Friday, May 28, 2010

Back home

I won't be able to say "home" again in another three weeks - exactly three weeks from today, as a matter of fact - will I? It'll seem strange, probably, to leave Houston after so many years of living in one place.

[Took a little break there and started a future post, "What I'll miss about Houston". It probably won't happen again with this one, but I just had to stop and begin writing it. There were a couple of things on my mind that I wanted to say before I forgot how important they were to me. Have you ever had that happen to you?]

Anyway, I arrived safely back in my townhouse somewhere between 9:30 and 10 last night. Boy, I was one tired puppy, I'll tell you that! (Two full, jam-packed days in New England, some of which you've already read about.) Our day began early yesterday, with breakfast and checking out of the motel, before heading on over to my daughter's and her husband's new house - and yes! all was finalized and properly notarized (late, but officially signed, sealed and delivered the evening before!) .. by 8am to meet with the contractor and go over the plans for "my apartment", among other things.

I hadn't wanted to get up. After our meal out the night before, I had literally "fallen" into bed back at the motel, but then had trouble staying asleep. Too much on my mind, I guess. Lots and lots of stress early on in the trip. Most of the irritating things that were happening did not really have a direct bearing on me, but I was right there while it was all happening and it was difficult not to internalize some of it.

What was directly related to me was that Wednesday, as I was spending six or so hours at the motel napping, writing my last post and catching up on e-mails, I kept having this memory of giving my son-in-law both my sets of car keys and house keys at the airport here in Houston on Tuesday before going through security. My mind clearly remembered him dropping the keys into his carry-on bag. I was concerned that I would arrive back in Houston with no keys whatsoever. Yowsers!

I left him a note to that effect. He responded by saying that I hadn't given him two sets of keys .. only one, and he had dropped those into my new computer bag. (Prior to that, I'd placed the computer in my 'to be checked in' suitcase.) And, to prove his point, when we got back from dinner, he searched through my bag and found just the one set .. the car keys. Well, jeez!

What was happening with my mind? What was I doing to myself? Particularly after the broken bed slat story, which you don't know yet because I haven't told you (And it's funny!), I was starting to get more than just a little concerned.

He reassured me that I just had a lot on my mind, that I was inadvertently juxtaposing imagined events onto actual ones. I shouldn't be worried, he said. And so, I finally decided that it was ridiculous for me to think I would not have left the house keys in the car - as I always do! - and given him just the one set of keys, the car keys. So, I drifted back into a fitful sleep.

Later on in that long and nearly sleepless night, I got up and searched through my computer bag. You'll never guess what I found. ... ... You guessed it - both sets of keys - car and house! Ye gods!!

Moving on with yesterday ... ... we drove out to their new house in broad daylight and much cooler temperatures (More about temperature extremes in NH in a later post. They set records throughout New England Wednesday. Think they were almost 10 degrees warmer there - 97 or 98 degrees, depending on your news source - than in Houston! LOL). That's gorgeous countryside, folks, btw, absolutely gorgeous! (Again, another post on down the line. Hopefully, one accompanied by gloriously-illustrative photographs.)

Before we left their house to drive into Boston to catch my late afternoon flight, which was scheduled to depart at 4:55 pm Boston time (boarding at 4:20), I was given the old grill routine as to where my keys were. Well, as far as I knew, they were in my computer bag, safely ensconced in one of the many zippered compartments where I had placed them several hours before. I wasn't about to walk out to their rented car and unzip everything just to make sure they were still there. Would you have? I mean, I knew they were there, right? Right.

And so, off we went. I took a little nap in the car on the way and then, Bingo, we were there! John (s-i-l) got out of the car with me and escorted me inside while my daughter went to wait in a nearby cell phone lot, pushing my wheelchair* up to the checkin counter, where we said our goodbyes after he was assured that I would have a wheelchair escort all the way through security (he wasn't allowed to accompany me) and to the bar, where I fully intended to have a great hand-made margarita while waiting for my boarding call an hour or hour and a half or so later. Sounded good to me!

*I realize that most of you do not know about this latest glitch in Goldenrod's life. Not something you need to lose any sleep over or be overly concerned about, but I simply no longer have the strength to walk very far. More later, no doubt, if and when, but we'll just talk about my trip this time around, if that's ok with you.

There was only one little snag, as I saw it. The fellow who came to 'escort' me was the same one who had left us absolutely high and dry in that same airport just outside of the passenger loading ramp two days before. (Told us at that time we had to take seats in the waiting area, that the wheelchair was needed for other purposes. He was unable to take us on down to the baggage claim area, he said. Dear me! It was along about that time, also, that John received his first "Something appears to be wrong with the closing" message, and so the next - perhaps more than a half hour or so went by with John whispering into his cell phone and frantically sending out and receiving text messages to try and find out what the devil had gone wrong.) Anyhoo, this was the same fellow.

I was leery of continuing on with this inept, but probably well-meaning, fellow. However, he got me to the bar ok .. and, after I checked with one of the serving staff and found out that I would indeed be able to acquire a good margarita, he deposited me there and left (after assuring me that he had ordered a wheelchair to pick me back up at the bar at 4:10 .. plenty of time to get to the gate and be one of the first of the early "VIP" boarders on the aircraft). Sounds good, right?

It was a good margarita and I enjoyed every sip of it! Had a really nice visit with another passenger who was waiting for his continuing direct flight on to Portland, OR. He lives there, but has to come back to Boston about once a month on business. (My son-in-law will be facing the same type of thing once they relocate to the northeast.)

As 4:10 approached, I kept eyeing the front door for the 'so-ordered' wheelchair. None appeared. I paid my tab, told the bartender that I was going to start walking outside, that I was expecting a wheelchair at any moment, but would she check to make sure one had been ordered? Long story short, none had been (Of course not! Could we possibly have expected anything else/more from this person??), but it didn't take very long at all for one to arrive and I got to the gate right at 4:20, the announced boarding time.

I was extremely pleased with the whole situation, until I was told that we wouldn't be boarding just then. Oh, my! Now what to do? I certainly didn't want my 'replacement' wheelchair person to have to wait there until early boarding was finally announced. Would you? Oh, my! But then we were told by one of the people behind the counter to just wheel my chair back (away from the counter, but in plain sight) and I would be taken care of as soon as possible. I didn't have really good feelings about this, but didn't know what else could be done. I acquiesced.

Many, many minutes later (more than 30), the fellow who had said to wheel the chair back away from the counter came out to get me and wheeled me onto the plane himself! My goodness!! I was first on!!! (But then, of course, had to wait another thirty minutes - or so - for everyone else to get on and stash their carry-ons, but what an experience. I felt really special!)

The trip back to Houston was interesting. (We took off from Boston 37 minutes late, but landed in Houston only 12 minutes after the original ETA. Have no earthly idea how the pilot could possibly have made up all that time! A really smooth flight, and an exceptionally smooth landing.)

I had the fortunate opportunity to be seated next to a young lady who is a speech therapist. She'd been in the Boston area, visiting with her father and mother. Her mother has Alzheimer's. Hideous disease! The mother is only a year older than I am. The gal I was sitting next to visits as often as she can. Her father - same age as the mother - takes care of her ... does all of the cooking, cleaning, yardwork, etc. They've been married for over fifty years and he is 100% dedicated to his wife's health and well-being. I simply cannot imagine such a lifelong and sustaining love. Wonderful!

I checked with the head stewardess, as we were in the final phase of our descent into Houston, to make sure a wheelchair had been ordered for me upon our arrival. She assured me that one had. My traveling companion accompanied me to the front of first class, carrying my computer bag, where I stopped off to use the ladies' room. I was then directed to wait in the front seat. I did.

Very shortly after the last ambulatory passenger deplaned, my wheelchair arrived. I got on and was quickly driven to one of those moving cart-type thingees. Next thing I knew, we were all deposited at the top of an escalator to go down to the baggage claim area. Well, I took one look at that escalator and was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to make it .. not while carrying that heavy computer bag. I was very much afraid of losing my balance.

I asked the driver if he could possibly take me down to baggage claim. Well, no he couldn't, he said, but he'd get me to someone who could! And so, the next few moments were spent wheeling madly around that floor - him talking on his cell phone the whole time. It was kind of funny, actually!

We stopped and made a u-turn next to someone he knew .. she loaded me onto a wheelchair, and away we went. When we got down to baggage claim, she asked me what color my bag was. I told her 'yellow'. (I'm a fossil, what can I tell you?) As soon as she disappeared around the corner to look for it closer to the front, I saw it. One of my fellow passengers grabbed it for me and hailed my fast disappearing escort. She came back and off we went to the outside area where buses were waiting to take arriving passengers to where they'd left their cars in a long-term parking area. She butted the line, got me loaded and disappeared almost as quickly as she'd arrived.

I had no chance whatsoever to give her a well-deserved tip. Same thing with my first two drivers. Just the darndest thing! I wouldn't have believed such a thing could happen had it not happened to me.

Anyway, I'm back, safe and sound. Have just a ton of things to do, not the least of which is get on up to Farmer's, where Larry Gray is no doubt waiting for half of my homeowner's insurance - due Sunday (Of course! Don't all of these due dates fall either on a weekend or a holiday?). More later!


Polimom said...

Obvious spam above my comment, and it's probably a VERY bad idea to hit that link. You might want to delete, goldenrod.

... and yes, we have internet. Lots of stress and to-do, but it turned out to be a different problem altogether.

SO glad you made it home safely!!!!! Well-earned margarita, I think.


Tammy said...

Sheesh! I agree with have earned a margarita or two for sure!

Jacky said...

Glad you made it home safely! What an adventured!
We are in the mountains below Asheville, NC, on our way back to West Lafayette. The Wilmington, NC,funeral went well if you can say that about a funeral. We helped give our friend a very good send off.
We are now taking our time getting back home.