My adventure began last Thursday afternoon, on what I thought would be a great day. See, I bought a round-trip Amtrak train ticket from Chicago to DC to attend the Blogging While Brown conference. Now, if you know my location, you may ask “Why would you drive all the way to Chicago to hop on a train?” Well, my rinky-dink town wanted to charge a price that was almost up there with the price of flying to the conference. So I decided to go with the cheaper of the two modes of transportation. Now, my plan was work until about 3pm that day and hit the highway soon after. You know what they say about the plans of mice and men, right? Well, it applies to women as well. People wanted to hit me with crazy problems at work, which I had to solve before leaving for the weekend…did I mention that I was handling the tasks of a co-worker who was on vacation that day as well? No? Well, I was and that led to my leaving the office fifteen minutes off schedule! Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but since I needed to stop by the house and grab my bags, I ended up getting on the highway about thirty-five minutes late.
Not thinking of the fact that it’s warm outside and not considering the time, I get on the highway thinking that I can easily do 80 MPH and make it to Union Station in time to board. That was quite foolish of me, I know. About an hour into my drive, and I’m doing pretty well on time, I hit a rough spot. Road construction, which is the enemy of everyone who happens to be running late. Traffic was backed up and I’m in the car, on the verge of breaking out in hives, because the clock is telling me that I’m simply not gonna make it to the train station. I keep pushing onward though, because I’m hoping that there was a delay of some sort (the irony of that wish will come back to bite me later).
After the constipation that was highway traffic, I finally made it to Chicago, for all the good it did. I’m looking for my exit, the one that will take me to the station, and lo and behold, that exit is closed. So I drive around to the next exit and have to make my way back to the right street. Mind you, the navigation tool on my phone keeps rerouting and it began to get confusing. I’m stressed and I have this annoying mechanical voice telling my to make a right when I can’t, unless I want turn into oncoming traffic on a one way street (and being a stunt woman is not on my bucket list, I take a pass on that). So eventually, I find the train station and see that there is a self park area across the street. Looking at the on the dashboard, I saw that I was twenty minutes late. After doing a Google search for the train station’s phone number, I called and found out that I definitely missed my train. Disgusted with the situation, angry at myself for not leaving on time, I got back on the highway and drove home angry and crying…yes, I cried. I figured I lost the money I spent on my train ticket and the money I spent on registering for the conference. That was a nice chunk of change to waste, so I figure I am allowed to shed some angry tears. I just drove three hours in an attempt to save money and ended up losing out on everything I spent AND I have to drive another three hours to get home!
Of course, as I drove back home, it hits me that there are other options. I simply needed to get home and start searching for solutions; and solutions I did find. I found a decent rate on a one way flight to DC, so I called Amtrak and told the rep what happened, asked if there was a way for me to use the return part of my ticket. Unfortunately no, that was not an option. However, the rep said that she could process a full refund of my money and that brightened my spirit tenfold. So I went to Priceline, after comparing airfares with other websites, and bought a plane ticket for the next day. After getting about four hours of sleep, I get up, shower, throw on some clothes and hop in the car to hit the highway again. This time I take Mom with me so I don’t have to pay for parking; I figure she can drop me off, take the car for the weekend, and pick me up when I return. Sounds great right?
I. missed. the. flight.
Got mixed up and turned around with the directions and got to the airport a few minutes after the plane took off.
I know, I know…*whomp, whomp, whommmmp*…
Luckily, there was another flight to DC, albeit three hours later. So I got my ticket transferred and hopped on the plane and was on my way to the Blogging While Brown conference! Happy ending, right?
To be continued…