January 28, 2009
When I registered for the ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver, I wasn’t thrilled with the location of the conference for a January meeting. I think Denver is a great city, but unless you’re planning a ski trip, who wants to fly to Denver in the winter? But librarians aren’t as financially well-off as the business world, who have their conferences in warm locations in winter, so we have ours in cold locations in the winter to keep our costs down.
When I arrived in Denver late last week, the weather was a toasty 67 degrees, making me wish I’d left my boots at home and packed lighter weight clothing. But to my delight, the weather changed to winter the next day, with temperatures plunging into the 20s, then the teens, then single digits by the end of my stay there. Along with the cold came the snow, which was falling fast and furious on Monday. Yay! My winter clothes and boots were justified!
I was thankful I wasn’t flying out on Monday, however, because it was snowing pretty hard at times and I overheard murmers of worry from those who were leaving on that day. I was flying out the next day, which dawned clear and cold, with a -2 degree temperature. There was just one small fly in the ointment– a winter storm watch, then warning, was posted for my destination– HOME. I began watching the radar images Monday night, sure it wouldn’t amount to anything major.
Over 24 hours later, I’m stranded in Atlanta for the entire day and into the night, maybe longer. It’s terribly frustrating. Since Monday night, a major ice storm stretched across the lower Midwest, dumping several inches of ice and snow over the Ohio River Valley, cancelling my flights to Cincinnati and Evansville yesterday and again this morning. My husband said this morning that he and the kids were stuck at home with no electricity and an ice-laden tree bent over the driveway, preventing them from even leaving the house. My Facebook friends (those with electricity) are posting amazing ice storm pictures, the first I’ve seen since my flight home was cancelled last night. Now I understand why I can’t go home, even though Evansville’s radar pictures show the snow and ice have ended.
There’s nothing I can do to change the situation, so I’m trying to be as patient as possible. This is the worst flight delay I’ve experienced since my brother and I flew from northern Indiana to southern Indiana when we were teens. During our return trip through O’Hare, our plane was delayed in landing. While we were circling the airport, our connecting flight took off without us. We were stranded in Chicago and had to spend the night in a local hotel, which was a grand adventure for the two of us. Our mother was sick with worry and I don’t remember if we or the airline even called her to tell her where we were. So very different from my experience this time– I have a cell phone and Internet access, so I’m able to keep in touch with family and friends while I’m stranded. It’s helping me keep from missing them so much and from getting too frustrated by this setback in my travel plans.
I realize now that worrying about the weather doesn’t change the outcome of my travel plans. The snow wasn’t a problem until I tried coming home. I’ll just have to make the best of things here at the airport, where I’m not the only one here experiencing travel delays. I just hope I don’t have to live here for a while, like Tom Hanks’ character did in the movie The Terminal. I’ve never seen that movie, but will have to watch it when I return home, whenever that is.