Worst news of the day: Our flight was canceled when we arrived at the airport, and we were told we couldn't fly home until Tuesday.
Another day of ups and downs. We got up early to check our flight status and Cleveland weather, and thought we might be safe since I received a trip alert confirmation on the way to the airport. Then, I tried to check my bag with my boarding pass and the kiosk told me to see an agent. Uh oh. Jerkface agent took a little too much delight in telling us that our flight was canceled five minutes ago and there would be no flights to Cleveland until Tuesday. You've...got...to...be...kidding...me. Phil was extra disappointed since the news crushed his dream of a first-class seat. Our situation reminded me of a t-shirt I considered buying at David & Goliath that said, "When life hands you lemons, squirt them in someone's eye." I wanted to squirt a lemon (or three) into that agent's face.
We got in the horrendous line to re-book, and I simultaneously called the travel agent. After a 30-minute wait, she found us a reasonable room at MGM Grand. Then we spoke with a Continental agent who diligently searched for flights on alternative carriers at our request (Rosemary Bachelor at Continental is the best!), and after a half hour or so, she was able to book Phil on a flight tomorrow that connects through Phoenix and me on one that connects through Charlotte. Phil's phone was dying and he didn't bring his charger, so it was scary to think about what could happen if each of us got stuck after the first leg of our flight. I have my girlfriend Jen in Charlotte, but Phil doesn't know a soul in Phoenix. But, each of us got the last seat on each of our flights. And, if we actually make it home tomorrow, we'll be thrilled. We're past ready to go back to Cleveland.
Once we got to our new hotel, we were starving since we hadn't eaten breakfast. I was happy we were staying at MGM since it was new scenery and offered the opportunity to see things at the opposite end of the strip than where we stayed earlier this week. And, it reminded me of my dad because he brought me back a hideous T-shirt when I was a teenager that I never wore, but couldn't bear to get rid of.
Neither of us were in the mood for ANOTHER buffet, but for lunch, they're usually the most economical since a sandwich and a water will still cost you $20 anyway. Silliness. Then I saw short ribs AND mini corn dogs and was in heaven. I heard Phil shout, "They have everything! This is awesome!" and we were yet again on our way to stuffing ourselves. I will spare you another list of my food choices, but I will say that I had one plate entirely devoted to carbs.
At our table, we called our families to give them travel updates and tried reaching my uncle and Pat about the pets. At this point, I knew Ava would be really low or out of food and I started feeling more nervous, so I left a message for my Uncle Rob about checking in on her. And, I felt extra guilty to have to ask Pat to watch Zip yet another day. We moped for a little while because it sucks feeling like you're taking advantage of people and we felt like huge pains in the asses. And, we couldn't believe how much snow everyone was dealing with at home. Neither of our families could get out of their driveways, much less down the street. We reminisced about each of our crazy blizzard driving stories (like when my younger brother "crashed" my first car in slow motion into my teacher's landscaping after begging me to teach him to drive during a snow day). Then we had a pep talk and decided what could we do but make the best of things.
It was starting to get really warm and we were both pretty much out of fresh clothes, so we went on a hunt to find the cheapest, most ridiculous shirts we could (OK, it was only me who wanted to do this), and I also was dying for flip flops...my favorite symbol of warm weather. Phil vetoed my initial shirt selections for us (me: hideous orange Las Vegas County jail inmate shirt, Phil: "Tell your boobs to stop looking at my eyes" shirt). So we ended up with normal-looking (aka boring) t-shirts for a total of $8, and I got fun red plastic flip flops that ended up hurting like hell but let my toes breathe. We also found a cell phone charger for Phil.
We started feeling superstitious about what it would take to get us home. For example, I hypothesized that Vegas did not want me to leave before enjoying a ridiculous Eiffel Tower frozen strawberry margarita, and Phil insisted that we wouldn't be able to get a flight out until we saw Fat Elvis at Harrah's.
So, to please the Vegas gods (and more importantly: me), we walked to Paris so I could finally enjoy my drink (so delicious). Then we wandered through casinos back toward MGM (miraculously, without playing anything) and saw a lady win $1,000 (dammit, that should have been our win for Kim!) on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine.
The weather was still gorgeous, but the winds starting getting gusty and it reminded me of when I ran a half-marathon here five years ago. Vegas is supposed to be one of the easiest courses for beginners, but my race was plagued by 58-mph winds that resulted in Port-a-Potties barreling down the streets and sand in my eyes, ears and socks. I was able to finish, but it was a crazy race.
On our walk back to MGM, I heard from Pat that she lost power and had no heat, and I wasn't sure what to do since she said she and the kids were considering going somewhere else. I knew it would be tough to fit her, three teenagers and two dogs in her car, so we started brainstorming about what to do to make things easier for her. Phil suggested calling my brother to see if he had power and could take Zippy for a night (he has a 16-month old, a wife who's eight months pregnant and a crazy Jack Russell, which is why we didn't ask him to watch Zip in the first place). He offered to help out and then we heard from Pat that her power was back on, which was a relief. But I still felt really guilty about her burden of watching (and cleaning up after) our dog since she's been far from her best behavior this week.
When we got back to our hotel, we went to see the lions. They made me think of my poor kitty. I thought it was cool to learn that lion cubs weigh 1.5 lbs. when they're born and grow to 390 (female) to 500 lbs. (male). The MGM has something like 38 lions on its ranch.
We were still stuffed from brunch, so we headed to the tables (addicts, I tell you) and tried blackjack for the first time, which we sucked at. Oh well. At least we tried something new. Then we grabbed sandwiches for dinner and headed back to our room to catch the rest of the UNC vs. Duke game and crash.
Thankfully, my uncle called to say that he was able to dig out his driveway after shoveling all day (he had four feet of snow) and made it across town (he's a saint) to our house to check on Ava. Apparently our driveway was in even worse shape than his and he couldn't even pull onto our street because it hadn't been plowed. But, our kitty is fine, has fresh food, water and litter, and I feel so much better.So, we're 0 for 2 with flights home. Third time's a charm, right? My fingers are crossed that Phil I don't end up in different states tomorrow night.