Damn. I figured leaving here an hour and 45 minutes early would be good enough. The airport is usually a half hour away. I left at 3:45, flight was at 5:35. I didn't reach the airport until 4:45 and found the long-term parking was full. Taking the shuttle bus (the only option) put me in the terminal at 5:05. I figured 30 minutes would still be enough time - definitely close - but enough time. Nope, Northwest has a policy that you must check in 45 minutes before the flight, no ifs ands or buts. What the fuck?!
I admit that it was mostly my fault for being late, but I'm willing to bet I could've made it. They said because I had a Hotwire ticket, they couldn't to anything for me. They did offer another flight tomorrow for a small fee (they never specified). I didn't want to go for only 24 hours, so I'm stuck at home. $200 bucks out the window, and I'm one of the 3 people that is missing Paw's 80th birthday (out of ~20). I feel like a moron.