Monday, October 23, 2023

Travel day

I'm home!!! And just like that, DH is off for the week. I swear, coordinating our travels and having two (but three at the moment) dogs is just like having kids in multiple activities! It's a crazy scenario! And it sounds like my work travel for the year (on a plane is not over). Plus I have a few trips by car. It'll all be done by December. 

And who am I kidding -- as much as I "complain" about it -- I LOVE IT!! I wish I would have happened upon this job when I was a LOT younger. When the position for a full-time educator came up, I was torn - do I take that job or stay as a freelance. I would have taken it in a heartbeat if I were younger. Now, I really like the flexibility of going to quilt retreats (five in one year) and taking extended hiking or biking vacations. So my personal time trumps work! BUT -- I LOVE this job, so that was a tough decision. But I think it's best.

I feel blessed to work with a fantastic team of people, play with the toys, and still have some flexibility in the schedule. The best of both worlds, to be sure! 

We had a wrap-up meeting in the morning over breakfast. Everything we could help with had been completed the evening before, so we were free! That is always the case, but we are told not to leave until the afternoon, just in case! The day we booked morning flights would be when something went wrong. 

I had already gone for a walk in the morning, and it was a little bit later than usual, as breakfast was a bit later. So it was lighter! Then Claire suggested we go for a walk as we had some time to kill, so I walked again. Let's say I had my daily quota before leaving the hotel! We left for the airport a bit earlier than we needed to, but only because there was a group of us and we were on three different flights. But that allowed us to have a sit-down lunch at the airport. 

The service was slow, but that's OK. We ate at a burger place that BRANDS their burger buns. That's BurgerFi, in case you're wondering. And I will say that I'm EXTREMELY lucky to have zero health issues regarding food. I can pretty much eat anything, and I'm good. I do draw the line at ketchup. I will NOT eat anything that has been the stuff. I know loads of people love it, but it tastes vile, in my humble opinion. As a matter of fact, we have ZERO condiments in our house. NONE - no mustard, no ketchup, relish, mayo -- NONE. We don't NEED it, and we don't eat it. 

A branded burger

You have to love the changes in technology when it comes to flying, and you have to hate them as well. I figured out how to add TSA Pre-check to my boarding pass, so I went through security in seconds. I did not have to remove anything from my backpack, which is good since everything was crammed into the backpack that wouldn't fit into the suitcase. 

I was determined to NOT check that suitcase so I could get out of the airport quickly. The trick is to leave LOTS of room in the suitcase on the way down because you will have stuff to bring back. Shirts for each day, leftover kits from the classes, and whatever else happens to be lying around. 

The suitcase was HEAVY as I could barely lift it into the overhead bin. But I checked with Air Canada (we were flying United), and your cabin luggage has no weight limit. Only that you are able to put it in the overhead bin. 

I was worried they would say something because it was a bit fat, but I was OK. Another passenger got on the plane, and she had to SHOVE her fat suitcase into the bin. The flight attendant said nothing. So, there was nothing to worry about. 

When I finally got home, I unpacked all the non-clothing items in my suitcase. There was a LOT!!!! I even had two pairs of shoes in the suitcase! This is all sewing machine accessories, kits, sewing supplies, and a whole lot more. 

Non-clothing items in my suitcase

The flights themselves were pretty uneventful, except there was a lot of turbulence on the approach to the runway, and I swear we were being tossed around like a straw in the wind. OK -- so it probably wasn't that bad, but the plane was rocking. They had warned us of that. I hate when they warn us -- I don't want to anticipate turbulence. 

On the way down, I was upgraded to an exit row with lots of room. And they ASKED me before they did that. I supposed it was because it was an exit row. On the way home, I had an electronic boarding pass, which I always use now. I was seated in 37A (window) or something like that. Imagine my surprise when, minutes before boarding, I'm now in 20 B (middle). No asking me if I wanted to switch. I was standing in line to complain when it was time to board the plane. 

SOMEONE asked to be switched, and I got the "friendship" seat, as United calls the middle seat. Seriously?? Could they have asked? I was a bit miffed but got on the plane. Better to have a seat than no seat. They could do that without contacting me because I had an electronic boarding pass, and it literally changed in front of my eyes. Those gate agents were sneaky - No need to call her and get a new paper boarding pass. Hmm

We had to switch planes and terminals in Newark. DH had said that switching was a pain, and he was right. It was a walk to the bus, then a lengthy bus ride across the tarmac, then a walk to the gate in the new terminal. 

Then, the three of us were seated in the same row, which was totally random. What are the chances of that? Then, some young guy got on and tried to switch seats with one of my colleagues so he and his girlfriend could sit beside each other. Then he tried to switch with his girlfriend's seatmate. Neither said yes, but boy, was he persistent until the flight attendant told him to stop. 

We walked to customs together, and then I zipped off to the NEXUS line, and guess what? It worked!!! Although there was a line, it was much shorter than the regular line. OK, I'm a seasoned traveler, as I got everything to work on this flight. 

The chaos at the Uber pickup is still the same. I'm waiting for my driver, and he's messaging me -- "I'm here." Well, yes, you are, but he was far down the line, so I couldn't see him, and how far was I going to walk to find my car? Anyway, we connected, and all was good. 

Needless to say, the girls (even Lexi) were glad to see me last night. OH -- we left the hotel at 11:15 AM, and I arrived home around 11 PM. A LONG travel day. One of the others who left the hotel at the same time got home at 2:30 AM. She had a third flight to catch! 

Mom's home

Mom -- you're home!!!!!

And I got lots of kisses and big licks from the little guy who was very happy to see me. His mom will be here in a few weeks, so we better give him a bath! But his hair is growing, and he's looking super cute!

Grandma's home!!!!!!

We have Monday sewing today, and then I have some jobs. I spotted this note on the counter. Yes -- I knew the vacuum wasn't working, but I had forgotten to do anything about it. That was two weeks ago. OK -- I better call someone as I emptied the container two weeks ago, which didn't solve the problem. 

Work to do! 

DH left me this note. 

Good grief -- another job

And I spotted this treat on the counter. Yep -- that's a pain au chocolate!!! 

A treat with morning coffee

It feels good to be home, and I will enjoy it! I am home for two weeks, and then it will be hit or miss if I'm home in November. 

Was the travel and time away worth it? In a heartbeat!! It was so fun to catch up with friends, meet friends, find new opportunities for the new year (watch for that! - super exciting!), and attend the launch of an AMAZING sewing and embroidery machine. 

But now it's time to return to reality - I have oodles of samples to make, quilts to be trimmed and picked up, and more quilts to quilt! It'll be a jam-packed two weeks! 

Have a super day!!!!


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