Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Just When You Think You Know Someone…

Last week I went to Chicago for a couple of days. My friend, Ann asked me to come and help her organize her papers/files. I got hit hard with a sinus headache and was in bed for a couple of days. I reluctantly went to the doc because I was pretty certain she was going to tell me I had to cancel the trip. Part of me wouldn’t have minded because I felt so awful.

Instead, she said that knowing me, my soul probably needed my friends and so she decided to shoot me up with steroids. I was skeptical because I couldn’t imagine feeling good enough to fly in less than 12 hours, but I should have known better than to doubt Grace. Holy crap! I love steroids!!

I really do appreciate that the airlines keep us safe, but honestly, what a pain in the rear. It is hard enough to get up early and arrive at the airport before 7 AM. But then, you have to basically start all over. Put your luggage down and pull out your boarding pass and driver’s license. Take your laptop out of your bag. Take your shoes off. (When you are wearing the hiking sneakers the doc insists you wear, that is no small task.) Take off your coat. By the time you are done, you have about 12 of those gray baskets with all your stuff in it. Then what? Reverse it all. Pack your laptop again. Put your shoes back on. (When you are wearing the hiking sneaks the doc insists you wear, that is no small task.) Put your coat back on. Arrange your purse, computer bag, and luggage so you can carry it all by yourself.

Last time I flew, I didn’t take my computer and I regretted it. I learned my lesson. I had a much shorter flight this time, but I wasn’t going to be bored. Besides, I got an email that said my flight had free Wi Fi so I was going to get a lot of work done. I boarded and asked the flight attendant and she looked confused. She didn’t know anything about that. Of course not. Why would they want to promote the free internet service? Now I have to find that damn email.

So I sit in my little seat and the plane is full. No elbow room. No spreading out. I swear, if anyone had videotaped me, I could have won on America’s Funniest Videos. I am already a clutz by nature without even trying. I set up my computer and look for that email. I was going to enjoy proving the staff wrong. Oops. Upon more careful reading, my bad. Free TV. Ha ha. Joke is on me. I decided to take the leap and pay the 8 bucks for the internet service anyway. I had counted on getting a lot of work done.

A notebook computer takes up the entire space of a small tray table. Where am I going to put the mouse? Very, very carefully on the edge. My computer bag takes up the space under the seat in front of me so I put my purse under my seat. Well, the guy behind me didn’t like that so he asked me to move it. I was cursing him under my breath. I finally get settled and the flight attendant says I have to put everything away until take off. Crap. Just let getting dressed and undressed at the airport. Put everything away.

Once I get re-settled again, I realize that I need my glasses. I’m blind as a bat now without my cheaters. No problem. I carry them in my purse. So I awkardly move the laptop to grab my purse. Ha ha. I forgot I had to move it so I grabbed that guy’s feet instead. I found out he wasn’t so bad because he and his wife and I had a pretty good laugh about the thrill I gave him.

Get re-settled. I figure out I need paper and pen. Also in my purse. What a fiasco. So now I have my glasses, laptop, mouse and pad, pen and paper, all in a two-inch space in front of me. Ridiculous. I’m a trooper though, and I manage it all. That is, until I drop the mouse under the seat in front on me. Soooooooooo stupid. Set all that stuff on my seat so I can crawl around on my hands and knees to find it, and created another round of laughter from everyone around me. Glad I could entertain them.

All in all, I did get a pretty good amount of work done, but holy cow. What a comedy of errors. It culminated in my trying to get off the plane without remembering to unbuckle my seatbelt. Amusement for all.

Ann and I got a lot of work done. We’ve been friends for years and years. But I tell you what, you learn a lot about a person when you go through their files. More than you want to know, sometimes. The best part was uncovering over $200 in cash she didn’t know she had. She promptly insisted on playing for my plane fare, which was awesome. But then, there was the color photographs of her colonoscopy that fit in the TMI category. Her husband’s esophagus wasn’t much better… lol!

I did get to go to an Ethiopian restaurant with my former boss and friend. I am not very adventurous with my food, but I had to admit it was extremely tasty. 20141023_193146

I was telling Ann’s husband about it and he says in the most straight-faced, serious manner, “I didn’t think they had food in Ethiopia. Why the hell are we sending them all that food?” Talking to my friend on the phone later, he also had a quick-witted response of, “Were you still hungry when you left?” All joking aside, it was great.

All too soon it was time to go back home. Ann dropped me off, and I couldn’t believe my luck. I got picked to go in the pre-check line. I mean, that never happens to me. I thought I was in heaven. And just to emphasize how lucky you are, they remind you the whole time you are in that short line. “Leave your laptops in your bag.” “Keep your shoes and jackets on.” “Keep your cell phones in your purse.” Life was sweet… until I realized that I forgot my cell phone in Ann’s car. Oh ****!

This really nice, young girl offers to give me her cell. I was momentarily stumped when I realize I have no idea what Ann’s number is because of course, it is listed in my cell. Then, thank God, I remembered to just call my own phone. She answered and said, “I’m turning around now!” All the way out of the airport and back to the curb.

Do you think I got lucky enough the second time to go in the pre-check line? Nope. I just had to laugh as I took off my damn shoes, unpacked my laptop, and blah blah blah. By the way, I decided to sleep on the ride home. No juggling this time :).

I’m ready for the next trip. Anyone wanna travel with me?


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It’s Official: Customer Service is Dead

We all need vacations or getaways to stay refreshed and keep perspective. I remember after Tim died, two of my friends took me away for a night. We went to Skaneateles and did a spa day. It was just what the doctor ordered.

If I ever needed a break, it has been in the last couple of months. My vacation to Virginia Beach fell through which was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Except, just when you think you can’t take anymore, something else happens…

My consolation prize was a night away in Lewiston, NY at the Barton Hill Hotel. It’s not the beach, but I figured it would at least give me a breath of much-needed fresh air. The package came with a massage. I ordered the groupon deal after calling the hotel to be sure it had the services we wanted. Then came the first blow. After purchasing it, I called to make the massage appointment. Oops. No appointments available until after we check out of the hotel. Yes, you read it right. I checked with them before I purchased the thing. But you know how it is. The hotel desk is a few feet away from the spa desk. They can’t possibly actually know what they are talking about, even being in the computer age.

I’m a reasonable woman though, right? So they said they would give us late checkout so there would be no issue with getting the massage, being able to shower and then leave the hotel. It wasn’t the best, but it was a pretty close second. I got through the beginning of an exceptionally tough week (more serious issues than the norm like suicide and rape) by counting down the days til my getaway.

Here’s the short version of what happened.

Check in at hotel. Drag all your stuff up to the room, only to find the keys don’t work.
Drag all your stuff back down to the lobby and wait for new keys to be programmed.
Get to the room, discover the clock/radio doesn’t work. No music. It gets replaced.
It takes FOUR trips to the lobby to actually get the towels that were requested.

MOST DISTRESSING ISSUE OF ALL: the door to the room doesn’t even actually lock. It can be pushed open. All our stuff is in there and we are leaving for the day. Back to the lobby AGAIN. We are told that it is a humidity problem (which we suspect isn’t true) but are told they will check on it immediately. When returning to the room after dark, of course our door still was open. Luckily, nothing was stolen.

Now I have to admit to myself that I guess I’m not a reasonable woman after all. I mean, who expects their hotel room to actually be secure? Most places you go to, even the shadiest of motels, don’t have a locked door. That is just too crazy of a thing to hope for when you travel. Right?

After traveling to a different floor for ice buckets and ice (because they are not easily accessible), I wake up in the morning to discover the bucket had leaked all over. My cell phone was laying in a pool of water. Nice.

But hey, look at the bright side. We go for our complimentary breakfast on the terrace at this “beautiful” inn (that is if you don’t mind all the water damaged ceilings and other run-down aspects) and are pleased to find that it consisted basically of cereal and toast. I’ve stayed at cheap motels with better breakfasts than that.

The kicker? We go for a walk in the morning and decide to just double-check on the arrangements for our late check out time. Even though this was literally the FOURTH conversation I have had with the staff about this, suddenly there is a huge problem. They are booked for the weekend so they can’t possibly accommodate us. In fact, it appeared from the looks on their faces, that we were crazy for even thinking that was a possibility. Check out time is literally in the middle of the massage time and that is too bad for us.

A manager? I want to speak to a manager? Silly me. There is none on the premises. Of course not. Literally every employee we talked to looked like they were in high school or barely graduated. No idea how to handle a business, much less one fraught with problems.

In disgust, the massages were canceled and we checked out EARLY.

Now, everyone is allowed to make mistakes. I make enough of my own so I try to be gracious to others. But what I can’t stand, is when a person(s) doesn’t take responsibility for it.

After countless phone calls, emails, and other such follow-up, here is what happened:

Nothing.

The hotel offered a free night. Are you kidding me? I’m no dummy. That doesn’t cost them a cent. I kindly explained that we have no desire whatsoever to ever set foot in the place again. I want my money back. I work freaking hard to be able to afford a getaway. I needed to be refreshed and instead I paid for a stress-filled 24 hours. So the hotel says, sorry. We would love to give you your money back, but the deal was through groupon so their hands are tied (which is also a lie, but I’m willing to work with it).

Groupon? I could have fell over when they told me that… guess what? The hotel refused to allow them to give me a refund. So they gave me money off my NEXT groupon purchase. Not much better than the hotel offering a free night. I WANT MY MONEY BACK, or at least a portion of it. Disgusting. Like I want to purchase another groupon offer in the near future.

I shouldn’t be surprised. The old me would have shrugged my shoulders and made the most of it. The new me isn’t wired that way anymore. I’m pissed off and can’t seem to help it. I needed to do something for ME after exhausting so much energy day after day helping other people. I just want what I paid for. Is that so crazy?

So it is official. The age of the consumer is no more. I’ve already wasted enough energy on this. The Better Business Bureau lists complains similar to mine. In the end, the hotel just refuses to do what’s right, so what’s the point?

Anyhow, I’m trying to find something clever and funny to end with. My creativity seems to be lacking. Must be because of the lack of soul refreshing that was sought after and not found…lol.

Moral of the story? GO TO VIRGINIA BEACH!!


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Blizzard Bliss

I’ve been pretty cranky lately, just want to sleep and complain. I think it’s common these days with all the cold, snow and lack of sunshine. Then we get news of a coming blizzard. Great. Good things come in strange packages sometimes and this time God used a blizzard to knock some sense into me.

For those of you that read “Bitter and Sweet,” you may remember Ann, who wrote some journal entries for us when Tim was in the hospital. I also talked about going to Chicago to see her after Tim got diagnosed. Anyhow, Ann and her son were taking a trip from Indiana to Troy, NY (near Albany) for a robotics competition. We don’t get to see each other very often so we were trying to figure out a way to work in a Buffalo stop. The problem was, there were sixteen other teenagers and eleven other adults on this trip as well. I am just crazy enough to offer to fit 29 people in my house for an overnight if needed. However, the group decided to rent a full-sized bus instead which would enable them to drive straight through so the suggestion was dropped.

Fast forward to yesterday. Ann and I promised to talk a lot on the phone if we couldn’t see each other so we stayed in touch throughout the day. They were encountering terrible weather and had to stop a few times to keep the windshield wipers going. They witnessed thirteen semi’s and thirteen other vehicles off the side of the Thruway. It was getting scarier. (And what is with the number 13?)

Then my other friend told me that the Thruway was closed off just past Rochester. The blizzard conditions were supposed to continue for several more hours. Suddenly, the idea of them stopping in Buffalo was back on the table. Frankie heard me on the phone and was a bit panicked. Was I kidding? How would he have any peace in the house with that many people in here with us? I told him it probably wouldn’t happen, impolitely called him a “prince” and apologized for disturbing his world.

By 5:00 PM, the decision was made. They were coming! By this time, my mind had changed the number to seventeen people. Probably some sort of unconscious self-protection. Seventeen was crazy enough, so who would have agreed to 29? Well, only 27 of them were total strangers :). Those of you that know me, would know that of course I was crazy enough. In fact, I actually was excited.

I had 90 minutes to spring into action. First, I hit up Colin and Frankie. I asked Frankie if he preferred I find him a sleepover somewhere but he said he could handle it. Good boy! With no notice, they both pitched in. They shoveled the driveway (which they had already done earlier to no avail with the snowfall continuing). They also had to vacuum the entire house- all three floors. There was no way I would want anyone to sleep on those floors. Kudos to the boys for being good sports.

Next, I walk over to the neighbor’s house. I keep thinking that eventually they are just going to lock their doors when they see me coming. I feel like I am always wanting something. I explain the situation and they offer me several blankets, sleeping bags, pads, and a large blow up bed. Of course, I couldn’t figure out the blow up bed so he had to come over and do it for me. Thankfully, he needed to borrow my snow blower so at least we could exchange favors. Just neighbors being good neighbors.

Next, food. For 29 people. Ann loves Metzger’s Pub at the end of my street. She loves their beef on weck. They don’t have that in the mid-west. Half of the stuff in the neighborhood is closed due to the storm. So I drive there and go inside. I speak to the owner. I tell him a bus with 29 people is coming in an hour. Will they stay open and be able to feed them? Sure they will and sure they can! Great!

Next, breakfast food. The closest grocery store is closed. I drive to Aldi’s. It’s not very far away, but it is blizzard conditions on the road and I’m not even sure they will be open. I pull into the parking lot, and I see one of two Aldi’s employees outside. I find out later his name is Eric and he is shoveling some person out who has gotten themselves stuck in the parking lot. I offer to help and he says he will yell if he needs me to push.

I go in the store and try to figure out mentally what I need. Pop, chips and dip. That’s enough snacks. For breakfast, several boxes of cereal and milk. A box of pop tarts for good measure. Cinnamon rolls and a danish. Sausage and ingredients to make French toast. A case of water. We don’t drink coffee at my house, but I assume most adults do so I grab some of that. Orange juice is a good idea.

When I walked in, I had told the only other employee there what I was doing. We were chuckling about what a crazy thing it was to have happen. So I’m in her line and I ask her to think through the menu with me. I’ve done pretty good. Plenty of food, but not over the top.

Then it hits me. Aldi’s only takes cash. Shoot. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Only I probably didn’t say shoot. I am fourteen dollars short. They don’t take credit cards. They do take debit cards. I don’t have one. Oh, but the company does. I quickly run it through my head and think I can use it, but I just won’t mark off the expenses on the business. I scan the card and enter my PIN. It doesn’t work. There is no way I can run home and get back with more money with the roads being the way they were and the time crunch I was under. This young cashier says “That’s ok, I’ve got it covered.” She tells me she thinks it’s very cool that I am helping out a bus full of people and she wants in on the deal. I was shocked. And grateful. I told her I would bring her back the money but she wouldn’t tell me her name. I look at the shoveling machine and he tells me her name is Jackie. I told Jackie she made my heart warm and thanked her for reminding me that people are good.

I paid for my groceries and went to load the car. The next thing I know, Jackie and Eric have both come outside in the continuing blizzard weather to help me load my car. I could have cried. I told them it may be a weird gift, but the only thing I could offer was to give them both a copy of “Bitter and Sweet.” I explained quickly what it was about and that the message was about community and paying it forward and I thought they both embodied that sentiment. They actually seemed excited and impressed that I had written a book.

I drove away embarrassed by all the complaining I’ve done the last few weeks. I called Ann and told her what happened. I knew this was all meant to be. Her group promptly posted it. They had over 860 hits on their site yesterday with people following their trip. It started a lovely flurry of people thanking us for keeping their kids safe and warm and fed.

Up the bus came and they all unloaded into the house. The first woman off the bus asked me if I was an angel. I’ve never met such a great group of people. I kept asking the adults where the real teenagers were. These kids were not like teenagers are supposed to be. There was no attitude, no cockiness. Just super polite and very grateful young men and women who made me feel like gold.

We walked down to dinner where most of the staff had called in due to the weather. (Surprise!) One bartender, one waitress, one cook, and one assistant. Thirty people plus a handful of other customers. It took forever, but all those hungry and weary adults and teens had the best attitude. And do you know what that poor waitress said? She said she wanted me to know that she lived in her mother’s house and it wasn’t hers. But if she was the owner, she would be offering to take half the bus to help out. Another warm moment.

I still can’t figure out how the heck everyone slept here. But everyone did. We were up at 5:30 AM cooking breakfast and the bus pulled out at 7:15. I felt like I had a boatload of new friends. I was the one who got paid back a hundred fold. I sold five books too, which I haven’t done in ages. And they all promised to read the blog and post my book info all over their sites!

We got talking last night and one woman told me about her husband’s physical ailments and his inability to continue working. Their lives have been turned upside down. But she has a mission in life to promote positive community. People in their town try to share responsiblity across the board and help each other out.

One of the teen girls shared with me that her little brother has a tumor. He has had surgery already and is doing chemo. At her young age, she already gets it.

Please, please check out the group’s site. They say they have lots of pictures posted from their adventures here in Buffalo and the rest of their trip. Their site is: http://mcrobotics3936.com/ and their Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/mcrobotics3936. The facebook page has photos of them at our house and posts about their saga getting here. Check them out!

By the way, I went back to Aldi’s today. Eric was working but Jackie was not. I asked to speak to the manager and told her the whole story. Guess what? She wasn’t going to let me pay back the fourteen dollars! I insisted, but I gushed about her employees. She told me how to contact the corporate office, which I did. They were thrilled to hear some positive news!

Remember, there is much, much good in the world.

P.S. Everyone knows now not to ever mess with Ann or I. Obviously we are strongly connected to Mother Nature and She made sure we got together :)!


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The Sun

Feb 21 Myrtle Beach (3)

Feb 21 Myrtle Beach (5)

Feb 21 Myrtle Beach (7)We just spent five short days at Myrtle Beach. My sister and her husband go every year for three months so Frankie and I tag along briefly. We try to do new things every year, but I told them that nothing beats just walking along the beach every day.

There is something about the ocean. I love the look, sound, smell. I have a sound machine at home by my bed that I keep on ocean every night. I don’t need the weather to be hot when I’m there. I just prayed for it to be warm enough to walk the beach.

I often think I should have been a minister. When I do things sometimes, I keep thinking of all these analogies for life that would make great sermon illustrations. The last day there I got up early and walked the beach and watched the sun come up. My mind was spilling over with great sermon bytes.

First, the sun peeked out through the clouds. Then it came out more fully, then got clouded over again. Eventually it came out full force.

I was singing a very old worship song while I was walking. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies will never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning…”

It was the perfect song to sing. New every morning. Love and mercy, new every morning. Sometimes it peeks behind a cloud, but it is still there. Whatever the clouds are- loneliness, hardship, sickness, heartbreak, financial fears, parenting concerns… There are plenty of days when it’s hard to see the sun. But it is there every morning even when we can’t see it. And apparently so is God’s love and mercy.

I had to turn my back on the sun to get back to the condo. I so didn’t want to. I glanced back every few steps, but it isn’t the same as walking directly into it. Life is like that though. Sometimes you have to go in a direction that isn’t as pleasant as you want it to be. But knowing the sun was at my back made it a little easier to go to the condo to get in the car and drive to the airport.

Of course pictures can’t capture the beauty, but I thought I would at least try to share the spirit of it with you. I am back in cold, dreary Buffalo but I am trying to look at the pictures often, then close my eyes and smell the air and remember the feeling inside while I was walking there. My last words on the beach were to ask the sun to please come and visit me sometimes in Buffalo. Do you think it will?


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Holiday Hell

Yep, it’s Christmas. No mistaking it. On top of the already busy life we all have, we are also hanging decorations (inside and out), shopping, baking, etc., etc., etc…

But before I get into that, first let me say thank you to all of my followers. I am not very good at remembering to say thank you when I get notification that someone new has joined because I’m just an airhead sometimes. So please forgive me and know I am thrilled that you are interested!

Now, back to holiday Hell.

By now, I am sure it will come as no surprise that I am slightly psychotic. Ok, on some days more than slightly. My OCD tendencies can be quite silly, but if you look at them right, they are harmless and actually humorous. For example, I am big on holiday traditions. Really big. But then I turn a fun and sentimental activity into a “rule” that must be followed without exception, otherwise it just doesn’t feel right.

The day after Thanksgiving, I put up our Christmas decorations. Well, there are so many between the tree, other decorations, and outside lights, that it usually takes more than one day. I have Christmas books, music cds, and Christmas movies. Every year I buy another movie. And then I discovered that Tim had a bunch of Christmas albums and I had to add those to the mix. Oh yea, and Christmas piano music. A few entire books of them, plus some other sheet music. And every single one of those things must be watched, listened to, read, or played. And it has to be between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas. IT MUST BE THAT WAY. Now, long ago, I gave up on making anyone else in the house share in the absurdity, but it’s my personal goal. I’m a bit of a tyrant too. I figure that I don’t use the TV the rest of the year. So for one month, I get first choice. Everyone else can use one of the other twenty thousand tvs or rooms in the house.

All of that is fine and dandy. But I’m having lunch with Summer and she looks at me (because she has gone through several Christmas seasons with me) and asks me what I am going to do this year?  First of all, I went out of town for Thanksgiving, which didn’t bring me home until the Sunday after. Secondly, Thanksgiving is really late this year. There is no way I could possibly get all that stuff in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And she knows- it will completely stress me out if I don’t watch all those damn movies I watch every single one, plus the new one I get, every single year.

She was right and I panicked. Then, being the brilliant woman she is, she suggested I make an “exception clause” in my mental contract with myself for years like this. Truly brilliant. I gave my OCD brain an acceptable way out. I can make exceptions to my rules when there are circumstances like this year.

Surprisingly, the heavens did not fall out of the sky when I took down my Thanksgiving decorations BEFORE Thanksgiving was over.  With some help from the boys, I was able to get up the decorations inside and out of the house before we left on our trip. Good thing, because when I got back, the holiday Hell started.

In the last three days, besides living all the regular life of working full-time, I have done the following tasks/errands, while also going through some personal problems:

My spiritual direction appointment

A chiropractic appointment

A back massage appointment

Luncheon appointment with another therapist

Bank

Post office

Market in the Square

Dollar Tree (twice)

Game Stop

Oogie Games

Subway

Applebee’s

Walmart

Eileen’s Bakery

Edible Arrangements

Sam’s Club

Pizza Hut

Olive Garden

7 Eleven

Consumer Beverage’s

Lowe’s

McDonald’s

KFC

Aldi’s

I’m very sure there are more that I can’t remember, but the last one has a funny story. We had no groceries in the house at all from being gone. I also had to buy a lot of things for our family Progressive Dinner, baking supplies, etc.. I filled my cart and realized it was overflowing. So I paid, went and loaded the groceries in the car and went back in and filled another cart. I kept letting people ahead of me that only had one or two items. This sweet older lady gets ahead of me and she clearly can’t believe I would doing something nice for her. We stood in line and chatted about Christmas shopping, etc..

I get out to my car with my second load and lo and behold I had left the car door wide open. Wide open. I nervously went over and nothing was missing. The car started too. Can’t believe I did that. (Last week I walked the dog the morning of our trip and came back from the woods and found I had left the car door unlocked, the keys to the car inside on the front seat, sitting next to my wallet with $500 cash in it. Someone is watching out for me!) I turn around and there is that dear, sweet, old lady. She looks at me with her car keys in her hand and tells me she can’t find her car anywhere. I told her about leaving my door open. We just laughed and laughed at ourselves. Of course, she had about twenty years on me (which makes her confusion more acceptable than mine) but we didn’t mention that.

So I’ve been ridiculously exhausted every night when I drop into bed. My whole body aches. I feel like I could cry.

But I love it anyway. I have Christmas music playing in the car while I’m running all those errands. I sneak in a few minutes of Christmas movies whenever I can. People love my lights on the house, especially my big, red stars. I walk around humming “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” spurred on from watching Elf. I’m just a big kid who loves the spirit of Christmas. A big, OCD kid. So good luck with your own holiday Hell, but remember to stop and smell the hot chocolate :).


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Mantra

Bitter and Sweet is not just the name of my book coming out. It is the mantra for my life. There is always a healthy dose of bitter and sweet in every day, don’t you think?

Take going on vacation. Definitely a sweet, right? Getting to see my daughter and her family is a treat any time of year. Actual travel? Big mix of bitter and sweet.

I get these cheaper tickets by flying out of Niagara Falls rather than Buffalo. The only problem is, there are not many options. The airline only flies on certain days, and then only once a day usually. So cheaper airfare, but Frankie and I have to fly out at 2 AM.

We agree to go to bed at 8 PM to get some sleep before we leave. After a lot of tossing and turning, I finally kick Frankie out of my bed because he’s driving me crazy. He goes to his own room and I fall alseep. Before I went to bed I set my alarm and then second guessed myself. I set the alarm on my phone too, just in case I goofed something up.

I have to laugh. I got a text about 25 minutes before we have to get up. A concerned friend making sure we didn’t oversleep. I get up and then the phone rings. My dad says he just happened to be up going to the bathroom so he decides to call to make sure we didn’t oversleep by accident. Then another text comes for another friend, just making sure we didn’t oversleep. Now I don’t have a history of oversleeping, or of missing flights. So I find it all very amusing that we were all worried. I do have a history of loving to sleep so I guess that’s what it is.

I decide to answer an email about the book before loading the car so that puts us a little behind schedule. I call my sister-in-law and tell her we’re running a little late. The roads are clear so I’m speeding. I think that if I get pulled over, I’ll just explain we’re trying to make a flight. Must have jinxed us. Sure enough, I get all the way to North Tonawanda and the lights are flashing behind me. VERY nice cop. Lets me go when I tell him the situation and doesn’t keep me pulled over very long. Bitter being late, bitter being pulled over. Sweet cop 🙂

Get to the airport without further incident. Find out the flight is delayed an hour and a half. Risked a speeding ticket for nothing. Worse though, we could have slept another hour which would have been immensely helpful. Oh well. I go over to the check-in monitors and get us all set. So I think. I find out that Spirit Airlines do NOT give you one free carry on bag. That’s only if its a backpack that fits under your seat. Guess how much it is to carry on a bag that fits in the overhead bin? ONE HUNDRED BUCKS. I almost fainted. I am certain I rode with them last year and this wasn’t the case. They are certain I am wrong. (I realize later that I flew out of Niagara Falls last year but with a different airline so I was wrong). I am in tears. That is crazy money! So I leave the counter and try to go on my smart phone and buy the luggage on line. No luck. I call my friend who gets out of bed and goes on her computer for me. Also no luck. I head back to the counter in shame, in tears. Bitter hundred bucks to swallow. Dear and sweet woman at the counter takes my license, winks at me, and checks my bag at no charge. I could have kissed her. Wow, two mercies within an hour.

By this time Frankie is complaining that he has a stomach ache and needs to eat. They announce that the snack bar is closing prompty at 2 AM. It is now five minutes until 2 AM. Can we get through security that fast? I will be miserable the rest of the day if Frankie doesn’t get some food. We run to the snack bar and another mercy- nice guy lets us get some food. Bagels. Cream cheese is gone but we’ll take butter. Not enough butter either, but at least we get some food into Frankie. Next sweet? Snack bar guy brings us over two slices of pizza. They are going to have to throw them out so he offers them to us. Sweet.

We get on the plane, praying that we will not miss our connecting flight in Ft. Lauderdale. That would be really bad. My plan was for both of us to sleep on the plane. No luck. Frankie is relentless. I think I am going INSANE.

Mom, that woman has her cell phone on. Are we going to crash?
Mom, that woman is reading a Kindle. Are we going to crash?
Mom, look out the window at all the lights. They are so cool!
Mom, look out the window. It’s completely dark out.
Mom, what happens to our bags in Ft. Lauderdale? Do we have to take them to the next plane?
Mom.
Mom.
Mom.

Thought I was going to ring his neck in front of all those witnesses.

Get to Ft. Lauderdale. Didn’t miss our connecting flight. But they don’t seem to be boarding. Is this flight delayed too? Thank God an employee looks out in the waiting room and asks if anyone is going to Atlanta. Several of us say yes. Oh, well, the gate has been switched. THEN they decide to make an announcement. Grab our stuff. Run to the men’s room and ask the custodian to please go in and find a blond haired boy. I tell Frankie the gate has been switched and off we run. Phew, got there.

Big, big sweet. Frankie falls asleep on the second flight. Thank God.

BIGGEST SWEET OF ALL??? Hugging those beautiful grandkids. I’ve got nothing to complain about 🙂