Thursday, November 7, 2013

Feeling Like Ulysses

Boy, talk about a brutal trip home, the only thing missing was the Cyclops. I feel like going to LA and then returning home were epic undertakings, and sometimes I wonder if someone is trying to tell me something about going back there. On a number of levels, it’s a challenge, to say the least.

I haven’t been back in years, and for the most part, the kids had never been there, so it was time. As usual, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm every day, which the kids got a kick out of. Being the cynic that I am, however, I find the beautiful weather too strong a paradox to ignore because beneath the sunny exterior is a boiling cauldron of discontent, and it’s not pretty. Either way, our stay was pleasant, for the most part, even despite little jabs here and there. My mom was nice to the kids even though she couldn’t help but lob a few zingers now and then, but hopefully I prepared them enough. My mom definitely took a few shots at my niece, who must be used to it by now because they visit her all the time. More on all of this later.

We left LA on Tuesday to return home, and I think we stayed the right amount of time. If anything, leaving on Monday, when my brother departed, would have been even better, but we endured one more day. The crazy thing about being there is that we fell into the same decrepit routines that I grew up with, which basically sitting around watching TV all the time and then driving around and getting stuck in traffic. What a way to live, some people call this paradise.

My mom dropped us off at the airport and I have to confess that I’m glad we made the trip and I’m glad that my mom got to meet the kids, but for the most part, LA is just not my kind of town. The traffic is unbearable, and the idea of driving in it every day is absolutely hellish, I honestly don’t know how people do it. Of course, we got to experience that joy getting to the airport. For the most part, it was pretty smooth sailing, the traffic was heavy but at least it moved. There was a bit of melancholy in saying goodbye to my mom, as there always is when saying goodbye, and then we were on our way.

The flight back to the east coast was quicker than the trip west, I’m told because of the jet stream, but the amazing PR man would know more about this. We came prepared this time for USAirs awful service by bringing Subway sandwiches and snacks, so we were set in that department. I also had my laptop fully charged and plenty of movies, so the kids had their entertainment, and R and I had plenty of magazines.

The flight itself was fine, the plane was crowded but not in an ugly way, and we landed in Philly on time. What more can you ask for? Plenty, I guess. We arrived in Philly early, to boot, with an extra half hour, and our departing gate was close by. However, the connecting flight to Boston was delayed, so we had to wait, which wasn’t the end of the world. We knew we’d be landing in Boston late so we reserved a room at the Embassy Suites at Logan, which for the record is a great hotel. We figured we’d be arriving at the hotel after midnight, and now we were looking at 12:30, maybe 1:00.

We waited for at least an hour before USAir finally told us the flight was cancelled because of mechanical problems. This was around 1:30AM. What a bummer. They put us up in a hotel, but our flight was leaving the next morning at 9:15, which mean waking up around 7:00AM and essentially getting less than 5 hours of sleep. Plus, we weren’t going to get our fabulous breakfast at the Embassy Suites.

The hotel was a Marriott connected to the hotel, and it was nice, but we basically checked in and went straight to bed, then woke up and left. I’m usually an early riser and can function with little sleep, but man did I feel horrible. Everyone was miserable, but we had to get up and go. We walked back to the terminal, got on the plane, and landed in Boston in the morning.

Now this is where things get a little complicated. They put us up in a hotel, but we had already made a hotel reservation in Boston, and I had to call at 2:00AM to cancel a room. The guy on the other end didn’t speak great English, but it was late and I was tired, so I just go with it until the next day when I could speak to someone in person. We also put our car in long term parking at the hotel, but the deal only works when you spend at least one night there, which we were no longer doing. So we risked not getting our hotel room money back, not to mention having to pay the big bucks to park there. The parking is a great deal with the room, but is otherwise expensive to park.

All this was running through my head, but Embassy Suites was cool about it. They let us cancel the room with no charge, but it still cost us about $100 to park. Not great, but not the end of the world, and not as bad as it could have been. The final flight was fine, we were exhausted but glad to be back in New England. We got our bags, went to the hotel, got our car, and headed home.

Naturally we were hungry by the time we reached our area, so we stopped at Boloco for lunch, which was a fitting return meal, and then came home. The cats were happy to see us in that split second that they looked at us before bolting out the open door, and it sure felt nice to be home. Good to be home and out of LA, that is.

For now, we are settling back in, but it was rough traveling and if we don’t get in a plane for another 6-8 months, that would be fine by me.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Cliff Elliott for the pic.

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