Monday, September 20, 2010

H for Home

Hello, lovely reader! Sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been catching up on sleep and trying to get myself back into the daily grind after our short trip to Lake Tahoe. You’ll recall that I was scheduled to leave last Sunday (a little over a week ago) to head to Lake Tahoe for a software conference. There were no direct flights from Minnesota to Reno, which is the closest airport to Tahoe, so I had a connecting flight in Phoenix.

Like a good little flyer, I had arrived at the Minneapolis airport an hour and a half before my first flight was scheduled to leave on Sunday. When I checked my bag, I was told the flight to Denver was running on time, and I headed to my gate. I wasn’t going to Denver, of course, but I figured the agent had just misspoke.

The line to get through security screening was surprisingly short, which I was thankful for, because I was desperate for caffeine, and the coffee stand was just beyond the security checkpoint. Tempting me. Calling me. Mocking me: “You’d best done everything right, honey! The faster you get through security, the closer you are to me!” Going through security was rather uneventful. Except for the fact that I had forgotten to remove my laptop from the laptop bag before sending it through the scanner. Oops!! I felt really bad about the extra process they had to go through to deal with that, but the TSA guy was very nice, friendly, and understanding, which really kinda made my morning.

After all of the reading I’d done on how to prepare for airport security (and yet still somehow managed to forget the laptop thing; I know), I was worried that my underwire bra would set off alarms but thankfully it didn’t. When I got to my gate, people were grumbling that the flight to Denver had just been delayed half an hour. What a bummer for those poor travelers, I thought to myself as I took a seat to wait patiently.

When it was announced about half an hour later that the Denver flight was now scheduled to arrive an hour late, and that people on flight number 123 (not the real number) were to move to a different gate, I wondered why the Phoenix and Denver flights had the same number. I asked one of the helpful gate agents and was told that I was going to Phoenix by way of Denver. They were the same flight. News to me!!!

I was not at all pleased to hear that I’d be taking off and landing not twice, but three times, that day. And, of course, I was worried about missing my connection in Phoenix. I double-checked the time for my connecting flight and realized that, basically, an hour had just been shaved off my airport wait time. I’d still have over an hour to make my connection. Okay. Good. Still not happy about the whole Denver surprise, but what can ya do?!

The plane eventually arrived, a little earlier than expected, and we were off to Denver. I had forgotten how much I hate flying. With my sinus issues, the air pressure changes during takeoff and landing are super duper unpleasant. I felt like a zombie. I wanted to sleep so badly on the plane, at the very least to quit experiencing the unpleasantness of how my head was feeling, but I just couldn’t fall asleep. As a result, I didn’t get much of my assigned Psychology reading done on the plane. I wasn’t too worried about it though; I figured I’d have time to catch up while sitting in the Phoenix airport.

So, we landed in Denver and the four of us remaining on the plane were told we could switch seats and use the restroom before they started boarding new passengers for our trip to Phoenix. That’s right, lovely reader, we didn’t even get off the plane. I do have to give props to Southwest though. At first, I hated the whole no assigned seating, board in the order you check in madness, but it actually works out quite well. People get on the plane and into seats quickly. The flight to Phoenix was rather uneventful. Finally off of the plane, I had to walk clear to the other end of the airport for my connecting flight. Loverly. I could use the exercise though, after having been cooped up on a plane for what seemed like days but was really only about three hours.

I did a little reading and had a snack in the airport while waiting for my flight to Reno, which left and arrived on time. MusicMan was waiting for me in baggage claim (he’d arrived hours before I did), as was my bag (yay!!!), and we made our way to the rental car counter. After spending about twenty minutes trying to get the damn GPS in the rental car to work, we were off to Tahoe. It was an amazing and beautiful drive. We arrived at our hotel at about nine o’clock. We checked in, dropped our bags off in the room, and navigated through the hotel’s casino to find somewhere to have a late dinner. We fell into bed exhausted after having spent nearly the whole day on airplanes and in airports.

My first session of the conference wasn’t scheduled to start until late Monday afternoon. We were up early Monday morning, thanks to being used to being on Minnesota time; we were operating two hours ahead of Lake Tahoe time. Our hotel was literally right on the border of Nevada and California. If you walked out of the back door of the hotel, and crossed a little street, you were officially in California. We drove about twenty minutes into California to go to breakfast at a little café MusicMan had heard about. Again, the rental car GPS didn’t want to cooperate.

We were attempting to go to a diner called Ernie’s. The GPS, however, decided to send us to Bert’s. Apparently the GPS didn’t realize that we weren’t on Sesame Street, and as such, Bert and Ernie’s were not, in fact, the same place. After parking our car and looking around a bit, we were able to determine that Ernie’s was across the street from Bert’s, and we made our way there and had a fantastic breakfast. On the way back to the hotel, we parked at a beach and did some walking around. This is when we were finally able to take in the beauty of Lake Tahoe, and it was incredibly amazing.

Words cannot describe the exhilaration and beauty in being surrounded by mountains while standing in front of the clearest, most beautiful lake we’d ever seen. And that’s saying a lot, because we’re from Minnesota. The land of 10,000 (and then some) lakes; yet we’ve never seen one that can compare to Lake Tahoe. The scenery was like nothing we’d ever experienced before, and it was breathtaking. Once MusicMan is able to upload the hundreds of photos he took, I’ll select some of my favorites to post in a blog.

Overall, the trip and the conference were fantastic. By the time Wednesday rolled around, we were ready to go home to our dogs even though we weren’t ready to get back on a plane or to deal with airports. Our flights on the way home, once again connecting through Phoenix, were relatively uneventful. Well, except for the fact that Cologne Guy sat behind me on the flight from Phoenix to home. You know what I’m talking about, lovely reader, I’m sure of it. This guy smelled as though he had showered in a few bottles of his favorite scent. I am sensitive to colognes and perfumes as is, so this was beyond unpleasant for me.

Within an hour of being on the plane, I was feeling nauseous. It got to the point where this guy’s putrid cologne wasn’t only all I could smell, it was also all I could taste too. It was disgusting; completely beyond unpleasant. I was getting a seriously bad headache and feared that I might actually vomit. I spent most of the flight home with my t-shirt pulled up over half of my face to try to block out the caustic cloud of nasty that surrounded me.

Every time a flight attendant looked at me, I was worried that they were thinking that my behavior was cause for concern. That maybe I was some sort of spy with a nefarious plan for taking over the plane, and that I was hiding in my t-shirt to talk into the wire I was wearing. Thankfully that didn’t seem to be the case. Or maybe it was, but they were doing anything they possibly could to keep their distance in desperate attempts to avoid the caustic cloud of nasty that Cologne Guy created in our section of the plane.

Needless to say, I was incredibly thankful when we finally landed in Minnesota, and early at that. Our flight wasn’t expected to land until 11:25 pm, but we were in the car with our bags by 11:20, which was super nice considering that we both had to be up early to go to work on Thursday.

MusicMan’s BFF, Geoff, did an amazing job house sitting and taking care of our babies. We (and by that I mean MusicMan) worked our (his) butt(s) off to clean the house up for Geoff’s arrival and stay. We didn’t think we could come home to the house being any cleaner than we’d left it, but we did. Geoff decided to vacuum, wipe down counters, empty and reload the dishwasher, and clean up the bathrooms for us. There was literally no sign that he had stayed at all!

Thoughtful guy that he is he even washed the bed sheets he’d slept on and remade the bed for us! He left a note indicating that he didn’t think we’d want to deal with that after getting home so late. I was amazed. He truly went above and beyond! He could’ve not changed the sheets at all, or he could’ve thrown his “dirty” sheets in the dirty laundry basket and put clean sheets from the linen closet on the bed. But, no; he washed the sheets he’d used and put them back on the bed. What a guy!! I’m busy trying to come up with excuses for why we need a house sitter at least every other week now. He was that good.

Getting back into the daily grind was much harder than I thought it would be after only being gone a few days. I was a complete zombie at work on Thursday—simply going through the motions to make it through the day. Lack of sleep certainly played a part, but in addition to that, my head felt heavy all day and I was sure I felt a migraine brewing. I silently cursed Cologne Guy, though I knew it wasn’t completely his fault. The pressure changes from flying, and coming home to cold, windy, rainy weather after experiencing gorgeous weather for half the week, wreaked havoc on my entirely too delicate head.

I called out of work on Friday, because my head hurt so bad that I couldn’t manage to maintain my balance. After a day of rest and Vicodin, I was about 60% back to normal. I spent the evening catching up on Psychology homework. I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of the regular, normal, everyday routine again, which is really good.

I have some great ideas for blog posts brewing, and as time allows, I will type them up and get them out. I’ve amazed myself by managing to get caught up with all of my schoolwork. I don’t know how I did it, but I did it, and I’m proud of myself for it. I’m hoping this will give me more time for blogging, because I miss writing and I miss you, lovely reader. I have a midterm coming up, a week from today in fact, for the first half of algebra class. I’m ready for it. I’ve already reviewed all of my notes and taken the practice midterm, so now it’s just a waiting game. Despite not thinking I was going to be able to get caught up enough, I'm ahead of the game!

I’m working hard to get caught up on your blogs too, lovely reader. I hope you are doing well and look forward to hearing from you more as I start to post more! And yes, you should feel free to shout, “I TOLD YOU SO!” Because it turns out all of my traveling fears were unfounded. However, I maintain that I was at least prepared for worst case scenarios; I just thankfully didn’t have to deal with anything I’d try to prepare myself for!
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  1. Whew! what a whirlwind :-) I look forward to your future posts! If I weren't already married, I'd ask if Geoff is taken, what a good guy ;-)

  2. Vic-Freckles and FudgeSeptember 20, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    I need to see pics lovely lady! I hate airports and flights no matter how short the lines are....or how many planes you have to get on...3 ----ewww! i hate the dirtiness sounds beautiful there in Tahoe. You def. need to show me the views...welcome back-i missed u:)

  3. I think you need to share your bra brand. TSA evidently hasn't cleared mine for safe travel.

  4. It certainly was! Geoff isn't taken, but he likes men. ;-)

  5. I have been badgering MusicMan to upload his pics so that I can use them. The badgering will not cease until he gets them uploaded--I promise!! I totally agree--one of the things I hate most about flying is that it is so dirty. I just felt gross after a full day of flying and actually took a shower asap to wash all of the other people's germs and cooties off of me!

  6. I laughed so hard when I read your most recent post, and I felt really really bad for you too, because that seriously was one of my worst fears. I buy fat girl bras from Lane Bryant. Their brand is Cacique or something like that. Good luck finding one that works for you! What a pain in the ass to have to go through that every single time you go to the airport with your daughter!!

  7. Wow I wish Geoff would house sit for me. I'm glad you had fun. I'd like to go to Lake Tahoe at some point.

  8. Joy and more joy! I loved the Bert and Ernie are awesome.
    I'm so glad you and MusicMan had a great little or not. I can't wait to see your pics...I've never been out west and can't wait to see the Lake.

  9. I'm so glad your trip was fun and (relatively) event-free.
    Argh! Cologne Guy! I somehow always end up sitting next to his wife, Perfume Chick - and I am allergic to scent. Makes for a looong trip.

  10. I am of the opinion that EVERYONE should go to Lake Tahoe at some point. It's amazing. We most definitely will go back someday.

  11. :-) Children of the 80's, and dorks that we are, MusicMan and I were immediately thrown into fits of laughter at the Bert and Ernie GPS mix up. Hoping to post pics just reminded me that I haven't yet badgered MusicMan today! ;-)

  12. YES! Perfume Chick! I can't stand her either...she sat next to me the second day of the conference, and I had to get up and move. For those of us who are allergic to scent, it sucks that a private hell can be created by someone who went even the tiniest bit overboard with the smelly stuff. DOWN WITH THE SMELLY THINGS!!

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