But this post is a cautionary tale, and it’s not to kids but to parents. Do as I say, not as I do.
Any of you who follow my Facebook Page know some of this story. Before I tell it I have to admit that it’s my fault. I blew it. Initially. But this whole debacle going from bad to worse? Well, that’s not totally on me.
I posted, a little over a week ago, about the college decision my son made. Here’s the story of how that decision came right down to the wire, how he almost wasn’t here to make it and how this whole situation started as a Mom Fail.
Many times I asked him to rank his choices based on getting into all and again based on getting in just where he really thought he would. I thought I had a clear handle on where he stood. We talked about campus visits but because he didn’t get all his acceptances until he no longer had any school vacation left and he got into his first choice, I didn’t see the point in missing at least 4 days of school, spending thousands and traveling for hours in 2 different directions.
Three weeks before decision time he had read comments on-line that made him want more info on his first choice. There was a meeting being held about 4 hours from here for alumni and prospective students. He went.
Almost 2 weeks to decision time and somehow I get out of him that he can’t decide between what I thought he’d said many times was his first choice and the school he sent the application to after I told him he had nothing to lose.
He needed to visit the schools. Is that even possible at this point?
I spent two entire days on-line and on the phone and finally worked it out. He and his dad would drive 11 hours on Sunday to one of the schools. I set up a tour on Monday of the school in general and of the Engineering school. They’d drive home on Tuesday. Sounds like fun. NOT.
I booked a flight and hotel the following Sunday with tours of the other school on Monday and flight home on Tuesday. Wednesday was the acceptance deadline. We’d have to discuss Tuesday afternoon into evening until the decision was made. We were completely out of time.
Once you bring air travel into the mix you KNOW you better double up on your blood pressure medication.
The only flight out on Sunday was at 6:00 am. We’d have to leave for the airport at 4:30 am and I couldn’t book seats. The airline was saying that all the free seats were taken or being “held back” until flight day. After spending close to $1000 for airfare for two, we could pay hundreds more for seats or we needed to be at the airport at 4:00 am, wait in line for them to open and try to get some of the free seats that are available but being held back until then. Absurd.
Social media. I admit it, I started a twitter shame-campaign. Tweeted about the airline refusing us the free seats and telling us to pay up or wait in line at 4 am. They’re willing to do the deed but they don’t want you talking about it publicly. By the end of the day a hundred dollars’ worth of seats were assigned and payment was waved. I was able to print the boarding passes.
Sunday went as well as it could considering no sleep was had. College Boy had been to a concert out of state and woke me up coming in at 3:20 am. I drove Hubs and High School Senior to the airport at 4:30 am. While they were flying I had to take an unexpected 2 hour round trip drive to drop College Boy off at school when his ride fell through. Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Monday went well. The bad weather hitting the area mostly held off until they got their tours in. High School Senior was impressed and ended up back “on the fence” between the two schools.
Tuesday started off well. They got to the airport and took their first flight. Layover was an hour. And then? Well you know exactly what it was that hit the fan then. And pretty, it was not.
I was held up at home aka command central. I watched their flight progress online and was concerned when their next flight was postponed by 15 minutes. And then 15 minutes more and then 15 more and then 15 more. . . I spoke with them on the phone and told them to get wait-listed on the next flight out. They did. But then this situation reached “debacle” level. Their flight kept being postponed in 15 minute increments but meanwhile all the flights before theirs AND the one they were wait-listed on were canceled. There was one last flight out at 7:00 pm but once again the airline chose to be an obstacle. They would not give Hubs and College Boy a seat on the last flight until their current flight was canceled. So everyone whose flights were previously canceled filled up both the flight and the wait list while this one flight continued to be pushed off in 15 minute increments for 5 hours. FIVE HOURS! By the time it was canceled there were no more viable options.
Hubs both called the re-booking phone line and stood in the physical line. What the airline did next raised the entire situation to defcon 1. Sirens were sounding in my ears. Code red. They stated that there was no other flight available for 2 days. The airline suggested that they fly hours out of their way to North Carolina, then out of there on Wednesday night. N to the O. How could they even suggest that? There had just been devastating tornadoes in North Carolina that day and more expected. They’re recommending my family fly into danger? So they booked Hubs and High School Senior out on Thursday and told them to stay in town for 2 days, insisting that nothing else was available.
Not only were they not sitting around there for 2 days, but we had to make a college decision. We were just plain out of time.
Do you believe in luck? Fate? Kismit? Destiny?
The woman standing next to Hubs, who was trying to get here too, asked about another city an hour’s flight past where we live. Hubs heard her. There was a flight there that night and another airline had seats on a flight the next morning that would have them home at noon. This airline never mentioned it as an option because they don’t have a reciprocal agreement with the other airline, meaning they’d have to buy the seats. Haggling, arguments, discussions and a supervisor later and Hubs and High School Senior were on their way to yet another time zone, met by a shuttle, put up for the night and booked home the next morning.
I picked up the worse-for-wear weary travelers at noon on Tuesday. I gave them an hour to relax and then we all converged on the kitchen for serious discussions, celebration, and, of course cake and cocktails.
And that, my friends, is how you do NOT do college visits.
Strawberries and Cream Cocktail
Oh, and BTW, this is how you know your poor kid has just been in too many time zones in too short a time. That night at almost 1:00 am, I heard the shower start. I went into the bathroom to find my son taking his shirt off.
Me: What are you doing, honey?
High School Senior: Good question. I just woke up, what time is it?
Me: It’s 1:00 in the morning. Why don’t you shut the shower off and go back to bed?
High School Senior: OK, good night, Mom.
Me: Love you, my new favorite Boilermaker.
Strawberries and Cream Cocktail©www.BakingInATornado.com
1 # fresh strawberries; cleaned and hulled
¼ cup sugar
1 cup mixed berry juice
1 cup whipped cream flavored vodka
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Strawberries for garnish
*Put the strawberries, sugar, juice, vodka and ice cubes into a blender. Blend until smooth.
*Freeze for a couple of hours until it starts to get slushy.
*Scoop or pour into serving glasses. Scoop a dollop of vanilla ice cream onto the top. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.