In early May, my wife and I made a long overdue trip out to Seattle to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons. It had been over a year since we had last been out for a visit. It was to be a dual-purpose trip—visiting them and keeping our grandsons so the parents could have a well needed getaway. But it did not start out so well.
As usual, we had spent the night at our midtown condo since it is just a 10-minute drive to the airport from there. Our troubles began early in the morning for our previously scheduled 8:00 AM flight. As soon as I got up at 5:00 AM to get ready, I found that I had two texts from our airline. They were not good.
They indicated that our early morning flight had been delayed over seven hours with a new departure time of 3:15 PM. I tried resolving it first on the phone app and then on the computer but probably being sleep deprived and not yet fully awake, I was confused by seeing most of the rebooking options that showed alternate flights the next morning. I knew it was time to talk to a human.
It is amazing how quickly you can get a customer service representative on the phone at 5:30 in the morning. She was most helpful and managed to get us rebooked on flights later in the day although still arriving eight hours late and missing our half day with our daughter’s family. But it still beat our original delayed flights that would have put us arriving in Seattle at close to midnight.
Once we landed and made our way to the rental car facility, I was tempted to select the Mini Cooper that was available, a larger version of the one I had many years ago. But knowing that we would be driving our grandsons around while their parents were gone, my practical side led me to pick a Subaru similar to what my wife and I drive. It also came with the advantage of not having to learn where everything was in a totally different car. As we drove towards our rental house, I was pleased to see that it had all of the same safety features that we had both grown accustomed to, further validating my vehicle choice.
It was close to 10:00 PM local time (midnight to our bodies) before we arrived and got ready for bed but thankful that we had made our arrival.
The next morning, we got up early to head over to our daughter’s house where a hand-made welcome sign awaited us. When we got in our rental car to drive over, our travel woes continued—the car would not start because the battery was dead. The interior lights were on, and the headlights were on, but the engine turned over just once and stopped. Looking down, I realized it was my error. The one feature lacking on this car that we had on ours was the automatic headlights that come on by themselves.
I was really puzzled because when we drove from the airport, I distinctly remembered not having turned them on and I know we did not drive with them off. I quickly called the car rental company and learned it would be 90 minutes before someone could come and jump start us. Rather than wait and delay our visit any further, we took a shared ride over to our daughter’s house.
When our daughter opened the door, it was obvious by the surprised look on our grandsons’ faces that they did not know of our visit. It was a wonderful surprise. After the delay, it was great to begin our visit.
When I received the text that the service person could meet me at our rental house, I borrowed my daughter’s car to drive back over. Getting the rental car started was a cinch and the technician told me I should drive at least 10 miles to recharge the battery. I chose to drive almost 20 just be on the safe side. When I returned back to my daughter’s house, I turned off the car and then to see that I could restart it, turned the ignition key back on—no dice.
I was then back on the phone with the car rental company. Long story short, although it did add unexpected excitement for our two grandsons…
…they sent a tow truck to pick up the uncooperative car and then sent a shared ride car over to take me to the local rental company to pick up a replacement. All of this sadly took until almost noon before I could really feel my visit could start.
But it started with a bang. Since we see our four west coast grandchildren so infrequently, my wife always like to take a present for each one. And for these two boys, that is usually Legos.
Although I missed out on some of the assembly process taking care of the car exchange, I was able to join in on the fun already in progress.
And I was able to get a lot of fun play time with my younger grandson with the cement mixer he got which was a huge hit. In fact, over the visit, he and I got to dispense the cement multiple times building patios and even a house on the moon!
In the afternoon, we got a chance to take the boys up to the school playground where they got a chance to ride their bikes and run around burning off some energy.
Early Monday morning, we were back over at our daughter’s house to learn the ropes of school drop off for the two boys. Once done, their parents got ready to head off for their well needed trip away for a couple of days, their first since sometime in 2019.
To be continued…