After an unexpected tour of United's hub cities, I made it to Bethel, Maine this weekend to witness my sister-in-law's beautiful ski-inspired wedding.
But first, the travel. In the midst of last Thursday's rare San Francisco thunderstorm, I was supposed to fly out of SFO around 10:30. My flight was delayed for hours because both the plane before ours and the plane carrying our pilots were struck by lightning. The gate agents' computers were down because the central database had apparently also been struck by lightning. We boarded the plane around 2am, with instructions to hustle lest our pilots "go illegal" (meaning go over their maximum hours allowed to work in a day, per union rules). We hustled, but our wait time to take off was too long, and the pilots went illegal. We had to disembark and our flight was cancelled.
At 3 am, the line for the United customer service desk was over an hour long. Fortunately, Matt taught me a trick and I called up United customer service instead of waiting in line; they eventually got me on a 3-leg flight to Portland, ME. I had initially planned to arrive in Portland around 10 am EST. I ended up getting there, sans checked bag, at 7 pm, after stops in O' Hare and Newark. I got my rental car and drove another 2 hours to Bethel, freaking out at the "low battery" warnings my GPS gave me throughout the drive (I had had the wherewithal to pack the GPS in my carryon, but not its charger).
Finally, blessedly, I made it to the hotel, and my bag was delivered directly to Bethel the next morning by United. Matt had even scheduled me a massage. I had missed the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, but fortunately made it and got my bag just in time for the wedding itself.
The whole series of events could not have reflected the bride and groom more. The ceremony took place on the mountain where the groom works as a ski patrolman. Wedding guests took the gondola up and sat facing downhill, then the wedding party -- in tuxes and ski boots -- processed. The bride and her father came in, also wearing ski boots. At the end of the ceremony, the fellow patrolmen gave a salute and the bride and groom drove off on a snowmobile festooned with a "Just Married" sign and PBR cans!
Then, the reception took place at the nearby ski bar where the bride is a bartender. The party was, as I heard said many times, the biggest party the county had ever seen. The bride and groom were definitely king and queen of the county for the night.
And now I have a new brother -- I gained two sisters when I married Matt, but Paul is my very first brother ever!