Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Winter Vacation from Hades


It all started with our house refinance coupled with buying a vehicle. I knew we didn't want to apply for a car loan until the house refinance was done cause I knew they checked our credit one last time at closing. If the car loan made a significant difference to our credit, it would jeopardize the entire refinance. So I called our refinance loan officer to ask when my credit would be clear so I can go get the vehicle we want; we already had one we wanted to buy. He told me it would be checked at closing and we'd be closing on Monday (it ended up being Tuesday). So to me, as a reasonable person, that meant I could buy the van on Tuesday/Wednesday after we signed. So we put a deposit on the van so it wouldn't sell in the next couple days. Come closing, I find out my credit will get checked a week later after we'd be up north for the holidays. Upon talking to my loan agent he tells me that's what closing means. I'm trying my best not to just lash out cause of gross miscommunication. How was I supposed to know these details? I was asking countless questions and he knew my intent to buy a van. Here's a timeline:

12/16: Find the van we want
12/17 AM: Discuss with lender about credit
12/17 PM: Place $500 deposit on the van
12/22: We sign at closing and learn of credit issue
12/22 PM: Place 50% deposit to hold van for 2 weeks
12/24: Leave for north
12/28: Refinance dispersal and credit check
1/4: Finalize van purchase

In the end it was all OK, but it was nonetheless a frustrating process because of miscommunicated expectations.

Outbound Flight

Then we get to our actual "vacation". The morning of 12/24, we get to the Atlanta airport to find out our flight has been cancelled due to severe weather, understandably. Not understandably is why we weren't notified since I setup notification email/SMS in my reservation. Since we're very late to the game, most flights have filled due to other people rescheduling. The next available spot is a flight that evening (6hrs later than the original). So we camp out in the airport and wait it out. A few hours later, I decide to check online to see if anything happened to my flight; I was worried we weren't getting notifications. Sure enough, our second flight was cancelled. I call Southwest to reschedule and figure out why updates aren't working. I'm told of a valid email on file, but notifications are set to go out via snail mail. WHY IS THAT EVEN AN OPTION? We supposedly get that fixed and reschedule for the next day in the evening (5:40pm on Christmas). So we drive back, the 2 hrs, home. Mind you, we have little to no food at home cause we planned it so. The next day we fly out uneventfully.  During the second flight, Isaiah developed a fever.

My Back

The next day, Isaiah is mostly better and as planned, we drive the 5 hours to Canada to visit my family in Ontario.  In some unknown way, I threw out my back and was in severe pain for a couple days.  I learned I could buy muscle relaxants over the counter and that took care of it.

Sinus Infection and Drive Back to NH

Meanwhile, I got what Isaiah had and could barely breath due to severe congestion.  Our drive back down to NH was right in the middle of a massive snow/ice storm.  So between sketchy roads, being sick, running out of windshield wiper fluid with stores sold out, the 5 hour trip took 8 hours.

More Sick

So back at my in-laws' house we get some time spent but the old house heated by wood stoves makes recovery from the sinus infection nearly impossible.  Over the next few days, everyone in my family is sick.

On Sunday the 3rd, I leave for the airport for my 5:15 AM flight.  Still sick, I finally get home at 12:45 PM and crash for the afternoon.  Meanwhile up north my family continues to get more and more sick.  By Tuesday the 5th, they're all running low grade fevers.

Loan Rate Debacle

Monday evening is spent by me securing the van only to find out the dealership can't secure the best loan rate as I assumed they could.  So Tuesday morning is spent at a local credit union getting a 1.99% loan instead of the 3.24% Honda couldn't improve.

Coming Home

Their return flight is on that Tuesday scheduled to leave at 11:40 AM.  Well, the plane has mechanical issues before boarding and eventually gets delayed to 5:30 PM.  They manage to get new flights leaving at 4:20pm and get to Atlanta at 9pm.  On the road at 10pm, they begin the last leg of this nightmare.

About 5-10 miles from the TN border, their vehicle has catastrophic transmission issues that nearly leaves them stranded at some rest area.  They finished the drive and end up at my brother-in-law's house for the night. Their attempts to call me at home are unfruitful because my phone had gone into night mode; I would have prevented this had I thought about it, but I never expected their drive to have such issues.

So finally, this morning I go get them in our new shiny van.  Now they're home with Hannah running 102.2F.  I've just today finally been able to dual-nostril breath and my back is hurting again.  The roller-coaster is still coasting...

While seeing family is always a positive, the trip itself was horrendous and why we'll remember it as the 2015 Christmas Trip from Hades.

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