Sistercation began yesterday. My sisters were coming to my house this year. Cheri, the baby, was coming from Ohio and would be here by 2.14 PM because airlines are just that exact. Pam was coming from Arizona and would be here at 5.25 PM. She was a bit sad that the baby would get here first, but it was only a few hours.

Steve dropped Cheri off at the airport on his way to work. She got there at 8 AM for a 10 something flight. It was okay to wait a little bit. At 8.02 her phone buzzed. She had a message. United cancelled her flight. United apparently had lots of problems yesterday. The line at the United counter was already quite deep. It took her 45 minutes but they had her rescheduled. The flight was cancelled because they did not have crew for it. This was entirely their own damn fault.

Cheri would now be flying out around 3 PM. The worst part was her layover in Newark and late at night. She would get in around 11. She called to apologize. That is after my bedtime, but not too much. Dick has never had a flight after dark which actually took off with him on it when it originated in Newark. You cannot stay at the airport and survive with all your belongings there. It is a horrible connecting place because you just don’t ever connect. I did not say this to Cheri at the time.

We kept up after that via Facebook and texting. I’m unclear on the exact timeline for the rest of this. I know the order, but not when. I suppose I could research this via Facebook time stamps and my text time stamps, but it is really immaterial.

Her flight to Charleston via Newark was cancelled. They were going to route her through Chicago and she would get here at 9.11 PM. That was a better time but a shorter fantasy.  First the flight was delayed and she would be here closer to 10. This flight was cancelled because of outside forces, maybe the weather or air traffic control issues.

During all this, Pam’s flight was proceeding as planned. She was getting ready to board the connecting flight in Nashville when they mentioned a brewing storm here in Charleston. Indeed, the clouds were roiling black masses outside my window. They were going to try to get here, but the weather was such that they might just have to land someplace else. Good luck, flyers. Thanks, for flying Southwest.

Dick walked into Command Central and asked what was going on just as both of our phones began making that “Danger, danger – impending doom” noise. We were being warned of possible flash floods. Lightning was brightening the now very dark skies which made it then possible to see through the sheeting rain. Dear God.

I watched Pam’s plane wing it’s way to Charleston and it never gave me any indication that it was flying in some other direction. We left in the slightly less pouring rain and headed into rush hour traffic to pick Pam up at the airport. Dick would stay in the WiFi area and I would go in to get her. Her plane arrived on a little early, 5.15 PM.

Because of the storm, other planes were having trouble with getting luggage off. They could get the people off the planes, but the ramps were not working for getting the luggage off. The entire baggage claim area was milling with people. Since they couldn’t pull away from the gate, Pam got to sit on the concourse, awaiting an opening to deplane.

Eventually, I got my sister. And after another eventually, she got her luggage. We got home at close to seven. We had something to eat and waited for time to pick up Cheri, but she had now moved on to Plan C.

She would be coming into Charleston via Atlanta. Her flight would now leave Cincinnati around 8 PM, twelve hours after she got to the airport and enough time to have actually driven from her house to mine. She would have a three hour layover and get to Charleston around 12.15 AM. That was past my bedtime, too. With this news, I made an executive decision. There would be no CrossFit today.

We monitored flights which were now from Delta, and we kept noticing there was no indication that the flight was actually boarding much less flying. Apparently, this particular flight goes from Atlanta, to Cincinnati, and back to Atlanta. That same storm cell that might have made Pam fly to any damn airport on the East Coast, was not letting planes take off from Atlanta. There was no plane in Cincinnati for Cheri to board.

But just as Pam could land here, eventually the plane in Atlanta was able to wing its way to Cincinnati and eventually Cheri was actually able to board a plane. Thirteen and half hours hours after her arrival at the airport, she was finally in the air.

I looked at Delta.com and noticed that her plane was to land at 10.51 at that gate over there. At 11.06 her connecting flight was to take off from that gate wwwwaaaaaay over here in an entirely different terminal. It did not seem to me that she was going to be able to make this change. I asked Dick if they would delay the flight.

We knew the flight HAD to get to Charleston. The plane is needed here to begin their day’s work with their first flight from Charleston to Atlanta. This plane always runs because the plane, not the passengers, are important. But we had no idea if Cheri would be on it.

I called the Atlanta airport and they connected me with Delta. These people assured me my sister would finally get to have Sistercation with us. The flight had been delayed with takeoff now at 12.06 and scheduled landing in Charleston as 1.14 AM. This is a bit after my bedtime.

We watched. The plane was boarding. It was still boarding. It was boarding. I refreshed the page. Dick suggested I restart the entire process since I might have been in a cached loop or something. Nope. Still boarding. The flight finally took off as 12.30. it was scheduled to land in Charleston at 1.29 AM since they could make up time since every reasonable person had already landed, for the love of God.

Pam and I were afraid we were going to fall asleep. We played some word games and finally it was time to get to the airport. Dick offered to again drive us and wait in the WiFi area while we went in to get Cheri. Finally, finally, close to twelve hours after she was supposed to be here, she was in Charleston.

But wait, there’s more. Her luggage was not. She had to stand in another line and report her missing luggage. They will send it to my house some time today. Until then, she is in her traveling outfit. But she is here. Safe and sound.

Sistercation has begun.

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