day one
de lay day
Hurricane Floyd
1999 September 16, 1215 UT



Leslie was a little nervous about leaving her new house. Packing to travel has never been her forte, and adding to that anxiety were the responsibilities of properly shutting down the house for ten days. Strangely, the one thing she wasn't concerned about was the weather.

She knew that there was a hurricane working its way up the East Coast, but having lived in New Jersey all her life, she concluded that Hurricane Floyd would deposit only a few inches of rain on them. As the day progressed, however, she began to fear the worst. By the time John called to say that he couldn't even get out of New York because of the weather, she had already learned that The Philadelphia International Airport had been closed because of the storm.

Realizing that all hell was about to break loose at the ticket counter, John immediately got on the phone with US Air to make arrangements to get the pair out of the country as soon as possible. They told him that if they drove to Ohio, they could board a plan from there. Since traveling anywhere in the Northeast was now an impossibility, he politely declined those two tickets.

He continued to try to reserve two tickets for the next possible opening. He was on the phone with US Air for a long time, often on hold, often being transferred to yet another operator. He was engaged in a heated conversation with one operator who declared the the "storm wasn't his fault". A fact that John acknowledged, but countered that it is the nature of the airline industry to anticipate such storms and to have backup

plans available to patrons such as himself. With a snort, the operator told him that he'd transfer him to a ticket agent who could help him, and when the call went through John heard s

How can I direct your call?

the phone answered. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, how can I direct your call?"

Furious, John politely disengaged himself from that phone call and redialed the airlines. He demanded a manager, and telling his story with all the fury and entitlement that an enraged customer can muster, managed to score two seats on the next flight out to Paris. Unfortunately, the flight didn't leave for another 24 hours. "Somewhere in Paris," he said, "was an empty hotel room with our name on it."

John called to tell Leslie that they'd be leaving "this time tomorrow", and said that he'd leave New York and arrive at her house a few hours before their flight left.

She thanked him for taking care of all the arrangements, hung up the phone and returned to the hissy-fit that she'd been having for the past few hours.

For reasons that will forever remain a mystery, Leslie had gone out food shopping a few days before she was scheduled to leave for Paris. Rookie mistake. So, there to witness all the histrionics of that day was her father, who had come, at her request, to collect the extra food she had foolishly purchased a few days before.


Her father, having been a witness to more than one of Leslie's hissy-fits, had fished out her CD player from her overnight bag and was listening to some music, and perusing her Streetwise Map of Paris, while pretending to hear her rants of "It's just a little effing rain!!" and smiling with great compassion whenever it seemed necessary.

After Leslie made as many phone calls as she felt would be necessary to get the appropriate amount of pity from friends and loved ones, she settled down a little.


The Best Maps Ever!

Slowly, ever so slowly, Leslie began to resign herself to the sad fact that her first trip abroad would be delayed a day. Having sorted out the new schedule with John, there wasn't much else to do but unpack a few essentials and wait. Leslie's father suggested they go out to the diner up the street, since he loves any excuse to drive his Jeep in extreme weather.

While Leslie spent the better part of the next day walking around the neighborhood looking at the flooded backyards, John made his way down from New York to his mother's house, and then from there to Leslie's. John's mother, Betty, drove them both to the reopened airport. And even though the pair were both almost 40 years of age, Betty admonished them during the entire ride to the airport to behave themselves, to call her when they arrived at the hotel, to be careful, to not drink the water, and to call her the moment they got back. Then she dropped the pair off at the airport, waved, honked the horn, and drove away.They boarded the plane and flew to Paris. Finally.

day two