It’s a Wonderful Life

We left NY on Saturday amidst a practical blizzard, at least what has accounted for one over the past year and a half.  In fact, what we received was more than two thirds than the total snow fall for all last winter so, woohoo… too bad it had to happen on the day I left the state.  It was a Saturday and I had cancelled my Saturday morning prayer group since I was planning on using most of the morning to get ready for our trip, thus having a little bit of time to sleep in; which, of course, meant that I woke up just a little bit after 0530.  Go figure.  I knew we were expecting some overnight snow so I peeked outside as soon as I woke up and saw that we had gotten maybe an inch or two at best and it was no longer currently snowing.

I got up and took a shower and my puttering around the house was enough to wake Leslie up so we played a game of cards while waiting for the kids to get up.  By the time the kids got up the snow had started to fall again and at a rate that was mildly concerning considering that we had a plane to catch in a few hours.  As we put the finishing touches on our packing I nervously began to check my phone for airport delays and flight cancellations.  All down the screen I saw serious flight delays and numerous cancellations for many flights after 0800, which was about when the snow had started again.  I took hope in that all of the flights going out of Albany at this time of morning were to other places in the northeast so it was highly possible that these flights were being delayed or cancelled because of the receiving airports.  As we approached the time to leave I went out and blew the snow off our driveway and moved our luggage to the garage.  There was one flight that I had my eye on for an on-time departure, it was a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, I figured if that flight departed on time our flight to Atlanta was probably safe.  15 minutes before I decided we needed to leave based on a combination of poor driving conditions, the need to make one minor stop on the way, and concerns about weather related congestion in the airport itself, the flight to Florida departed after having been delayed only a few minutes.

The normally 15-minute drive to the airport took us a little over 45 as it appeared that the Schenectady County plows had yet to run on any of the streets.  We got to the airport about an hour and 40 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart, early enough that I felt we had left too early and late enough that my wife was starting to get nervous.  Clearly she is a rookie when it comes to flying out of the Albany International Airport, we made it through baggage check and security in about 20 minutes; ah the joys of priority status and TSA pre-check.  The snow had stopped falling by the time our plane took off leaving us with a total accumulation of about 7-9 inches… and I was not there to fully enjoy it.  Oh well, at least I got to dust off the snow blower before we left.

We finally arrived at my in-laws house a little before 1900 (a combination of an hour and a half drive and nearly as much time spent trying to jam 5 people, 3 car seats, 3 smaller bags, 2 large suitcases, and a partridge in a pear tree into a Jeep Patriot will significantly impact your total travel time, we ended up having to leave the pear tree at the airport).  We ate dinner with most of the extended family and I reminded my nieces and nephews why I am the awesome uncle, by playing manhunt with them once it got dark.  It was during this process that I was involved in possibly one of the most hilarious pranks I have ever been involved in, but was not the instigator (or provoker… should I say provocateur?) of.  Let’s just say that during the process of choosing teams one of the members of our group discovered a dead chipmunk in the garage, it was then decided by group consensus that it would be hilarious if we placed said chipmunk (for whom rigor mortis had long since set in such a position that said chipmunk was now stiff as a board in a spread-eagle position) on the windshield of my father-in-law’s vehicle.  I wish I had snagged a picture of this prior to its discovery later that evening because it truly was hilarious.  The view from inside the vehicle made it appear as if the chipmunk had been flying along before meeting an untimely demise upon the surface of the vehicle’s windshield, much as a rather large insect would have appeared minus the associated splatter of internal (and external) organs.  And this, my friends, is what being an uncle is all about, or at least it should be.


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