In my last blog I shared what was the hardest day of my life as a dad. It is easier for me (than my wife) to pick one because she has too many stories to pick from. So I have chosen one on her behalf.
In 2006, my family and I moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to start a church in downtown. Moving in any context is tough. Whether you are single, married, married with kids…it is all brutal. Well we moved four kids cross-country. How did we do it? Well we had no money so we had to be strategic.My brother-in-law got married in Houston March 2006 and my wife’s parents graciously paid for all six plane tickets for us. We flew Southwest because they allowed three check-in bags per ticket for free if they were under 75 lbs. I had an idea. We went to Walmart and bought the biggest (and cheapest) duffel bags we could find. I figured six times three is 18 bags we can ship for free.
We stuff eighteen bags to the max with clothes because shipping would cost way too much. We arrive in Houston and take all eighteen bags to the hotel. When the wedding was over, my wife’s parents and relatives took them on their flights back and BAM we shipped all of them for free. Special thanks to the in-laws. Eighteen bags is no joke.
Fast forward two months when we officially move. I was gonna drive my Accord cross-country while my friend drove the mini-van. Michele and the kids were gonna fly with her youngest brother the day after I left. We drove to Pat’s for our final cheesesteaks, then I took everyone to the hotel by the airport. After our hugs and kisses I take off for LA.
SIDE NOTE: I left Philly and arrived in Vegas 49 hours later!!! If you don’t believe me, I have two witnesses. Wait…did I say Vegas? I meant…uhhh…Barstow. Yeah Barstow.
The family was flying Southwest again, so 18 more bags…FREE SHIPPING! They went to bed early because they were gonna have an early start…7:30am flight with four kids under 6 and 18 duffel bags.
Somewhere in Missouri, I get a phone call from Michele. I am thinking, “This is strange…she should be up in the air right now…maybe, just maybe she is calling me from one of the cool plane phones that no one ever uses.”
I say, “Hello?”
She says sniffling, “Hey…” sniffle…sniffle…pause?
Alex: “Are you ok? Where are you?”
Michele: “I am at the hotel.”
Alex: “What happened?”
Michele: “I woke up 4am, got the kids ready. Took a shuttle to the airport by 6am with all of the bags that you suggested we take to save money.” (I am smiling because I thought that was so genius) “Well, I get to the airport to check-in and find out that our flight is on Thursday morning.”
Alex: “But it’s Monday?”
Michele: Sniffle…sniffle…”I KNOW!”
My wife tells me that she accidently pushed the wrong button on Orbitz. Well, they don’t have any available flights that day to Los Angeles so they went back to the hotel with 18 duffle bags and four kids. (I am smiling while typing this because I still think it was genius using Southwest as our shipping company for the second time) Michele tells me that in order to fly the next day we would have to pay the difference in price which was $1,600.
Now she is bawling saying how sorry she is that her oversight messed everything up. She says, “I know we don’t have any money so I’ll just stay at the hotel till Thursday.”
Immediately I say, “Just pay and get to LA as fast as possible. Don’t worry about the money. We’ll figure it out later.”
Now she is crying louder. So I ask what I did wrong because that is the first thing out of my mouth when my wife cries. It’s a reflex. She says the reason she is crying is that I wasn’t mad about the money and that I was being so understanding.
SIDE NOTE: Truth be told, I wasn’t being a good husband. I was just in shock that she was gonna have to go back to the airport and do this whole crazy thing again with the 18 duffel bags and four kids.
I say, “Of course baby. Don’t worry. Yeah, I am not mad. I am a good husband aren’t I?”
The next morning at 4am Michele woke up, got the kids ready, loaded up 18 duffel bags, checked in, went through security with four kids, flew to LA, and the rest is history.
I love my wife. To be honest, I am not sure why or how she is still with me.