Okay, so this was supposed to be Day 3. But our adventure story was so long, even longer than what I have here, that I allowed it to be Day 3 and 4.
Before the cancer diagnosis, a few of my God-sized Dreams girlfriends had planned a trip to one’s beach house in Florida in February. Of course, after the surgery was scheduled, I knew I wouldn’t be able to travel. So my best friend offered to travel here to see me after surgery and suggested renting a beach house in Galveston. I’d still get a little beach time and girl time to boot.
Given the short time to plan and both of our busy schedules, I couldn’t believe it came together. We found a gorgeous beach house for our adventure, and Kristin would arrive one week after my surgery for a long weekend in Galveston. Arriving Feb 11th and leaving early on Monday, Feb 15th.
Are you laughing already?
You are if you’re in Texas.
My husband says February is the most unpredictable weather month for Texas. But even so, we topped ourselves this time!
She and her wonderful daughter arrived without a hitch (well, with some significant bumps…), but we had ominous weather warnings. Nonetheless, after I got my drain removed at MD Anderson Friday morning, we packed up and headed south to Galveston to take in the ocean. It was gray, raining and cold. Not negative 40 Minnesota cold, which was what she left, but high 30s with rain and wind cold. Unpleasant.
Nonetheless, the girls enjoyed collecting shells on the beach and flying kites (K’s in 4th grade and L’s in 5th), for brief periods. Then returning to the cool house for hot cocoa and games. The upside down game may have been my favorite. The videos are hysterical. Plus we got to belatedly celebrate Kristin’s birthday and treat the girls to Starbucks and Chic Fil A in town.
By Saturday night, all of Texas was in near hysteria mode. I wish I had video of the newscast. So Kristin made the decision to delay her Monday morning flight to Tuesday afternoon. We figured that a 3 pm flight would be late enough to allow the ice to clear from our Texas roads. After hours on hold with Delta, she got through and made the switch!
Yea, an extra day with my best friend.
Not so fast. (Especially for Kristin!)
We stocked up on groceries in Galveston, having heard Houston shelves were already going bare, and we headed home on Sunday. We’d gotten some rest, laughed a ton, and they had lots of shells to return with stowed in luggage.
Little did we know that on Sunday the adventure was just beginning. By Sunday lunchtime, they had been in Houston just over 60 hours. They weren’t even half way there yet.
The girls, with lots of help from Kristin, made these fuzzy dogs, we roasted smores over our stove, and we watched t.v. We all still were relatively optimistic – about making it through the storm and Kristin’s return flight.
Monday morning, we woke to a winter wonderland. Snow covered the entire neighborhood. Because there was a thin layer of ice under the snow, according to reports, the girls played outside in the largely untouched whiteness. Reports came in of power outages across the state, but particularly in Houston. We felt so fortunate to be able to snuggle in our warm house, watching tv, calling family, while the girls played games.
Until 5 pm.
Bray and the boys were at the ranch and unable to return home until Tuesday, at best, so Kristin and I started navigating the situation. He told us over the phone what nozzles and handles to switch and turn. We got our very out of shape natural gas fireplace going. Because I have a gas stove, we were able to warm food stovetop.
For the girls, it was still a bit of an exciting adventure. Lamps and fireplaces in the chilly dark. For Kristin and I, it meant less sleep and more concern. Meanwhile Delta canceled her Tuesday flight. (Kristin – when did this happen? Everything from Monday to Wednesday is a blur. I think they canceled it Tuesday morning, but maybe I’m wrong… I’m going with that story line.)
Tuesday we woke up to a very cold house. We didn’t keep the fireplace on overnight for safety reasons. The hallway thermostat read 42 or 52 degrees – I honestly can’t remember when it hit what.
You can see the adventure gets blurry. Tuesday is a complete blur. No power. Very little water, some faucets still had a small trickle. We’d filled up the bathtub and had water bottles but we were careful.
To add insult to injury, after the no power/water hiccup, we lost cell service. We could not talk or text from my house. We drove to a grocery store parking lot a few minutes away to get a signal. The first place we could find one. Mind you, we didn’t go in the grocery store because all the shelves were empty.
Kristin commented on the insanity. No power. No water. No cell service. No food. Where are we?
And if in fact I am right and her flight was canceled Tuesday morning, then it explains why, after being on hold with Delta for HOURS, the agent could not hear Kristin’s voice after coming on the line, so she was utterly unable to communicate with the airline. They sent an email saying she would fly out on Thursday. We just went with that and hoped for the best.
Also, WHAT A FREAKIN’ TROOPER.
Tuesday night: reinforcements.
Bray and the boys arrived with a heater, big old school lanterns, and fresh water. They’d picked their way from Refugio to Houston carefully and made it shortly after dark.
Good news, bad news. Good news: We would be warmer and more hydrated. Bad news: we went from four people in the living room huddled together to seven people. Two of those seven were 11 year old boys. Loud and physical 11 year old boys.
Ah, just what you bargained for, eh Kristin? Come see your friend post-surgery and get TRAPPED IN HELL FROZEN OVER!
Wednesday improved, other than the fact that Kristin’s family was suffering without her. Power came back from 10 am to 6 pm and then again at 11 pm, when it then stayed on. We were able to eat, warm up the house, and even play outside because finally THERE WAS SUN! I live in a sunny place. It was not sunny during her trip.
And of course, right after we had fixed dinner and invited neighbors over who didn’t have power, the power dropped again. Fortunately this time, it was only until evening. Then we were able to go sleep in rooms, in beds.
Poor Kristin and her daughter had no SHOWER access though. We warmed kettles of water and put them in a bucket in the shower and they sponged off so they wouldn’t be a wreck on the plane. Good night nurse!
Well, finally, after ALL OF THAT, I actually drove her and her mini me to the airport Thursday morning. Unbelievably, there was still ice on the road even though there hadn’t been precipitation in three days and there had been sun.
She and I firmly agree we need a new vacation. One free of stress and drama. Not my trip to Minnesota for a funeral and then running from a blizzard, and not her trip to Texas for cancer and then running from a winterpocalypse.
Just she and I. On a beach. Not in winter or hurricane season.
This is also our retirement plan. Regular meet ups on a travel neutral beach outside of major storm seasons. We’ll laugh too loud and wear bright swimsuits and crazy sunglasses and eat dinner at the senior special shrimp house down the road. Our husbands will be able to tolerate us because we take the crazy to each other.
Until then, any Kristin and Gindi adventure is better than none. (And we may allow our daughters to come every other time.) I’m inexpressibly grateful she was able to come. She helped so much and she also was there to care for little bit and I during the power outage when we would have been alone. Nonetheless, I think we’ve both earned a drama free trip to some place fantastic!