Adventures in air travel

If our annual reunion weekend of my Duke girlfriends had a theme each year, this one might be “Making a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear.” But seeing as I have a mini sow at home, who is such a valued member of our family that the idea of using her ear, or any other body part, for a purse is utterly repulsive, we’ll go with another cliche. Perhaps “Making Lemonade from All the Lemons We’ve Been Given.”

In the 8 years we’ve been gathering each June for a long weekend of catching up, we’ve never been rained out. Until now. Thanks to Tropical Storm Debby, we spent maybe an hour and a half on the beach this trip. Total. One evening walk and one brief session on the lounge chairs. The beach umbrellas were dutifully erected by charming young beach attendants but served as a shield from rain more than sun. As Winnie the Pooh would say, “Oh, bother.”
Instead of lounging lazily at the edge of the surf, being bronzed by the sun, we resorted to Plan B: curling up in front of the TV to watch seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey. Thank goodness for quality entertainment from across the pond! None of us in our little group are big TV watchers, but we all were mesmerized by the Crawleys, et al and their upstairs-downstairs life.
We still managed to get ourselves to our favorite Captiva Island restaurant, The Bubble Room, for dinner and a piece of the orange crunch cake. It sounds like an odd combination: white cake with an almond-streusel filling tinged with orange zest and frosted with an orange buttercream. Trust me, it is beyond delicious. Great, just typing that description made me wish I had more now. Right now.
The beach washout wasn’t the end of our troubles, as the flights out yesterday were a mess. Half of our party was flying Delta to Atlanta and then points beyond, and were met with a mechanical issue that delayed them 5 hours and would require a stay in an Atlanta airport hotel. The other half of our party was on United to Houston direct, trying not to feel smug about heading home no stop. That smugness was rudely interrupted, however, as out takeoff was aborted because of faulty brakes.
The faulty brakes issue was not to be resolved because of a lack of a mechanic in the area, so it was off to the airport Hilton for us. Oh, bother.
We’re booked on the same flight today with fingers crossed. If all goes according to plan, we will land in Houston at the tail-end of rush hour and will face the 50-mile trek from the airport back to the ‘burbs, a full 24 hours after our originally scheduled homecoming Oh, bother again.
Meanwhile, we’re killing time in the hotel until they kick us out and will then kill time at the airport until our flight (hopefully) takes off. Oh, the joys of travel!

15 Comments on “Adventures in air travel”

  1. David Benbow says:

    Keep making lemonade. Add a generous helping of vodka. Good luck.

  2. Jody Hicks says:

    When we saw the radar we wondered if you were being affected. So sorry for all the bummers after your looking forward to this trip for such a long time. But at least you were all together again, and you had a great Plan B. We discovered that we enjoyed seeing “Downton Abbey” for the second time even more because, knowing the outcome of situations, we picked up on a lot of subtleties that we hadn’t noticed the first time. It’s a brilliant series. Shirley MacClaine is joining the cast next season as Cora’s aunt from NY – that should be a hoot! Oh, and also – I’m with David’s comment.

    • None of us on the trip are particularly big TV watchers, but were all mesmerized by the show and are bummed that we have to wait until January for the new season. Can’t wait to see Shirley MacClaine on board!

  3. hjelmstd says:

    Smugness is often rudely interrupted! 🙂

  4. mmr says:

    I was watching Downton Abbey with girlfriends last night too (thank goodness for PBS– I love Sherlock too). But it was about 100 degrees here around H Town. No rain, but still felt rather sauna-like when we got to the Season 2 finale, around 11 PM. Can’t wait to head across the pond myself in a few days! First big trip since the bad diagnosis. And about 5 weeks from last recon surgery. Am wondering how the 10 hour plane trip will affect the edema. Bought a couple of kid sized basketball compression sleeves for my arms so I don’t look like such a dork. Don’t think my 5 foot tall person will pass for a b-ball player. The husband is 6 foot six though– everybody thinks he’s one. Today is our 19th anniversary!

    • I’m so excited for you and your big trip! You deserve to have the absolute best time ever. I worry about edema on a plane, too, but have flown several times without any trouble, and hate to admit that only once did I wear my compression sleeve. A couple of days before the flight I try to limit my salt intake and drink a lot more water. I also eat fresh pineapple, which is believed to have some anti-edema powers. Happy anniversary to you and many more happy years to come.

  5. Yes, it is a bother, but everyone’s safe. Thanks for reminding me about Downton Abbey. Can you believe I’ve never seen it?


    • Brenda! Go to Red Box today and rent the first season of Downton Abbey — you won’t be sorry! It’s such a great show. The characters seem like real people now, and I am not a big TV watcher but this show has me hooked!

  6. Stick with David’s suggestion. Vodka is an excellent way to cut the tartness of the lemonade! Also….. If I may….. Miraval (one of my fav places on the planet when I need to recapture some zen-ish-ness) sent me a newsletter and what a GREAT suggestions for lemonade. Add it with some smashed up mint leaves and tons of ice. Blend it up to make something that will provide an appropriate brain freeze (if sipped too quickly, although, my brain is always frozen anyway). It’s very yummy. Adding vodka was my own little twist. It’s a lemonade frozen vodka mint thingee…..

    Kidding aside, glad you all got home safely. 🙂

  7. Isn’t air travel just delightful these days? One never knows what to expect. But I know you. You’ll ride the tide, making a wonderful story of travel bliss (complete with photos) for all of us to savor in the near future. Enjoy! xx

  8. elizabeth connolly says:

    sorry I,m so late in reading this blog but the heat is fogging my brain. Anyway, didn’t that happen to you and Ed and kids last summer when you were leaving Salisbury? Hey, you may be safe this year. Only one sleep over delay allowed in one year. Air travel is not easy any more!!! love you all.

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