All of Us!

All of Us!
Finally! All together with enough time to spare (??) to capture a picture of all six of us in the same spot, same time. Now this is a precious photo! I tried to get one last year for our Christmas card and didn't succeed. So when I had the chance I threw out the lasso and rounded everyone up (at my niece's graduation party) to grab a couple snapshots. My oldest son, Casey, and his girlfriend Nika are on the left; and my youngest son, Brady, and his girlfriend Jenne on the right; that leaves Bob and I in the center. (Bob is the one who doesn't look very happy about having his picture taken!!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Big Apple: Day 5, Leaving NYC --There's No Place Like Home

[Sidenote:  As you know, it was almost a year ago -- October 2011 -- that I went on this trip, so I figured with the one-year anniversary coming up, I'd better darn tooting get my butt in gear and get this posted.  So here it is.  The last stop in my big adventure.]

I can't believe it!  It is actually Day 5 and it is time to go home.  This has been such a wonderful, memorable trip for me, that it is almost too hard to put into words -- oops -- except for the (probably) thousands that I have already shared with you already! LOL!

Well, what would this journey be if I didn't include one more post -- so let's giddy-up and take it home, folks!

Getting up what we thought was early enough to catch an 8:00 flight sometimes isn't necessarily early enough.  Did I mention I went to bed at 2:00 last night (this morning)?  I got up at 4:30 and laid there for a few minutes. Then by 5:00 figured I had better hit the shower.  I was going to try to do some packing last night - well, we all were but we were just too plain tired.  It has been a wearing week.  I have kept everyone up late at night by me just being up; I got everyone up earlier than they are accustomed to by getting up early and turning on the light (even if just to read) or go on my computer; and, poor Casey, has had to work through all this, too!  Not to mention that Nika is probably sick of being confined with me in the gotta-keep-going mode that I shifted into once we landed in NY.  Good thing when we got home last night that I had Casey run and get me some OJ to have by my bed.  I certainly didn't want to have to hit our wetbar -- too expensive!  But I suffered another low this morning -- not good timing, but, I'm sorry, sh_t happens!

Yep, and it sure did this morning.  I was running around trying to pack and get everything together, making sure we (I) didn't leave anything behind ... chargers, clothes, shoes, shoes, (did I mention shoes?).   When I finished getting ready in the bathroom, I literally pushed everything into my toiletries bag and then we were shoving shoes into anything that would hold them.  Ugh!@!

We loaded up (yes, I am not being slight here when I say loaded up --- Casey and Nika will attest to that -- poor things).  We are headed downstairs to catch a cab and drat, I'm afraid I'm going into a low again.  I told Casey to run across the street quickly while we hailed a cab -- okay, we had to have a SUV cab -- so he could grab me some orange juice.  I was extremely afraid that during our ride to the airport, we would get stuck in traffic and I would start to bottom out.  So we needed to take the time now.

The cab ride to the airport seemed to go quickly.  We paid the cabbie, jumped out, unloaded and here is where I get extremely lost. Once we enter the airport terminal, I’m not sure where to go.  Casey and Nika have been here dozens of times, so I’m leaving this part up to them.  I’m just following behind.  Earlier this week, Casey did some finagling with our seats, so we ended up with seats in the emergency exit section.  I didn’t quite know what that meant but they seemed happy, so I was, too. 

Next, we bolted off to the TSA checkpoints.  At O’Hare, I had sailed through with flying colors.  I was hoping for the same this time through, too.  As we got in line, I realized that I hadn’t pulled out all my diabetic supplies which I had done in O’Hare.  I was starting to panic a little thinking I was going to cause a problem and delay us.  Casey started saying quickly take off your shoes and put them in the bins, give me your IPad and laptop and we’ll put those in here, too.  Nika and Casey both said don’t worry about your jewelry because Nika never takes her’s off and she never gets stopped.  Okay, again, I am just here to listen and keep moving the line forward, especially when we had a group of big guys behind us who looked (and sounded) like they were off to a weekend trip to Vegas.  I didn’t want to be stomping on their parade. 

Everything went through fine ... that is until I started walking through.  Beep!  “Step back ma’am and walk through again.” Beep!  Oh crap! “Ma’am, please come over here so we can give you a full body cavity search.” Okay, no, they didn’t quite put it that way, but that was what was rolling around in my mind.  Casey and Nika were quickly slipping their shoes back on, gathering up our stuff (again, mostly MY stuff), snickering a little while watching me beginning the pat down.  All the time I was thinking the underwires in my bra and imagining having to strip that off in front of everyone – yes, I know, wild imagination.  I was sure they would make me go behind some x-ray machine while I was taking it off and so all the world could watch from the other side ... yep, still wild imagination.  A very nice, female TSA worker started working her way down through, carefully patting me down.  After she was done and while I was explaining to her that this was my second flight on a first-time flying experience, she whispered to me “I thought I would tell you that it was your necklace that set it off.”  Couldn’t help it but my evil eye popped out and immediately went to my traveling companions!  They, of course, thought it was funny.  Not funny enough, though, if we were going to miss our flight.  So off we flew with our luggage weighing us down (okay, again, yes, mostly my luggage as we each had a carry-on bag).  That doesn’t include, of course, the three checked bags which were all mine. 

Once we were on the airplane, Casey and Nika settled in for sleepy time.  Not me.  I was going to savor these moments as best I could.  And, on this return trip, I was doing it with plenty of leg room.  Now, heaven forbid that something would happen, and I would have to be “in charge” of the emergency exit.  But the leg room sure was nice.  I was able to twist and turn, and stretch the whole trip.  The return trip did, however, have another first for me.  Using the airplane bathroom.  I drank quite a bit of coffee which I was afraid of doing because my bladder does not bode well with coffee but it is a necessity so we ... pardon the pun ... go with the flow.  This meant I now had to "pay the piper" and witness first-hand the horrors of what I was told from others about “don’t use the airplane bathroom!”  From “it’s too cramped,” “you’ll get claustrophobic,” to imagining getting sucked into and stuck on the toilet – yes, I was a little phobic about this next adventure.  Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I didn’t get stuck, I didn’t get sucked in and I didn’t go manic from being enclosed in a broom closet big enough for a mop and two brooms. 

All in all, the flight back just wasn’t too bad.  I got “felt up” in front of God and everyone, had a potty break that didn’t go terribly wrong and was able to stretch out and nod off for a couple minutes, too, all the while taking in the scenery from down below and up above whenever there was some. 

Once we landed at O’Hare, we caught a cab, loaded it up and headed back to Casey and Nika’s apartment where my car had sat for a few lonely days.  The kids were tired and I know longing for another nap and I, too, just wanted to get home.  So, I said my good-byes, thank you’s and love you’s, jumped in my car, hooked up my GPS and set out for the Wisconsin countryside.  Getting to Casey’s apartment always seems like it takes longer than when I leave.  Chicago was kind to me on my return trip and didn’t make me wait on the freeways.  I made it as far as the Belvidere Oasis rest stop and knew it was time to fuel up the car and my body.  I am one who usually only drinks coffee in the morning.  (Remember my mention earlier that it goes right thru me!)  But I needed caffeine, so I went inside and got a large Starbucks to go.  I knew it would last me quite awhile which was good to keep me awake.  But no matter how much caffeine you have, sometimes you just need to move around a little more or the stagnant position you are sitting in makes you sleepy.  When I realized that I had missed my turnoff at Rockford, I took the next one at South Beloit.  Once I had driven through that burb and was in the country, I pulled over, got out and walked around the car a couple times.  Yes, it was 2:00 in the afternoon and I was tired.  I jumped back in and got to the other side of Monroe before I had to repeat the same act.

Here, is when I clicked my shiny red shoes (okay, not shiny, but they were red slip-on tennis shoes!), and repeated, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”  Before I knew it, I was pulling in the driveway.  I was tickled to see Bob, Pongo, Wolfie and the cats and they all greeted me graciously, too.  Bob, of course, was wondering what foreign country I had traveled to and it seemed like I had only been gone a few days so how could I come home with all this luggage.  Men -- they just don't understand what women need to have with them so they are prepared at all times. 

I have to say -- it is fun to travel, it’s fun to fly, it’s fun to see and experience new adventures, but yes, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home. 

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