sunflowery's Diaryland Diary


We Are Back

Well, we are back. And while it's good to be home, we sure do miss Florida. We miss the sun, the warmth, even the thunderstorm that rocked us out of bed Friday morning. I miss our rental car...that was one sweet ride! I miss being less than 2 hours from an ocean beach. I miss leaving the house without a jacket...heck, leaving the house in shorts and a t-shirt. I miss bright blue skies and blooming flowers and green lawns and songbirds. I miss the smell of the sun. I miss driving with the windows down, sunglasses on, and the radio blasting in my sweet ruby red rental. I miss Z88.3, my positive music choice.

We got up early on Saturday. We wanted to be at the airport by 8 since our plane was to leave at about 10:15. I packed all our stuff up the night before, so mostly we just had to get up and go. I made us breakfast of the leftover Hot Pockets. While packing up the car, I accidentally locked myself out of our villa and since Bob was upstairs in the shower, I had to drive to the main office and get a replacement key.

The roads and sidewalks were still wet from the rain the night before. It was still dark when we left our villa. It felt like we were forgetting something, but I think we were just thinking wishfully that we could stay another week, or 2, or 20, or 200.

I drove us to the main office, dropped off our keys (now 3 because of the lock-out) and checked us out. I ahve to say that while the place we were staying in was nice enough, their staff certainly needed to sharpen their customer service skills. But we checked out without incident and the $50 deposit put on my credit card for incidentals was returned to me fully.

We stopped to fill the gas tank on the rental and drove to the airport without incident as the sun rose above the tollway. Since it was now light, we had a week of Central Florida driving under our belts, we found the airport with no problem and marvelled at how close we actually were to it. It was nothing like the hell that was the trip FROM the airport to the villa.

We drove to the rental car drop off, took all our bags from the car and in the time it took to load them onto the skycap's dolly, the car had been looked over and checked out and we owed nothing extra! Score!

The skycap took us all the way to our line and checked our bags for us. We asked if there was a direct flight to Minneapolis and there was, but it was full, so we weren't able to get on it. We got to our gate and Bob napped while I read a magazine. There was LOTS of people waiting. There was a young mom and dad behind us with 2 small children and while the mom was busy and a bit harried, the dad really needed a lesson in patience and maybe to hear the song Cat in the Cradle over and over again until it sunk in that his kids would only be little for a short time. He was more concerned with the condition of his leather coat than in helping his son open his chocolate milk. It was really quite disheartening. He kept repeating over and over how he will NEVER again travel with children.

As soon as the gate attendant showed up, I was at the desk making sure they knew Bob would be traveling with his own wheelchair and would need it for a transfer in Atlanta. They made note and we waited some more.

The plane we were to be on landed and deplaned, then our flight crew boarded and debriefed. Then they announced that anyone needing assistance, having a disability or small children could preboard and all of a sudden EVERYONE ran for the line. We actually pushed our way to the front of the line and were able to preboard before they allowed the masses to get on. A skycap had to push Bob to the plane and once there, we made sure to tell them that the wheelchair HAD to be on the plane since we would need it in Atlanta. Bob also made sure he knew that the chair was ours and that it needed to be on the plane. Then we told the flight attendant that the chair had to be on the plane and she saw to it that it was. We sat in our seats and watched the rest of the plane fill up.

There was a brief misunderstanding about the seats directly behind us. The lady in the window seat said it was her seat but someone else was assigned to it on their boarding pass. They asked her to get our her boarding pass to check it and she said she KNEW it was her seat. So they asked the flight attendant and she asked the lady to get her boarding pass out. With much sighing on her part, she did get it out and low and behold, she was in the wrong seat! But the lady whose seat it actually was, agreed to sit in the other seat and now everyone was happy. Sheesh. Know everything much?

As we backed up from the gate, I noticed that our ground crew were all wearing shorts and t-shirts since it was about 65 degrees out, though it was cloudy.

The flight to Atlanta was uneventful, though we got a late start so I was nervous about making our connecting flight. We only had about an hour if we landed on time and were able to deplane in short order. But we were late.

We got to Atlanta and I told Bob to forgo his usual habit of letting people go ahead of him. He got a little defensive and I reminded him that we only had a short amount of time to get from our gate to the next flight. And upon landing, I saw that we were docking at gate D-something and our other flight was leaving from gate C something. We would have to go in a big old U to get to our next gate.

But we needent have worried. The minute we stepped off the plane, there was a flight attendant and a skycap with Bob's wheelchair asking doe Bob. We said we were, they got Bob in the chair and the attendant said, "Gate C-16...hurry, hurry, hurry!" And this guy FLEW! We ran from our gate to an elevator, down to a tram/shuttle thing, and to another elevator. At that elevator, there was another man in a wheelchair and his family waiting so we let them go and had to wait for the elevator again. While we waited, suddenly about 25 other people showed up and 4 of them shoved in our elevator with us.

Once on the main floor, we sprinted to our gate to find them at the end of the line of people boarding. We had JUST made it. We made sure the crew knew that the wheelchair was ours and to put it on the plane and then we found our seats and let out a collective sigh of relief. It seemed we just sat down and we were backing away from the dock. We hoped our luggage made it on the plane.

The flight was a couple of hours but uneventful. The skies were clear and sunny and it was interesting to see the landscape change from green and brown to icy, white and reflective.

We landed in Minneapolis about 15 minutes early, but due to a glitch, we sat on the tarmac for about 40 minutes. It seems the direct flight from Orlando was about an hour late and though we had landed first, they made it to the gate first. Minneapolis only has one gate for AirTran Airways so we had to wait while the other plane empied and filled again. It was so frustrating to know we were home but unable to get anywhere.

Once again I let anxiousness creep up on me because I knew that Metro Mobility was to pick us up at 3:10. I watched the clock go from 2, to 2:15 to 2:30, to 2:40 and FINALLY we got to the dock and were able to deplane. But I will say that we didn't have it so bad. While we were on the ground waiting, the guy in the deat next to us used his cell phone to tell someone we were home and he got the news that his house had been robbed while he was gone. It sounds like it was a huge mess and by then, he was not as anxious to get off the plane as we were. We got Bob's chair from one of the ground crew and I pushed him to the door where our ride was to pick us up while I waited for our luggage.

Our bags made it! Our big bag was one of the first ones off but I had to wait and wait and wait for our little bag. Right about the time I started to get worried that it was lost or stolen, out it popped! I wheeled them over to Bob and we waited for our ride which was right on time.

The driver helped us with our bags and helped Bob get all settled in. Once on the road, we found out that we were needing to pick up another person and drop her off before we would be dropped at home. So, we ended up getting home around 5 after getting off the plane at 2:45. But oh, it was so good to be home.

As we fumbled with the keys, we could hear Maisey crying on the other side of the door. We got in and both kitties were standing right at the door waiting for us.

I dropped the bags in our bedroom and sat down to go through the mail and phone messages. One of the things in the mail was a Chinese take out menu. It sounded good to both me and Bob so I placed a delivery order and proceeded to unpack.

The rest of the night was spent unpacking and organizing our Florida treasures. We went to bed early and it felt so good to be in our own bed, with our kitties, home.

Sunday was spent sleeping in, relaxing, catching up on email, journals, and taped TV shows. We also watched the Vikings game and grew saddened at their loss. But it's just a game and we had a good season that was fun while it lasted.

Today was still a vacation day for me as originally my brother and his family were to be visiting and in anticipation for that, I had taken an extra day. But my brother and his kids had been sick, so they cancelled their trip and yet I still had a day off! Whoot! I got out the clippers and cut Bob's hair. He had wanted me to before we left, but it had never worked out. But now it's so short he HAS to wear a hat outside, but it looks so nice! Later, Bob and I went to see National Treasure and enjoy ourselves on our last vacation day. It was a fun movie and we had a good time.

Now I am feeling a tad let down. I think it's more this time of year rather than anything to do with the vacation. Though I miss our time in Florida, I am anxious to get back to work, but feeling a little down because I don't have anything to look forward to in the very near future. In April school starts, but that seems so very far away right now. It would be cool to have something in February or March to look forward to, but I can't think of anything going on then.

Anyway, tomorrow I get my hair cut and I can't wait. I am about 3 weeks overdue and feel so shaggy and blah right now. Also, I am at a plateau and feeling a little frustrated with that. I weigh the same today as I did before we left for Florida. And I did so much walking and lifting and pushing in Florida. I even ate better since we usually only ate at mealtimes and the food was very healthy and satisfying there. So, I will have to step it up in making sure to keep exercising and drinking all my water and not snacking between meals, even if it is string cheese or a power bar.

The link to our Florida photos is here. I hope the link works. If it doesn't and you want to see the pictures, email me your email address and I will email the link to you. There are 240 photos. There are many from our visits to the ocean. We visited 3 beaches in 3 days and enjoyed ourselves so much. I love the ocean and haven't seen it in over 8 or 9 years so I took lots and lots of photos to help me remember the joy that is the ocean to me. We also visited Busch Gardens and The Holy Land Experience. I should have taken more photos of us just hanging out at the Villa and at the Villa's bar, the Lucky Duck. But I didn't and so will have to just settle for the memories in my mind. But enjoy the photos and if you look, please leave a comment in the Snapfish guestbook.

In the coming days, I am going to transfer what I wrote in my paper journal into this journal for my own memories. It's still hard to come from 75 and 80 degree sunny temps to highs in the low negatives. BRRRRR! Welcome to Minne-so-cold. But thankfully we don't live in Embarrass, MN as it was 54 below actual temp this morning. Why does anyone live there?

3:56 p.m. - Monday, Jan. 17, 2005


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