech appointments cancelled, sub plans for my school, several weeks of vacation days built up, work wasn’t expecting me… why not take the week off and spend it with my mom in my hometown? All it would take is an earlier one way flight and I’d have EIGHT DAYS back in Kansas. Plus my dad was scheduled to be out of town for a week, so it would be a good old girls week! This would be the first time in over three years that I spent longer than a long weekend there. And long weekends are never enough to cram in everything you want to do. So, with a little pleading from the boss man and a call to Southwest Airlines, it was done. And boy, am I excited for some lazy hometown time. Especially since I have a 15 paged paper and final exam due in the next week. Ha!
So if you’re a mommy blogger still reading with me, I’d love to read your travel woes. Sometimes getting there can be super stressful, but sometimes you have to look at it like a comedy hour. And sometimes, even when absolutely nothing is going right, you can end up on top with a complete surprise ten day vacation. Whew. Good riddance. I’d say that Thanksgiving travel will be smoother, but Steve was already rearranging flight plans and rental cars THE DAY AFTER those flights were booked. To all my fellow military wives, Semper Fidelis, and equally importantly, Semper Gumby.