28 December 2009

Fun with potted meat

I arrived with Cristy in Oklahoma to visit my mom and stepdad three days before Christmas. It was going to be the first time in many, many years that we were together for Christmas eve and part of Christmas day. Our return reservations were set for the 25th due to scheduling constraints with our pet sitter’s personal travel plans.

The visit was wonderful and the weather was wonderful. Until Christmas eve. It started raining that morning and the forecast called for a steep decline in temperature. This of course, would mean that the composition of that precipitation would change to something else, something frozen. And it did. We went to the movies and when we emerged from the theater, rain was falling in frozen droplets of icy sleet. In another hour, the sleet changed to pretty, fluffy flurries of snow. Exciting for a couple of girls from Texas. Not so exciting for the two that lived in Oklahoma and had experienced the aggravation associated with snow and ice on more than one occasion.

We headed for the casino – no trip to my mom’s is complete without at least one visit to the casino. This casino visit was somewhat justified with a dinner reservation in the restaurant. But unfortunately, inclement weather conditions interfered with our dining plans: the restaurant was closed. So off we went in search of a suitable Christmas eve dinner. Driving through the city, we were startled by the sharp increase in the wind and rate of snowfall. It was indeed beautiful, but made driving a little slower than usual. Visibility was reduced and everyone on the road was proceeding with extra caution.

Within a mile, the welcome sight of Outback Steakhouse greeted us. Perfect. We immediately went indoors for a warm, delicious dinner. Outside the snow was accumulating rapidly. We emerged to a world heavily cloaked in wintry white. It was like being inside a snow globe with the dense snowfall whirling all around. There were still shoppers out and about town, but traffic was waning.

We assumed that the snow would stop falling at some point during the night and the world would resume to normal operations by early to mid-morning. We had a plane to catch at 12:12pm, but in my mind, it would be understandable if the flight was delayed by an hour or two.

Upon awaking at 5am, I decided to check the airline website for flight status. The two earlier flights on Christmas day were cancelled, but my flight indicated a mild delay to the scheduled departure time. No problem.

By 8am, things had changed. My flight was now cancelled. News reports indicated that hundreds of vehicles were stranded along the roads and highway conditions were not safe enough for traveling. I called the airline to reschedule my flight and learned that they had taken the initiative to do this on my behalf. My new return flight was now 4 days away. This news was not registering in my consciousness very well. I could not comprehend the enormous gravity of the weather situation. I inquired about moving my departure to later that evening.

Um, no. Not available.
OK, how about tomorrow?
Well, no. We could get you a flight on Sunday from Dallas to Houston.
Oh, so I just have to get myself from Tulsa to Dallas on my own? No problem.

So that was the plan. But that was not a really good plan. I was depressed. As much as I love visiting my mom, I really wanted to get home. Our visit was cramping their style, just a little bit, and we just wanted a tiny bit of Christmas togetherness at home. Three more days just wouldn’t work.

Cristy called Southwest Airlines after finding what appeared to be availability on their Tulsa departures that same day. They did have seats available. We took 2. Even though the airline was flying to an airport that was not the same as the one from which we originated. We paid out the a*s for those tickets. But we got home with very little trouble. And we got to see my brother, sister-in-law and Cristy’s family that same night.

And we got to witness some family fun with vienna sausages and spam. Nothing like potted meat products to bring out the love.


  1. I love your posts! Family time around SPAM is always memorable. Glad you got home okay, and as one from Florida can relate to completely, yes, the promise of snow and ice is exciting as hell...until you have to figure out a way home. Happy for you and your family time.

  2. Good for you on getting home when you wanted. Family fun with Spam and Vienna sausage, should one dare ask?!

  3. A dare, of sorts that just kept escalating. Initially it was a dare to Cristy's nephew, the youngest kid in the family (17). Eat one vienna sausage and we'll give you our pocket money (a paltry $10). He goes for it, but then the demands continue - eat a bite of spam too. His dad then cleverly plates up ALL the vienna sausages with little toothpicks. After lots of dramatic gagging noises, camera flashbulbs and outrageous laughter, we resumed the gift exchange.

  4. I love how casinos can bring families together and Outback Steakhouse, everything tastes salty but the blooming onion is ummm yummy.