An amazing thing happened the other day…my husband’s company put a moratorium on travel and, theoretically, he’s home until the end of the quarter. Of course, within three days of the travel restriction, he was off on a two-day trip. Now that he’s home again, there is hope that he’ll be home for the next 40 days. Meanwhile, I’m in Mexico for the week in a sort of commuter-marriage reversal.
I’d be in Mexico regardless, because my husband planned to be home while I’m on my business trip, but now that he’s home for an extended period of time, I’m even more impatient to be home with him and wish this trip over already. The few days that he was home before I left were much more typical of our pre-commuter-marriage life than ever.
I smiled when I got home from work on Friday and saw that the wilted flower baskets had perked up…he’d obviously watered them. Saturday, he cut the grass…such a normal thing! Then, he got the old drafting table that I’d gotten for him, purchased at a garage sale many years ago, and started stripping it. By Sunday evening it was beautifully restored. I smiled again to see that he felt he had time to take on a typical weekend project, which he hasn’t done in the four years since we started on our commuter marriage lifestyle.
So, this week I am the one traveling. This week I have six flights, three of them starting around 6 o’clock in the morning. I am feeling very empathetic to my husband for all of his early flights and having to put in several hours of work even though you are exhausted from 9 hours of travel. Or so I thought it would start out. In reality, I got to bed late after doing laundry and dishes and getting things aligned for the kids for the week. Then at 3 a.m. I awoke and couldn’t fall back to sleep in anticipation of the 4 a.m. alarm going off.
I got up at 4 and could hardly function or remember what to do! Fortunately, the last thing I did the night before was to get myself 90% packed. I dressed and put on my make-up around 4:15, wondering if the make-up would even last by the time I arrived at the office in Mexico City. I left the house around 4:55 with a cup of coffee in a travel mug. Wouldn’t you know that my tank was empty and so I stopped at the gas station. At 5 I was back on the road and picked up my coffee to take a sip…and promptly poured it down my front and into my lap. Turns out it was a screw-on cap, not a snap-on cap…using the last two tissues from my purse, I mopped myself off…no time to stop.
The airport was really crowded for 5:30 a.m., I had no idea! I got to my gate as it was boarding, with a breakfast sandwhich snatched up along the way. The plane was crammed full, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable. I started reading “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” which I’d downloaded to my iPad the night before. It was a direct flight, but we did stop and deplane. When we got back on the plane, I was already exhausted and not much up for the three hour flight. We were delayed by someone who’d checked himself and his bag in, then didn’t bother to show up to the gate until half an hour after we were supposed to leave. I couldn’t believe they let him board after all that! It was another half an hour before we could get a time to take-off.
I bought a snack box on the plane which had a picture of a succulent, BBQ chicken breast on it only to hunt through the box for the chicken and find a tiny tin. Inside the tin was something about half minced chicken and half BBQ sauce. I finished my book about half-way into the flight and tried to get a bit of sleep, but that didn’t work very well. By the time we landed, we were stuck crossing Mexico City in a terrible traffic jam, apparently precipitated by it being the first day back to school. By the time we got to the office it was 3 p.m. in Mexico City and 4 p.m. back home…I’d been up for 13 hours on about 3 hours sleep.
I was pretty useless in the meeting, struggling to deal with sleep deprivation and starvation! I did perk up when we went to dinner, but then back across town to the airport hotel since my next flight leaves a little after 6 a.m. My saving grace will be not purposely changing any flights…because I know from my husband’s experience, that is the death knell for getting home as planned.
Find the Joy in the Journey…and sometimes that means just empathizing with a traveler who has it worse off than you do!