Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What happened on Monday afternoon...

Thursday, April 15th was a special day in our house, not because of Tax Day (took care of that weeks ago - for once), but because my British husband's sister and brother-in-law whom we haven't seen in nine years planned a three-week vacation based at our house.  Our whole family was excited beyond measure, and the timing was absolutely perfect - their arrival fell right between my birthday and the Dude's.  Talk about celebration!

However...there was a small hitch the night before:

 The "Eyjafjallajokull" volcano in southwest Iceland. 
(This genius photograph was featured here.)

We didn't find out till the morning of...and neither did my sister-and-brother-in-law.  There was much wailing and consternation.  (The latter mostly from Uncle Mark.)  But absolutely nothing could be done except to wait.  So, Auntie Sandra went back to work, the kenneled doggie came back home, and my children did their schoolwork.  All of this, despite all parties being led to believe they were beginning a much-anticipated holiday.

As you can imagine, spirits were very high.


The Dude had a rather mopey birthday two days later (bless him), and even though I made a fabulous cake which surpassed all other fabulous cakes, it was admittedly depressing to eat it without Auntie Sandra!

Each day began with "maybe today!" and by this time, my three olders could point to Iceland on a map in 2 seconds flat.  Martin (9) was sad, but calm and intellectual about it all, reciting facts from BBC newscasts to anyone who asked.  Phil-boy (7) was frustrated with the lot of us, because the logical thing for Auntie Sandra to do was to come by boat, obviously.  (We did try to explain that it took weeks to sail across...)  Laura (5) was disappointed, but not too concerned, since she wasn't sure who Auntie Sandra was, and Auntie Sandra must actually be Auntie Alicia (my middle sister), and she didn't live in England, so there wasn't much of a crisis really!

This quote is from the BBC website I linked to above:

Iceland is a country of fire and ice, home to several volcanoes and straddling two tectonic plates. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano began erupting in March. On 14 April, the eruption entered a new explosive phase which was to bring European airspace to a standstill.

And, holy moon, bring it to a standstill it did!  Poor Auntie Sandra & Uncle Mark aside, the UK airspace was shut down for four days.  As they say over there, the "knock-on effect" was massive.  See this additional BBC page for a terrific diagram of flight paths that were affected.  (And you really must click on the "19-21 April" selections just above the diagram.  Unbelievable!)  So not only were vacationers...erm, "holidaymakers"...and businessmen stranded in and out of the country, but troops and troops of RAF soldiers were affected - my nephew in the Middle East among them.  The airline industries lost an estimated 2 1/2 million dollars a day.  (A day!)

By the following Tuesday (5 days later), we were back in Normal Mode, trying to pretend they hadn't been coming.  It admittedly helped the week to pass quickly, and suddenly it was Monday again.  *sigh*

A very normal Monday it was, too.  Kh... (You know how Mondays are.)  But around 12:30pm, Philip aka Lightning Streak passed me in the hall, shrieking and nearly sobbing with the house phone to his ear.  By the time he came back to find me, handed off the phone, and resumed shriek-streaking back across the house, I realized who was calling.  Auntie Sandra!  Not only were they on the way, they were here!  Stopped on the edge of town so Uncle Mark could recover from RV-ing through Dallas, apparently.  (heh)

What a kerfuffle of vacuuming and picking-up ensued!  With generous amounts of group-shrieking, of course.  And within minutes, as promised, Auntie Sandra & Uncle Mark pulled up in their rented RV in front of the house.

Pretty much the best Monday we've had in awhile.

The End.


  1. *blink* My my. Well. What a story. I knew it already, and I was still on the edge of my seat!