Friday, January 29, 2010

Karma lives in Fargo

This is a repost from June 2008 from a trip to Fargo, North Dakota, with my mom, brother, brother's girlfriend and sister for my uncle's wedding.

You are not going to believe this. Because I don't quite believe it myself, I will list the things that have happened since I woke up at 3:06 a.m. Thursday for my Fargo vacation.

1. Woke up Thursday with a fever and body aches.

2. Woke up Friday with swollen tonsils and the ability to speak in a whisper.

3. On Saturday morning, I woke to discover that someone had upended my contact lens case. I put on in to make sure they didn't dry out, but because I use a special hydrogen peroxide solution that needs 6 hours in a neutralizer to be wearable, I essentially poured hydrogen peroxide into my eye.

4. HIT A DEER and totalled the rental car on the way back from my uncle's wedding, leaving us stranded on the road in the middle of nowhere at 1 a.m.

5. Learned that my flight home was delayed FOUR HOURS, putting me back in my much longed-for bed somewhere around 3:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Now I'll back up. It's about 10:15 p.m. Denver time on Sunday. And I had some good times on this vacation, too. I just wanted to highlight the incredulous comedy of errors that has made this trip what it is thus far.

I did indeed wake up at 3:06 a.m., but my flight to Denver was lovely. I sat next to a very nice older woman on her way to a family reunion, who just happens to be from Maui, and who just happened to stay at the timeshare Matt and I will be in on our honeymoon. We swapped stories, she gave me tips, and we generally had a great flight.

In Denver, I met my mom, sister, brother and brother's girlfriend. Total sweetheart. We flew to Fargo, which is an adorable town, full of Midwest (we think that's where it is) charm. Our hotel, the Hotel Donaldson, was a very chic boutique, and it turned out to be quite the hotspot.

But yes, I wasn't feeling that great. Motrin helped for awhile, but right after dinner, I changed into pj's and hopped into bed while the rest of the gang explored the martini selection on the rooftop bar.

And when I woke up, I did so to a completely swollen throat ... so it was a day of hot tea for me. We visited the Scandanavian Festival, which was cute but much smaller than we expected. That night was the groom's dinner, where my crazy family assembled. My grandma was shouting, my uncles were drinking, my cousins were sneaking off to smoke God-knows-what, and my aunts were topping each other with lewd advice for marriage. The one I couldn't quite understand was something about the piddle and the paddle and the losing of a waddle, but that aunt is from Texas.

The next morning, I woke up and went to throw my contacts in, but my case was upside down. Like I said, due to my hyper-sensitive eyes, I have a solution that's essentially hydrogen peroxide. Thinking that maybe Mom had knocked the case over minutes earlier, I popped one in.
Imagine putting a disc covered in acid and shards of glass directly on your eye. In fact, just imagine something flying into your eye. It involuntarily closes, right? That's how hard it was to get the lens out. I was a tad cranky that morning, especially since Mom and Katherine -- my roommates -- both assured me that they didn't do it.
But I bucked up, and we drove to the wedding. It poured down rain, but the family was in high spirits. Tt's beautiful to watch two people -- so hopeful -- pledge to spend their lives together. And when those two people have had a twisty, turny life, and they choose for Rascal Flatts' "God Bless The Broken Road" to be sung during the ceremony ... come on. You can't blame those who cried, can you?

Then it was reception time. We stormed the dancefloor from about 7 p.m. until midnight, and all kinds of family shenanigans ensued. The highlights?

1. The reception opened with the "Star Spangled Banner." Before dinner was served.

2. It included the Chicken Dance, the Macarena AND the Hokey Pokey.

3. About halfway through, the DJs called my cousins, who have served in the Army and Navy, respectively, and my brother, who plays in a pop-punk band, to the stage. Behind them, they unfurled a full-sized American flag, and projected a little laser light show on it. And, to "Proud to Be an American," the bride slow-danced with my brother ... quite awkwardly, since he hasn't served in the military. The guys who did serve ducked out as soon as the song started to take whiskey shots out back.

One thing I cannot emphasize enough is how much FUN it is to dance at wedding receptions with my family. We are a crazy group, sometimes mentally unbalanced, but we are fun, and we can dance, and we are the life of the party.

But, soon it was midnight, and time to leave. Since we were in the middle of Minnesota (not a very heavily populated state, at least where we were at), and there was some road construction, and it was the middle of the night, and it was pitch black, Mom drove and I played navigator, and we both paid close, careful attention to the road.

As soon as we hit the halfway point "home," there it was. One second it was open road in front of us, the very next second, there was a deer. We hit it, going 55 miles per hour. Immediately after it flew over the driver's side of the car, Mom started hyperventilating. And kept driving. With no headlights. And smoke coming from the engine, which was accordianed into the front of the car.

After about a half-mile, she started to pull over, but was still driving at about 10 miles per hour, half on the road, hyperventilating and sobbing. I took the wheel, steered us off the road, and started barking orders and questions (as nicely as I could, as I'd just been in the same accident). I dialed 911 with one hand, and grabbed my AAA card with the other, asking my sister (most likely to have a panic attack) to call them to get us a tow. My brother's girlfriend was fine, and so I set her on comforting Mom ... as soon as Anthony could loosen her death-grip on the wheel, and get her out of the car. Which was still smoking.

After a couple minutes (Katherine and I were still on the lines ... but coming close to losing reception, as it was a 1-bar kind of dead cell zone), Mom got on the phone with the rental car company. They asked her what she expected them to do, and warned that she wouldn't likely be given another car, since she's just crashed her first one. Anyone who wants to know the name of the company can contact me. I know I won't be renting from them again.

After I got off the phone with the extremely helpful and kind state patrol dispatcher, I started to digest our situation.

We had just hit and likely killed a deer (but I wasn't walking back to check).

I had two hysterical women and one drunk couple on my hands.

It was the middle of the night.

We barely had cell phone reception.
We didn't know where we were.

So, whether from panic, cold or adreneline, I started to shake uncontrollably. And I called the State Patrol back, to beg them to send an officer just to keep us company. They already had, said the dispatcher. And did we need a tow or a cab? My sister, still on with AAA, let me know that they were sending a tow, but that we'd need to call a cab. Leaving us two undesireable options.

1. Leave the car on the side of the road.

2. Stand stranded on the side of the road without it.

No problem, said the State Patrol. I'll call you back.

But before she could, the trooper showed up. He let us know that the deer was "taken care of," and that they had arranged a tow truck big enough to fit us all AND take the car at the same time. Then he stayed with us until it arrived. The driver took us back to our hotel, and assured us that he would deal with the rental company directly, so we wouldn't need to worry about things.

And off we went to beddy-bye. It was 3 a.m.

We had to arrange for a late check-out of the hotel, but with no car and no place to store our luggage, that put us at the airport at 2:30 for our 7:30 flight. But the company was good, the airport was nice, and we whiled away the hours.

About 10 minutes before our flight left, I overheard people talking about a connecting flight that was supposed to get to its destination at 11 p.m., but was delayed about two hours.

They were wearing USC sweatshirts.


I called, and sure enough ... my departure home was delayed from 8:30 to 10:30. Bummer.

After getting off the Fargo-Denver flight, I checked the departure board.

12:50 a.m.

F%^&*g #%^) F(**(k ^#$$%^&$

So here I sit, at 10:39 p.m. at the airport, having spent $9 to blog so far. I've still got a couple hours to wait, and then a 2-hour-and-change flight, and then a 45-minute drive home. All the airport stores and restaurants are closed. I am almost out of cash.

I want to be home more intensely than I ever have wanted to be home before.

I have two minutes of internet time left.

I'll let you know how it all turns out tomorrow, once I am brave enough to get out of bed.

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