Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Off to a Great Start....or Not

Lloyd and I had a most interesting, at times funny, nerve-wracking, and sometimes dangerous day this past Monday.  The sad part is I have no pictures to illustrate it.

Here's my story.

We had decided, since we had a week free, that we'd fly down to Arizona for a break before Christmas.  We were to leave on Monday afternoon.  Now that we're living in Lethbridge we drive three hours to Great Falls, Montana to catch a two-hour flight to Phoenix.

We decided to get an early start to avoid a storm that was supposed to be coming down from farther north that day.  When we got up and looked out the window, it was a nice, clear, warmish day for this time of year.  By the time we went out to the car barely two hours later a wind had come up and it was snowing.  No matter.  We were still ahead of the storm.  We went to Rickey's Restaurant for breakfast on our way out of town.  That's where things started to get interesting.

As we were walking from the truck to the restaurant, I noticed Lloyd seemed to be staggering a bit.  I asked if he was ok and he just said that he was having trouble with his balance.  We went inside and got seated and Lloyd started dozing off.  I kept grabbing his hand to keep him awake long enough to order our meal.  But it was all he could do to stay alert.  He'd doze off, jerk awake, mutter something unintelligible, eat something, and doze off again.  That is not at all like him.  Finally I asked him if he had taken his pills before we left the house.  He replied that he had.  I asked if one of them was a little blue one.  Yes it was.  It was a sleeping pill that his doctor had prescribed a couple weeks ago but which he hadn't needed yet!  Not a good time to make a mistake like that!!! I had to laugh at him, he was acting so goofy. I'm sure the waitress thought he was drunk the way he'd doze off, wake up, talk nonsense and then doze off again.  At least we know the pills work, but he'll only take them at night now.

One of our discussions on the way home was about breakfast.  It went like this:
Lloyd:  We haven't eaten much today.
Me:  Well, we had breakfast, lunch and dinner
Lloyd:  We had breakfast?
Me:  Yes, in Lethbridge
Lloyd:  What did I have?
Me:  Eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, orange juice, coffee
Lloyd:  Funny - I don't remember that.

Gee I wonder why?

I told him we should go home and cancel the trip.  He insisted he'd be all right in a couple of hours if I'd do the driving.  We hadn't bought trip insurance and he didn't want to forfeit the cost of the ticket.  So I got him out to the truck and he was immediately asleep.  The driving wasn't too bad, just lots of snow blowing across the highway.  I had to wake Lloyd up at the US border crossing while we were cleared to go.  As we drove through Montana the blowing snow and visibility got steadily worse.  For awhile I just got behind a semi and followed him so I'd know where the road was.  After two hours we came to the town of Shelby where we always stop at the truck stop for a break.  Lloyd seemed to be much more awake and alert at that point so he wanted to drive the last hour into Great Falls.

The closer we got to Great Falls the worse the visibility became, at times the blowing snow totally obscured the road.  By the time we reached Great Falls, the area was in a total white out.  So we pulled into our favorite Mexican Restaurant there and sat down to enjoy a meal while we waited for it to be time to go to the airport.  While we were sitting there, Lloyd got a call on his cell phone from Delta Air telling us that all flights out of the Montana airports were cancelled because of the storm.  The earliest they could get us on another flight was Wednesday (today).  That wouldn't work for us since we had to come home on Saturday, so they refunded us the cost of the tickets.  Very nice people to deal with.

We decided that rather than waste the trip so far we'd do some Christmas shopping in Great Falls and head home later.  The stores were practically deserted, which made shopping easy and fun and we managed to finish our shopping there.

It was dark by the time we left Great Falls, and still snowing and blowing, but Lloyd was much more awake and lucid so he was up for the drive.  (You might notice that we don't always make the best decisions!).  The drive home was awful.  The normally three hour trip took us close to seven hours.  The storm had worsened considerably through the day and all the sane people were holed up someplace safe.  Luckily we had a four-wheel drive truck which had no trouble holding the road and plowing through snow but there were times it was quite frightening - times we couldn't see the road or anything except blowing snow.  Thanks to Lloyd's good reflexes and excellent driving (and the good sleep he had earlier in the day!) we managed to slowly get home, but not without a couple of close calls with the ditches.

When we stopped at the Canadian Border crossing on the way back, the young officer took pity on this foolish old couple driving around in the storm and didn't ask us to come in to pay tax and duty on the $500 worth of merchandise we had bought in the US.  Some people are so nice.  I think we might have been the only people he saw there that night.

You can imagine the relief we felt when we were finally back in Lethbridge.  It was just about midnight when we pulled into our driveway, which Lloyd spent the next hour shovelling out.  Certainly not the warmth of Arizona we were expecting to be enjoying at that time.  Oh well, we'll try again in February.

Hopefully our trip to Edmonton next week will be easier and less eventful.


thisisme said...

Hallo Pat. Good to see you here today! Oh my goodness, poor hubby. I'm sure he won't make that mistake again in a hurry. My oh my, what a journey you had. I am so glad that you both reached the warmth of home unscathed!

Bouncin Barb said...

Boy you sure know how to get the adrenaline going, don't you? The one thing I don't miss about living in New England is the snow and ice storms and having to go to work in them regardless. Close call with the sleeping pills I see! whewww... Hope all else is well. XX

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

You are too brave to be driving a long distance in those conditions!
Have you put the sleeping pills away from the rest of his pills?? Too funny!

Mickey said...

I laughed til tears streamed down my face when I first heard about the mistaken pill and every time I thought of it the rest of the day!
But not for the thought of you driving through that terrible snow storm. It could have ended very differently. Good driving.
Very nice Customs Officer too!
and happy you got your Christmas shopping finished!
Sorry now that you have such a bad cold.

RoeH said...

Wow. Just....Wow! Scary trip. I well remember the storms of Montana. I lived in Great Falls once. Northern Montana and North Dakota also. Brrrrr. For what it's worth, it's quite cold here. Rainy and temps are supposed to go down into the 30's and possibly 20's which - for us -is dang cold.


Glad you are back home, safe and sound.

doodles n daydreams said...

Wow, what an adventure!!You'll be checking the pills for a day or two now I suspect.
Bonus - Christmas shopping all done :)


Bev said...

That is too funny!!... We drove from Okotoks to (Wed).... the roads where not too bad....but the worst we have every had them...hopefully tomorrow we had better ones....

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That was quite an adventure. Glad you made it back home safely. We can never tell what the weather will do this time of year. Hope your next trip is a quieter one.

Granny Annie said...

You certainly put us right there with you for this entire event. I can just picture Lloyd nodding off and appearing drunk as you try to control the entire situation. Where is the video when you need it? Glad you made it home safely.

Anonymous said...

That's the worst day ever. Glad you made it home safely. Love you 2.

Delena said...

Thank goodness you made it back to Lethbridge safe and sound. I really feel sorry for our kids at home in minus 30 temp. today.