Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Maine and Back Again

It was a week ago tonight that I was writing my last post as I sat in Kevin and Angie's family room and they watched a football game. This week has gone so quickly, since I've been back home.

My Facebook status update after I arrived at Kev and Angie's house on Thursday night:

The enormous full moon sitting on the snow-topped mountains, as I looked in my rear view mirror on the way to the airport was the highlight of the trip. It was downhill from there.
  • discovered that my flight was 8:10, not 8:51, as I was checking in
  • there was no seat assignment for me
  • when I got a seat, it was window - I am only comfortable on the aisle
  • lady in front of me decided to put her seat back in my lap, which doesn't help the claustrophobia
  • my injured foot was killing me by the end of the flight - must have been tied too tight and it swelled
  • just enough time in Detroit to grab a bagel
  • from Detroit to Manchester, NH was on a "mini plane" with mini seats, mini aisles, and a mini rest room
  • driving 2 hours in pouring rain in the dark in unfamiliar territory a bit unnerving (thank the Lord for the person who invented the GPS!)

    SO GLAD to be here - Angie had a lovely pot roast dinner waiting.

    Friday morning, Kevin and I went to a cute little old-fashioned diner for breakfast after Angie went to work. He needed to study for a major test in his statistics class the next day, so I headed over to visit my dear blogging buddy, Groovy. We had a too-short, but sweet, visit, and it ended with an introduction to her newest family members --

    When I got back to Kev's house, I discovered that he had not been studying after all - he'd fallen asleep and had a wonderful long nap (which he must have really needed). So I relaxed all afternoon, reading a good book, while he struggled with studying for his exam. By the sound of his struggling, I was really nervous about how he was going to do. I was praying for him to have peace of mind, and clarity.

    Late in the afternoon, we headed over to Augusta and picked up Angie from work, heading for the annual Teen Challenge Harvest Banquet - which was the great excuse I used for going out for this visit. The banquet is always held in the house that used to be the governor's mansion. It is a lovely place for such an event.

    Kevin was asked to be the first on the program. He was able to give a bit of his testimony, which is always such a thrill for me.

    We met this young man sitting next to Kevin when we were out there in July. He has had his struggles, as all of these young men do during the program, but I have faith that he's going to persevere and make it to the end this time. He's a lot of fun, and he and Kev have a similar sense of humor, which makes them fun to watch in their interactions.

    Kevin and Angie were enjoying their time together.

    There is a young man who is staying at the Teen Challenge house with the guys. He is an amazingly gifted artist with wood. I wish I had taken pictures of some of his things. He set up his wares at the banquet and contributed 20% of his sales to the program. I bought one of the adorable snowmen for my collection. I wish I had his web address so I could send you over there to look at his things. He is so very talented. Unfortunately, the right "arm" broke on the way home, so Dwight is working on getting it fixed. It may involve finding another stick. I was so sad when I opened it after I got home and realized that I hadn't taken sufficient care of it. It's very hard to carry something so fragile and keep it safe on such a long day's trip.

    Saturday we left the house bright and early, because Kev's exam began at 8:30, and the university is in Portland, an hour away from their house. He was a nervous mess. Angie and I went along for the ride, and waited in the car in the parking lot. We had planned to do some running around, but it was a cold, breezy morning and that didn't sound very inviting. He thought the exam would take him 2 hours, but after an hour and a quarter, he kind of bounced out of the building with a smile on his face and a thumbs up - he felt really good about how he'd done. He called today to tell me had scored a 93%!

    We headed for brunch at a little cafe in downtown Portland. It's very popular, and required quite a long wait for a table. But we weren't in any hurry and enjoyed visiting and people watching while we waited. The parking situation was pretty grim, and I was so amused and confused by these signs!

    The time sped by much too quickly, and before long it was Sunday morning and time to re-pack everything so that I could head for the airport in Manchester, NH, right after church and a quick lunch. Kev and Angie are working on getting acquainted and involved at their new church.

    The drive back to the airport was much easier when it was daylight and not raining. I left at noon so that I'd have plenty of time to get the rental car turned in, find my way to my gate, and not be in a rush. It was hard to find good music to accompany my trip, but I did manage to find a Christian station out of North Carolina that played old, old, old music, old, old music, and old music. It was the kind of songs that brought back many good memories - many of the ones that Dwight and I used to sing in church as duets.

    I have to say that the only thing about Maine that I really dislike is the ridiculous abundance of toll booths! They get you coming and going, over and over again. It can add up very quickly. (Of course, I've never been there in the winter, so that might be the other thing I would dislike).

    I had plenty of time before my 4:13 flight, and enjoyed the peacefulness of the small airport - it was amazingly empty that day, and it was so nice compared to most airports. When we boarded the puddle jumper for the first leg of the journey home, I was happy to have a seat to myself - there was only one seat in each row on the left side of the plane, and two on the right. I wondered how this could be balanced! The one and only flight attendant was a guy at least my age, hopefully older, since he looked like he was in his 70s. I remember when I was young and used to think it would be fun and glamorous to be a "stewardess." That was before I realized they were basically waitresses in cramped, uncomfortable conditions, high in the sky. I was too tall in those days. Now you can be old, young, man, woman, tall, short, fat, thin.

    The flight to Newark was uneventful. I must say that the Newark airport is my least favorite ever. This was my second time there, and perhaps my last, if I'm lucky. From the very serene and peaceful situation in Manchester, I couldn't believe how crowded the waiting area was when we got off the plane.

    I was happy to have a couple of hours to maneuver the change of concourses, and time to eat in the Food Court. It was like a little United Nations in the Food Court - interesting to watch and listen. I have to say it's much easier to read when the conversation around you is a language you don't understand. I wasn't so excited to get to my gate and find out there was a minor delay, which turned into a much more lengthy delay. I finally learned that the plane we were to leave on was coming in from Jamaica, and had been held up in Customs for some reason. We finally boarded at 9:30 p.m. for a 4 1/2 hour flight against a head wind from the west. It was a crowded flight, but I was thankful for the aisle seat this time. We landed finally at around midnight Denver time. By the time I got to the shuttle but, to my car, and finally home, it was 2:00 a.m. It took me the better part of this past week to feel back to normal.

    I know several things for sure:

    • I missed my traveling buddy - it's not as much fun alone.
    • I will always check luggage - it's worth the price. Especially when I'm alone.
    • I will never fly anything but Frontier or Southwest again - preferably Southwest, because baggage flies free! And because they have a sense of humor, nicer planes, and generally a better attitude toward those of us who pay their salary.

    Have a wonderful week as you look forward to Thanksgiving Day and ponder the many things to be thankful for.


Amy said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip and made it back home safely!

Angie and Kevin look like they're doing well.

Hope all was good with the girls once you got back home!

Linda said...

Quite an adventure Dawn! As I read, I kept thinking how brave you were to make that trip on your own.
It is good to see Kev and Angie doing so well. What a great job he did on that test.
I'm with you - Southwest from now on (although in my heart of hearts I wish I never had to board another plane...sigh).
Have a blessed and restful Sunday.

Needled Mom said...

It sounds like it was a stressful journey for you, but I am sure it was worth every second of it to spend time with the kids.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

Robin said...

Another reason to fly Southwest is this: I told the lady at the counter that I suffered from claustrophobia on planes and she gave me a disability pass to I could board first. That way I can sit up front on aisle - it makes an amazing difference for me. She told me to always ask for a disability pass. I have and they always give me one. It's great!

Brenda said...

Those signs cracked me up. the time you read/comprehend them you've already used up the hour alloted!
Happy Thanksgiving Friend!

Forty Pound Sack said...

Sounds like you got a little battered, but I'm glad you made it home in one piece. I'm not fond of flying myself, but see it as a necessary evil if I want to see this beautiful country of ours ~

Midlife Mom said...

Oh don't you just hate those flights that where nothing seems to go right?! I got tired just reading about it, flying and airports aren't my favorite thing!!

Glad you had a good time with Angie and Kev and that he did so well on his test! What is he studying to be?

Who could ever figure out those signs?! ha!

Glad you got to see Groovy and her new 'kids'!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dawn with your family!

Linds said...

Well, I think I would have been found rocking back and forth in a corner after all your travel woes. Well done for getting home in one piece! And well done to Kev too - fantastic result.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Dawn!
PS I LOVED the photos Grandpa took of the girls. Absolutely gorgeous!

nancygrayce said...

The getting to a place and getting back home is stressful but the time there is wonderful. So glad you got to visit with them.

So glad you got to visit with a blog friend!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Oh the photo of the two of them...covered with smiles, just melts my heart.

May your Thanksgiving be a blessed one... safe, happy, and ful'filling'!!!

jmckemie said...

Congrats to Kev...both on his test and on his testimony; God is so faithful.
Glad you had time, though short, to spend with them and glad for your safe arrival home. As for all the other stuff, I have found myself saying quite frequently lately that "these are the things that make the memories fonder".
Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Wish I could be there to be a part of the Christmas cantata - unfortunately no choir here anymore.

PEA said...

Well my goodness, Dawn, what a time you had getting to Kev's!! I think I would have just sat there and cried. lol After such a dismal start, I'm glad that you had such a wonderful time visiting with Kev and Angie.

Congratulations to Kev for doing so well with the exam! Isn't it awful how we can work ourselves up over stuff like that and then we find it easy!! lol The banquet sounds like it was a lot of fun and that dessert I see in one of the pictures had me drooling:-)

The little snowman is so darling but what a shame it broke during your travels. No doubt, though, your hubby can fix him:-) I always find it so amazing how people can carve something so lovely out of a piece of wood.

Glad to hear that your trip back was a bit more uneventful and as you say, it's not as much fun traveling when you're alone. Our little airport here in Sudbury is very small and anytime I've been there, there's hardly been anyone. Pearson Airport in Toronto, though, is a completely different story! lol

I hope your weekend is going well my friend. xoxo

Robin in New Jersey said...

Dawn! Your trip sounds lovely. So glad to see you son is doing well.

I can relate to the Newark airport. I have been there many times. And there are always delays there. You were close to me~~I only live 40 miles from there!

NanaNor's said...

Hi Dawn, So glad you spent time with family and that you are now back in cold Co. I have never flown alone and can't imagine it-I'd be a bundle of nerves. I also have to see if I can find your blogging buddy so I can visit her.
Have a great evening.