Sunday, February 17, 2008

He’s back!!

And what a relief it is.

Actually, my husband has been back for several days now, but I’ve been caught up in my computer nightmare and haven’t even mentioned George’s return.

His plane from New York City’s JFK airport was to come in at 10:25 PM last Tuesday. Originally I was going to take Alexandra, daddy’s girl, with me to the airport; the others wanted to stay home. But George had called from New York and told Alexandra that his plane would arrive at 11 PM. He forbade her to go with me. I was thankful.

By midnight when his plane still hadn’t arrived, I was really glad that none of the children came with me. They were surely fast asleep and hopefully would not wake to find that Mom and Dad were not home.

The drive to the airport had been treacherous. Earlier in the evening I had driven Jacob to the homeschooling center to use their microscope for a Biology lab – which is a story in itself. The accumulation on the roads was mostly unplowed at 7 PM, and the snow kept coming down the entire time we were doing the lab.

The drive back home from the homeschooling center at 9 PM was worse. “Did the car just slide?” Jacob asked.

“Yes.” I thought the sliding on the turn was almost negligible, but Jacob could feel it. I drove even more slowly.

By the time I left for the airport, the roads were so perilous that I was afraid the police would announce a snow emergency and ban driving on the roads altogether: rain was now covering the snow and freezing upon impact. My minivan was encrusted with ice by the time I got to the airport. An ice storm was underway.

Eleven o’clock came and went. Then 11:30 PM. “Did I miss the plane coming in from JFK?” I asked the security guard who sat by the door to the terminals, blocking the unticketed from entering that area.

“There hasn’t been a plane coming in for hours,” she said.

By midnight, George’s flight had scrolled off the Arrivals screen in the airport. But it hadn’t arrived. The Delta employees and the security guard did not have any information about the flight; the Delta 800 number played a recording that the plane had left the gate on time, at 9 PM.

Sometime after midnight, the security guard announced, “The runways lights have been turned off. The airport is officially closed. The runways are iced over. Flights are being turned back.”

But I continued to wait. Just where was my husband’s flight? Would he be bused home from another city? I needed to know before I braved the icy roads home. It would be even harder to get information at home. And I certainly did not want to go home and then drive back again.

At 1 AM, only one other person remained in the lounge awaiting arrivals: a Turkish man waiting for his brother-in-law coming from Istanbul via New York on the same flight as my husband. Neither of us wanted to leave our jet-lagged relatives stranded.

So we continued to wait. Then to our great surprise, their flight number suddenly popped up on the Arrivals board: it would be coming in at 2:43 AM. The crews, said the security guard, were frantically clearing the runway of snow and salting it.

It’s rather strange to be one of only a dozen or so people in an airport. Granted, our city is small and the airport normally closes for the night around 12:30 AM. So to wander through the waiting lounges and baggage areas and past closed coffee shops is peculiar. I even went out to my car, scraped off the ice, heated it, then went back in. I’m not usually awake in the wee hours of the morning. I needed to move around to stay awake.

At 2:43 AM, I heard the roar of a plane. In a normally noisy airport, it’s odd to know the arrival of a specific flight by the sound of engines.

We got home at 3:30 AM.

George spent the next several days at home, recovering from the flu he picked up in Ukraine. But he is home!


a kelly said...

Wow, it's a good thing you waited! Glad he's safely back.

Your 7 random things are quite amazing. Your kids will benefit from all your experiences and knowledge in this new journey through homeschooling. (All of that was preparing you for today...)
Thanks for sharing.
God Bless

Jimmie said...

Hi! Thanks for your long comment on my blog. I enjoyed perusing your blog. You are a great writer. Very engaging.

What a terrible time at the airport. We've had lots of delays lately with the bad weather in China, but at least we are all together. Waiting --and not knowing is terrible!! So glad you got him eventually.

Your words about teens are a good reminder to take advantage of this age when everything is still a wonder. :-)

Fireflies? Do those still exist? I read that their numbers are in decline. Oh, I remember so many nights catching them. What great memories.

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Yes, we still have fireflies in our area. Since we live near a park and wetlands that total 600 acres, I think that has preserved these little wonders. Every year in June, usually on the last day of school (my kids have been in public schools all these years), we head out to the park with our jars and critter cages. The entrance to the park is only 12 houses away. Then we walk to the area that has the most fireflies, usually near the river, and catch them. Then we bring them home, and turning off all the lights before we enter the house (any bright lights will make the fireflies think it's day and they won't blink), we bring the jars into the bedrooms. They continue to blink. We release them the next morning.

My daughters, now 12 and 14, still like to do this. My son, soon to be 16, is no longer interested in this annual tradition, but my husband has made him come along anyway. "Someday you'll look back on this," George says.

Camp Cherith, a Christian camp, has so many fireflies in early July when my kids go there, that it's beyond words to describe. Magical is all I can say. Truly one of God's wonders.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)