Saturday, March 22, 2008

Greetings from the Valley of the Sun

The sun is good. Vacation is good. Family is great. Mix the three, and you have a sheer amount of bliss.

We've been in Phoenix for a couple of days now. It was touchy as to whether I'd make it out of LGA Wednesday night -- American was still untangling from the 700 cancellations the day before caused by those massive storms at DFW. And then storms and foggy weather moved into the NYC area, making the schedule even tighter. And, oh yeah, it was spring break, so the number of travelers midweek was even higher than normal. A perfect storm of potential disaster.

Our plane was delayed coming in from wherever, but then it arrived and couldn't get to the gate because of the outgoing plane before it still being parked there. We were pushed from 8:40 (normally a hideous time to leave as it is, since that puts my arrival at home once all is said and done at well past midnight) to 9:30, then 10:45 and then at 11:45. The problem with that, an issue most of the casual travelers were unaware of, is that LaGuardia shuts down at midnight, and if you don't get out well before then, you ain't going nowhere. About 10:00 pm, I got a text message from AA telling me that we were pushed forward to 10:45, but that seemed impossible seeing as the flight to Tampa was still at our gate. Hmmm. this will be interesting. Meanwhile, I was on the phone with family all night, and they were assuming I was already home packing for the vacation trip. Nope, still at the gate at LGA. It was getting dicey. They finally got the incoming flight to the gate and emptied it. Then the fun began. At 10:45, the gate attendant told us that our flight had to be fully loaded, with all passengers seated and all overheads closed, with the door shut by 11:05, or our flight crew would be out of time and wouldn't be able to take us home. And that meant we weren't going home at all. I bet you have never seen so many people move so fast to get on an airplane. It was pretty hilarious, actually, and begs the question of why they don't board planes this quickly on a regular day. We boarded from the back, two rows at a time, and people actually moved quickly. Nobody fought and fussed over the overhead space -- in fact, by the time I got onboard with the rest of Row 9 at 11:01, there were empty bins several rows back. Even when the plane was fully loaded, we had spare room overhead. Amazing, since usually you can't cram a small purse in those things, especially when you're loaded with family travelers. The last first-class passenger (they got on last, and none of them really seemed to mind) boarded and the doors were shut at 11:03, so were good to go with two minutes to spare. At that point, the captain came on the speaker and let us know we'd set a record and would be underway momentarily. Huge cheers from the plane ensued, and everyone was in a ridiculously good mood heading out.

So I did get home from the short week in NYC, but I didn't arrive at my house until 2:30 AM. Which was just enough time to pack and take a two-hour nap before waking up and getting the family ready for the trip to the airport at 6:00 for an 8:00 AM flight. Sigh. I didn't even climb into my own bed because I didn't want to wake my husband up. No need for both of us to be sleepless. Turns out I planned to sleep on the plane but didn't since I was engrossed in Atonement. I'm about 3/4 done with it -- I'm still waiting for Briony to make amends here for being a brat. I should finish with it on the way home Monday morning.

So far, we've gone to see the dinosaur exhibit at the Phoenix Science Center (how can you resist a 40-foot inflatable dino on the roof of the building?), a Western town where TDP DinoBoy panned for "gold," a Mexican marketplace-type place, and a baseball game. Today we'll either catch another game or do an amusement park, and then probably a hockey game tonight. The boys are having a grand time playing with their cousins, and we're just generally kicking back and enjoying the time together.

I went for a nice 4 miler yesterday morning -- I found a park/country club near the hotel that made for a nice route. Today my sister-in-law is coming out with me in a bit. I did miss Thursday's 3 miles -- after the nightmare night and then a full day of activity I just couldn't get to the gym here at the end of the day to get it done. So I've missed two days in March. Phooey. No matter -- I 'll just keep going on until the end of the month and we'll keep pressing to get it done every day.

That is all for now. Have a great weekend! I know I will!


Bev said...


Just12Finish said...

Wow! I've never seen that kind of boarding before! There's got to be a better way to board than the normal way we do it now.