It's about time, right??? Nej finally gets around to telling people about her last day of the Portland vacation?
OK, I know darned good and well that you are all as excited about reading my vacation posts as you would be if I invited you over to watch slides of my vacation. But, the original reason for starting this blog, was to put my vacation journals into the electronic world, so to speak.
On vacations with Mot, I (normally) carry a journal with me, and write in it each night before going to bed. This vacation was different though. As, I didn't consider it a true vacation, and didn't even take my journal along.
Why didn't I consider it a true vacation?? Because I didn't really get to help with picking the destination, the time of year, the accommodations, and what we were going to do. I don't get many of them, so vacations should be relaxing things. Hiking, kayaking, camping, enjoying nature and life without electronics, people, and stress.
So, when Saturday arrived, it was bitter-sweat. Vacation was almost over, and I had to go back to work in two days. I was actually looking forward to getting back to work, as it was more relaxing than this past week. I found I couldn't be myself this week...and it really frustrated me. There was no one keeping me from being myself, no, I was to blame for that!! I'm quiet and tense when around people I don't know. Raised by a very shy mother, the apple doesn't fall far from that tree, let me tell you!
I may know who Mot's brother and family are, but I don't know them. Not at all. And after another week with them, I still don't. Or maybe I do, and I just haven't figured it out yet?
But ANYWAY....back to my Saturday in Portland.
We woke up later again this morning. Which is funny, because waking up later there is like waking up REALLY late here. As our bodies still hadn't adjusted to the time change thing.
Mot went to jump in the shower, and came back about 2 minutes later. He couldn't find his shave kit (toiletry bag). We searched all over that room, and couldn't find it anywhere. It wasn't in a drawer in the bathroom either. (we didn't find it until we got home....it seems he packed it, and forgot)
When we finally got downstairs, Mot's niece was up and around. I can't believe how grown up she is....it's amazing really!! We only get to see her and Chris every 3 or 4 years it seems.
We had been told that after getting them Guitar Hero as a family xmas gift last year, Sarah was the one that really took to it and went hog wild. So it was fun getting to play a little with her and the twins.
Bill and Sharon made a really great breakfast for us all that morning...pancakes, apple flambe (sp?), and bacon. Actually, Chris made the bacon. It took him 30 minutes on the grill, cooking it slowly over a low heat. And I can honestly say, it was the best bacon I've ever eaten!!!
It wasn't much after our breakfast (brunch) that Mot and I had to say goodbye. Chris and his brother left a few minutes before we did...as Chris had a soccer game to play in. Of everyone we had to say goodbye to, the twins were definitely the most upset we were leaving. They are awesome little girls!!! Very shy and standoffish to us at first...but once we all bonded, it was tough leaving!
From their house, we loaded our luggage, and headed to the airport. Mot was insistent we get there 2 hours early, and I just went along with it. 1) not worth the argument 2) if I argued and then we were late, I'd never hear the end of it! :-)
We ended up going to an airport restaurant near our gate to sit, relax, and order a bite to eat, before we got on the plane for the 4 hour journey. Yes, 4 hours! You see....when flying back from Portland to Omaha....United makes us change planes once. Which would be fine...if they didn't make us change planes in Chicago!!! Yes bloggers, get out your maps of the US....we literally fly OVER Omaha on our way to Chicago to change planes...to fly to Omaha!
They do it to us every time. In fact, when we booked our tickets this time, we made sure they WEREN'T going to do it...and then two weeks before we left, the airline called with itinerary changes. And they sent us to Chicago!!! How does this make sense?????
Anyway, our waitress was horrible. The place wasn't busy, and it took her forever to get to our table. We had to get our own menus from the little waitress station in the back. One fellow walked in after us, and asked her for a menu as she walked by. She said "They've over there" and pointed.
We finally were able to order and get our food, and about the time we had it all eaten, she brought Mot his drink. :-)
The flight from Portland to Chicago (ugh) was OK. There was an in-flight movie even. At about 2.5 hours into the trip (just as the in-flight movie ended), I had the worse claustrophobic attack. I am sooooo claustrophobic...like bad!!!
(which is funny, because I love spelunking...I'm also terrified of water, and love to kayak - I'm a weird one!!!)
Mot and the gentlemen in our row were very nice about helping me through it. We talked about all kinds of stuff. In fact, the guy we were sitting with actually made the trip interesting. He was fun to talk to, and very down to earth.
About an hour later the pilot came on the intercom, as usual, to tell us he was beginning the descent into Chicago, and we all needed to sit down and quit walking around...it was going to be bumpy.
As we were getting closer to the airport, you could hear the landing gear go down...and he again came on the intercom to tell the flight attendants to "prepare for landing."
About 10 minutes later, the plane engines roared, and the pilot made the plane fly almost straight up. (OK, maybe not straight up...but the plane changed from going down, to going up....quite drastically!!!) UMMMMM.....OK, that was weird.
The landing gear went back up into the plane, and we kept going up.
Then we leveled off, and were just flying again.
The pilot comes onto the intercom "sorry folks, we missed the runway, we were coming in a little hot and are going to try it again."
WTF!! Don't they have instruments and flight towers, and stuff??? How do you miss a runway?
About 10 minutes later, we started the whole drill over again...landing gear down, plane starts to drop in altitude. Everyone on the plane fastens their seat belts a little tighter, while continuing on with their conversations...to cover up the doubt we were having with our pilot.
He wasn't kidding about missing the runway...on the first attempt, we couldn't see the lights of Chicago....I thought it was because it was foggy or rainy. No, it was because we were still in the clouds....we wasn't kidding when he said he missed it! The second time around, we came down out of the clouds and could see the city. Ugh!
Then, when we're close to the ground, flying just above the runway to land...the left wing of the plane dips, and the right wing shoots up into the air. I can't believe there weren't scrapes on the left wing tip from that one. Lake effect wind shear....not so good when landing. It's always better to land with the plane parallel to the ground, not perpendicular!!!!!
In Chicago, we had approximately 2 seconds to grab a bag of chips and a candy bar from the little airport bookstore. We went from plane, to bookstore, to plane to Omaha as fast as we could walk. That little having the try landing twice thing really ate up the time between our flights!!!!
During our flight to Omaha, we found we were surrounded by UNL (University of NE @ Lincoln) art students. We also found out that the girl in the seat ahead of us spent the whole flight TO Chicago puking her brains out.
(side note - we also found out that airplane puke bags are made cheaply....the bottoms of them kept blowing out on her on their flight to Chicago....the girl sitting in our row was unfortunate enough to have been hit by the 'shrapnel' on that flight)
I sat in my seat thinking "please don't puke in front of me, please don't puke in front of me."
(luckily she took Dramamine before the return flight and slept the whole way to Omaha - thank goodness!)
Before taking off...the lights inside the plane would all go off...then come back on....then go off....etc. This happened 3 or 4 times. "God, get me out of Chicago!!!"
The ride back was fairly uneventful for the first half. The girl sitting in our row was funny, and we all talked about this and that. At one point, she wanted another can of ginger ale...but the flight attendants had already been around to serve drinks. She asked ours if he could bring her a can....and he said yes, "For a $.25 after service service-fee." When he came back with the can, she tried to give him a quarter, he laughed. Seems he was kidding and she fell for it.
And that is when the weirdness began. We couldn't get rid of the guy for the rest of the flight. It was like Hannibal Lector does United Airlines. He was one strange dude. Our UNL friend got up to let Mot get out of his seat....and when she stood up, the seat cushion came free. We were laughing about her floatation device coming loose. He came up behind her (more like snuck up behind her, none of us saw him - how to you sneak up on people on a plane?) and said "no, your seat cushion isn't your floatation device on this plane...this is...." He knelt down as close to her as he could, and literally pulled out the floatation device from under her seat.
Then, he asked where we were from....and someone said Nebraska. So he says "Nebraska huh? What is there to do there?" We all said nothing, hoping he'd leave. Nope!!! He didn't. He says "I'm from South Dakota." And pulls out his driver's license to show us.
Then I said "South Dakota, so what's there to do THERE?" ( I couldn't resist! ) The guy lives in a state bordering NE for crying out loud!!!
It was then that Mot returns and our UNL student asks Hannibal to take her empty ginger ale can. He says "For a $.10 garbage fee."
For crying out loud!
He stood there and hovered over us the entire rest of the flight. At one point, he actually sat on the floor in the aisle, like he was sitting with us. Talk about spooky!!!!
Robin and Aaric were waiting for us at the airport when we arrived. They took us home and helped us unload. We all sat in our living room and talked for a while...but everyone was tired, so they left.
HOME!!!!!! There was no better feeling than to finally be back in the safety and comfort of my own home!!!!!!