Our vacations tend to be poorly organized and infrequent. We try to go away for spring break but some years are better than others. The prototypical summer vacation down at Nags Head is our normal goal but these have become casualties of summer training for field hockey. Instead we usually settle for several quick 3 day trips to Skyline drive. The spring break vacations tend to happen more frequently but we don't plan all that far ahead and, by the time spring break rolls around, we're content to just find a great place to stay and land face-first in the sand.
This year was no exception. We put off and put off planning our vacation but finally Sarah pulled the trigger and called American Express travel. We've used them in the past and had pretty good results. The great thing about AmEx travel is that if you book with them they can get you out of some pretty hairy situations. This year we booked a week long stay in the Bahamas at an all-inclusive resort. It was pretty well reviewed with the only rough reviews posted around the time the college kids go on spring break. Not to worry though, by the time Manassas goes on Spring break, the college kids are normally gone. Everything was looking up. We were pretty well fried and needed a break so, just like years past, we were looking to land face first in the sand.
The only sticky point was that in order to get decent flights at a reasonable cost we had to fly out of Richmond. Not a huge deal as if you go south on 95 on a weekday, traffic is not so bad. So, 8:00 on Friday morning, we hopped into the car and ran south for a couple of hours. Packing the night before was a pretty abreviated affair. We were out until about 9:30 at the republican meeting but, hey, we're talking about packing for the beach here. For boys it's simple math: 7 nights = 7 underwears, a couple shorts and 7 shirts. Maybe a pair of jeans and a collared shirt and it ain't the end of the world if you end up on vaca with no drawers!! So, we're making good time…traffic is light and we get to the airport with time to spare. We're flying American which ain't my fave but whatevs. We got up to the self-checkin kiosk and Sarah pulls out all of our passports (with some flair as she had remembered eveything) and….the scanner says "Passport is expired". Wait, what? Re-scan. "Passport is expired". She pulls it out and sure enough. our daughters passport is expired…..Sarah looks at me, expecting me to fly off the handle…I just shrug and wander off to sit for awhile. Yeah, I ain't happy but this isn't anyone's fault. It just happened.
Frantic calls to American, AmEx and TSA. Answer is always the same – that girl ain't flying on an expired passport for love nor money. Crap!! Next call is to AmEx. "Dudes, we can't leave the country if we're taking our daughter….what are our options? Me? I'm thinking Miami. If I can't get to the Bahamas then Miami beach is a close second. Yes, it's a much more urban beach but South Beach? killer. Yeah no, the only flight to Miami will cost us a couple thousand. Ain't happening. OK, what about Lauderdale? Heck yeah, we can hop a 2:22 pm to Lauderdale! Now we need a place to stay….hmmm…well, AmEx refunded all of our hotel money so we have some bucks to spend but our place in the Bahamas was all inclusive. Since our flight has been moved from 12:15 to 2:22 we've got some time. My favorite travel site is trip advisor so we start perusing hotels. There's quite a range. The Ritz is a grand a night and the "Palm Inn" is less than a hundred. Gotta be something in between….we stumble upon a single room on sale at the Atlantic resort that's priced to move! We'll take it.
So, after an hour of fast moves, we got the entire vacation re-arranged in about an hour on the aptop in the airport. Yes it was stressful but we're still married! Also, technology is great man. In an hour we turned the entire thing from being an expensive fiasco to a nice stay in Fort Lauderdale! Laters!