11 May 2009

MARATHON WEEKEND, part 4: Time Travel

JE’s family is off by 8:30am after we have had coffee, rhubarb pie, and some serious baby holding and laughing with JA. He still loves his drums (and demonstrated his skills at PM’s house on Saturday evening) but lately air guitar is his favorite—and making ANYTHING he finds into a substitute guitar. We have laughed repeatedly as he strums the tiny guitar-shaped magnets from Gigi’s fridge.

I help grandma with some computer skills and then scurry around to meet my sisters in Washington by 11:00am. We are having an early lunch so that JA and I can head back home by 1:00pm for our 6:45 departure for O’Hare. NC was here in September of 2007 and we go to the same restaurant as then. We chatter through lunch, catching up and touching base. Phone calls are normally exchanged most weekends, but it is special to be together again. NC got great news for Mother’s Day. Her only child, Anne, was hired by her ad agency after a one-year internship. Good money and benefits at last.

We have a quick trip back to Woodstock—reviewing and remembering all the conversations of the weekend. I have learned that my grandpa was originally named Ludwig Heinrich, rather than the Louis Henri I had suspected after the aunts recently proclaimed that we are not German, but French. We are German—not French—originally from Alsace Lorraine.

I drive directly to Crystal Lake and to the AAA (That's 3 A's not 2...) for the driver’s permit—this is definitely a scam as they collect my $15 and then hand write a lame paper permit. But, I have read online that without this permit the fines can be steep.

CA is home by 6:20pm and we work diligently to fit everything into three 50 lb suitcases—in the end sacrificing only a large bottle of Western salad dressing and one of poppy seed. We are at ORD by 7:40pm and our flight leaves on time from terminal 3. On booking our tickets we were told that we would have to collect our bags in London and re-check them to Vienna because we are ticketed separately for the two legs of our journey to facilitate our lay-over in London on our return trip. I ask the American Airlines/British Airways desk agent if we can check our bags straight through and she does it! I am pleased to avoid the extra bag charge for my second bag on the London-Vienna leg—a $60 savings! She who asks, receives—sometimes.

As passengers settle into their seats I notice the bulkhead is empty and ask if we can move forward two rows. I end up with a seat on each side and JL is on the aisle with tons of legroom. All of a sudden a head pops over my seat—a head with an Australian voice. She suggests that JL and I sit side-by-side so that she and her boyfriend can line up in our row. I am quick enough to say that I don’t think that would be very comfortable for us. She replies I am not being fair and I suggest she speak to the flight attendant, to which she demures. In the end she has a whole row on which to stretch out and I am not inconvenienced. In times past I would have agreed just to be polite, but have learned that one must say what one believes to be true. Just because someone presumes to ask, one does not have to agree.

JL and I refuse dinner as we had a quick Wolfgang Puck pizza at O'Hare. Soon it is time to pop those Ambiens and nestle in for 4 or 5 hours of sleep... z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

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