The Birthday That Wasn’t

For those not in the loop, the DH surprised me for my birthday that shall not be named with a weekend getaway to Paris.  Yes, that Paris.

Mom and my sister and her kids all mobilized to watch my three terrors so DH and I could stroll the streets of Gay Paris.  The DH made it all the way to last Monday without telling me.  Then he wimped out, not for fear that I wouldn’t be ready, but for fear that there would be no food in the house should I need to leave unexpectedly.  Well, the joke was on him, there was no food in the house when we left regardless.

The plan was to escape Friday afternoon, arrive in Paris on Saturday morning, spend two full days enjoying the sights, but mostly the food and wine, and then jet home on Monday.  Easy, right?

We were late getting off to the airport because The Rookie decided not to take the bus the one day I really needed him to.  I couldn’t bare the thought of shoving off overseas without saying goodbye first.  So we waited for Grandma to collect him, gave him a quick snuggle and smooch, and off we went.

Things at the airport went remarkably smoothly…which should have been my first warning sign.  We breezed through security, had a quick bite to eat and boarded exactly on time.

This is where the wheels fell off.  After receiving complimentary champagne… Oh, did I forget to mention that the DH got us upgraded?  We were sitting in our “it will turn into a bed when you are ready” seats enjoying a complimentary beverage, when the captain announces a slight mechanical problem.  Shouldn’t take too long.  Just sit back and relax and we’ll keep you updated.  Great.

One hour

Two hours

Captain says we are shoving off!  A ripple of excitement washes through the plane.  We all refasten our seat belts.  The little vehicle pushes us back from the gate and then


The plane won’t start.  You didn’t even get the satisfaction of hearing the starter motor turn without igniting anything.  There was just silence.  DH, a very experienced flyer, noted that we were probably going to need a new plane.  After a half an hour the captain comes on and says that they are going to get us a new plane.  Something has gone horribly wrong and he has never had two unrelated mechanical problems on the same plane before , but holy cow if there isn’t a first time for everything.

Upon exiting the plane, we were given food vouchers.  Again, a bad sign.

Our entire flight ended up at the bar, which couldn’t accept the food vouchers, and we all sat and watched as a line of thunderstorms began its Eastward march towards O’Hare.  Needless to say, the mood was a little dour.

We were told we would board a new plane at a new gate in 45 minutes.  Said gate had not been determined.  Our flight was no longer even listed with the departures on the big screen.

At this point the DH and I are thinking about the hours ticking away in Paris.  If the flight left when they said it would, we would get to the hotel at 1:30 in the afternoon on Saturday.  And there was no way in God’s green that the flight would leave anywhere near the time they said it would.

After much discussion, cursing, phone calls, and more cursing, it was decided that we were not going to have nearly enough time in Paris to make the whole boondoggle worth it.  We would call it a weekend, and try some other time.

The airline managed to find it in it’s heart to give us a refund.  They assured us that we would again see our bags.  We walked out of the airport and headed to a French restaurant downtown.  A night in a hotel and we came home, on my birthday, to pick up our lives where we had left off.

We went to two little league games, we went out to a lovely dinner.  I got a little wasted on Mojitos and the night ended uneventfully in my living room watching SNL.  Not even a cake.

I’m not going to feel sorry for myself.  I have a DH who went through the trouble and expense of planning an amazing weekend for me.  I have a family that is willing to screw around with their lives so that I might enjoy being whisked away.  And as a “consolation prize” I got to spend my birthday with said family and the three terrors that I love more than anything in the world.

Paris, schmaris.

2 thoughts on “The Birthday That Wasn’t

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