Stranded and Grounded

From up here everything looks so small, its almost as if you can hold everything in eye sight in the palm of your hand. Its amazing how minuscule one can feel when you see everything around you, the majesty of this world is amazing and a bit much to take in at times. But at this moment I was just at ease because after waiting in a plain for 3 hours for it to take off I was grateful to be on my way home from what seemed like a nightmare situation.

You see after being 5 minutes "late" for check in, we missed our flight home from our vacation in Orlando. We were instead put on a flight that was grounded for 3 whole hours due to thunderstorms, and while we waited we were tortured with the acting chops of Mr. Demi Moore himself. At times I was waiting for the crew members of his show "Punk'd" to show up with cameras as I reacted with amazement, shocked by the outlandish antics of Ashton's amazingly "creative" brain. But after the end credits of Valentines Day rolled I realized that Ashton wasn't going to Punk me today, maybe next time.

My sister and her husband were going to pick us up from the airport now and at last I was able to relax a bit. I just liad my head back and rested my eyes for a bit, but my mind was racing, I couldn't stop thinking that something else was going to happen, but honestly what else can happen after something like this right?

As we landed in Atlanta, we learned that our next flight was boarding and we had to make our way from where were all the way across the airport, in length terms we had to run about half a mile dragging our bags, before realizing that the flight was going to leave us if we didn't speed things up. We stopped right in time to catch the subway that took us to the other side of the terminal. In there I was looking at the time realizing we only had a few minutes left. The tram came to a stop and we busted out of there, running as fast I could hauling all the bags and my wife running ahead of me with the tickets in hand trying to secure our spot in the plane.

Right in the nick of time we made our way to our gate with about 2 people in front of us. Again I was able to take a breath, and thank God for helping us so far, but to my surprise our struggles weren't over just yet. I got a call from my sister, with a bit of hesitation I answered the phone. She told me that they weren't going to be able to pick us up because her husband had to work in only a few hours (he worked the graveyard shift) so we, once again were up a creek without a paddle.

No longer caught off guard by bad news we were trying to wrap our head around this new problem that was in front of us. My wife called her sister to see if she could pick us up but her voice mail is all we got. I had no one else to call, every one of my siblings was dead asleep and not in a position to assist. As we finally landed in Salt Lake City, it was about 12:30 am now, we thought about taking a taxi back home. We made our way to the exit and asked a cab driver what the cost of a taxi would be from there to Pleasant Grove. The answer hit us hard, picture a deer caught in the headlights kind of look. "An estimate?" he asked "about 80 or 90 give or take" "Dollars?!" I answered with fright in my voice, and yes he meant dollars, pesos, dinero, cheese, cash flow, chedda, mula, bills, how ever you want to call it he meant just that.

Once again defeated and baffled by our current dilemma, we asked ourselves what more can we do. I suggested renting a card but that would put us back money wise. Jenny called her sister one more time and this time she struck gold, she answered the phone, but to our disappointment she said she couldn't because she was with her boyfriend. With our options slimming down by the second I was getting very angry, I definitely wasn't thinking straight but as always my wife was the one with the brains. She took my phone and looked down the contact list and began to dial numbers. A few calls later she look up at me giving me the thumbs up signal. At last someone was coming through for us, but who?

The time was now 1:30 am and I was sitting down waiting and recapping the day's events. It was a bit soothing to think that after all that we had been through so far we were only 40 minutes away from home, no matter how dark and crappy it seemed it always got better. It was now 2 am and I got a call from our Knight in Shinning Armor. "Whats up Foo!" he said as I answered the phone and its s all I needed to hear to know who it was. My big loving father figure Andres, as loyal as any best friend could ever be, there he was with his wife. When no one was able or willing to pick us up we had to relay on a friend who was harder to get hold of than the president, but somehow he was here ready to take us home.

Finally we were going home, after hours of uncertainty and frustration we were for sure going to make it to our warm and cozy bed. Talking to Andres about his lack of pick-up-the-phone-skills, he told us that he always leaves his phone on vibrate so that people wont bug him in the middle of the night, but for some reason this night he felt impressed to leave the ringer on, and by his bed. So when Jenny called him he picked up, which is not normal for him, and specially not that late at night. About 35 minutes later we were home, thanks to my gentle giant.


45 minutes before take off

There we were, enjoying a nice Cuban sandwich in Orlando Florida. Getting ready to go back home to Utah, back to the cold and crappy weather. It had been a great week, full of fun and joy with each other, and now it was on to the real world, no more Disney world, no more sandy beaches, no more sunny drenched days sweating just by doing nothing, oh no we were going back to our reality which was Pleasant Grove Utah and not Kissimmee Florida.
Our last day in paradise was nice, we got ready and packed. Checked out of our temporary home called the Ramada Inn, and on our way we were, ready to spend our last few hours here before boarding time came. We wanted to eat out one last time and enjoy this day as much as possible, so we drove around near the Airport's proximity to make sure we would be back just in time for our flight. We tussled around as to where to eat, and after a few failed attempts at eating in the fancy likes of TGI Fridays we settled for a Cuban restaurant called Mi Tierra.
Jenny chowed down that Cuban sandwich in matter of minutes with a bit of my help, and off we were to the airport. Our rental car a 2010 Nissan Cube was filled to the top when we got it and as it stated in the guidelines we needed to return it with the same amount of gas as when we first got it. On our way to the airport I noticed the the needle that read the amount of gas was slowly dipping bellow the F, so I drove to the nearest gas station. I topped it off and off we went again.
I was a bit worried that we wouldn't make our flight but we still had plenty of time, or so I thought. We pulled up to the car garage of the Orlando International Airport and parked, grabbed our bags and bid farewell to our trusty white Cube. There we were hauling our bags through the huge masses of people piling all over getting ready to leave, some with tears and hugs others with "Ill see you later" goodbyes. Finally we got to our flight check in line, and just in time, with maybe a minute or two to spare.
It was our turn to check in, and I handed the guy behind the counter our itinerary and I loaded the bags on the scale. The guy looks up at us a and says "So are you guys running late?" to what I said "No were not, why do you say that?" "Well" he said with a tone one would only have right before bad news were about to be given, "there is no way you are going to make this flight."
"Excuse me?!" I said with a tone of disbelief "how is that possible? our flight is not leaving for another 30 minutes" to what he said "Well sir you are right but we still need to get these bags checked in and with the time frame that you have left us there is no way we can get you there in time, I'm sorry."
I could not believe my ears, it was like the beginning of a bad family comedy movie, you know the kind that has the main characters stranded in an airport thousands of miles from their destination or home and they have to drive cross country and go through hell to get back. A few days later, and after several near death experiences that one would probably never encounter in their whole lifetime (like fighting a dear, or falling off a cliff in your car and only having the tiers and doors fall off like in "Are we there yet?") and more in love than before they left because along the way they fight and hate one another, only to fall madly and deeply in love all over again because of all the "I almost lost you moments" they finally make it home with nothing but the clothes on their back with a bloody lip and torn and dirty shirts-kind of movie? well this was beginning to feel like the start of one of those movies, we were in for a long, long day.

"its 45 minutes before take off sir. We ask all of our passengers to check in no later than 40 minutes before take off. Its posted all over the airport." "Does it look like we have been vacationing in the airport to you?" I barked back at him with the tone of frustration lingering in my voice. "We need to get in that plane, I don't care what we or you need to do, we need to get back home for work." There was a bit of desperation now and I was not happy and if I wasn't happy, my wife was furious. The guy behind the counter was typing like crazy, going back and forward, talking to people trying to get something worked out but it just wasn't working out. Finally he got his manager after several verbal threats made by my wife, but his manager had no better news for us than what the other guy had already told us. We weren't making that flight, and it was more obvious now that the time came for the flight to take off.
There we were stranded in Orlando, needing to get back home. The manager did however work things out as to placing us in another flight, one that would leave in about an hour, but it would have to stop in Atlanta and then from there we would board another flight to Salt Lake. In all we would be getting home at about 11 pm that night when we should have been home around 6 pm. It was about 1 pm and after all the drama and frustration I finally got my wife to calm down. Sitting now waiting for the flight to board. We boarded the plane at about 2:30 pm and it was all over, we were heading home, well it seems that we were fooled once again.
Siting in our seats, giving thanks that the nightmare was finally over, we held hands and tried to make the best of what was given. It was raining now, the summers in Orlando are wet and humid, giving way to the tropical storms or Hurricane seasons of the summer. "This is your captain speaking, welcome aboard, I have a bit of bad news" Oh no you don't, you just can't. "Seems like we are being grounded until further notice, lighting storms are keeping us here for a few folks, as soon as we have more information we will update you, thanks again for choosing us." I wasn't happy, this just kept getting worse, and to top it all off our ride wasn't going to be able to pick us up. My sister in law had committed to pick us up but now with the delay she wasn't going to be able to do it, so I called my sister and had her do it for us. "Ill call you as soon as we land in Atlanta" I said to her.
Over and over we got the same lame news from our captain, we were to remain grounded until the weather cleared. To ease all of the angry passengers they gave drinks and peanuts away, as well as some infligh entertainment to delight our pupils they made us watch "Valentines Day" a romantic comedy that was mediocre at best, with a huge bill of stars. It was now about 5:30 pm, we had been sitting in the same spot for 3 hours, and finally it came, the news we were all praying for "we are clear for take off."

To Be Continued.....


Dream Big

Dreams:The succession of images, sounds or emotions that the mind experiences during sleep.

When you hear the words "Dream Big" what comes to mind? My guess is that for most people this sparks thoughts of lots of money, a huge house and expensive toys. And why not? its totally normal to think of a lavish lifestyle. I would also dare to guess that most of us will never see that kind of life. Does that make us less than those who can live that way? No it does not. One can also make the argument that money doesn't determine happiness, or does it?

For many years I have been thinking about my future, and the older I get the harder it gets to come to terms that I might never have the McMansion, or the sports car of my dreams. But does this make me a lesser person? or does it diminish my accomplishments so far in life? again the answer is a big fat No.

My happiness is not determined by how much my bank account has, or how big my TV is, or how many shoes I have, but by what I have been able to accomplish so far in my life. Lately I can feel myself growing as a man, as a husband and future father. The choices I am making now are literally affecting the future of our unborn children.

You see in high school I was for the lack of a better word an Underachiever. Not because I was dumb or had some sort of learning disorder, but because I didn't care about my education. How could I? an illegal immigrant teenager, who as I put it best "will one day own the airways, and MTV's convented VMA award," care so much for an education. That just wasn't my cup of tea per say. High school was more of a popularity contest for me and my pals. When in class I was more worried about who I would bump in to in the hallway and what the girls would think of my outfit that day, I was more focused on things that did not matter one bit, but try to tell a teenager who's hormones are in full rage that School wasn't a place to hook up but a place to learn and get prepared for whats ahead of you.

Late in to my senior year I was falling behind and little by little the thought of graduating was slowly fading away, and not just for me but for many others in school. I guess I should have payed more attention in class, but it was too late now. I was passing the majority of my classes with low C's and high D's, and somehow (by the grace of God is my best guess) I was able to pass all my classes. I walked with my classmates, I was able to get a diploma, I was able to show my family that I wasn't a compete failure, and most of all I was able to show myself that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Given that I didn't pass with honors but I passed none the less.

So now here we are, 9 years later and I am finally in good shape to start college, a long time, I know. But late is better than never right? I think I have found a career that makes me tick, something that actually gets me excited, not just something to do for the rest of my life, but something that I am mediocre at. If you haven't been following my blog then you probably have no Idea what makes me tickle inside, well that is a passion for writing. I honestly and truly think that I can have a career in journalism.

Is this my version of "Dream Big?" maybe, I just can't come to terms or grasp the fact that I can actually be good enough at something that I can get payed for and make a caereer from it, this sort of stuff dosen't happen to me and others like me, we usually end up working for a factory and or a call center (and not that those are bad jobs, any job is a good job, but its not something that you are trully sold on or happy doing, its something that gets you and your family through. This is not what I want, I want the oportunity to do something I love untill I retire. I am dreaming big, for once I can see my future as I want it, a family man with a great wife and amazing kids, doing what he loves, not just for himself but for them.