I should have known the minute we were delayed leaving Kansas City. Heading to Charlotte to spend the night, we were delayed two hours. It was raining in Charlotte. We arrived ok, a couple hours late. However, it seemed to put a chain of events in motion as follows:
The next morning as planned we were to leave for St. Maarten, and from there take a boat to Anguilla for a week of relaxation and fun in the sun with the kids. Upon turning my mobile phone on, I recieved a message from USAIR that our flight was cancelled. Being in Charlotte with a cancelled plane isn’t quite as comforting as being in your home state and having your flight cancelled. So I called USAIR and very calmly asked what they were going to do. They had already booked us on a flight to St. Thomas. And then another flight, 5 hours later, on a local St. Thomas airline, called Liat, to St. Maarten. So we lost a day in Anguilla, big deal, but no hotel reservation in St. Maarten. With no place to stay in St. Maarten, I had to call and charter a boat to get us from St. Maarten to Anguilla, plus ask them if they could keep customs open for us in Anguilla, since they normally close at 6. “Sure, no problem, man, there will be a fee associated with that of course.” Of course.
We got to the airport in Charlotte, and found out that instead of 5 first class tickets direct to St. Maarten, we would be flying coach to St. Thomas in seats spread around the plane. Further, the plane from St. Thomas to St. Maarten was a small propeller plane, which the Mrs. is deathly afraid of. Not to mention our kids are 11, 7, and 2. 11, ok, she can sit alone, but 7 and 2, we had to ask some people, and they were cool about switching seats with us. Also, the flight attendant, Muriel, heard our sob story and treated us very well. (Thank you so very much Muriel, and I apologize for not getting your last name so that I can mention you more clearly to the airline when I call to commend them on your service!)
After just under 4 hours cramped in coach next to my 2 year old who didn’t like the idea of being awake, nor did he want to sleep, I was beat. But, still, having had a few drinks, and being on the way to paradise, I still was in good humor. Found a great little bar/restaurant near the airport and walked over to hang out for our 5 hour layover. We got back to the airport, checked in, and the flight left about 45 minutes late. Kids are exhausted at this point. Luckily, Mrs. had had a few drinks and did just fine on the small plane.
When we arrived at St. Maarten, we had a guy met us and get us to a taxi. Since we had landed on the Netherlands side, and customs was closed, we had to taxi over to the french side to clear customs. (I might have switched the two countries there.) We did that, and then got on a boat to Anguilla, where they held customs open for us, again for a fee. At least there was no lines!
Now I know this story so far sounds like I’m complaining. It was actually a pretty painless day. The kids acted pretty well, considering, and we were lucky to run into Muriel, as well as the restaurant which gave us a place to relax and commiserate with other passengers in similar situations. When we arrived at the hotel, the Frangipani, the restaurant was closed. The chef hadn’t left and was kind enough to make us some quick snacks since we were hungry and there were no other options for food close by.
The next day we woke up in Anguilla, and the previous day was completely erased. What a spectacular hotel, island, people, beach, weather, everything! WOW! I’ve been to some pretty cool places in my day, and this place is the first one that I booked a return trip while still on property!
So the week was a blast. We got back on the plane in St. Maarten, and had an easy flight back through Charlotte, customs was a breeze, although my 2 year old peed himself in line and kept yelling, “I peed, I peed!” Parents around us got a kick out of that, non parents were grossed out. Easy flight back to KC.
Then we looked outside. Took us 2 hours to drive home to Lawrence, due to the blizzard. Easily 10 cars and trucks were on the side of the road, flashers on. Scary drive. This is where the first flight looks like an omen. Its still snowing, 24 hours later, and my Jayhawks lost.
KU, who was picked as the number one overall seed, lost in the second round to a talented, hungry team in Northern Iowa. I’m proud of the boys for the season. Just disappointed in the effort tonight. I wish that Sherron had played better in his last game as a Jayhawk. For his own sake more than KU. Same for Cole, since it was most likely his last game as a Jayhawk too. I know what it is like to play bad in your last college game. I was in foul trouble, and spent most of the game watching us come back and fall short at the buzzer.
Kansas basketball will be good in the future, but for now I will not listen to “there’s always next year.” I’ve choked on those words a lot in my long career, which is a small part of the reason that though I wasn’t on the active roster, I retired a champion with the Celtics. It helps me swallow the bitter pill of season after season of being on teams in high school, college, and the pros that ALL played in the post season, yet fell short of the ultimate goal. (the only exception being my rookie year in Detroit)
Good luck to the rest of the teams in the big 12. I can’t say I will be paying much attention to the tournament from here on out. Here’s some pics of my trip.