My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Going To The Chapel, Day 1, Blips And Bonuses

Yesterday, June 2nd, we set forth on a great adventure to attend the wedding of my brother Bryan, to the Lovely Lady Helen. Bryan lives in Manhattan where he is a junior partner in a pretty-big-deal law firm. Helen's family hails from New York. Her family owns a home in Pelham, NY (just outside of NYC) and in Old Lyme, Connecticut where the wedding will be held. Our itinerary called for us to travel to New York, spend two nights in Pelham and then on Thursday we will move to the rental house that the bride and groom have set up for us in Connecticut.

For us to catch a plane we have to drive down to the Atlanta Airport - a journey of about 100 miles, give or take a few. Because of the distance you have to allow yourself plenty of time - driving in Atlanta can involve incredibly slow traffic for a myriad of reasons that can translate to lots of extra minutes to any journey. We left Cleveland around 9:30 am to comfortably make our 1:45 pm flight. As it turned out, there was no traffic and we arrived in plenty of time to park, catch the shuttle to the airport, get through security and get to our gate about two hours early. Because we were in the T concourse, the closest one to the entrance, we didn't make use of the wheelchairs that were available. Let's call that Blip #1.

Once at the gate we decided to go ahead and have lunch. There was a nearby Subway so we got $21 worth of overpriced but delicious subs and made sure we were full before the flight. We'll call that Bonus #1.

Not long after lunch we found out that our gate had been changed. Blip #2. It was only two gates back in the other direction but those steps add up quickly when you've already exceeded your normal, comfortable limit.

Wouldn't you know that yesterday was one of my Crazy Gut Pain flare days? Blip #3. I was pretty uncomfortable but had packed the "good drugs" and it eased up after about an hour. Bonus #2.

All of a sudden we noticed that our "on time" status for our flight had changed to a two hour delay. As it turns out, there was bad weather in New York and LaGuaria doesn't hold up well in the rain. Blip #4. It was a long wait but I really enjoy people watching and I had my Nook so I played many, many games of sudoku. I didn't think I wanted a Nook when it was given to me but honestly, it has been an awesome source of entertainment for me and I'm so glad I brought it along. Bonus #3. Also, Delta was kind enough to bring out a snack cart so I scored some cheetos and a caprisun to keep my tummy happy. Bonus #4.

Fortunately for this trip we were able to secure first class tickets. As a chronic pain sufferer, honestly, this is the best way to go. Bonus #5. The extra room makes a huge difference and the seats are more comfortable than "the main cabin". We had plenty of room in the overhead bin for the stuff we carried on so that we didn't have to "stow it under the seat" taking away valuable real estate.

I did, however, manage to drop my precious Berts Bees chapstick while the lady beside me switched seats with the guy behind us so that she could sit with her significant other causing Blip #6. They weren't able to get seats beside each other so the gentleman volunteered to switch and sit by me which was fine except for the lost chapstick. But... Bonus #6 was that two flight attendants actually got down on their knees trying to find it.

Bonus #7 was fast beverage service in First Class. I had a tomato juice on ice. We could have had complimentary adult beverages but percocet + alcohol + charting new paths = not a good equation. There was a lot of turbulence on the flight- I feel like I rode a bucking bronco from Atlanta to New York, Blip #7 but this is where Bonus #7 really paid off. It was too turbulent for the flight attendants to finish beverage service in the main cabin. We would have been parched had we not been up front.

While enjoying my chosen beverage and mini-pretzels I remembered that I had stuck a bottle of water in my backpack that I carried on - and stowed, Blip #8. The fasten seatbelts sign stayed on so I asked the flight attendant to help me get it out and remove the water bottle which she was glad to do. Bonus #8 was that she didn't make me feel like a complete idiot for the oversight. She said it happens all the time.

Bonus #9 was a nice business man sitting next to me who was busy working so I didn't feel pressured to make conversation. We exchanged pleasantries, discussed our intended itineraries, he got back to work and I got back to sudoku.

Despite the worst turbulence I've ever experienced, the flight was probably the best I've ever had. We were fortunate to find tickets that were not much more expensive than economy which enabled us to afford First Class. It also made disembarking quicker which was nice since our flight had been delayed. Bonus #10. As soon as we got off the plane the happy wheelchair drivers were waiting for me and mom, holding up signs with our names. Bonus #11. Every step I take leaves an imprint on me that I feel for several days so saving steps is enormously helpful. We requested that they take us to baggage claim and felt like we could walk out to where we were to meet our driver without any problem.

What we didn't anticipate, Blip #9, was that we were going to have to stand in the rain watching for our driver who, Blip #10, took longer to get there than expected due to the weather/traffic/etc. There was a really handsome young priest who was waiting with us. He had a large umbrella so I said, "Father, would you mind standing with my mother?" and Bonus #12, he was kind enough to do so. I have to award Blip #11 here for my dad's lame joke to the priest - "I'm not worried about the rain, I'm a Baptist so I've been wet before".

That reminds me, I forgot to mention what we'll call Bonus #13, even though it's out of order, there was a really sweet lady sitting with us as we waited for our flight. We enjoyed a lot of friendly conversation with her. At one point Pop made a joke and she said, congenially, "You know you're probably not as funny as you think you are..." to my dad. I literally LOL'ed! Pop could write jokes for popsicle sticks. His jokes are that lame.

Ok... back to waiting in the rain for our driver... my brother/sister-in-law had arranged for a car service to pick us up. He was delayed and we got a bit damp but once he got there, he was an absolute delight, Bonus #14! I think they usually use Uber for a car service but for rides from the airport they use ... Carmel... I think it was called? It was a good driver in a comfortable car for the win.

We had a pretty elaborate set of instructions for getting in the house but they were clear and complete and we were able to get in the house with no problem. Bonus #15. Helen's mom had left us a lovely, informative letter and a yummy casserole for dinner, Bonus #16 for the great letter and Bonus #17 for the hot comfort food on a cool, rainy evening.

Although Sarah had left complete instructions (even how to turn on the stove which we probably would not have figured out) I couldn't get the internet to work on my laptop up in the room where I'm sleeping. Blip #12 for feeling disconnected since all my friends live in cyberspace but Bonus #18 for falling asleep early and sleeping really well IN A BED (which I never do due to my back) all night. This morning I finally figured out, Bonus #19 that the wifi just doesn't reach all the way up to the room where I'm staying. Blip #13 for being such a derp.

This morning I got up and had a bagel because the letter from Helen's mom said, "eat the bagels". Bonus #20 "happy to oblige".

Ooops... forgotten Bonus #21... my missing chapstick was discovered on landing by the lady in the seat behind me!

We have a car arranged to take us into the city to see the matinee performance of Wicked! I have another fun story to share about my nieces being "discovered" while in the New York Public Library yesterday but I have to get the details (and permission to share) before I do. Also hope to post some photos but haven't taken many yet.

Having a wonderful time! Wish you were here! Love and hugs, y'all!


monique said...

Sounds like your brother and future sister-in-law thought of everything.
This is like a dream vacation with the wedding as a bonus.
Take it all in and bring on the pictures please.

Wendy in Oz said...

Oh Heather! I had tears of joy running down my cheeks reading this! I love love love that The blips were only minor and the bonuses were so good! I love that Helens family have arranged everything and thought of every little detail. I am so happy for your family and for Helens. But I'm especially happy for you. I love that you are getting this mini getaway with a bonus wedding thrown in! And I'm extremely grateful that you are sharing it with us! You do such an amazing job of taking us along and detailing your trip that I almost feel like I'm there with you, standing by your side or looking from above. For an Aussie girl who dreams of travelling to these places (and to meet you!) it's so exciting to feel like I'm along for the ride too! Thank you for taking me with you with your