Right now I’m home, in my jammies with everything put away. It’s time to sort mail, deciding what to keep, what to shred and what to send to recycling. It’s straightforward. The TV is on and my husband is beginning his recovery from hockey withdrawal with a game from Los Angeles against the Phoenix Coyotes. I’m trying to remember how beautiful the morning was.
The morning dawned cloudy with some showers. Temperatures were still moderate and there wasn’t much wind, so you could sit out on the balcony without getting wet.
I’m going to finish the travel day in the morning – I starting to doze off at the computer.
Good morning! Even though the mattresses at our hotels were excellent, it’s still better to sleep in your own bed.
The sun is out today and although it’s a bit windy, it’s really pretty out. Yesterday, our travel day wasn’t quite as pretty until just before we got to the airport. As I said before, it was still nice enough to sit out on the balcony and not get wet. So while my husband went off to breakfast, I brewed myself a pot of decaf and sat out on the balcony sipping coffee and watching the waves crash onto the shoreline. I was trying to drink in as much of the peace and beauty of the scene as I could, in addition to the coffee.
I was thinking that this was probably the most relaxing vacation we had ever taken. I was spoiled a bit, pampered a bit and had one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen from a room. Of course, the time came to finish up the last minute packing and check out. I didn’t want to. I told my husband I’d like to stay forever – or at least a month. He didn’t think he could get that much time off from work. So we dragged ourselves out of paradise and back into the car.
On the way back to Charleston, we stopped at a small store that sold preserves, peach & cherry cider, peanuts, pecan products and baked goods. Was that a mistake!!! Everything looked so good! We settled on a 10 oz bottle of chilled peach cider, a small package of key lime cookies, a small package of peach pecan sandies, one small piece of pecan praline to split and 2 jars of preserves to take home. The preserves were placed into the luggage to be checked immediately upon our return to the car. We weren’t about to lose more preserves to the TSA screeners.
Since our flight was scheduled to depart at 4:40 PM, we had plenty of time for a good meal before we dropped off the rental car. We opted for Red Lobster and ate practically free, too. Several people gave us Red Lobster gift cards for Christmas last year, so we used those. The food was really good and, as usual, I had plenty of time to relax and let my food digest while I watched my husband finish off his snow crab legs. He is a “professional” shellfish eater. When he gets done with crab or lobster, there is not a shred of meat left in the shells. Amazing, really!
After lunch, it was off to the airport. This is where I started to think that the travel gods were favoring my idea of staying for at least a month. Everything had been perfect from the time we left the airport until the time we returned.
We pulled in to return our rental car. The only spot available was at the end of the parking lot farthest from the building. So we had to haul our luggage all the way across the lot. My husband couldn’t drop me off at the building because, for security reasons, they don’t allow it. They even park an unoccupied cruiser in the lot (of course, you don’t know it’s empty until you get to the top of the lot) as intimidation. It works.
The lot, which confirms Murphy’s Law, is uphill to the building. Great for the SFG (short, fat girl) who has just completed a meal. Even better when the SFG has to haul luggage as she climbs. We went in and stopped at the Thrifty Car Rental counter to drop off the keys. (for more “fun at Thrifty” see Vacation Day 1). They weren’t busy this time and promptly printed out the receipt. But they didn’t realize that Old Eagle Eye (my husband) actually reads things before he signs them. He asked what had happened to the 10% discount we had been given due to the problems we had when we picked the car up. The woman at the counter had to get a manager. After several minutes of explanations and such, they tore up the old receipt, recalculated and printed out a new one – which, of course, my husband read before signing.
Okay – we were done with the car rental folks and looking forward to a nice, non-stop flight back to Boston. The flight out had one connection (in Cincinnati), so we actually travelled twice as long (gate to gate) than we would on this flight. We went to the Delta ticketing counter to get our boarding passes. That’s where the “nasty travel fairies” struck again. We had one large bag to check. The only things in it that had not been on the flight down were my polar fleece cardigan and 2 jars of preserves. When my husband placed the bag on the scale, it read 52+ lbs. Say what? So the clerk starts preparing to charge us for an overweight bag. No way, I said! I was really annoyed. So I asked my husband to open the suitcase, which he did. I removed the fleece and was about to remove the jars of preserves to put them into my carry-on that had my CPAP machine. I told my husband we could check that bag, too, and if the baggage handlers damaged my machine, then Delta could buy me a new one. Suddenly, the clerk said, “You don’t need to do that. Look, the bag isn’t overweight now that you’ve taken out the jacket.” And sure enough, the scale now read exactly 50 lbs.. We were all set. We closed the bag and handed it over to the TSA screeners before heading to the security checkpoint line ourselves.
But wait a minute . . . there’s no way a fleece shirt could weigh anything near 2 lbs. And wasn’t it interesting that the scale suddenly read exactly50 lbs, the “magic” number. Hmmm…..
Now back to the security line. It was very short since we were in a small airport. I have been starting to think that maybe they should just require everyone to fly nude. Why bother getting dressed in the morning when you have to practically disrobe for security? “Take off your shoes – yes, even the baby – jackets, sweaters, belts; empty your pockets; only liquids (including preserves) that are under 3 oz and placed in a 1 qt ziploc bag.” Then, “Take laptop computers out of their cases and place them in a separate bucket. Also, any other electronic devises including CPAP machines must be removed from where they are packed and placed in another separate bucket.” So we unpack as well as disrobe. Run everything through and get dressed again. That shoe business is a real pain for an SFG who has feet that swell. Every time I try to retie the shoes, I inevitably get them too tight. After getting dressed, you have to repack all the electronic equipment – after allowing them time to screen your CPAP machine for explosives. Trust me, if there were any explosives there, I would wake up a far perky person!
The walk to the gate was short – only 5 gates on concourse A. We didn’t have a long wait – just long enough to get some water, use the rest rooms and take some medication. Then we boarded, pretty much on time. Okay, 10 minutes late to be exact (4:50). Again we were in a small plane – about 50 seats. It wasn’t quite full. We all settled in efficiently and quietly. A piece of cake – We should be home in 3 hours, tops.
Ah, but I forgot about the “nasty travel fairies” . . . or maybe I thought they had forgotten us. They hadn’t! If you’ve read Day 1, you recall that the taxi time from gate to runway is marathon at this airport. We backed up and taxied out for almost 10 min . . . . . . . then came to a stop, which I supposed was to wait our turn for take off. Wrong! The pilot came on to advise us that ATC (that’s Air Traffic Control to you and me) had advised him that the airspace in the northeast corridor had been closed and we would have to sit there and wait for it to open up. Something about too many planes and bad weather. They didn’t know this just minutes ago, before we left the gate?!! Bull! Now we’re being held hostage on the plane. The flight attendant told folks they could use the rest rooms and started passing out snacks – crackers, biscotti cookies, the dreaded peanuts and water.
I read to keep myself from getting steamed about it and it worked pretty well. It couldn’t, however, fend off the fibromyalgia issues. Sitting in a cramped space with very little ability to adjust my position causes my back and neck to complain very quickly. We finally got the go ahead for take off about 5:59 PM.
The flight was supposed to take just under an hour and a half. That would have brought us in to Boston about 7:25 – 7:30. We actually touched down about 7:55 PM. Apparently we had been circling for 20 – 25 minutes, waiting to land. It was sheer joy to get off the plane. After the obligatory wait for luggage, we called the hotel shuttle and went out to wait for it. It came just in time – a few minutes longer and we’d have gotten soaked by a heavy rain shower. That would have sent me over the limit for aggravation, I think.
As it was, we got home from the airport about 9:55. That’s nearly 3 hours later than we had anticipated. That’s where I started this post last night. It’s where I’ll stop now.
The basement that had a little water when we left now has a lot of water. I have to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. I have to figure out how to get laundry done with water in the basement, where the washer and dryer also reside. So much to be done.
I keep closing my eyes periodically and picturing the view from our room and balcony on Hilton Head. I keep trying to draw that peace back into myself. I keep wishing I was there still.