Newlywed couple in forest
Photo by Trần Long on

On July 3rd, 2023, Ben and I finally tied the knot. After five years of dating, we embraced countless storms, including those we prayed away the day of the wedding. 

I think a lot of people were shocked that we saved our first kiss until marriage. It wasn’t as odd as you might think. We’d 10/10 recommend. We wouldn’t recommended foot washing where no water from the storm ten minutes prior made it into the bucket.

From start to finish, our honeymoon plans were flawless. Not really, but in fourteen days, we managed not to kill one another, and I considered that a plus.

From Yosemite, to Sequoia, King’s Canyon, and Joshua Tree, the only thing stopping our good time was my period. And when you have suspected endometriosis, sometimes your get up and go gets up and is gone. Fatigue and pain are part of my daily life, but nevertheless, I was thankful for the experiences we shared.

If you’ve ever heard me tell vacation stories, you’ll quickly learn that Ginter’s have somewhat of a curse when it comes to traveling. Apparently marrying a Johnson didn’t solve that equation.

The day before Ben and I were to fly out of LAX to CMH, we noted that everything on the trip had gone perfectly. From our take-off flights to Airbnb’s, hotels, Turo rental, and excursions, it was smooth sailing. Ben’s afterthought to not speak too soon was unfortunate and accurate.

So how do we recommend you end your honeymoon? Follow these simple steps for an experience you’ll never forget.

Step 1: Get Your Flight Delayed
Any wise traveler knows to show up to the airport at least two hours prior to boarding. So after staying at an overcrowded and overpriced Hilton, we took the 6am shuttle to arrive by 6:25am.

With a TSA cares case for my allergies and medical concerns, we were mildly surprised that they only managed to confiscate mustard and a bowl of fruit. Somehow both passed check-in, but now brought detriment to the safety of other flight passengers.

Settling down by 7:00am, our terminal changed so many times we got a wonderful morning jog in. Did I mention I love running?! Four miles spanned our distance within the hour. 

Once the flight was pushed to afternoon, we started to panic. 

Step 2: Get Your Flight Delayed Again
Obtaining a free $12 meal voucher from the flight staff greatly consoled our weary souls. Especially when a fruit cup is $7 and a sandwich $15. Add in the fact that most if not all grab and go items aren’t gluten, dairy, egg, and allergy free, and you get bonus points towards an extended and hungry day in the airport!

After changing terminals yet again, the evening arrival time wasn’t ideal, but we mustered strength and hope.

Step 3: Get Your Flight Delayed Again (Again)
Searching high and low for food when you have 8 food allergies is quite the show. I wasn’t worried, however, as 99% of my food was in our safely checked bag to arrive in CMH. 

As the flight time delayed to overnight, the airlines solution to my problems was to board an overnight flight to Boston and arrive in CMH by 5am the next day. No solutions were offered about my allergies, but complimentary hotel and $12 food vouchers were handed out like candy.

Step 4: Get Your Airline to Give you Hotel and Meal Vouchers

In defeat, we opted for the hotel and food vouchers knowing it was already going to be a long night.

It became longer when Carousel 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 didn’t have our luggage. In fact, the Phoenix Airport they changed our flight to layover in didn’t have our luggage at all. 

They recommended we speak to the baggage claim service representatives who promptly assured us our luggage was “okay,” but most definitely not arriving tonight, or tomorrow. It would be waiting in CMH for us upon our arrival.

The free hygiene kits given for our compensation were fantastic. Not really, but we thought it sounded good.

As we stepped off the provided hotel shuttle, we were pleasantly surprised by the higher quality Hampton ran by Hilton. After four hours of searching GrubHub, DoorDash, Walmart, Kroger, and the Hotel Catering for food and supplies, I ate a stale wrap with fake cheese out of a cup, and coddled my see-through Walmart leggings the DoorDash guy kindly dropped off. His face when I opened the hotel room door offered humility. The bags of underwear, eye contact solution, netti pot packets, and other essentials sat at his feet. “Try to have a good night” he offered. “Oh, I shall!” my optimism glowed. I just couldn’t wait to get back to my stale wrap in a cup and now less than five hours of shut-eye before the next day’s adventure.

Step 5: Arrive 2 hours prior to your flight and get delayed

Yet again, Ben and I boarded the early am shuttle with hope and charm. “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can,” played in the background.

This time, we were prepared. TSA acknowledged my frozen ice pack with ease, and told us to “have a great day”! I was sure we would!

With growling stomachs and wide eyes, we’d spent hours the night before looking for food options both inside and out of the airport. Four miles of walking later, we wound up with plain salad. Only to be redirected to the third change in terminals two miles back.

The first delay didn’t surprise me. After the prior day’s eight hours in the airport, an hour didn’t matter to me. I set back in the most luxurious chair and thought to myself “I’ll enjoy the show.” 

Step 6: Get Your Flight Delayed
Boarding by late morning, my salad sat in the cooler TSA let us bring in. I sucked down a protein drink for breakfast and thought lettuce would be super filling shortly. Once we sat down on the plane, I planned to unwrap this scrumptious delight.

Oddly enough, we boarded the aircraft fairly quickly. I was confident we’d arrive in Columbus by 6 or 7 PM at the latest. When I began to grow feverishly hot waiting on the plane, however, my fears grew.

As the outside Arizona temperatures soared to 115, so did the airplane. Note: I don’t sweat. So when I began to see the stream from places I don’t usually sweat appear, I knew everyone else had to be hot.

After an hour and a half, we were told the auxiliary air conditioning wasn’t working and we’d need to unboard. By the time they allowed me my salad from the carry-on cooler, my bites were warm. I suspected I probably shouldn’t eat the salad now three hours later. Food poisoning, anyone?

Step 7: Get Your Flight Delayed Again
In defeat, Ben insisted on getting me another salad. The airport will have to pay for all our expenses we thought. Yet every time we tried a food voucher, the codes didn’t work. Our flight was delayed another 3 hours and the 10 PM arrival time was again not ideal, but hopeful. 

We boarded the plane a second time only to have the same auxiliary issue. They deboarded and my salad wilted.
Obtaining a new salad, I noticed an odd dressing on it I didn’t ask for. After thirty minutes of trying to talk with a chef about ingredients, I gave up and just ate what I thought wouldn’t kill me.

Step 8: Get Your Flight Delayed Again (Again)

At this point, the pit in my stomach began to deepen. I’m not just talking about hunger.

We would get in by 11:30 PM but then have to track down our “lost but surely redirected and found luggage in CMH.” “We will most definitely get you in tonight,” explained the AA supervisor, after hearing about my scheduled Tuesday operation.

They boarded us a third time and we quickly heard “go back,” “It’s not working”. Our shameful eyes reached the gaze of those still sitting in the terminal we’d exited only three times prior. “We will get you a new flight tonight!” They declared. Their optimism a bit too cheerful to be realistic.

Step 9: Get Your Flight Cancelled and Call Your Surgery Emergency Line
As our new boarding time changed, so did our terminal. Another mile later, we arrived only to see two large words on the screen: “Flight canceled.”

Pushing everyone to the AA customer service line, the crowd mobbed around the service desk. 

As I attempted to call the emergency hotline for my surgery, shouts broke out. People were getting angry. Flights were changing yet again. 

With an offer to explore Ontario, Dallas, and Columbus in the next eight hours, it was an offer we couldn’t decline. But we did.

The option to fly me directly to Indiana for surgery instead was squashed by the realization that though it was now Sunday night and my surgery was scheduled three weeks ago for this Tuesday, I would be on my own for a flight back after the surgery, as well as food and transportation. “That would be your choice to fly to Fort Wayne rather than Columbus,” they noted. “It’s not our problem that’s when your surgery is.” “Is it my fault the flight delayed three days?” I thought.

Calming Ben and myself down, Tim Hawkins Christian curse words seeped into my mind. Fighting off “shut the front door,” and “fart knockers,” our anger subsided.

An hour later, we opted to fly into Texas and at least get four hours of sleep in a hotel and shuttle that would be provided once we arrived and checked into customer service. No prior check-in or arrangements allowed. “Just get in the line as soon as you get there and it’ll be settled easily!” I cringe now at the young boy’s naivety. 

On the flight to Texas, I felt confirmation for my surgery. Ben and I’s new seats weren’t together, but a young girl switched us, and an older woman to my right happened to be a nurse with endometriosis experience. An older woman on our previous flight also mentioned the same and the value of diagnostic surgery. 

Things are starting to look up, I thought! We even got more plain meat on lettuce for my satisfaction. And if you’ve never washed your face and brushed your teeth in an airplane bathroom before, you’re missing out on quite the exhilarating experience.

Step 10: Get Offered a Hotel and Meal Voucher You Can’t Get To (AKA Attempt to Access AA Customer Service &Accept Defeat)
Landing the plane by midnight, I began to see that this was only the beginning of our problems. Our flight to Columbus would board around 6 AM the next morning, but after two hours in the customer service line, we’d only moved the distance one goes when they fall prostrate from being slain in the spirit. 

By 2 AM, we opted to make a beautiful bed out of chairs in the airport and accept the fact that we wouldn’t be getting a hotel, shuttle, or food vouchers.

This would be the night of our lives.

Step 11: “Sleep” in the Frozen Tundra (DFW)
As Ben and I settled into our “beds” for some “sleep,” I created a fantastic blindfold out of his black socks. The aroma actually helped me “sleep.” The under 60-degree temperature did not.

Tossing and turning for three hours, we finally decided to share the same chair for warmth. Body heat is amazing when you’re on the verge of catching hypothermia.

Step 12: Attempt Seat Changes
As the night faded into the morning, we accomplished our first and last red-eye experience. Lock-ins never were my thing. I wonder if they are now?

Thankfully, the flight to Columbus from Texas boarded and left on time. But it was only after we repeated our story four times and declared this was our honeymoon that a kind soul decided to trade seats so we could sit together.

So here I am, sitting on a three-hour flight with a three-hour time difference, wearing the same Door Dashed clothes as the day before and random fruit I acquired sticking out of my “limit one personal item,” very pregnant bag. I think she’s due any day now.

Step 13: Contemplate If God Is Attempting to Cancel Your Surgery, or the Devil Is
At this point, I’ve begun to question if God is at work in this or the Devil. Maybe God doesn’t want me to get the surgery done? Or maybe Satan is trying to prevent it? That’s the age-old question, isn’t it?

I know that God loves me, sees me, and cares about me. And honestly, I believe He’s still in control. There must’ve been a reason for all these delays. Everything happens for a reason. But contemplation has become my closest companion. Along with jet lag, sleep deprivation, and teeth that desperately need to be brushed.

Step 14: Write a Complaint to AA on Your Flight Back

While this letter isn’t a complaint to the airline, I certainly find it comical to write. Honestly. It’s so horrible it’s funny and I laughed all night. 

Ben wasn’t laughing when he submitted the formal complaint or attempted to call, chat, and message customer service online only to be rerouted to wait times for over three hours. He’s definitely cracking smiles now, though.

Step 15: Arrive Back Home Three Days Later Than ETA
Arriving to our home sweet home three days later, we couldn’t wait to jump in a car, drive home, and pack to leave for out-of-state surgery. We’re just so pumped to travel more! And despite my parents’ enthusiasm for our newlywed adventures, I shook my head back and forth in shame. I swear these things only happen to Ginter’s. Apparently, now they happen to Ginter’s and Johnson’s.

Step 16: Leave for your Out of State Surgery Less Than Five Hours Later 
Leaving for Indiana less than a few hours later, I pray that I can sleep some in the car. My excitement to have no food or water after midnight and have my stomach blown up with gas by 2 PM the following day to help make incisions around my pelvic area easier to operate excites me. I’ve always wanted to be in *more pain, now with less sleep, than ever before.

Some sort of tsunami has gone off in our new home. And between Amazon packages, groceries, and wedding gifts, my high-functioning anxiety just can’t wait to sit and stare at everything I can’t do after surgery. All the things everywhere that need put away *now.

But hey, this is just a fun travel route recommendation and update. Nothing too serious, just some banter and sarcasm to tickle the ivories. All jokes aside, Ben and I are fine. We’re tired and worn down sixteen days later going straight from the wedding into the honeymoon, but we’re thankful. We know God is watching over us, guiding us, and protecting us, every step of the way. We trust His providence with the surgery, and we especially trust His faithfulness when everything goes according to plan (and when it falls off the rails as it just did the last few days).

I hope your experience is as good as mine. And if you follow these instructions to a T, you’re likely to lose sleep, achieve mild back pain, and high levels of anxiety that might land you in your counselor’s office a week early. 

Nothing serious friends, just a few weeks in the life of now Mrs.Amber Ginter Johnson.

Agape, Amber