I just want to say up front, I am not whining. But it is interesting the way things happen. Fortunately, I'm a writer and I just file away the stories for future use. I'm not alone in this behavior, either. One of the local novelists had his car window smashed and his briefcase stolen during NaNoWriMo (and a nasty cold snap). After all the sympathy and good wishes from others in our area forum, someone piped up, "You are going to put this in your novel, right?" His instant response ("Of course!") made me laugh out loud.
Anyway, here's what's been happening to us lately. It's got the makings of a good story. (By the way, some of the back story is here. More of it is here.)
In this story, the villain is the blizzard. Tuesday evening, we had no idea what was coming. The Man (TM) had gotten a two-night temp job for Wed. and Thur., and my folks would be arriving Friday. The kids had one more day of school, and they were pretty excited about it. Then our neighbor (wonderful woman) called and warned us that we were supposed to get "a foot or two" of snow the next day, not just the small flurries we'd heard about. But she would still try to watch the Punkin while TM and I went shopping. No problem, probably.
Usually, it's pretty dry around here, but every few years we get a huge storm and can't get out of the house for a day or two. After that, things start melting and everything goes back to normal, so even now, we didn't sweat it much. Wednesday morning, the snow started by 7 a.m., but it hadn't started really piling up, so TM took the kids to school as usual.
By noon, the snow was definitely piling up and the visibility was getting low. I checked the school's Web site, which said something like "We will be open as usual today, but we recommend that you come get your kids NOW." TM was out the door in no time. Two and a half hours later, he and the kids arrived home again, shaking. "We survived!" was all TM had to say. The roads were completely covered, in many cases gone without a trace.
The snow kept falling all day. We didn't get to the store, needless to say. Our neighbor's husband totalled their car in a town 30 miles away and didn't know when he'd be able to get home. She was panicking about being alone with their two little kids, snowed in, indefinitely. I don't think it helped her when we pointed out that not even burglars would be out in that weather. TM didn't have to go to work that night, either, which was fine with me.
I was still pretty optimistic about the chances of our Christmas plans working out. Thursday was sunny, and by noon, the snow was melting off our roof. We spent the day cleaning the house and didn't pay much attention to the situation. That afternoon, the roads were clear, and our neighbors were reunited. By that evening, every driveway in the neighborhood (except ours) was clear, and people were driving around. I checked online and discovered that the airport would be open at noon today. I thought that was good news.
My mom called last night at 11 and said their flight was cancelled because it had been scheduled to land just minutes before the airport opened. All other flights were booked, of course, until The Day itself. So instead of them arriving this afternoon and getting to spend holiday leadup time playing, reading, baking, singing, and generally enjoying the time with us and our boys, they will be arriving Monday afternoon, missing #1 Son by a couple days and present-opening time by who knows how many hours.
Did you ever see Rocketship X-M (the MST3K version, especially)? You know the part where they discover the ship is nearly out of fuel and they won't be able to land? (Oh, now I've blown it all for you; sorry.) With the phone up to my ear last night, hearing my mom tell me the news, I heard Crow T. Robot say cynically, "This ought to test Lloyd's sunny disposition..." And it did.
So now the challenge is to keep ourselves occupied until then. They'll only be able to stay a couple of days now; that's the price of being working grandparents of kids in 3 states. (Oh yeah, and having a life, too.) There aren't enough vacation days to go around. I think we'll be able to amuse the little guys for a few hours with just their "Santa" presents, I told my mom. We'll wait to open other stuff when you arrive.
That's what I said. But you know how things haven't been getting to the stores, post offices, etc., for a few days? Because of this blizzard, you know. Well, yeah. We took all the kids shopping tonight; thought they could buy each other presents and we could pick up some things, too. TM went out later to get the Santa gifts, or so we thought. Turns out there's not much in the stores. Especially the one by our house-- apparently a couple of their delivery trucks slid off the roads and were completely destroyed, so there will be no more toys for Christmas. We (i.e., TM) could try again tomorrow, except his job got rescheduled for all day tomorrow, and that's all the time we have left. We keep the Sabbath in part by not shopping (making other people work) on Sundays. The clock is ticking...
All righty then. Now, if this were a story, how would I work out these plot complications? How would you do it?