Travel (as only my family can do it).

LED elevator floor indicator

Image via Wikipedia

Just a few weeks ago, we moved from the USA to Australia. We left Texas and headed out for 10 days in our old home city of Denver, Colorado and then went on to California, Vegas and finally to our new home in Australia. Here is an entry from my travel journal to give you an example of how flawed our trip was:

August 2nd, 2010

We have 6 suitcases, 2 roller carry-ons, 2 backpacks, 1 handbag, 1 pillow pet, 1 pillow pet blanket, 1 regular “blankie”,  (OK we get the picture…) so I decided to go down to the lobby at our hotel and bring up a baggage cart to load it all onto before moving to the car.

As only my luck would have it, there were no carts available and so I got onto the elevator to go back to our third floor room to tell hubby that we would in fact have to drag this all down to the car ourselves.

I pushed “3” and “close doors” and the elevator begin its accent. And stopped, and went dark. I punched some buttons and nothing happened. I waited a few minutes for someone to figure out what had happened and deal with it. Nothing, just silence and more nothing. I feared momentarily that the rapture had happened and that I was going to die a slow hideous, death trapped in an elevator without even my cellphone to be able to check facebook. (Then I realized that with all the crap I have put up with lately, I’m going to be one of the first in line at the pearly gates, so that fear quickly dispelled.)

Finally, it dawned on me that this was bad, very bad. We were already pushing time to get our rental car returned and checked in, get the shuttle to the airport and deal with our huge amount of baggage and getting it all checked in to make our flight. Besides, it was hot in the elevator and I had worn jeans in preparation for a warm-but-not-overly-hot California day.  So I did what any self respecting, mature, calm person would do…. I banged on the elevator doors and shouted at the top of my lungs.

Finally, what I assumed to be a maintenance man called back to me and said he would try to get it fixed. He huffed and puffed for a while and then figured out he was not going to get the doors apart by force, so he called the fire brigade.

It was clear I was going to be here a while so I shouted to the handyman to call up to our room and tell my hubby where I was so he didn’t worry. I found out later no one ever did that, but in the meantime hubby had experienced the power outage in the room and after some time waiting for me, deduced on his own what may possibly have happened.

Not long after I heard a voice from up above me…”Mummy! Are you in there??” I shouted back that I was. “Mummy, are you OK?? I’m sorry you are stuck in an elevator, I wish I was in there with you so you weren’t alone”  (such love!)

Then came the ridicule….

Hubby: “Honey?”

Me: “YES….”(I knew where this was going)

Hubby: “OH. MY. GOD. This is so.…being tweeted and posted on my facebook wall right now.”

Me: “You’re a funny guy, you may want to think about the fact that we have 6 + bags on the 3rd floor of a hotel and no way to get them to the car but by brute force. In other words honey, you need to carry all 6 bags down 3 flights of stairs to the car by yourself and have it packed and ready as soon as I get out of here because we are now running late.”

Hubby: [expletive] Leaves to begin his workout for the day. At least the ridicule had ended (that is until later when I was in the car with him), meanwhile I hear the little voice from 3 floors above… “Mummy, are you OK? Do you need  a drink? Do you need to go potty? Are you scared? Is it dark??” ..Yes, no, no, no and yes.

Finally after what seemed like hours, I heard the sound of the fire engine sirens. At this point I was sitting on the floor of the elevator that only an hour ago I had glanced at and thought how dirty it looked. (My how things change!) The firemen arrive and ask the obvious “is anyone in there?” and “are you OK?” We’ll sure, I’m fine for a person that has been sitting in a hot, stuffy elevator alone in the dark in jeans for the past hour, just fabulous!

They worked on it for a while and finally figured out that they simply could not get the doors open. They then informed me that they would be ‘lowering’ the elevator manually to the bottom of the elevator shaft and that when this happened the doors should automatically open. Sounds great, no power, but you are going to manually lower it? How much do these things weigh? Like 5000 pounds? It seemed like a bad idea to me. (On the positive side, if something went terribly wrong then the fire department were already on hand.) Another 30 minutes or so of silence…

Really, I’m surprised. When you see things like this on TV, a crowd gathers, the firemen are constantly checking on the ‘victim’ and there is a lot of action and drama. Well! Not for me, they basically ignored me the whole time until I finally asked the time and commented that I had a flight to catch and at this moment was probably missing it.

Finally, the elevator was in the bottom of the shaft and the doors magically opened and 3 firemen peered into the darkness at me. One was gentlemanly enough (and cute!) to offer me his hand and help me from the floor. I thanked them for their help and made the comment that I think I would take the stairs to get back to the room if it was all the same to them. ( I think I’m a lot funnier than I really am in situations such as these.)

As I came up to the first floor there was a women there with 3 of those little yappy dogs….what are they called? Chiuauahs. She had them running loose but with long leashes on them and I was in such a rush as we were so late, they tangled in my legs as I was running to my room. I stood on one of them as I tried desperately to keep myself from tripping, and to get out of the tangles of leads. I don’t think she (or they) were giving off good vibes to me…It really was NOT my morning.

Hubby was still trying to load the car. We had to purchase an extra bag in Colorado so we had one more bag to get back to the airport than we arrived with. We had rented a Hyundai Elantra. This is not a large car. My poor son was dwarfed on every side by suitcases in the back seat as we pushed the speed limit to get to the airport.

What a start to the day, it was barely 11am I was hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, thirsty (having had no time to eat or drink) and had been traumatized by my elevator experience (I’m not a person that has issues at all with dark or small spaces, but combine them and add in the fact that you cant get out even if you want to and I have to say it felt a little freaky). As I write I’m a on the plane that was (mercifully) delayed.

We are saying goodbye to the Colorado Mountains and hello to the California seaside.  I really hope all my bad luck is out of the way and from here on in, its just a relaxing California  vacation..but as my hubby says, what would I have to blog about if everything was perfect?

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