Traveling {ish} With Jennifer

Disclaimer: If you clicked on this blog post because you think I am about to give you some wisdom on traveling that will change your world for the better, turn around and don’t look back. This is not the blog you are looking for. Come back next week when I have written something slightly more inspiring. (who am I kidding, this site is nothing but one creative train wreck after another 😉 )


Historically the husband and I don’t have the best of luck on vacations. Examples include:

  1. September 2013: While on vacation in San Antonio with great friends who drove 1000 miles to spend time with us, Matthew thought it would be cute to canon ball jump into pool 4 feet deep….with his feet tucked underneath his bottom. Yep, he broke his foot and we ended up in the emergency room the next dayIMG_2038
  2. June 2015: While on vacation in Gatlinburg with friends (same friends from example 1) I became ill with a kidney stone and we spent the late night early morning in the ER hooked up to IV medicine.
  3. July 2016: While home in Indiana for my brothers wedding, my mom broke her leg the day before we were to leave home for Texas. Because her condition was so severe, I stayed behind in Indiana with her for an extra week and Matthew drove home by himself. IMG_2039
  4. May 2018: Recently we borrowed a plane (my husband is a pilot) and flew to Denver Colorado to catch a Rockies game. Upon landing we realized our tire had gone flat. It was Memorial Day weekend and all repair shops would be closed until Tuesday, leaving me with a 90$ Uber fare and leaving Matthew stranded in Colorado until the following Tuesday.


Cut to July 1st, 2018, a day of travel that will live in infamy. My husband’s family was gathering in Florida for a family reunion and we decided to make the trip down. What could go wrong? Everything..everything can go wrong. #murphyslaw. The following is a highlighted timeline of some of the shenanigans that took place in just 1 night of travel. (chances are if we told this whole story in its entirety it would sound made up)

Murphy's Law cushion copy2


DON’T GO, GO, DON’T GO:Right off the bat, our first flight of the day went from being delayed, to not delayed to delayed again. We boarded the plane, taxied down the run way got ready to take off only before being told we were going to be held in our spot for 30 minutes for weather. Annoying, but no big deal, we’ve seen home alone and know how to run through an airport to catch a plane.926dc50f3e6bb3af0af6ca048d822849


UNEXPECTED PHONE CALL:Upon landing in Dallas for our connecting flight, I received a call from my mom’s rehab care facility. Mom, who we had actually spent all morning and afternoon with celebrating her 68thbirthday, had suddenly taken ill with stomach pains, chest pains and shortness of breath. They immediately sent her to the ER to care for her. We were shocked to say the least as she was fine all day and now we were faced with trying to get updates from an ER in between catching flights and trying to decide if I should or could come home. (Mom demanded I NOT come home and that she would be fine)


RUN FORREST RUN: Because our first flight was 30 mins late landing, we had to make a mad dash for our second plane, all the while on the phone with nurses and Drs trying to get updates. We made it to our 2ndgate with 3 mins to spare!! We were sweaty, stressed and hungry, but we made it!9f42e05d3a1ba7b011d3287dc7bbcc8d3803a0be_1_375x500

BRAKES ARE OPTIONALNON-NEGOTIONABLE: We began to board the last flight and made it all the way to our seats, but noticed quickly after getting buckled in that nobody else was entering the plane. Minutes later the pilot came over the speaker and said he had good news and bad news. Apparently during the pre-flight check, it was discovered our plane needed new brakes. And that we would need to de-board the plane and wait until it was fixed. While we are grateful this bit of information was found sooner rather than later, the news was still frustrating.


Ill TRADE YOU TRANSLATION SERVICES FOR YOUR AISLE SEAT: I don’t even know where to begin on this one. When we began the initial boarding process for the plane, Matt and I were not able to sit together. Instead we both had the middle seat  (UGH) of the same row on different sides of the aisle (close enough). I got to my seat and my new friends were already there waiting on me. A sweet older couple who I quickly realized spoke zero English. (I want to clarify that this in no way bothered me) When I saw they were married, I attempted to ask them if they would like to sit together versus being the bread on a Jennifer sandwich. After 2 mins of poorly acted out charades, we came to an understanding and they were happy to sit together. Now cut to the pilot explaining the issue with the brakes to everyone. Everyone but my new friends who smiled naively. All at once everyone on the plane stood up, grabbed their stuff and walked out. They freaked out and since my charades training did not include aircraft maintenance, I was of no help. The husband then quickly shoved a phone in my face to where I talked with his son about what was going on so that he could translate back to them. This type of exchange would happen on and off for the. Rest. Of. The. Night.images

ILL CLEAN UP MY OWN MESS I SWEAR:  Shortly after we got off the plane we were given an updated departure time (an hour away) and told that we had a new plane at a gate just a few steps away. After translating to my new grandparents, the developments, we took off as a happy family to our new gate. Upon arriving they told us the plane would be ready soon and that we were just waiting on a cleaning crew. One hour and 5 pages later, a cleaning crew could not be located, and our departure time was pushed back another 45 mins. As you may have guessed the other half of my translator team and I became real acquainted real fast.7eb57f390cefa0be8f79c7d5f3803762--airplane-humor-aviation-humor

I LOST MY NEW ADOPTIVE FAMILY:  It had been almost two hours since we were kicked off that first plane, and the whole lounge was getting anxious. My new grandparents included. When we got word, it would still be another half hour, they motioned to me that they were going for a walk and would be back (I think that’s what they were telling me anyways) 5 mins had passed and as luck would have it, they started boarding. QUICKLY. The desk agent was not messing around. She went from boarding group one to saying groups 2-5 could board all at once. Frantic I looked around. My grandparents were nowhere to be seen and were not likely to understand the messages over the intercom. I took of down the hallway in a run trying to find them. We had come this far, they were not going to miss this plane for a language barrier and a stale bagel. They were nowhere to be found so I headed back to the desk where I thought I could have them paged. (I knew their last name form the luggage tag) Luckily they returned just as I got there. We laughed, we cried we hugged. It was a beautiful moment, no translation needed

My new adoptive family!

I CAN FLY, IM A PILOT: Remember when I said that they started boarding in a hurry and quickly had the first 5 group on board? The attendant suddenly and without comment, stopped calling groups. 10 mins went by and no announcements were made. Next thing we know, the flight crew, PILOTS included, were getting off the plane, luggage in tow. Because of all the shenanigans (I’m choosing this word because this is a family friendly blog. But feel free to insert a stronger word there. I know I did at the time) that had taken place throughout the evening., they had reached the work hour max for the day and would need to be replaced with a fresh crew. They soon announced that  A new crew has been found but they are in another terminal and it would just be another 30 mins. Matthew and I wondered if they drew straws to see who would be assigned to us.


AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER: After what would be my last translation aided exchange with my new grandma and grandpa, we finally boarded the plane. Before we knew it we were wheels up and headed for Florida. We landed 3 ½ hours late without any further issues. I exchanged my final goodbyes with my new family. (we are working on holiday plans) Matthew and I grabbed our bags and were soon in the presence of our family who graciously picked us up at the airport in their van (which has great brakes by the way) at 3 in the morning. I was able to reconnect with my mom and her Drs at the hospital, and while she was admitted and would need to be kept for a few days, is doing much better and is in great hands.


If you have learned anything after reading todays blog post I hope it is that planes do in fact need brakes, we shouldn’t let a silly thing like language separate us, and we can survive what seems like our worst days. Oh, and don’t vacation with Jennifer and Matthew if you prefer the kind of travel that leaves your refreshed and relaxed. Our brand of crazy isn’t for the faint of heart.

Published by Jennifer Shidler

I am a Hoosier at heart who has moved to the heart of Texas with my husband Matthew, our cats Rowdy & Mosby and our dogs Lucy & Wrigley. Matthew is a Chief Flight instructor at a flight school in Austin and I care for my mother full time and write random thoughts and posts in between. I started writing this blog as a way to keep people back home updated on our lives here in Texas, and has turned into a way to relax, think and to make others laugh!

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