Thursday, January 29, 2009

WE MADE IT (JUST)!

I am typing this from the relative comfort of our hotel room as the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan drift up from below in a symphony of honks and sirens.

The snowstorm that wreaked havoc across the Eastern United States and Central Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday reached Moncton late yesterday afternoon. When Nick checked my flight status before supper, he discovered that Air Canada had “proactively” canceled the flights out of Montreal that night and hence also canceled my early morning flight to Montreal the next morning!

A long wait on the toll free number confirmed that Paul Burns and I had already been rebooked on a 12:40 flight to Montreal Thursday, continuing on to New York and arriving in LaGuardia just before supper time. Later than our original booking, but at least getting us there before the Intensive workshops that we’d signed up for all day Friday. I called Teresa Wentzler to let her know that we had been rebooked and she was able to arrange a later flight time due to the weather advisories in her own area, guaranteeing that she wouldn’t be left in the wilds of New York without us for too long. I asked about the other flight to New York via Halifax, but she told me to wait until the morning to see what the weather was like.

Nick and I got the girls up to Mom and John’s house, finished packing for my trip and his meeting the next day in Fredericton, then went to bed as the snowflakes swirled madly outside. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong with flying through Montreal later in the day, but I chalked it up to nerves and tried to get to sleep. Around 2 am, the sound of ice pellets and sleet hitting the window woke me up. Sure enough, the dire predictions of a transition to ice rain had come true. Resisting the urge to get up and prowl around the house for chocolate, I made myself go back to sleep by counting dragons chasing sheep.

At 6 am, we woke to the news that schools throughout the province were closed for the day. Since the police were advising people to stay off the roads as much as possible, Nick decided to teleconference for his meeting instead of driving 2 hours each way to Fredericton and back in one day. The morning news mentioned the fact that most early morning flights out of Moncton had already been canceled, but that airports were hoping to get things moving again as quickly as possible.

The little niggling feeling was back in the pit of my stomach. What if a plane never arrived from Montreal to pick us up? I grabbed my fluffy housecoat and raced downstairs to get the laptop out of the bag and bring it upstairs to bed. WiFi means being able to check the status of other flights from beneath the warmth of your duvet! Nick helped me find out if the flight from Halifax to Moncton was still flying and it was. I called Paul and asked him if he was game to try getting to the airport for 8 am instead of noon to see if we could jump on the flight to Halifax since there would be a plane to get on!! He agreed and since school had been canceled, he even coaxed his teenage son to drive us both to the airport!

We arrived and managed to get seats on the flight to Halifax then on to LaGuardia, but the agent also left us on the flight to Montreal just in case. After going through security, we discovered that the Continental flight from 6 am was still grounded and the runway closed! Checking the monitors, we discovered that the flight from Halifax was only 15 minutes late coming in and the hearty Dash 8 landed with no problems at all. Before we knew it, we were boarded and on our way... only to discover that the high winds made for some pretty rough turbulence going up and coming down.

Once we landed in Halifax and got off the plane, we cleared US Customs to discover that the flight to LaGuardia was delayed until 1:10 because the plane had yet to arrive from the backlog in Montreal and Boston. I was able to get a hold of Teresa on her cell phone to let her know about our change in plans. We would now be arriving 45 minutes ahead of her into New York instead of an hour behind. Paul and I ordered lunch and bided our time until we boarded the flight. Once I got on the plane and had time to catch up on the day’s events in my journal, I realized how tired I was. The adrenaline was wearing off now that I knew we would indeed reach New York safely in time for the Friday events.

Guess what we discovered as we stepped off the plane into the terminal and checked the monitors?? The flight from Montreal to LaGuardia got canceled due to mechanical difficulties with the aircraft!!! I could have been stranded in Montreal right now or forced to fly to Toronto before going on to NY.

Always listen to the little niggling feelings....

OK. I’ve been writing this blog on and off between angsting over the order of my images in my portfolio, trying to find a place to make one colour photocopy, writing my story for the graphic novel workshop tomorrow. We’ve gawked at Grand Central Station and the Chrysler building and acted like total tourists in this amazing city.

Time to go to bed... I don’t think I can sleep due to terror/excitement, but I should probably try.

3 comments:

Kitty said...

Congratulations on making it! Now enjoy yourself :-)

Erin said...

I am *so* glad you made it!

Laurie said...

So glad you got there safely, Sis! Good for you for listening to those gut feelings. Looking forward to more updates! :-)