Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not the day I had planned....

For those of you that are friends on Facebook you know yesterday was not the day I had planned. The funny thing is when I picked up Brent and he said that he had seen I had a bad day I had to say that I really hadn't. It wasn't the day I had planned, and a lot didn't go right, but it wasn't really bad. Off and odd but not bad.

So the plan for the day was to go to my dermatologist appointment, talk to her about the medications she has me on and the side effects I am having, see what needed done with that then go home and switch things to my new purse and work on a project I am under a deadline to get done. If I got enough done on my project then I was thinking I would treat myself to a pedicure.

Instead I went to my appointment found out that the lab work I had done the week before was the wrong lab work so I needed to get another blood draw. Good news was I didn't need to fast for this one so I could just go do it that day. While I was at the doctor's office I asked her about a spot on my arm that seemed to be off. It was a mole but it had started bleeding, scabbing, bleeding, scabbing never healing up. She said that wasn't good so off it was going to go. Surprise! You are having a biopsy done today! Needle in the arm, punch and done.

So then I headed home to put on some makeup (no make up to the dermatologist but until the dermatologist works her magic makeup for every place else!) then back out to the lab. When I got to the lab the phlebotomist made a joke about me already being stuck since I had a bandage on my left arm. Then she saw the bruise on my right arm from where they drew blood last week. It was a bad draw and the bruise is still pretty good sized. She was a little embarrassed that that had happened in their lab but I was thinking, the fact that wrong labs were run is the part you should be embarrassed about. Not her fault though on either thing. She spent some time finding a new vein in my arm to draw from and did a very clean draw. Just a needle mark this morning, no bruise at all.

Off to get gas. The new Fred Meyer gas station is near the place I thought I was having lunch and near the place I could get a pedicure so I went there. I get .10 a gallon off my gas by using them. Which always sounds so much better until you realize you only saved like $1.30. Anyway, they designed the new station with super short hoses so you have to have the pump on the side your tank is on, which leads to cars pulling in every which way.  So I ended up face to face with another car and we both finished at the same time. Now I have to go around him or he around me to start. I can't go around him because two cars are behind him and one is blocking the lane to leave so until he pulls out and they can pull forward I am stuck. But he won't look in his rear view mirror and see this, he wants me to move first so he doesn't have to cut out as sharply. He is gesturing at me, not in a nice "you go first" sort of way, but in a "MOVE!" sort of way. So I did the point at the truck blocking the lane behind him hold your hands up in a "What do you want me to do?" move and he finally got it.  Though I am pretty sure he called me a name as he drove by. Subaru Driver.

So off I went in search of lunch. I decided I would treat myself to some cheap Mexican food. There has been an ad on TV the past few weeks for what are essentially taquito bites. Looked good! The problem was we have way too many cheap taco places. I knew it wasn't Taco Bell, thought maybe it was Del Taco so I tried there first, nope not it. So I thought...Taco del Mar? Nope not it either. Oh well it's late I will go get an egg salad at Starbucks instead...they were out so back to Taco del Mar. It was Taco Time that had the special, by the way.

I ended up behind a group of guys on their lunch break. Here is a life lesson for you. If you are ordering food in a place that needs to ask you a lot of questions (black, pinto or refried beans, chicken, pork or beef, corn or flour, here or to go?) do not get so engrossed in your text conversation that you are ignoring the person trying to help you. If your text is so important duck out of line until you are done then order your food. Oh and to the guy behind me...If you are ordering something off menu don't be a dick when the person waiting on you has no idea what you are talking about. Even if you have "Ordered this 100 times!" and if you have ordered it 100 times I suggest you branch out a little. So being the normal person in between the two jerks I was extra nice to the people working there. Not that I wouldn't have been nice anyway, but you know that nice you are to people to sort of make up for the fact that someone near you was a jerk. And I think they both appreciated it. At least they were very nice to me as well. In that so relieved I wasn't a raging bitch sort of way.

So I walk over to the nail salon to see if they can do a pedicure. Yay! They can, I go back out to the car to get my box and my shoes and see...Holy crap!  What the heck is this thing?? Yep, it's a nail. In my brand new tire. So I text Brent to see if he thought Les Schwab would have our tires (they are next to the nail place) and he calls them, calls the BMW place and gets an appointment set up for me to get the tire replaced that still gives me time to get my pedicure! Nice! So after explaining again and again that I just wanted the plain pedicure, no hot stone, not deluxe massage, no little flowers, yes I know it's a plain light color it's what I meant for them to look like...I was done and back on the road to the dealership.

Spent an hour at the dealership replacing my tire. Did I mention it was brand new? Okay, I exaggerate, it was about 3 months old...and then dashed home to change shoes, pedicure flip flops are not meant to be worn for long, then back to pick up Brent. No new purse, no work on the project. But as I said, when he said he was sorry I had a bad day I had to tell him it wasn't bad.

I got a biopsy that will either turn out to be nothing or it will turn out that I really needed it removed, either way better for my health and state of mind. I had a decent blood draw that didn't hurt or bruise. I got .10 a gallon off of my gas. I got lunch out. I got a pedicure. I had time to read an entire book. Which I might add I got an extra kick out of....the first time I read book 5 of the Sookie books I hadn't yet read the Shakespeare mystery series so the fact that the private eye was Lily Bard didn't mean a thing to me, this time I laughed and felt like I was seeing an old friend! And because the day was a little off we went out for sushi for dinner. Not a bad day at all really. Just not the day I had planned.

So today I worked on my project, it's mostly done just letting some ideas settle to see if I change some things around. I looked into changing my purse and realized I need to pick something up at Target before I do so and I am off to the last of my above the neck doctor's appointments this week. So far so good.

I hope you are all having good days. Even if they are off script!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What do you think?

Yesterday the weather had cooled enough to make cleaning C's rooms not seem like a torture session in a sweat box. Though he keeps his spaces semi-straightened he is not likely to pick up a dust rag or toss out an old game note if I am not standing over him with the duster and a trash bag. Because of this twice a year I go in and really clean out his rooms. It's a deal we have had for as long as I can remember. It used to come when he would leave for Mel Brown during the summer and Lionel Hampton in the winter, now it's when he leaves for school in the fall and again after Christmas. Anything he doesn't want me to see has to be put away and anything he wants to make sure he keeps needs to be as well. Then I go in and everything gets dusted and vacuumed, the shelves are straightened, books are put away, scraps of paper are tossed. The bed is stripped and the room is aired out. Everything is just tidied up.

So while I was doing this yesterday I couldn't help but smile. There was a little notebook that he has had for awhile. He has taken notes on a variety of things over the years. There were notes on a marketing plan he was making for me as a school project, actual musical notes written out for some composition he was working on, obvious game notes, arrows up down and sideways for codes as well as notes for games he was designing with plot points and boss levels spelled out. Then things that I had no idea what they meant and wasn't sure if I showed it to him if he would even remember anymore. I've written about my random notes before and to see his made me smile.

But the real treat came when I was dusting the shelves in his bedroom. I was moving his punk rock Elvis glasses to dust under them and Brian Setzer was playing on my iPod and I had to smile. This was when he was leading his big band playing re-worked Stray Cat material and other swing music. My dad loved big band and swing so I grew up listening to it with him. When C started playing trumpet I got the treat of listening to my son play music that my father loved. And that I loved as well. Some of the stuff C played I just didn't get. I like my jazz to hang together, he likes his to flow apart then come back together at the end. There were a lot of times during a concert he was playing in where the director would announce the song and C would make eye contact with me with an evil grin...and I knew somewhere in this song there would be mass soloing and it would be a hot mess. And he would love it. Not just because for him a really tight band is what mattered but because he would know I would be listening in the audience thinking...."hot mess!" Oh and those punk rock Elvis glasses? They were from the year he dressed up as Travis Touchdown for Halloween. Travis Touchdown is from No More Heroes. No, you probably haven't heard of him, most people haven't, but it didn't stop C from dressing up as him for Halloween a few years ago.

Anyway...right after the Brian Setzer song ended All Star started. This might be the very first song that C ever hated. If it would start on the radio he was switching it as fast as he could or if he couldn't reach the dial he was asking that it be switched. Hated it. And I really like it. Not the first time we have differed on music and most definitely not the last, he is full of eye rolls for my more "interesting" music selections and as an actual musician cannot stand a song with synthesized horns. As a child of the 80s synthesized instruments are a way of life. But the reason this made me smile is that for me as a parent I am always a little thrilled (sometimes it comes later after the exasperated part settles down) when he is strong in what he likes and dislikes. He has always been a kid, now an adult, who knows who he is. And I dig that. Even when I get ahead of myself making plans for him that he doesn't really want to follow.

Because, let's face it, most of our lives we will be told by others what they think of us. It's on our report cards as children, "Denise is easily bored and tends to distract the other children when they are trying to finish their work."  It's in our job reviews, "An area of improvement for you would be to show less frustration when others need more time to grasp a concept you are explaining."  We get it from parents, friends, children, spouses, everyone. They all let us know in big and small ways what they think of us.

The real trick is figuring out what you think of yourself. And this is where I have to give it to my son.  Even at 43 years old I have days where I let someone else's opinion of me color what I think of myself.  Where I have moments of self doubt wondering if I really am the person they just said I was.  This isn't the same as taking constructive criticism for areas of improvement and acting on them, (I did get better at hiding my frustration with people at work, usually. I never got better about distracting the other children at school.), I am talking about the moments where you are talking to someone and they give an opinion about you that you would never consider to be a true representation of yourself.  Those are the times that you have to think, okay, that's what you think of me....but what do I think of me?

So listening to music that he loves and then hates, moving the costume pieces around from Halloweens long ago and then seeing his picture pop up on my phone as he made his weekly call home I had to think, this kid has it together.  At least that's what I think of him.  I hope it's what he thinks of himself as well.

See what I mean?  Punk Rock Elvis!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life, the Universe and Everything...

Being the geek that I am I was very excited when I turned 42 because now I was the answer to the Ultimate Question. Now that I am 43 I thought it was a good time to look back at last year and see what answers I really found.

As you all know there were two very big events in my 42nd year. One I knew was coming, had been planning for it and still wasn't sure how I was going to deal with it. That was C leaving for college.  As a West Coast parent when your only child announces they plan on attending college on the East Coast you go through a bit of denial before accepting it to be true. He was leaving. And he wasn't going to be a short drive or even a short plane ride away. Coming home for a weekend here and there was out of the question. When he left it would be for long periods of time. I always make the joke that parenting is all about taking this crying, smelly bundle home and taking care of it, feeding it, teaching it manners, putting up with it through the terrible twos, the even worse teens and then when it becomes someone you would love to hang out with it leaves...All of a sudden it wasn't so much of a joke as a reality. (Though to be fair he was pretty cool to hang out with all of his life, even when he was a smelly mess)

And it was horrible. I cried the ugly cry. The first weekend we were back home and he was gone I became a Facebook stalker trying to see if he was online and okay. I worried when he got sick for the first time and I wasn't able to check on him and make sure he wasn't getting pneumonia. When the first big snow storms started coming I double and tripled checked that he was warm enough and had the right clothes. I kept an eye on his money and made sure he didn't need anything. And you know what? He was fine. School was good, he was taking care of himself...just fine thank you, Mom, but I'm fine...and his life and mine rolled along. Every time I took him back to the airport after a visit I cried again, but not the ugly cry and not for days. Just the "I'm going to miss you" cry. And now that he is back in school for his second year, I miss him again.  But I know that he and I will be just fine. And that this really is the way it's supposed to work. My job with him is done. Now I just get to come in for assistance and consulting duties here and there, but the real full time work is over. And that's okay. Good lesson, good answer.

The next major event I knew was coming, eventually, but I didn't plan and I didn't expect it and I really didn't know how to deal with it. When Dad died in June it was one of those situations where you realize very quickly there are no right answers. There are no absolutes on how to deal with everything. You just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. Dad's death and the trip home and the following months have been full of more questions for me than answers. I miss my father terribly. Which is so very odd to me as I haven't lived in the same state as my dad for decades. But knowing he was there, and would be there gave me an anchor I didn't realize I was using.

The sadness creeps up on me at unexpected times. When Brent and I were stationed in San Diego we were friends with a young married couple who had a toddler daughter. When the guys were out to sea and Bailey would get overwhelmed with the world she would throw herself down and cry..."I just miss my daddy!" The other day while cleaning the bathroom I had a moment just like that. The sadness came in a wave and I thought..."I just miss my dad."

The only answers I have right now are to keep moving. And to think about the life he led and the examples I can take from it. He was a good man. A strong man. A family man. He loved my mother more than life itself and loved us kids just a shade under what he felt for mom. He was deeply religious. He was a staunch Republican. I always tell people when they ask that my family is the Religious Right. Though I will never share his religious or political beliefs I know that one of his favorite country song lyrics was "You have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." That I can believe in. Family. Friends. Love. Belief. Those are lessons I can take with me and cherish and try to be the daughter he would want me to be. Still no answers, still a lot of questions.

The rest of the year was filled with my normal array of trying things on and taking them off. Ice skating lessons were a hit. I need to find another round of them to take as I enjoyed spending time on the ice. I am not graceful, speedy or what you might call good at it...but I enjoy it and I think that's the important part.

Knitting was another try this year. I wish I would have discovered it when I was quitting smoking years ago.  It's good for me for keeping my hands busy, but it didn't do anything to quell my mind. I might knit a half dozen scarfs but I don't see me doing anything else with it. It just wasn't for me.

Photography and I had a come to Jesus year. I stepped up from my point and shoot camera that was finally dying after years of service and got a "real" camera. I read some books, I watched a few online tutorials, I asked questions of friends. And I discovered that I like to take pictures. I am a fauxtographer not a photographer. The "real" camera went up for sale and a lovely new point and shoot was purchased. The fact that it's red fills me with joy every time I look at it.

My latest career choice came to an end. I discovered that the reality of the situation was that I used massage therapy and going to school to become a LMT as way out of Advertising. That my initial thoughts on it were really the true ones. I loved going to school. I loved learning more about the human body and learning ways of helping people through massage. But it's not a calling for me. I have pared down to where I work on a few friends. And I enjoy that. I like the time we have to visit and I like knowing that I am helping them be better at things they love doing through massage. But I don't call myself a massage therapist anymore, I don't consider it my job, I am not accepting new clients and I am trying to decide if I want to keep up my licensing or let it drop.  That will be an answer to search for at 43.

Writing...well...writing. This is a complicated one. I tried to set up a deadline this year to actually get something published and I rebelled against it just as badly as I would rebel against someone else setting a deadline for me. As many of you know I also had a little moment of insecurity when Blogger actually showed me how many people are (or are not in this case) reading this blog. And even though technically that happened in my 43rd year I will lump it back with the big 42 lessons. What I have come up with is that I still feel like words are magical. I still feel like if I can get the right combination of them I can make you understand the way I see the world and if you share back with me I can understand how you do. When I read a book by a talented author I am always in awe of the world they created. When I read a funny status update from a Facebook friend it can make my whole day better. So I will continue to write. If I ever publish then I will publish. If I don't, then I don't. If I spend hours writing a blog that only 5 people read, then that is the way life goes. But I write because I love to. And that's a pretty good answer for me.

I also made some new friends and lost some old ones this year. A few of those losses were hard to understand and process and some of them were understandable and a long time in coming. Discovering that someone you have been friends with for a few years cannot understand your point of view and you cannot understand theirs on something as basic as racism is a hard lesson to learn. But it was a good one as well.  Even at 42 people were still coming and going in my life. Making it better, richer, fuller and more interesting.  I know that at 43 that lesson will be learned again. And probably at 44 and 45 and 46....

So there you have it. For my brief time as the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything I really end up a wash. Maybe if I had actually known what the question was I would have done better....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodnight, Irene

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are beginning our final descent into Newark. Please bring your tray tables and seat backs into their upright and locked position." Nothing like a restful nights sleep to leave you raring to face a new day! Or nothing like a fitful few hours of rest on a red-eye to make you realize it's going to be a long long haul.

After working our way through the confusing maze that is the Newark airport dodging hoards of angry travelers ("My ENTIRE family is in Seattle! I need to get to Seattle!) we picked up C's bag (YAY! It made it!), found the rental car company (after asking for directions 3 times), used the grossest airport restroom ever, and C discovered that it wasn't just an off color joke, New Jersey really does stink, we were on our way!

Now those that know me know I am, shall we say, directionally challenged so the thought of navigating out of Newark, in to the New York City area and back out was making me a little nervous. I was also concerned that if they were shutting down the airports, the mass transit systems and evacuating areas it was going to be me and a few thousand of my closest friends on the road. I am thrilled to say that wasn't the case at all. C and I got turned around twice. Once on an off ramp that had been reconfigured since the map program was written and once at an unmarked fork in the road. Both times we figured out pretty quickly we were going the wrong way, got it righted and back on the road!

The only two times we ran in to heavy traffic were in small towns in Vermont where they were holding street fairs downtown and since there was only one road through town we were all on it. The weather was lovely, a little muggy but clear and dry otherwise. We made exceptional time, especially since I didn't speed AT ALL because that would be WRONG no matter how smooth the roads were or that you could do 80 and not even be the fastest car on the road. Allegedly.

I know that I have said this many many times before but I am so grateful to have the kid I have. I know that there are a lot of parents and kids out there that when facing a 6-7 hour road trip on top of a red-eye flight would be dreading the time in the car. C and I actually had a good time. We were both a little punchy from being tired so the corny jokes were flying. As well as a few stories and just some nice time together to end the summer. As we passed through towns and places that I had heard of I would announce them, "Oh we are in the Catskills! Let's go put someone in the corner!" "Adirondack Highway, we should get some chairs!" "Look, it's Clifton!" "Schuyler, that's pronounced Skyler my home ec teacher's last name was Schuyler...." And then we got to Poughkeepsie. When I read it off the sign C said, "I"m sure that's not how it's really pronounced." I told him it was, I wasn't making it up. But he was pretty convinced there were too many letters for that to be right. Then we decided that really most of the streets and towns had more letters than they really needed. When we passed through a town (whose name I can't remember) that was something like Kousinawackinshi I told C I wasn't even going to try to figure out how to say that, he deadpanned,"I'm sure they pronounce it Kevin."

We made it in to Burlington dropped off C's bag in his dorm room, which was already full of classmates and headed over to the storage place to pick up the rest of his belongings. And guess what? Dave was no where to be found. I called Dave, C and I walked around the storage place just in case he was helping someone else...we didn't find Dave but we found a photography set up with lights, a table, white gauzy curtains and a variety of undressed mannequins...then we decided to just go back and wait quietly out front.

I texted Brent who advised me to breath deeply. I clenched my jaw and I waited. Finally Dave showed up and dug out all of C's things and we were on the road again. After grabbing a quick bite to eat and heading back to the dorm to unpack we discovered that while Dave was hauling out the bottom box he bumped the edge and opened the laundry soap. Good news is we had thought to pack it in a plastic trash bag in the spring, bad news is it was still starting to leak. We unpacked the box in the parking lot of the dorm and only lost the soap and trash bags. One shoe and the towels got a little soapy and we left a little puddle of soap in the parking lot. Not bad...

C and I unpacked, mostly, and got his room partially set up. Not an easy trick when you have half a dozen kids in there playing video games and eating pizza. Poor C would have much rather been hanging out by that point instead of still working but he soldiered on! So off to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is not my favorite place ever. I hate crowds like that. I am not a fan of the stuff the aisles full of merchandise marketing method either. It's too much stuff and too many people and it makes me itch. Add to that move in weekend for all of the colleges and an impending storm that could possibly shut down the East Coast for a week. It was like a little slice of hell. But we made it. Tired, cranky, toasty oats, but we made it. I dropped C back off at the dorms and went to settle in to the hotel to wait out the storm.

As you all know Burlington was spared by Irene. Sunday was a rainy windy day but nothing bad at all. No flooding. No long term power outages. I had spent two hours on the phone with Continental after dropping C off so I had a flight out Tuesday and there was nothing to do but wait. But watching the news I couldn't help but be struck by the damage the rest of Vermont had suffered. The roads we drove on Saturday to get to school weren't there any more. Washed away completely. There were towns that you could only reach by helicopter. It was a moment of deep gratitude for me that we were safe and dry and with power.

Now you will remember that I told you at the beginning of this two parter that this story started back in the spring right? Now here is what I meant. As we were leaving the storage place on Saturday C overheard Dave telling someone that he would in fact be open on Sunday as he was delivering things to kids moving in on those days so he changed his normal schedule. My first reaction was anger. The whole reason I had ended up flying out with C was because he WASN'T going to be open on Sunday! I had called ahead, I had planned ahead...grrr....then in the space of about a minute I realized that it was a blessing that he had been so confused earlier in the summer.

If Dave had said he would be open that Sunday we would have planned for C to go back alone on the red eye Saturday night. His flight would have been cancelled. If we had thought to move him up a day when the storm hit the radar we would have put him on the red eye Friday night that he and I took. Which would have left him stranded in Newark with no way to get to Burlington. As it was he had me with him. We found ways around the obstacles. We had an extra adventure tacked on to our summer and he made it to school in time. And because I was in Burlington I knew that he was in the safest place in Vermont he could be, while back home all of Vermont was lumped together in the news reports on the flooding and devastation. Brent and I had the peace of mind knowing he was safe.

Sometimes the bad stuff really is the good stuff after all.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to school....

This is one of those stories that started months ago, I just didn't realize it at the time.

Last spring I started the process of figuring out what to do with C's things during the summer. Since he is on the East Coast and we are on the West he flies back and forth to school. We had shipped his belongings there in the fall and it just seemed like a waste of time and money to ship them home for the summer then back again in the fall. As I called local storage places in Burlington I was getting more and more frustrated. I couldn't get anyone to call me back. When I finally reached places I was told they were full and that's why they didn't bother to return my call. Finally I got a hold of Dave and Dave had space. Not only did he have space but it was cheaper than the other rates I had seen AND he would pick up and deliver C's belongings at the school. Really handy to know since C doesn't drive. I had already made plans to fly back and pick him up for the summer and help him pack up but I was very excited knowing that I wouldn't have to spend the money on a plane ticket twice a year for the next three years to do it again. Yay!

My first inkling that this might not be as wonderful as I had originally thought was when we dropped off C's boxes. I had spoken with Dave and let him know what time to expect us. We got there and....nothing. Nobody was around. I called his cell and tracked him down and he wandered out from where ever he had been to help pack away the boxes and fill out the paperwork. All handwritten and stored in a manila folder on a desk covered with the most random assortment of belongings I had ever seen. Well...okay, so this guy is eccentric, that's okay. Kind of an old hippie type. I live in Portland, I have dealt with my share. I can handle this. I thought...

Fast forward to mid summer. I call Dave to arrange a time for him to deliver C's things to the dorm. I have a move in day from the school so I am wrapping things up early. Upperclassmen are allowed to move in on Sunday. Well....Dave isn't open on Sunday. Or on Monday. Never mind that it's the move in weekend for both University of Vermont and Champlain College. And actually he might not even be around that weekend because he likes to go fishing in August and might be away on a fishing trip. I should call again the week before school starts to make sure he is there. To say I am a little put out would be an understatement. Now it's time to decide what to do. The options are that I fly back in with C and we pick up his things on Saturday (assuming Dave is there and not out fishing) then move him in to the dorm on Sunday and I fly back out Sunday afternoon or he flies in Sunday morning and doesn't have his things until Tuesday. The complicating matters are that EVERYTHING is in storage. His towels, his bedding, his pillow, some books and Tuesday is his heaviest class load day. At first he was fine with nothing getting there until Tuesday. Until the reality of not having anything, towels, sheets, pillow, anything until the second day of school set in. Then he realized that maybe having me go in with him on Saturday would be a good idea. Not only because I could then hopefully get his things out of storage but if Dave did go fishing I could buy him a few things to tide him over until Dave showed up again.

So flights are arranged and we are set to leave Friday night on the red-eye and get in to Burlington at 9:30 Saturday morning. We will pick up his things in storage, drop them off in the hotel room, check to make sure everything made it through the summer okay, make a trip to Wal-Mart for supplies and move in Sunday morning. Lots of time. Plan is set and we are ready to go.

Then Irene came. As I watched the weather reports I thought I might be in trouble. My flight was scheduled to leave Burlington at 2:30 Sunday afternoon and Irene was set to make landfall at noon. So I checked with the school and they were allowing early move ins to the dorm due to the storm so I changed my flight to 6:30 AM on Sunday instead. Now we are looking at getting in to Burlington at 9:30 Saturday morning, picking up everything, unloading, going to Wal-Mart and unpacking all on Saturday. Still do-able. Just a little more time crunched is all.

I wasn't worried at all about getting in to Burlington, as the storm wasn't predicted to hit the Northeast until Sunday so even if it sped up it would be late Saturday night before any travel should be disrupted. And this is what I kept telling every one who asked. "I'm not worried about getting C there, but I am a little concerned about getting me back out." When my mother called on Thursday to check in on how we were going to deal with the weather, when Brent doubled checked what time our flights were, when NYC announced they would be closing the subway at noon on Saturday. I kept thinking and telling people, getting in won't be an issue, getting out might be a problem.

But honestly I wasn't even too worried about that. While we lived in Orlando there were a few hurricanes that were going to "be severe" and one even was predicted to go right across the state causing damage in Orlando itself. Each time we got a little bit of rain and light winds as the storm was either weaker than predicted or veered off at the last minute. If I had been in New Orleans in 2005 I would probably have been freaking out a lot more. Past experiences dictate present feelings right?

Anyway...deep in denial about Irene I kept up my optimistic belief that it wouldn't be that bad, we would get in to Burlington without any issues and worst case scenario I might be a little delayed getting back home. Then at dinner Friday night I got an email from the airlines, my Sunday flight had been cancelled. Well crap. When we got done with dinner and got home I went online to look at changing to a Monday flight, no flights could be found. The earliest I could see was a Tuesday flight. Hmmm...well that's odd. So I decided to throw a few more clothes into my very small overnight bag and head to the airport early to get things straightened out with an actual clerk.

We got to the airport almost two hours before the plane was set to leave and there was a decent sized line at the Continental counter. I'm not worried, we have plenty of time. A half hour passes and we move up two positions. They start the calls for "Anyone going to Houston?" and the line moves again as those people are pulled to the side. I am thinking the Houston flight must be about the leave but then I over hear the people behind me saying it's because they won't need re-routed. Ah, so this is all about those of us needing to get our return tickets squared away got it. Another half an hour passes and we don't move. Now I am starting to sweat. Then the girl in front of us in line asks if we are connecting out of Newark, I told her we were headed in to Burlington and she let me know her connecting flight into Maine had been cancelled. Hmmm....I check my email and I have no message from the airline so I am feeling pretty confident still. But just in case I text Brent and asks how long the drive from Newark to Burlington is. He comes back with 6 hours. Okay, that is inconvenient but totally do able. Then the word starts filtering back through the line...all connecting flights out of Newark in the morning have been cancelled. Are you kidding me? A day before the storm is supposed to hit the Northeast all flights are cancelled? Then more news, the Newark airport is going to shut down. Completely shut down. JFK is as well. This means there is no way to even shuffle to another airline to try and get in to Burlington.

I text Brent and see if he can get us a rental car as the woman behind the counter is announcing that there are no hotels or cars for rent in the Newark airport due to the storm. Now panic is starting to hit a little. I turn to C and let him know there is a real shot he won't make it back to school for the first day of class. And because of the shut downs I have no idea when we will be able to make it out. He is, well let's just say he isn't happy about this news. Now it's a half hour before our flight to Newark is supposed to leave. Brent is scrambling online at home trying to get us a car reservation in Newark. I am making the call right then and there to just fly in to Newark and hope that he is successful.

We get to a ticket agent who books us through, put C's bag on the scale and it's overweight. She tells us to move stuff out of the bag into our other other bags or it's a $150 charge. I have no other bags to move stuff into and let her know. She prints out a few things and tells me again to move items around. I tell her I said I have no other bags, you are going to have to charge me. Twenty minutes before the flight leaves...the other ticket agent is yelling at people to hurry because the flight was leaving on time whether we made it on or not. Our ticket agent hands us our boarding passes and tells us just to go on without the charge. Yay! Then she says..."You are booked into Newark and your bag will get to Burlington sometime." Wait! What? No! The bag needs to get off the plane with us in Newark! Fifteen minutes before the flight leaves....she fixes it, we hope, and we are running through the airport to security. I would say pulling an OJ but I didn't have a knife...which turns out to be a good thing.

Now 9/11 THE 9/11 happened 10 years ago. It amazes me that there are still people who don't know how to go through security. The ID isn't a valid one, their shoes aren't off, they don't unpack their laptops, they wear a ton of metal jewelry, they have too many liquids. The woman ahead of us in line did all of these things plus chatted up the woman checking ID's and boarding passes to even get to security. The clock is ticking, my temper is starting to flare and this woman turns to me and says, "I remember when flying used to be so much easier." I just nodded. And thought..."IT'S NOT THOUGH! YOU KNOW IT'S NOT NOW! SO DEAL WITH IT AND MOVE YOUR ASS!!!" But what came out of my clenched jaw was..."yep...." See? I didn't actually pull an OJ because that lady is still out there annoying someone on her return flight.

C and I fly through security get on the plane and settle in for our red eye to Newark as the last text from Brent hits. He has gotten us a car, he has sent us a map, the drive is going to be a touch longer because the ferry is closed due to the storm but he found a route that we can use that doesn't take the ferry, he cancelled the car in Burlington I was supposed to pick up, and the doors are closing all electronic devices must be turned off at this time....