Did I fly back Tuesday night? Really? And it's Thursday night? Oh my.
Well, let's ignore those unpacked suitcases and pretend I just got back, say, 15 minutes ago. In fact, it sort of feels like that anyway. Except that I came back to a clean house, and in my "15 minutes" I have managed to make it quite messy. That's my not-so-hidden talent: taking a perfectly orderly house and turning it into a state of mini-chaos, like a reverse "Before" and "After."
We had a good trip, though. Hard to beat Pennsylvania in the fall, especially with 80 degree weather. Beautiful. I didn't take my camera (because my dad was along and no sense competing with the Papa-razzi) and so don't have any leafy pictures, but trust me. It was poetry inspiring. The Grand Opening Party for my cousin's business--which was the reason why we went back there in the first place--was fabulous. My cousin's daughter has opened up a restaurant/catering business called Capers, and they have such good food. I could have eaten the baked brie with walnuts and brown sugar all. night. long. Sure there was an open bar, but what the heck did I care about that? As long as I had my little brie treats, I was happy. We even went back to Capers for lunch on Monday, and I asked if they had any leftovers of the baked brie. They did. I might have to fly back to Erie on a regular basis just so I can indulge in this fabulous yumminess.
And if was possible to be more wonderful than baked brie, there was getting to see my uncle and his family. They are just so nice and friendly and fun to be around. I really wish I could see them more often. It was so nice that the house is set up for grandkids and babies and so Jules got to sleep in a crib, and eat in a highchair, and be wheeled around the farm in a stroller. I *heart* baby gear on vacation.
For all my fretting about how Jules would be (memories of a particular awful flight back from Kauai still makes me break out in a sweat) Jules was a great little traveler, finding everything to be quite fascinating and humorous. Looking out the window at clouds? Giggles. The emergency exit cards in the back of the seat pocket in front of us? Better than a bag of toys. AND she slept in my arms for a couple hours. Such a good baby.
Of course, there were a couple of traveling snafus. Like leaving 90 minutes late out of Portland because of some generator problem. This meant we got into Detroit late, so that by the time we got to our connecting flight at a gate a mile away they were closing the door. As my mom was running to the gate she saw them about to close the door, and yelled that we were coming, but trying to stop airport personnel from closing the gate is like trying to stop a toddler from having a meltdown after a birthday party. Practically impossible.
The gate closed. Next flight to Erie was four hours later.
If you ever want to know what it might feel like to get locked out of heaven, just get to an airline gate a second too late and hear the sound of the door closing echoing through the corridor.
"I'm sorry," they say. "You're too late. There's nothing we can do."
You can beg; you can plead; you can tell them that you lived a good and virtuous life. They will not open the door.
Unless an angel in disguise walks up behind you and says, "You are not allowed to close the door more than 15 minutes before the flight leaves. It's the rules."
For all the millions of rules that fly through airports--like the one that allowed them to frisk me because I was holding Jules too close to my stomach so that it appeared that I was hiding an explosives belt, or the one that forced my 93-year-old grandma to get out of her wheelchair and walk through the security gate--it's so sweet when one of the rules actually works in your favor. (I know all the rules are intended to work in our favor, namely not getting blown up on an airplane, but still...some of the rules are irritating.) The Gate Guy called the pilot, and voila! The gate was opened and we made the flight.
Naturally, it would have been too simple if it all worked out perfectly. My dad, having lost his cool at the Gate Guy (all my siblings together now: "Doggone It You Guys!") ended up leaving behind his responsibility at the gate: my carry-on luggage and the car seat. Fortunately, the kind folks at the Erie airport loaned us a carseat until my stuff could make it out on the next flight from Detroit a mere four hours later. I forgave my dad, but made sure that I handled all my belongings on the way home. Baby included.
So, I'm home.
Home to a pile of new magazines.
Home to Sydney's smiling jack-o-lantern.
Home to too many emails to read, too many blog posts to comment on, too many newspapers to browse. Home to a finished backyard fence.
Home to a little doggie who got a new haircut, prompting Sydney to say, "She looks like a different dog! She's so pretty."
Home to the sounds of two little sisters playing together, who squeal with joy when they see their daddy after days away, who want to stay up late just so they can be with us.
Home to a husband who built us a fire last night, who bought me a carton of the season's first eggnog, who is has the day off tomorrow to spend with all of us.
Good to be home.