Birthday Surprise Weekend (Part 3) ~ B’s First Flight in a Decade

De Plane, De Plane

After being groped and searched at airport security and hurrying through the phone call while waiting to board the plane; we finally boarded and found our seats, quickly settling in for the one-hour flight to Charlotte, NC.

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Pops & B, looking forward to an exciting weekend and the big surprise for the Florida family.

“B” was like a kid an a candy store.  She was so excited I thought I was going to have to administer Valerian just to calm her down (just kidding).  I know it has been many years since she’s flown, and a lot of “security” changes made, but the act of flying has basically gone unchanged.  I did have to remind her that people in flight generally like a somewhat quiet cabin as they pass the time reading or sleeping.  She quieted down as we were taking off.

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Ascending to cruising altitude. “B” thought this was awesome and the clear day made it even better.

“B” took tons of pictures of the plane’s wing and the beautiful clear sky.  As the flight progressed, I glanced over a couple of times and saw a concerned look on her face when we hit turbulence.  It was a “little scary” she said.

I’ll share a secret with you, I absolutely hate take-offs and landing.  Actually to tell the truth, I really don’t care to fly at all, especially when we hit turbulence  However, for quick weekend jaunts, driving 1,000+ miles just doesn’t cut it.

Before we knew it we were preparing to land in Charlotte, then would have to find the gate for our next flight to Tampa.  Wouldn’t you know it…we land at one end of the airport and our next departing gate was waaaaaay on the other side of the building, and getting there was atrocious with people everywhere (Part 4).  How can this be when we were flying the same airline?  Still haven’t figured that one out yet.

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Told ya she is a “nut”.

The second leg of our journey was just as the first, “B” was still excited to be flying and was especially hyped up on the wonderfully exciting weekend that was before us.  (I think she actually calmed down enough and snoozed a bit on the Tampa bound flight.)

Check back soon for Part 4~Moving Sidewalks

Birthday Surprise Weekend (Part 1) ~ CVG Airport Security

50th BD Surprise

Oh yeah…we’ve known for many years that 2013 would mark our only surviving brother’s 50th birthday.  Although several of us tossed around ideas of what to do for a celebration, my sister-in-law sent a text saying that she’s throwing him a surprise party on July 19th.  My sister and I promptly turned to the internet and checked to see if we could afford a “last-minute” flight to Florida.  After finding airfare that fit within our budget, we quickly reserved three seats, one each for us girls and another for dad (pops).  We decided not to let anyone know we would be there and keep it as a surprise for everyone.

After waiting two very long weeks, our departure date finally arrived.  We woke early to finish some last-minute things on our to-do list, the zipped off to the airport (a full 10 minute drive), with enough time to find long-term parking, hitch a ride on a shuttle to the ticket counter, file through security, and make it to our gate.  Once arriving at the gate, we had about 20 minutes before they started boarding.

But wait, I am getting a little ahead of myself; let’s start from the beginning.

Security, Police Wanna-Be’s, Whatever You Call Them

I guess I should start with letting you know my sister “B” hasn’t flown in almost ten years as it will help you better understand her craziness.  So, it started at the security check point.  I explained to her that you all but strip (or so I sometimes feel) to pass through security.  I explained the totes that you have to put everything in them and walk through the body scanner with nothing in your hands or pockets. (Talk about deer in headlight eyes.)

I walked through the scanner first and was asked to step aside.  The TSA “woman” felt up my hair and quickly learned the bleep they were alerted of was only my hair clip.  After being cleared to retrieve my belongings, I walked over to my bag and was greeted with “Is this your bag?”  Yes, was my reply.  I was then informed that my bag needed to be searched, was asked to step over to another table with the TSA agent and was instructed not to touch the bag while it was being searched.  I said “sure thing” and stood calmly while she searched the bag, knowing I had nothing to hide.

While standing there as my bag was being searched, I looked over my shoulder I saw dad exiting the body scanner and my sister stepping in.  She was told to raise her hands above her head and assumed the “position.”  Being the goofball she is her comment was “ready for my spray tan.”  Nobody other than dad and me thought her comment was funny and I was laughing my head off while standing at the all serious search table with the TSA agent.

The Official Search

I am standing there, my carry on bag being searched and after the TSA agent opened the bag she went directly to my brother’s birthday gift which was in six parts.  As she removed one of the items, the conversation went like this:

TSA: This is a non-allowable item.

Me:  What, really?

TSA: Yes, this is what we consider “slurry.”

Me:  Slurry?  It’s not slurry, it’s Dixie Chili

TSA: Sorry, we cannot allow it on the plane.

Me:  It is in the original sealed can, not opened or tampered with.

Sister:  Can we put our name on it and pick it up when we return in two days?

TSA: Sorry, we have to dispose of it.

Me:  Yeah, we know what y’all are having for lunch.

Sister: Dixie Chili

So needless to say, brother did not get his six cans of the delicious Dixie Chili for his birthday but he thoroughly enjoyed the story and found the events at CVG Airport Security rather humorous, as we all did. (We haven’t even started the 3-day weekend and already….adventures are starting.)

tsaOn our walk to the gate dad shared with me that not only did he go though the body scanner, he also got the hands-on treatment.  To my amazement he asked the groping agent if “they were buying him dinner or at least giving him flowers.”  Gotta love the witty old man and his sense of humor.

Watch out Florida…here we come!

Check back for Part 2~The Phone Call

 

Winter Vacation 2012

I have not had a “winter vacation” in more than a decade.  I am so psyched and looking forward to my 11 days of winter bliss, some R&R, and hopefully there will be a little time left for blogging.  Looking forward to much-needed quality time with those I love, Christmas music, snow, and hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows).

Your Plans?

Are you doing anything special for the Christmas holidays this year? (That is….if we wake up the morning of December 22nd.) I am interested in seeing how many ways readers will be enjoying their holiday this year.

My Plans!

It is my intention give it my best effort and learn to ski this year (or at least learn to stand in ski’s and not fall).  Let’s just keep fingers crossed that I do not break anything, this old body ain’t what it used to be, but it’s all I’ve got.  🙂  We might even throw in some tubing or snowboarding (of course I will seek activities which will allow me to be close to the ground…like sitting, as it decreases the “fall” risk)  ;-).

Reblogged from Good Humored

Another blogger’s “Life’s Adventures.” I hope you enjoy sharing in their adventure as much as I did. Thank you Paprika and Oregano.

Good Humored

One of the allures of traveling is the chance to break out of the grind of daily life. Without the familiarity of surroundings or language, even the most mundane tasks become exotic and adventurous.

Several years ago Oregano and I wanted to visit friends who live in northern Italy, but the airfare to Italy was prohibitively expensive. After much investigating, we discovered that it was half the price to fly into Zurich then drive over the Alps into Italy. We’d never been to Switzerland so we decided to seize the opportunity, rent a car and explore the country en route to visit our friends. The more planning we did, the more excited we got about the idea of beautiful Alpine villages and cheese. The fact that we didn’t speak any of the four languages spoken in Switzerland was mildly disconcerting, but we’d find a way to manage with the remnants…

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Combined family & friends vacations are a blast!

Over the last couple of years, our family has made it a point to get together at least once a year (since we live here, there, and everywhere) and now it has turned into vacationing together.  The concept works wonderfully as all the families share expenses and found we get more bang for our buck (not to mention discounts on everything because of the group size).  Our 2012 summer vacation took us to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN for a second consecutive year.  Unfortunately, not all of our families were able to join us this year; however, we still had 24 crazy family members and loony friends who were able to make participate in the adventure.

Since I have yet to finish updating our “Inspiration Point” blog pages I wanted to post some pictures of our mid-week adventure.  White water rafting has been on my bucket list for years (actually I have wanted to experience rafting since I was a young teen, which was long…long before the words “bucket list” became a commonly used term).

The adventure was thrilling, the company was comical, and the water was F R E E Z I N G.  It felt like we were swimming in a pool of ice every time the rapids breached the raft.  After the first time or two, we became immune to the water temperature and really started to enjoy the 1 hour and 20 minute water journey.  Kendall, the girl’s guide, was a bucket of humor and made the trip down the Pigeon River that much more enjoyable.

As you can see be the pictures, for the 12 of us who looked death in the eye and dared to tackle the “upper river rapids” (levels 3 & 4), we were in two rafts…notably divided and referred to as “the girls” and the “guys”.   At a couple of points in the trip, our guides made sure we were able to get close enough to the other team to engage in paddle water fights.  I am uncertain as to who won any of them as we were all drenched (I’m sure the guys would lay claim to the winners trophy if there was one).

In the end, it really did not matter how cold the water was or that it was an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge down to the river on the TN/NC border where the rafting company was located.  What really counted that day was that we were spending quality time together…as a family/extended family.  For many of us, we were experiencing this particular rafting adventure for the first time…together!  We were making memories, taking pictures, and having no regrets.

If you should ever have the opportunity to white water raft…I say RUN….RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN, pick up your paddle, head straight to the raft, and grab your seat (hint: pick the front row if you REALLY enjoy sub-zero water temperatures).  You won’t regret your decision to experience the rapids and you will have a story (and pictures) to share with your kids and grandchildren for years to come.