Archive for January, 2006

Closing out 2005! Happy New Year!

I have to preface this by saying that I swear I’m not making this up.

2005 has been an awesome year filled with lots of great events: amazing ski days in Tahoe, Sea Otter Classic, camping on Angel Island, watching the Kenyans win Bay to Breakers, wedding planning, attended weddings, the Mexican Bus, got married, got honeymoon <wink>, turned 30, annual ride to Sam’s Cafe, Helen Richardon was born, explored new parts of Yosemite on our annual trip, SlushFest 2005, presented one of the keynotes talks at PowerPoint Live, got a new job, celebrated Thanksgiving with the whole family in Boston (including the newest family member, Brian), Pat and Carrie got pregnant, Snowman Shot Christmas party, Christmas Eve Dinner @ the Howell’s and the list could go on.

Actually, 2005 had been so good that the closing events of our year were almost erie in the sequence and timing.  So much so that I have to share with anyone who might read this:

Rob and I were dog-sitting our friend Brady’s dog for the week between Christmas and New Years (his name is Coal).  Brady lives in Sacramento and originally planned to pick up Coal in San Francisco.  Instead we needed to return Coal on Thursday night before the New Year. 

We decided to make a ski-day out of Friday since we were already traveling in that direction.  And it would give us an opportunity to visit with our friend Brad (from Seattle) who was visiting Tahoe for the long weekend.

We met Brad at Northstar at 8:30 AM for what we thought would be a powder-day and it was raining pretty steady.  We decided to trek to higher elevation to try to get snow and drove to Mt. Rose.  The winds at Mt. Rose were up to 60 mph and they had one lift open servicing beginner trails.  After some discussion and we learned that the storm was just going to get worse decided that this was a sign to hit a local pub for eats and drinks.  We threw in the towel at Gar Woods and had a nice visit catching up with our friend Brad.  

The three of us eventually went over to the cabin where Brad was staying with our other friends from the Bay Area.  We enjoyed relaxing around the cabin, meeting new friends and a delicious family-style dinner. 

Around 8:00, Rob and I decided to drive back to SF.  We had plans for NYE in San Francisco and wanted to get back and get a good night sleep and wake up "at home".  The winds and the rain were vicious the entire 300 mile distance between Tahoe and San Francisco.  The rain did not let up.  The driving conditions were not good.  Cars were getting stuck in flooded exit ramps.  The closer we got to urban areas the more wreckless drivers we tried to avoid and the more accidents we saw (we called in a flipped 18-wheeler + 4-car accident on I-80 near Fairfield).  It was intense and exhausting.

Finally at 12:30 AM on New Years Eve were were in our home and getting ready for bed when Rob realized he had Brad’s car keys in his pocket.  Brad was leaving the next day to drive to Seattle and needed his keys.  We called Brad to give him the news.  None of us knew what to do.  This was not a good situation.

After hanging up we were so overhwelmed and tired that we attempted to just fall asleep and deal with it in the morning with some sleep under our belts and clearer thinking.  But we were too anxious. 

We both went to our computers and started making calls.  FedEx would deliver the keys same-day for $432.00, Range Rover roadside assistance would be able to open the car but not cut a new key and dealerships were closed on NYE.  Driving back to Tahoe in awful weather did not feel like an option.  Finally we agreed that the best thing to do would be for Rob to get on a plane to Reno.  Southwest came up huge with a $95.00 fully-refundable fare that we booked. 

We got three hours of sleep and woke up at 5:30 AM (NYE) to take Rob to the airport.  We load up my car and get on the road.  1-block from the house, my car stalls.  I try to restart the car and, after strong hesistation from the engine, get it going again.  Another blocker further and the car stalls in the middle of a major intersection.  This is a sign to turn around.  We get the car back to the house and inches from a open parking space and the car stalls again.  This time it won’t start.  Now Rob and I are in the pouring rain, high winds, pushing my car into a parking spot.  We reload his car and try again for the airport.  Brad still does not know that Rob is getting on a plane and we have no idea if anyone will know to pick Rob up or how he will get home.

Rob’s plane takes off on time from Oakland and I can’t believe the plane can fly in such weather conditions as I’m driving home at 40 mph because of the rain, winds and lack of visibility.

I get a call from Rob that he has arrived in Reno.  He was able to get a hold of Brad right before he got on the plane and Brad is meeting him at the airport.  Rob walks out to the curb surveying the cars looking for Brad and doesn’t see him.  Minutes later he gets a call from Brad saying that all the roads to Reno are closed due to the storm.  Rob sees that there is a flight six hours later to Oakland and tells Brad that if the roads open up he’ll be at the airport waiting for his flight home.

The hours go by and there is no hope of the roads opening that day.  Rob starts asking around to Southwest attendants and airport security if there is a place he can leave the keys.  He is talking to a man at the "lost luggage" desk: "We absolutely can not do anything like that.  It’s against airport policy.  That would be like you leaving the keys here on the desk with your friend’s contact information attached and walking out.  There would be nothing I could do about that (as he winks and passes Rob a piece of paper across the desk)."  It wasn’t a sure thing but it would do.

Rob arrived back in Oakland at 5:00 PM and the weather had cleared.

We got home and immediately crashed in bed trying to catch up on the lost sleep and exhaustion from the last 48 hours.  We even managed to wake up a few hours later to shower and meet some friends out for dinner (Harris’s Steak House, San Francisco – highly recommended!).

At 12:30 AM New Years Day, with deliciously full stomachs, just 24 hours from when we realized we had Brad’s keys, we were back in bed.  

We made it to see the first 30 minutes of 2006 and went to sleep knowing that couldn’t be more thankful to wake up with the final events of 2005 behind us and a fresh start on a New Year.

Happy New Year!!

(and Brad was able to get his keys and made it back to Seattle safely)


Leave a Comment