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My family is resilient; amazing

18 June 2021
Kids in the back of the car
We were on the plane. At 6am in the morning ... and then an hour later we were in the car driving half way across the country.

Since the Disney offices are still closed and Christi is no longer working, we came up with a plan to spend a month in Nebraska. I would take Monday's and Friday's off to create long weekends and we will spend two weeks with my family and two with hers. To maximize our time there, we had a 6am flight the morning after the last day of school.

For a quick background, my kids love early morning travel, especially Hs. Anytime that we can get up before the sun to start our travel is a plus in the Helge household. We wake up at 3.30a, eat a little breakfast, pack the car and head to the airport. As we start to board the plane, our kids are stoked that they get to sit next to each other as the plane has two seats on each side of the aisle. As they are buckling their seats and I'm putting their luggage in the overhead, we hear on the speaker that we all need to deplane because of bad weather in Chicago.

After 45 minutes of standing in line to rebook our flight, I finally get to the front of the line to be informed that there are no flights that can get me from Hartford to Omaha ... for three days. No worries, I tell her, just get me to Chicago and we can stay there and get a rental car. No dice. No flights to Chicago for two days and rental cars are completely booked. As Covid has began to lax lately, this was one of the worst times to try to travel since everyone had the same idea after not being able to do it for a full year.

A few texts back and forth with Christi, since she was herding the kids, I finally ask for a full refund and for them to pull our two suitcases off the plane.

As we are literally the only people in baggage claim at 6.30a waiting for our luggage to arrive, we sit down with the kids and tell them we won't be able to fly today and had two options: 1) We could spend three days at home, have fun during summer break and then fly to see everyone or 2) hop in the car and just start driving.

Immediately the kids looked at each other and starting chanting "ROAD TRIP! ROAD TRIP! ROAD TRIP!" Christi and I were shocked. We tell them that the longest they've ever been in the car is 3.5 hours to visit Heather in VT and this will be 24 with no stops. They don't seem to care at all. With that, we go get in our car, make a quick stop at home for snacks and pillows and DVDs (yes, Christi is very smart and this might be one of her best ideas ever), hit the road and then start calling everyone to let them know of our change of plans.

The plan was to drive about as far as we could, crash, wake up and head to Nebraska. Somewhere in western Ohio I start telling people at work what happened and Snider was very insistent on knowing where I was staying. Since he lives in San Diego, I had no clue why he cared so much, but it looked like we'd crash around South Bend for the night. I find out that he was doing something similar by spending a few weeks with his family ... in Indiana. So for a guy who works remote from me, and that I couldn't have seen anyways because of the pandemic, we find out we'll be 20 minutes away from each other. Pretty funny how sometimes when life throws you a curveball it ends up being the pitch you wanted all along.

Meeting up with Snider in Indiana

After the two day voyage, we basically just kicked the kids out of the car at their grandparent's house and met up with Beth and James to go to the Olympic Swim Trials. James has been working at these for the past 10+ years and it was a pretty amazing experience seeing some of the greatest swimmers in the world right in front of us.

Looking back at the experience, I'm so glad my family is go with the flow. We're resilient and make anything work that is put in front of us and always find a way. All in all, it was