Vacationing during a hurricane (Hurricane Irma), was not the plan my wife and I laid out when we started saving for and booked our trip to Disney almost a year ago. Some will say Hurricane Irma was the Beast; my Sweet-Love is the Beauty of course! Our target dates – Disney’s Food & Wine -September 4-10, in the sweet spot arriving as the mobs for the holiday weekend subside and all the local kids are back in school. It was to be our ‘Honeymoon’: Our first ever non-work trip without kids or work.
The week leading up to the trip, I managed to reschedule our outbound flight and extend the front end of our hotel stay, with another hotel near Disney so that we could enjoy a few extra days. Disney has what they call Extra Magic Hours. I was making ‘Extra Magic Days’ by starting the trip early. And magical it was. We had a fantastic vacation!
…Winds of Change
Change is the real spice of life. Sept 6th, late in the day, our flight home was canceled. I got a text message. We had last heard Hurricane Irma may enter the Gulf – so, I was a bit surprised of the cancellation this far ahead of a possible hurricane impact. Since we are both native Floridians, we are accustomed to these things to one degree or another.
We were not concerned about our safety, but we were concerned about getting home to our family and our cats. Our schedule for the next day at Disney parks was packed, and the airline had standard daytime office hours only. While juggling the schedule and the phone queues to get a new flight, I received and accepted a written offer for a new career opportunity.
Alicia and I had good reason to believe this was on its way and had already agreed that taking the time to accept it was the one thing I would do ‘business’ for on this trip. From my phone, I accepted the job. I rented a computer at one of Disney’s resort business centers so that I could complete the documents requiring signatures. On the morning of the 8th, we rescheduled our flight for Sept 12th, the first available flight. And, I notified my manager that I had accepted a new role, and would give him two weeks upon my inevitable return – after the delay. We then continued enjoying Disney and gathered food for the ‘hunker-down-in-the-hotel-room’ portion of our trip. Not a bad deal – stuck in the room with my Sweet-Love.
The Drive Home after Hurricane Irma
On the 11th, we guessed ahead of time and got another text message indicating that our airline canceled our flight the on the 12th due to airport closure. On the 12th, having not been able to reach customer service at our airline, due to unprecedented call volume, we rented a car and drove the ~6.5 hours home. We had to stop one time to gas up because we received the rental car at half tank. The majority of gas stations were out of gas, but there was no traffic at all heading North and West as everyone who had left earlier was now parked on the Turnpike and I-10 sides returning to Orlando and further south.
I am Thankful…
1. I am thankful neither Alicia nor I was hurt and that we had adequate shelter for the storm.
2. I am thankful our family, pets, and our home was unharmed. My heart goes out to those who cannot say the same.
3. I am grateful for the job I have had at UHG/Optum. I am impressed with their response to help employees in the impacted area. All I needed was a bit of understanding when my delayed return was beyond my control. However, much more was offered should I have the need.
4. I am thankful for the new opportunity ahead of me. I am sure I will share about this in a few weeks.
5. I am grateful for the chance to wrap up where I am and take a little road trip with my family to see family.
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