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Christmas (part 1)

Started: 2009-01-08 18:28:07

Submitted: 2009-01-08 18:40:20

Visibility: World-readable

This being an even year in the pre-Calvin era, Kiesa and I visited my parents for Thanksgiving and Kiesa's parents for Christmas, following the family-visitation scheme established when we married six years ago that the dawning Calvin Era threatens to throw into chaos. (I'm making no promises about our willingness to travel in the dawning Calvin Epoch; air travel is tricky enough without a screaming infant in tow.) Kiesa wanted to visit a Tacoma-area public library to see what they thought about their integrated library system, so she arranged to fly to Portland on Sunday evening before Christmas; I arranged to arrive several days later on Christmas Eve. This seemed like a reasonable plan until an epic winter storm hit the Pacific Northwest, blanketing Portland under snow and threatening an ice storm on Sunday evening. Kiesa saw the forecast on Thursday and decided to fly out the following day, leaving me alone at home to buy expensive televisions and make the house safe for the post-Christmas Megafest.

Kiesa flew Southwest with a plane change in Salt Lake City. I pulled up her flight track in my favorite flight-tracking website and watched her plane trace its way across western Colorado to Salt Lake City. I watched it spin in a holding pattern over the Wasatch Mountains in eastern Utah, then advance a bit to the approach path to the airport. I checked the weather and airport conditions on the ground and saw that a major winter storm was dumping snow on Salt Lake City. Kiesa's plane made two more loops and finally broke out of the loops on what looked like an approach pattern until I realized that the view had expanded to include Boise -- the nearest diversion airport. I called my mother-in-law and told her not to leave for the airport.

Kiesa sat on the tarmac in Boise for an hour before they let her off the plane. She was able to rebook on a new direct flight to Portland from Boise, which happened to be traveling through Salt Lake City anyway. She arrived, several hours late, without further incident and was relieved when her original flight to Portland was indeed canceled due to the ice storm on Sunday. She didn't actually make it up to Tacoma, also due to the weather.