After arrival back in Kelowna from Penticton, we spent a relaxing afternoon with my husband's sister and her husband. We went to their hotel room for naps, book reading and conversation. It helped make up, at least a little bit, for not being able to get together last November.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our 9:30pm flight and discovered it was going to be about 26 minutes late arriving at the terminal. No big deal. We looked around for a restaurant post security to have a nice relaxing dinner before boarding. It was relaxed only until we happened to look up at the Arrivals/Departures board that we could see from our "patio" table out in the concourse area and realized that our flight was now an hour late. Even as we looked at the time the board changed and our flight was going to be at least two hours late. The snow that had started coming down an hour or so before we arrived at the airport had started in Vancouver much earlier in the day was continuing there and had also progressed eastward into and past Kelowna all the way into Alberta with no let up in sight. Mixed with the snow was a fair amount of freezing drizzle that was coating the planes with a dangerous layer. Every plane leaving Vancouver or Calgary on route to Kelowna had to take extra time to be de-iced before departing.
We were waiting for our meal to arrive, watching the notice board with increasing horror as we realized that not only would we have to call the car rental company in Calgary to arrange for an extremely late pick up...well after midnight by this time...we wouldn't be able to tell them exactly when we would be arriving after all, plus there was a very real possibility that our flight would end up being cancelled all together. What to do. As we gazed over at our departure gate from our table, we decided my husband should sprint over there and ask about the possibility of getting on the one earlier flight to Calgary that was also about two hours delayed. Perhaps if that flight was not full we could make the switch.
It took some doing and some fancy talking, but by the time we were done choking down our now tasteless dinner (funny how stress removes all taste from food for both of us) we managed to make a switch to the earlier flight. That "earlier flight" was now scheduled to leave for Calgary at the same time our original flight would have taken us, so we didn't call the car rental company, just in case something else happened to delay us further or cancel our leaving all together. As it turned out we did load at the new time we were given and we were all seated and ready to head for the tarmac at 11:30pm, getting to Calgary in plenty of time to pick up our rental car on time and before they closed for the night.
Well....it didn't quite turn out that way. My husband and I had figured an extra 20 minutes or so for de-icing based on our last two de-icing experiences on the way out there in the first place. Oooh, that was not smart! The poor Kelowna airport was of course not exactly overloaded with de-icing trucks. It is a very small airport and de-icing is not usually necessary; at least not in the amount required the night we were there. hahaha We had to wait our turn to be de-iced by the one truck servicing the planes. That was only about ten minutes, but by the time one side of our aircraft had been de-iced the truck was out of fluid and they had to return to their loading zone to fill the truck a second time. Apparently they had to drive to Lower Slobovia to find more de-icer because they were gone for over a half hour. Finally they returned with more fluid and de-iced the other side of the plane. By this time over 50 minutes had passed since the plane had been sealed and our cell phones and other electronic equipment had to be turned off. In other words, we watched our window of time for getting to the Calgary car rental completely disappear and we had no way of contacting the company to let them know so they could have someone waiting for us. Sigh.......... Such is life on airplanes in winter in Canada. We finally arrived in Calgary just before 1:30am, so of course there was no one manning our car rental company's booth and no car waiting for us. Now what??? We wandered about the rental area looking forlorn when one of the employees of another company still open waved us over and asked us what was up. My husband told her and she said her company was open for another half hour. They negotiated a slightly less expensive rental fee than what we had been paying at the first company and we drove away by 2am with a lovely black Toyota Camry with all the options known to man on it. haha
From the Calgary airport we drove out into the remnants of the now abating snow storm and crawled along the Deerfoot and Glenmore Trails to my parents' home. We were actually grateful to be so late at night/early in the morning after all. By 2am there was almost no traffic out on those usually packed roads and that was fortunate as there was so much snow and ice on them there was no way to see the lines defining the different driving lanes. We snail crawled along for the better part of an hour for what is usually a 20 minute drive, watching with interest as dotted lane lines appeared sporadically and we were never driving in proper relation to any of them, simply following a bit of an open track that had blown clear occasionally along the route. My husband is like his sister: a champion snow and ice driver, and we arrived at our destination safely!
We got ourselves into the room and finally exhaled, ate a BIG snack and read our books until well after 4am, just trying to relax and calm down enough to sleep. My husband managed about 5 hours worth of zzzzz's and I got about 3 hours before our first day of celebration for dad's 90th birthday began.