The Night of the Disappearing Door

Oddly, it’s been a week with no real stories. I know. I’m as shocked as you. I’m not sure what to do with my suddenly normal life, but I guess I should enjoy it for a moment or two.

I actually have two uneventful trips under my belt in the past week. I went to dinner with an incredibly smart friend, here in NYC last week, who looked at me cross eyed when I was lamenting about my travel woes, and said “Uh, I have one word for you. Newark” To which I returned her cross eyed stare and said “I’ve heard Newark is a nightmare. And plus, it’s like crazy far.” Neither of which is true, evidently.

So, I called and changed my flight home last week to leave out of Newark. And the flight left on time. And we landed early! Yes. Early! 

I was waiting for meteorites to fall out of the sky and strike my car on the drive home.

Nothing.

I was home, unpacked and had dinner at my own house, all before it was dark. I was completely off kilter all weekend.

And then, to top that, I had another completely on-time, uneventful trip back into Newark this week.

Eerie, right??

Almost as eerie as my night in the haunted hotel room.

I was spending a night in Boston and had been given a suite. It was a great room, and I was disappointed that I was only going to be there for one night.

It had a large,  comfortable living room with a small hallway down to the large bedroom. The bathroom was right off the hallway, just outside the bedroom door.

I spent as much time enjoying it as I could, in the short time I had, but finally I decided I needed to go to bed. As I went into my room, I closed the door, climbed into bed and was soon sound asleep.

Now, I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms, and different ones every few days, so I am used to beds, lights, doors and bathrooms being in different places, and never have an issue remembering where things are.

Or, almost never.

Sometime, in the dark of the night, Mother Nature nudged me gently in the ribs, and suggested a visit to the bathroom.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I value my sleep and will do pretty much anything to avoid disruption to my sleep (even sleep through fires). So when Mother Nature asks to visit in the middle of the night, I do not see the need to turn on lights. Or even open my eyes any more than absolutely necessary. The idea, of course, is the less I travel out of sleep, the less I have to travel back to sleep.

Somehow, I remembered, in my semi-conscious state, that my room had a door that I needed to navigate to get to the bathroom. So I climbed out of bed, and stumbled towards where I knew the door to be, with my arms outstretched to prevent me finding it with my face. My hands found the door, and I started moving my hands around to find the doorknob that was there when I turned out the light.

Except, they didn’t find one.

No big deal. I know my depth perception may be off with my eyes barely open in a squint. So I merely expanded my search on the wall.

Further and further.

Still no doorknob.

Suddenly, I am fully awake and slightly panicked, as every Twilight Zone and horror movie I have ever seen came rushing into my brain in a jumble of plots against me! I’ve been teleported into an alien ship and I am in their holding room with no escape! Or worse, I have checked into a haunted hotel, and the ghosts have made the door disappear! I am their prisoner as they drive me mad with their psychological torture.

All of these scenarios are, of course, perfectly logical when it’s o’dark thirty and you are barely awake.

Finally, after many long seconds of panic, and me desperately clawing every square inch of wall, the doorknob reappeared, right under my fingertips. The ghosts had had their fun, and realized, if they could make me panic that quickly by just moving the door, I may not be the best candidate for psychological torture.

Or, maybe my panic had awoken my brain to the point my eyes actually had to open and I could find the door.

Either way, I made it to the bathroom with no further incident, and survived the rest of the night in my haunted room.

I still limit my intake of fluids after dinner, just in case the aliens decide to return.

 

Consistency is key

Someday, before my time in NYC comes to an end, I would like to take the entire Laguardia airport air traffic control team out for drinks.

Seriously.

If anyone reading this is part of this air traffic control team, or knows how I can get in touch with them, please contact me immediately.

They have proven to be one of the most consistent group of people I have had the pleasure to encounter. Not once, in the now 18 weeks I have been traveling back and forth to NYC, have I had an entire trip go completely as scheduled. Not one. And every single one of these has been due to the air traffic control in NYC.

Bravo team! Well done! Consistency really is something to be proud of in this day and age!

Not that I am in a great hurry to get back to the wonderful heat and humidity that has decided to make, well everywhere but Colorado, apparently, it’s home for this summer.

I love the heat. I do. I would choose to live somewhere hot over somewhere with snow and cold any day. I may not love the humidity quite as much.

As a girl, of course I do not sweat. I glisten. Or, on a really warm day, I may even perspire a little. But sweat? Never.

Last Thursday, with a “real feel” temp of 105 degrees and 75% humidity, and a 12 block walk to my meeting,  I was glistening like an angel dropped straight from heaven.

An angel that was dropped straight into the ocean and was still dripping wet.

(Yes, I realize, now, that a 12 block walk in those conditions may not have been the wisest of choices)

I realized, about 3 blocks into that walk, that the beautiful jade green, silk t-shirt that looked so great when I put it on that morning, may not have the wicking capabilities required in 75% humidity.

And that the time I took doing my hair and make up that morning, would really have been better spent sleeping, since looking like I just climbed out of a pool is only a slight improvement on looking like I just climbed out of bed.

Luckily this was not a first impressions kind of meeting.

Needless to say, I quite enjoyed my weekend in Colorado, with a “real feel” temp of 85 and 25% humidity.

I am a quick learner, however. I do not plan on making a 12 block walk tomorrow with a predicted “real feel” of 104 and 76% humidity.

That is, if my friends at Laguardia air traffic control ever decide to let us arrive in NYC in the first place.

Just think how good those cold beers will taste when we all meet for drinks.

 

Travel! they said. It’ll be fun! they said…

Ahhh. The glorious life of travel! The glitz! The glam! Oh, the places you see when you are someplace new every week! The joy of having wonderful food prepared to order in a new place every night. The luxury of being a slob and having your room restored to magazine quality while you are out for the day! It’s a fabulous life!

So fabulous, in fact, that they have to throw in some minor annoyances, just to keep us glitzy folks grounded. Pun totally intended.

Now, we know everyone loves an airport. The comfy seats. The abundance of power outlets to charge our endless devices. The endless selection of reasonably priced food and beverage. All at your very fingertips. What’s not to love??

That is why I am so glad I have had the opportunity to spend so much time in them over the past few weeks.

Like when my flight from NYC home was cancelled for no apparent reason. On 4th of July weekend. When there are plenty of empty seats on all the other planes.

Or when my flight back to NYC was cancelled due to weather. And the lack of pilots. No worries. It was only the last flight out that night. I’ll grab my bags and try again tomorrow. Except, apparently, when flights in Denver are cancelled, the bags from that flight are sent on a slow boat from China to baggage claim. What would be a 15-20 min trip  to the baggage carousel, were our plane to have landed at gate C35, evidently becomes an over 3 hour trip if our plane never leaves gate C35. More time to enjoy the reasonably priced food and drink.

And we can get massive tubes of steel off the ground and hurtle them through the air at 30,000 feet with all of our amazing technology. But the technology that coordinates all that on the ground is evidently not so trustworthy. A “computer glitch” or power outage can cause worldwide travel chaos. That is extremely comforting when one is about to board that massive tube of steel to hurtle through the air.

Luckily for my parents, they were traveling with me today, so they got to experience my wonderful travel luck and the joys of airport living. For several hours. At multiple airports. Lots of time to lounge in the comfy seats.

They were extremely lucky though. Their flight was only delayed. Mine was actually cancelled. I actually had to rebook my flight on another airline, whose computer system evidently meets 21st century requirements, and finally made it to my hotel room before bedtime.

They only had to deal with a delay. At least 4 times per leg. For a total of 6 hours and counting. And are still sitting in Atlanta waiting for their delayed (again) connection flight to take off. They will still be home sometime early tomorrow morning. Just think of how well charged their electronic devices will be??

What would those of us who spend our lives at 30,000 feet do, if it weren’t for these minor annoyances to keep our heads out of the clouds and our feet firmly on the ground? Our glitz and glam would be blinding to the rest of the world.

So, thank you, airline industry, for keeping it real.

 

 

Campfire Dreams

I had been in SC for several months and had just settled in for my last night there for awhile. Soon after snapping off the light, I was snuggled safe in my bed with dreams of sugarplums dancing in my head.

Or possibly deep in a dreamless sleep. Either way, I was sound asleep.

When somewhere in the depths of that slumber, what to my slumbering ears do I hear?

The obnoxioiusly loud blaring of the fire alarm in my room. Accompanied by the seizure inducing strobe light attached to this alarm.

Now, I was sound, SOUND asleep. So it took a minute or so for these assaults on my senses to register in my brain. And for me to realize this was really a fire alarm.

As soon as I did realize what it was, I did what any normal person would do.

I rolled over, pulled the pillow over my head and tried to go back to sleep.

It was 2AM. I was not about to get up. I was pretty sure the firmen would get there eventually and get the flames under control. No sense in losing out on valuable sleep.

After about 5 min of trying to block out the ruckus and drift back to sleep, I realized that probably wasn’t going to happen. Have you ever heard one of those industrial fire alarms?? Those things are LOUD! My pillow was not nearly as effective as earmuffs as I’d hoped.

So I roll out of bed and decide to find out how long I might expect to be losing out on sleep. I will admit, I did not follow proper fire safety protocol and check the door for heat before throwing it open. But who are we kidding. I was just trying to sleep through a fire.

I do feel badly for all the other hotel guests in the immediate vicinity of my room, and who apparently did not feel sleep was more important than their lives. They were already startled out of sleep, and now stood in the hall worried about burning to a crisp.

And then they are treated to the sight of me. Barging out of my room. At 2AM. After being woken out of a sound sleep.

Let me tell you that would not have been a pretty sight.

Since these life loving guests had been up longer than I had, they had already found out that this was all the result of some charming, hilarious individual, who thought pulling the fire alarm, at 2AM would be funny.

See? I knew there wasn’t really a fire.

We still had to wait several more minutes for the fire department to arrive and turn off the alarms before we could all return to our sugarplums and dreamlands. But at least no lives were lost in the making of that wonderful practical joke.

Yet.

I am still on the hunt for that charming individual.

And I didn’t even get to meet any fireman.

 

 

Why Mama always said to be sure and wear clean undies

Well, my time in Charleston is coming to an end, and without any blog worthy stories. We had a wonderful trip, and I considered for a moment, asking my parents to travel with me on a regular basis, (they are retired, you know), as they seemed to keep things “normal”. But then I realized, without crazy stories, this blog would have to die before it gets started, so I’ll continue to fly solo for now.

But, in honor of Charleston, I decided to drag a couple oldies but goodies out of storage from my previous time in South Carolina, to share with you. There were two that were both so good, I couldn’t choose, so you get a “two-fer”.

A couple years ago, I was traveling to SC on a regular basis. On one of these trips I had the pleasure of flying out of the Greenville airport. This airport is one of those airports that you can show up for your flight 30 min before it leaves and still be ok.

And one of those airports that does not have TSA pre-check.

So I find myself in the regular security line. With all those people who do not travel often. Directly in front of me are two such people, in the form of the Two Lovely Ladies.

These Two Lovely Ladies are possibly nervous about flying, and have quite obviously been spending quite a few hours at the one and only airport bar. And have been knocking back quite a few adult libations.

In fact, I would have hazarded a guess that their actual flight may have left several days before, and they forgot to get on it and just continued to drink. Needless to say, here they were now. Well hydrated. In the security line. In front of me.

Both of these Lovely Ladies, in addition to the strong alcoholic cloud,  were toting very large bags through said security line.

Now, despite all of these factors, I really was not paying much attention to The Lovely Ladies. Until they decided to start unpacking their bags.

In the middle of the security line.

Anyone who travels on a regular basis, or for that matter, has even taken a flight even once in your life, knows this is not how things are done.

All the business travelers lucky enough to be in this security line, at this moment, are all exchanging glances and secretly fuming that this is going to ruin their personal best time of 1 min and 37 seconds to clear security.

Suddenly, Lovely Lady #1 swings around to me, gives me a quick once over and says,

“You look like you travel quite a bit”

Me: “Ummm…. Yes. A bit”

Lovely Lady #1 shoves a gallon sized bottle of perfume under my nose and says,

“Do you think they’ll let this through?”

Me: “Ummm… I’m pretty sure it needs to be 3 ounces or less”

Now Lovely Lady #2 spins around to me, holding her own gallon jar of perfume.

“Mine’s only half full. Do you think that will be ok?”

Now, I’m quickly doing math in my head, and I’m pretty sure half a gallon is still over 3 ounces, so I say,

“Ummm…. No. I still think that’s too big”

This causes the Two Lovely Ladies to hold a quick sidebar, which I, unfortunately, cannot hear. But they must decide to chance it, because suddenly everything is off the floor, back in the large bags, and we are continuing to move forward.

I assume all is well, and the worst is over.

Until we get within one person of the belt.

And the body scanner.

Suddenly, Lovely Lady #1 whirls back to face me, points at the body scanner, and says,

“Do we all have to go through that?”

Me: “Ummm… Yes”

Let me pause for a moment here to state that both our Lovely Ladies are clad in nearly identical, somewhat skimpy, sundresses and flip flops.

Lovely Lady #1 throws a rather apprehensive glance at the scanner, then turns back to me and says in a very loud stage whisper,

“But I’m not wearing any underwear!”

I blinked at her for a second or two, then I just couldn’t resist.

Me: ” I don’t think it matters. It has X-ray vision”

Somehow both our Lovely Ladies made it through security.

Their perfume bottles were not so lucky.

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second of the Souh Carolina memoirs.

Getting bit by a fresh water shark is harder than you’d think

Thanks to TL and N, (names have been abbreviated to protect the guilty) I got to spend the weekend at Camp.

After talking to one of my non- New England friends, I have realized that “camp” may need some defining. I thought it was obvious, but evidently some people think it is a place people go to play musical instruments. Or to shed several pounds.

They would be wrong.

While there would be no reason musical instruments could not be included at Camp, the shedding of pounds will most definitely not happen. The exact opposite is much more likely.

Camp is a house on the water used mainly in the summer. It is a wonderful place to spend beautiful summer days reading books on the wharf, kayaking, playing cards or swimming off the boat. In other words, relaxing. It is heaven.

And when you spend the weekend at Camp with the right people, there are always lots of laughs.

There was an argument about my hair. Which I’m pretty sure I won. It is my hair after all. But TL was quite adamant I had been bald well into my teenage years. Or at least until I was 6. I happen to know baldness is something I am not likely to suffer from. I have a lot of hair. I learned this on several occasions when brushes have been lost trying to untangle it.

This required a call to my mother. Who at first said indeed I had been bald. But after further interrogation, conceded it may, in fact, have been my sister. So, like I said. I’m almost 98.9% sure I won that argument.

There was an afternoon of teaching N to play cribbage.

N is a hustler.

TL and I have both played cribbage for years. We played a few games to show N the ropes and help her catch up with us. I feel I need to point out here that I beat TL quite easily in all these games. Not because this is at all relevant to the story. But just because I want to rub it in.

But back to N being a hustler. During these learning sessions, she seemed to be quite confused and had a lot of questions. We thought maybe her playing a hand or two herself would be helpful.

So she played each of us. And beat us both.

Hustler.

I have no problem shamelessly tapping into beginners luck, however. This afternoon N and I teamed up for team cribbage and Canasta. When you are on the winning end of hustling, I can’t say it seems so bad. We are still undefeated.

And we took the boat out to the middle of the lake, moored ourselves to it, to prevent us losing it, and swam. It was lovely. And while I tried very hard to get bit by a fresh water shark in order to have an entertaining story to share with my friends, I was unsuccessful. Mostly because I’ve been told fresh water sharks do not exist. I am still skeptical. But I gave it my best shot.

I hope TL and N will invite me back at some point so I can give it another try.

 

Always close toilet lid when blow drying hair

One of the perks of traveling every week is the plethora of stories you are bound to accumulate. Maybe I am lucky enough to accumulate more than your average bear, but I don’t seem to be able to leave the house without something story -worthy happening. So thanks to my wonderful friends who have said I need to write a book someday, I decided I needed a place to recored these many vignettes, since my memory isn’t what it used to be.

And maybe it can be mildly entertaining for these said friends (you know who you are) at the same time.

My first observation is that trying to start a blog over free airport wi-fi may not be the wisest of choices. I did have over an hour before my flight which I, wrongly it turns out, assumed would be plenty  of time to figure out how to start a blog and write my first post. If my flight had not been delayed, I would not even have had enough time to finish setting up my blog, with the inter stellar speeds of airport wi-fi.

But of course my flight is delayed. Because it’s New York. And it’s my travel luck. And I might actually die of shock if one of my flights actually left and arrived as scheduled.

I am in the middle of a month long trip with multiple locations and activities. Now, I am not exactly a “light packer” on the best of days, so packing light for a month long trip is not going to happen. On a normal week, I need a separate bag for my shoes alone. And then I’m in NYC. How do you spend any time here and not accumulate more stuff?

You just don’t.

I may have had to sit on my bag to zip it for this 10 day leg of this trip.

And I may have been lucky to have a bag check agent who looked the other way when the scale hit 50 pounds and kept going.

One of the “things” I have accumulated on this trip to NYC, is a new blow dryer. Not because I needed a new blow dryer when I left home a week ago, or because I forgot to pack said dryer.

No. Because I had not learned how important closing the toilet lid while blow drying one’s hair is.

Hotel bathrooms are small. This is not news. Everything is very close to everything else. This makes multi tasking relatively easy.

And I am a great multi-tasker.

Except when I am blow drying my hair.

With my hair about half dry, I realized I didn’t have my brush. Which was in my bag just outside the door. So I set the blow dryer on the edge of the sink, which was, of course, right next to the toilet.

I did not feel like turning the blow dryer off was a necessary step to take and would only slow down the multi-tasking.

And I watched as my blow dryer vibrated right off the sink. And into the toilet. Whose lid was not closed.

An important point to make here, is that the blow dryer-amazingly- did not short out, spark and stop running. Indeed it did not. It kept running. In the toilet.

So now I am faced with how to get a still running blow dryer, out of water. I have read the huge warning tags on my blowdryer. There is a risk of electrical shock and death when water and blow dryers meet. Neither of these were in my plan for the week.

I grabbed the blowdryer by the middle of the cord- far away from the plug or the actual dryer- and lifted it out of the toilet. It continued to run, and now began spitting all the water it had sucked up out of both ends. All over the bathroom floor.

Now I am holding a drowned, running blowdryer, standing in several inches of water.
And still no electrical shock or death. It must have been my lucky day.

I decided it may be pushing my luck slightly, to try to plug this blow dryer back in and hope it would still work, after surviving all of this.

So this is how I ended up with a new blowdryer in NYC.

And what has led me to share this tip with you. Always close the toilet lid when blow drying your hair.

More to come from this trip I am sure.