Something Similar to National Lampoon’s Vacation

beach at night

My beloved husband booked a short getaway for us recently. We needed to be in the St. Louis area Sunday evening, so he purchased tickets out of St. Louis Monday morning traveling to Cancun. I gloated (more than once—CANCUN! baby) about leaving behind the foot of snow and all my responsibilities and basking in the sun and gorging myself at the all-inclusive hotel we were bound for.

What Went Wrong:

Monday morning the flight attendant was late due to weather (freezing rain), so our flight took off late.

When we arrived in Chicago there was a plane at our gate, so we had to wait on the runway. We missed our connection to Cancun by ten minutes.

We were added to the stand-by list for three flights but none of them had room for us. (Yes, flights were flying in and out even though Chicago got 8 inches of snow that day.)

We paid for lunch (pizza), supper (pizza), and a hotel room in Chicago while also paying for our all-Inclusive room in Cancun. (I ate leftover pizza for breakfast.)

I chipped a tooth Monday night.

Tuesday morning our flight out of Chicago was delayed because computers were down.

Don at the airport . . . pretending to be on the beach

Don at the airport . . . pretending to be on the beach

When we arrived in Cancun we were told our suitcase was still in Chicago.

We hailed a taxi and drove 35 minutes to our luxury all-inclusive hotel only to be told our room had been given away and the place was booked. (I had called our booking agency Monday but had not been clued in to the fact that the hotel needed contacted to hold our room.)

The “sister” hotel they sent us to was 25 minutes away.

When we arrived at the new hotel, the lone restaurant open served pizza. (See my previous three meals.)

Our sunscreen was in our suitcase. We paid $35 for a tube at the hotel.

Unbeknownst to me, the red flags on the beach meant the waves were dangerous. The pull was so strong Don had to help me back to shore.

When our suitcase arrived at our hotel (Wednesday at 5 p.m.) it was missing a wheel.

On the way home (Thursday), our connection out of Houston was delayed because of severe storms and the drive from St. Louis was difficult because of high winds.

What Went Right:

The children enjoyed time with their grandmother.

A terrific friend encouraged me during our very long delay in Chicago.

I packed our swimsuits, flip flops, hats & sunglasses in the carry-on bag.

The “new” hotel staff and most of the (numerous) airline employees we spoke with were friendly and helpful.

I took a kindle loaded with books which meant I could read on the beach without my glasses (big font) and no worries of ruining a paperback book.

We eventually received our suitcase. (Don’t laugh – I still have a full suitcase that has been floating around out there since 2006.)

We spent 43 glorious hours at an all-inclusive resort with breath-taking views and enormous amounts of food.

cancun sunset  cancun sunrise

The weather in Cancun was perfect.

The food was yummy. (Yes, I eventually got something besides pizza.)

All of our problems were minor and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

No one was injured or in an accident.

I spent five days alone with my husband.

don and barb in cancun

We both maintained positive attitudes (mostly) and a proper perspective. (We know people living in countries without clean drinking water.) We also got along well and worked together to troubleshoot problems and help each other during the stressful times.

God blessed us with the means to take a luxury vacation (plus some unexpected extras).

Don and I recognized all along that these were first world problems.

Lessons Learned:

Pack the 3-1-1 items (including sunscreen) even though it is an extra step through security.

Don’t wear embroidered jeans through TSA security screenings. They set the alarms off every time.

Joy is found in the little things.

Cultivating and maintaining a relationship with our loved ones is more important than having a perfect vacation.

God is magnificent. I was awestruck by the beauty of the ocean, sun, moon, beach, flowers, trees, etc.

God is in the business of refining. He uses grandiose landscapes AND minor irritations to purify us.

God is in control.

I am grateful for God’s attention to detail and desire to maintain a close relationship with His children. After our last flight, Don overheard one of the pilots telling another airline employee that something on one of the wings was broken and hadn’t been working during our flight. Wow! That puts it all into proper perspective.

cancun beach

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9 thoughts on “Something Similar to National Lampoon’s Vacation

  1. Gary Smalley says that when you go through difficult things together, it makes your relationship stronger. Sounds like you did just that. You worked together to solve each hurdle and didn’t let it steal the joy of being together. Pretty pictures. Thanks for sharing

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    • I think Gary Smalley is right. Solving problems together bonds us. And we had many opportunities for troubleshooting on that trip. 😉
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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  2. What an awesome post! I’m laughing because all the time you were enthusing about going to Cancun I was hoping you wouldn’t be disappointed. All-in-all I’m glad I stayed home and enjoyed the cool weather. I haven’t complained about it yet and my goal is to make it through the season that way. No matter what the cold and precipitation does, the earth keeps traveling around the sun and the days are getting longer. I love the light in the morning and evening. It’s almost time for us to take our Christmas lights down! Maranatha, Andrea

    Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2014 11:36:47 +0000 To: deut67@hotmail.com

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    • Glad you were able to laugh, Andrea. That was what I’d hoped for. 🙂
      You’ve got a terrific attitude about this unusually long winter. That’s why I love rubbing elbows with you! Thanks for reading and commenting. I pray God continues to use you to uplift those around you.

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  3. Barb, I’m so happy you were able to keep your sense of humor and salvage some joy out of this. As you know, I can testify that yes, in the great scheme of things, all these irritations are minor ones…but sometimes those seem to be the worst, don’t they? Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post about not-so-wonderful experiences. I love the point you made that God works through all kinds of situations to teach us different lessons.

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  4. Pingback: Utterly unforeseen | Defeat Despair

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