Groundhog Day, British Airways, and a Gift of 24 Hours.

Posted on
Feb 29, 2012

The clock ticked, and for once, we were able to ignore it.

“There is never enough time,” Rand is fond of telling me, and I nod in agreement. It might as well be our mantra.

I didn’t always feel this way. When I met my husband I was bored and lonely and every day seemed to stretch on forever. It was excruciating. And then he arrived and time began to zip by, and life suddenly seemed far too short.

(Today might be Leap Day – the 29th of February – but that doesn’t mean we get an extra twenty-four hours. It just means that we’ve renamed March 1st. Time breaks every tackle attempt we’ve made, and continues to march on.)

The moments I get with my husband always feels like they’re stolen. His hours at home are often spent in front of a computer. He will take a break for dinner, and sometimes we will even curl up on the couch together for an episode or two of something. But after that he will look up at me with guilty eyes and I will heave a sigh, because we both know that he must return to work.

And it’s okay, it really is. Don’t feel sorry for me because I don’t get to spend every minute of every waking hour with the love of my life. If I did, this blog wouldn’t exist, and I’d probably be exhausted. The heart can only take so much.

Besides, I’m comforted by the knowledge that I get to keep him until the end of my days or his, which I hope will be ages from now, when we’re old and wrinkly and our joints creak more than the bed every time we try to get it on.

I apologize for the above visual.

Rand reminds me, too, when I cling to him, petrified that something will happen on those rare times he’s on the road alone, that we’ve already had a pretty good run. The world could end tomorrow, and I will have had ten long years with the love of my life. I can’t help but feel fortunate.

And yet, I still want more. In his wedding vows, Rand told me he wished for a day like the one Bill Murray has in Groundhog Day. Where he relives the same day over and over again, in the company of a woman who he loves, until he finally gets things right.

Rand told me he wanted a day like that with me, outside of the time-space continuum. A bonus day, free of obligation. A day to do what we wished.

And just a few weeks ago, thanks to snow in London, we had one. It was February 4th, just a few days after the actual Groundhog Day, and the morning after we had curled up and watched the movie.

Rand was set to leave for Munich for a few days. He was flying through Heathrow, scheduled to leave mid-afternoon on a Saturday so beautiful, it felt like spring.

I was pissed. Life is short enough without your husband leaving on one of the four sunny days Seattle gets a year. But it was only for a few days, so we sucked it up. We had breakfast with friends, spent the morning enjoying the sunshine, and moped a little bit.

And then it was time to go. Rand went to the computer and tried to print out his boarding pass. He had attempted to do so the night before, but was unable to. Again, he had no luck. He couldn’t check in for his flight. He tried calling British Airways, but only got a message saying that the system was overwhelmed with calls.

Finally, he received an email with an updated itinerary … for Sunday. His flight had been cancelled and rescheduled for the next day. While we sat in the Seattle sunshine, Heathrow was covered in snow.

To this news, I reacted thusly:

It wasn’t that his trip got shifted one day over – he was still coming back on the same day. It was that his trip was now one day shorter.

Boom. Just like that, we got an extra 24 hours. We got our Groundhog Day.

I grabbed the front of Rand’s shirt.

“I don’t think you understand the significance of this,” I told him. “Imagine if, at the end of your life, you were told you got one more day. You’d be thrilled.”

Rand nodded.

“But this is better than that,” I continued. “This isn’t an extra day at the end of your life. This is an extra day in your prime. When you are young and beautiful and everyone you love is alive and well.

“This is a gift.”

(I feel compelled to tell you that at this point, Rand’s eyes welled up, and he hugged me tightly, an action which squeezed a fart out of me. At which point Rand glared at me and said, “God damn it, woman, what is wrong with you?” Life is not like the movies.)

And because – like all good gifts – we hadn’t anticipated having this day free, there was nothing on the calendar. We could do whatever we liked.

We drove around. We climbed to the top of Kite Hill at Gasworks park.

Had there been sun in London, we'd not have seen this.

We surprised someone with cupcakes. We went to see our friend’s band play. We ate french fries in the middle of the night.

I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that big a deal. It wasn’t the best day of my life, or even that memorable. But it was an extra day with my husband. One we didn’t think we’d get. And in a world where there’s never enough time to begin with, it was nothing short of miraculous.

Leave a Comment

  • This made me smile so big. Thanks for reminding me to love my husband a little extra.

  • Damn it, woman. I have things in my eyes now. I’m going to sneak in some extra snuggles with the Ms.

  • I have to say, this is the first time I’m here. The first time I read your blog and you already got me hooked up on it. I will be coming back, for sure. You’re now on my blog list to read every week. And there’s only three others on this list.

    Touching and simple entry. I’m glad you both had this extra day. You both look much in love.

  • Suzanna

    Oh Geraldine, what a beautiful entry! I’m sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes. Especially after seeing the last photo – Dick’s fries! As a native Seattle-ite now living in Oklahoma, I miss Dick’s, especially the fries and shakes! Thanks for a great dose of home.

  • Penny

    We have an impending snow storm here in MA and the night class I teach on Wednesdays has just been cancelled. I was just thinking the same thing about getting a gift. I don’t get to spend it with the man of my dreams, but I do get to stop and breathe for a second. Which I need to do.

    This post was a really good reminder to take the tiny moments when you get them. Just lovely. 🙂

  • Melanie

    This might be the feel good post of the year. Loved every bit of it. Even the squeezed out a fart part, ’cause that stuff happens.

    MMmmmm middle of the night french fries. That sounds so good right now.

  • Fabulous post! I geek out a little bit when an everywhereist post pops up in my reader. I hope you continue to write for a long, long time 🙂

  • Aww, I’m still smiling from this post. Such a nice reminder that life is all too short and to enjoy every (extra/free) day we get. You guys are the cutest. =]

  • Thanks for the lovely reminder on the little things in life 🙂

    Your blog is hilarious!

  • On a day that I have been longing for home, perfect timing to see your awesome Seattle pics! Glad to hear Groundhog’s Day is alive and well in your household:-)

  • Paige

    This is so sweet. It’s nice to see that there are still couples, and a young couple at that, who adore each other so much.

  • Just sent the link to your post to my wife. She travels a ton for work and this is exactly how I feel about her. Great post!

  • shannon

    Goddammit woman… someone is chopping onions. Thanks for the reminder that every day is a gift.

  • Dr. Pete

    I loved this so much. I’d like to say something profound, but that’s all I’ve got.

  • Well shite. I’m both crying and laughing out loud at this. You guys are amazing. Should we all be so lucky!

  • This comment sounds soooo wrong, but the 1 thing I miss most about Seattle is the Dick’s

    french fries and burgers that is…. =]

  • I’m not even remotely a mushy person, but the love expressed in your post (and many previous posts as well) is beautiful and palpable! You and Rand are indeed lucky people. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!

  • This was exactly what I needed the day before I have to be in the car for two days with my husband of 25 years…hopefully there won’t be any farting, at least not on my part.

  • Beautiful post; tha’s all I have to say.

  • Jess

    Beautiful post G.

  • Betty

    Very smooshy and adorable and you went to gasworks park after the fart squeezing incident. LOL

  • you made me snort laugh gosh darn it! I would fart too if my husband tried to hug my soul through my body.

  • This makes me happy. The next time I get stuck in LA for 24 hours on my way to Nairobi because of snow in Seattle and spend the day sleeping in a hotel because I stayed up all night in efforts to avoid jet lag upon arrival in Africa, I will not be pissed. Even though I lost 24 hours in Africa due to snow, I will think that somewhere, someone else is getting an extra 24 hours like yours and maybe they needed it more than I did.

    • Everywhereist

      Nope. That’s ridiculous. I think you still have the right to be thoroughly pissed. 🙂

  • jenna

    haha, laughed out loud at the fart mention, maybe i’m childish like that.

    but in all serious, a beautiful post that leaves me wistful, and hoping for the same blissfully stolen moments with someone special.

  • LItal

    that is really a sweet post. made me smile in this gray, stormy weather and this terribly boring day at the office

  • I met my boyfriend while travelling. It was unexpected. He is an ex-pat in Korea. I am a nomad, going from one country to another. I missed my flight to China and stayed for ten extra days in Seoul when I met him. I flew back a few months later to live in Seoul for two months to see what would happen. We have the blessing of doing things that couples don’t do in their first year together. He chases me around the world on his vacation (Hong Kong, Vietnam, soon India) and flies out randomly to surprise me (Taiwan). But at the end of every adventure, we have to say goodbye. In Taiwan, he missed his flight. Instead of being upset about missing that day of work, we were elated. We had one extra day to spend together: walking and taking pictures of graffiti, eating street food at the night market. It’s these little memories you treasure when you are away from the person you love.

  • Colleen

    I think the best part is where Rand hugs you tightly and you fart.

  • You say ‘Heathrow was covered in snow’, it really wasn’t ! We have about an inch, maybe two. The trains were still running and other London airports carried on as normal, but Heathrow operates at 99.2% of capacity (that was the actual figure in 2011; it was 99.2% full) and can’t cope with even the slightest disruption. Glad you got your free day though. I love Goundhog Day (the movie). It would be in my top two with Forest Gump.

  • Sweet story. Everyone should get days like this.

  • @IAmPacking

    Beautifully written, certainly left me with tears in my eyes. I too have a husband that travels – so I related to this post in many ways.

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