Extension of holiday weekend is fun for some, but not for the man who misses his monkeys

The storm systems that dumped snow up and down the East Coast over the Christmas weekend provided a different experience for everyone.
By Michelle Boorstein
Monday, December 27, 2010; 8:35 PM

At noon Monday, Loretta Lipari was supposed to be home on Long Island, N.Y., looking back warmly upon her Christmas visit to her son's family outside Baltimore, thinking of holiday ham and lasagna and of watching the kids open their new skis.

Instead, the "60-ish" grandmother was sitting outside a Play It Again Sports store. While her grandchildren got ski poles inside, Lipari worried about whether her car back home had been buried by snowplows clearing her condominium building parking lot and whether she'd be refunded for the multiple tickets she'd bought online as weekend snow canceled bus after scheduled bus.

Then there was the question of whether everyone was thrilled by the unexpected vacation extension or, rather, kind of tired of one another.

"No comment," Lipari said with a weary chuckle. "That's to be continued. I'm getting tired of wearing the same clothes. Everyone wants to get on with their business."

Thanks to the weekend's devastating snowstorm, which continued to disrupt travel up and down the Eastern United States on Monday, Christmas's end remained ambiguous for many, testing how long warm-and-fuzzy could stretch before it morphed into inconvenient-and-annoying, and snapped.

There was the neurology student on deadline, anxious about getting back to his monkeys and his data in snowy Rhode Island. The boyfriend unable to reunite with his girlfriend in Paris after four months apart. The cat left alone for an unexpected extra day. The in-laws.

But some folks embraced the holiday's extension and saw it as a fun delay to regular life's return.

"We were supposed to go run errands today, so the kids are very happy," said Kjerstie Lupo, a Potomac cartographer who was in line Monday afternoon for the open climb at a Rockville gym with her two kids and their cousins from Texas.

The relatives - on her husband's side - had spent Christmas with the Lupos and planned to drive to other relatives in North Carolina through the new year, but they heard warnings about the roads and canceled the trip's second leg. The four cousins, ages 12 to 16, got an unexpected extra six days together.

"We feel badly they won't see their other relatives, but we are very happy they can't drive," said Lupo, who had planned for the day off from work.

People stuck in the Washington area or Washingtonians trying to get home from elsewhere in the country spent Monday on hold as hundreds of flights were canceled and customer services lines remained jammed. Airports in New York and New Jersey were closed, but the Federal Aviation Administration reported that the airports were expected to reopen by Monday evening.

Most bus travel north of Washington was canceled, although some operators kept telling passengers to check throughout the day for possible route reopenings. Regular service was expected to resume Tuesday.

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