Did the flight delay I had getting to Knoxville piss me off? No, that was understandable. My bags arriving the day after I did? Well, that wasn't convenient, but at least I got my bags in time to wrap everyone's presents on Christmas Eve. Canceling my return flight to Chicago? Well, they aren't in control of the weather (that I know of).
So, what pissed me off? It was one, lone American Airlines "Joan Crawford on PMS" uber-bitch from their customer service line. When I called to reschedule my canceled flight, she immediately tried to force me onto a flight for the next day that didn't work with my schedule, yelled at me on the phone to "make a decision now, because there are 250 people waiting and if you don't take the flight I'm giving you, you'll probably be stuck in Knoxville a few more days," and then, when I asked to speak to her supervisor, she told me, "No," and then plunged my call back into the pool of 250 stranded travelers.
"American Airlines: Getting There Isn't Half the Fun, It's All the Aggravation."
****But who can stay upset when you get to spend time with a cute little girl like Carter here.
I'm not sure what you would call her - - she's my stepmother's sister's granddaughter... what's that called? anyone? anyone? - - but she and I had a great time on Christmas Eve. She followed me around all evening, sat on my lap during dinner and she loved when I took her picture (the flash made her giggle). But how could I not take a picture of someone as cute as Carter?
One look at my Dad and you can see where I got my hairline. Why I didn't end up looking more like the linebacker that he is boggles the mind.
Insert "Stephen, you're not a linebacker, you're a wide receiver" joke here.
And then there was the trip to Dollywood to see my friend Aaron in Dollywood's Babes in Toyland. Aaron's partner John went with my mother, my brother and I. John is now an expert on all things Dollywood. The ultimate tour guide for the park.
Why am I prominently displaying my camera case like that?
What kind of self respecting fag am I?
****Look at my brother in the picture below. Jeff would have rather been sucking the bile out of Dick Cheney's liver with a straw than visiting Dollywood on this day - - I love mom holding up the rabbit ears behind The Dolly Grinch's head - - but he went because I wanted to go so badly.
Besides, I'm sure it's fun to laugh at me spazzing out on "Dolly Energy" the second I enter the park.
I'm not quite a the level of those For the Love of Dolly folks, yet, but I'm close. I'm frighteningly close.
Even though we were smack dab in the middle of an amusement park, you can see the Smokey Mountains all around and just being there re-energizes me. Calms me. Makes me happy.
Add that to the joy I get spending time with my family and you'll understand why, now that I'm back in Chicago, I'm homesick. Happy that I was there, but sad that I had to leave.
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Happy New Year!
P.S. The evening of Christmas Eve, I spent time with some my best friends from high school. I didn't have my camera with me, but I hope that Kristie will send over some of the pictures she took. Seeing those friends again was my favorite part of the holiday. Send me those pics, cuz!