The main point is, if you don't travel with due respect and humility for the Travel Gods, you will suffer. And, apparently, I have not been making the appropriate sacrifices. My trip to Ohio was not exactly a calamity, but travel did not go as smoothly as I hoped. I had direct flights between Miami and Cleveland, an easy 2 and a half hour flight in a puddle-jumper plane. (The first mistake: assuming that the flight would be “easy”.) Although I arrived an hour before my flight left, there were some snafus, and I missed my flight. The reservation agent at the gate was very nice, and she quickly booked me new flights, which would connect in La Guardia (so, no more direct flight). An airplane golf cart even whisked me across the entire terminal, and I made it to New York without a hitch. When I got there, however, I discovered that the airport had been evacuated due to a bomb scare. (This was the day after Boston, and it turned out to be some innocent wires hanging from a light fixture.) Luckily, I arrived when the had started letting passengers back into the terminal. Unluckily, American airlines' computers had shut down, world-wide. While I sat there in the gate, flight after flight piling up, it did occur to me that if I hadn't missed my flight, I would have been at Ohio already. I tried to stay philosophical, though, because I was on vacation and didn't have any urgent plans that day. After a few hours, they announced that the Cleveland flights (and only the Cleveland flights, as far as I could tell), would be allowed to board. That was because the flights were tiny, and half-empty. The combined two flights of people in a puddle-jumper, took our boarding passes and used a hole-puncher on them (remember, every single computer was down), and the pilots filled out the paperwork by hand. I arrived in Cleveland 6 hours late, and I counted myself lucky.
The trip back started out more auspiciously. I arrived with plenty of time to spare, and the flight to Miami proceeded according to plan, right until we started circling Miami. That's when they announced that the entire airport was shut down, due to a huge storm. We diverted to Ft. Meyers, on the other side of Florida, to refuel, and we arrived only a few hours late.
In spite of this all, I can report that my vacation was terrific. I sat around bonfires and talked for hours with my parents, I helped my dad do some maintenance on a old bicycle, and I learned that my brother can make authentic cardamom-flavored, stewed chai tea. My sister-in-law and I shopped for flowers (although we ended up being unable to plant them, due to surprise snow showers). I made coloring books for my niece and nephew. I did all the everyday things that I would do if I lived closer to all of them. And then I counted my lucky stars that we're moving to DC, where I'll only be a short, six-hour drive from my parents.