1halffull's Blog

As if…
June 30, 2009, 3:22 am
Filed under: Humor, Travel

….you thought that I was done with the vacation saga, that would be a big NOT!

Saturday we spent floating in the ocean while we waited for the in-laws to arrive.  It was lovely and, of course, I got a bit sun burned.  For me, that’s normal.  I rarely tan; mostly I just wait for all my freckles to get close enough to give the appearance of a color change.

Sunday came and while Dan went to do some business, we cooked up the plan that we’d go to Key West when he got back.  It’s only about a four hour drive so we thought we could get there by four, spend a couple hours then come back to the hotel.  The best laid plans always go awry.

First, Dan didn’t get back to us until 1:30 so we decided to do the abbreviated version of the Keys and just drive as far as Key Largo which was only about an hour and a half journey.  A friend of the in-laws told them there was some road construction, but we didn’t think much of that comment as we headed for the car.

Ft. Lauderdale 012The scenery along the way was beautiful – blue skies, blue water, boats, birds, sunshine.  What more could you ask for?  As we got closer to Key Largo, we noticed road construction in the northbound lane.  Finally, we also realized there were absolutely NO northbound vehicles in sight anywhere.  Uh-oh.  That was our first clue.  Then we got to the end of the highway at the edge of Key Largo.  Our eyes were immediately drawn to two lanes of traffic on the other side of the road, all headed north.  As we drove on, the traffic jam continued on the other side, one mile, two miles, three miles then five miles worth of backed up traffic!  No way!

It became apparent that there was no other way out but to get into that mess to head north.

No one wanted to spend that much time in the traffic jam so we decided that rather than face the mess, we might as well go to a local park and stick our feet in the water.  We pulled in, paid the park fee, parked the car and headed for the beach.  Imagine my surprise to find that we’d landed on the beach at Mosquito Lake!  Seriously!  That’s exactly what it looked like.  We found ourselves on some backwater cove with even less charm than the shores of Mosquito Lake in Cortland, OH.  We got out of there in a hurry.

Photo_062109_003When we got to the road, we found ourselves in the midst of the five mile traffic jam.  Everyone groaned and simultaneously agreed that we should go south to Key West.  We thought this would buy time for the jam to get much shorter.  We rationalized that it would be better to be in the car going someplace fun than in the car, annoyed in the middle of the traffic jam.

The visit to Key West was great.  We saw the Southern Most Point of the United States and the various establishments that named themselves the southernmost whatever.  The beach there was pure white sand; the water was that wonderful caribbean blue.  We had dinner at The Original Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett’s sun2place) then walked down to the pier to watch the sun seemingly melt into the ocean in a firey, beautiful blaze.  Absolutely gorgeous!  All too soon it was time to head north.

Being optimists, we convinced ourselves that the traffic jam would be much shorter by now.  WRONG!  Even though we didn’t get to that point until about 12:30 a.m., the back up was still a full five miles long.  We crept along at a maddeningly slow pace, two lanes merging into one, watching as some selfish drivers made their own lanes in an effort to get further ahead only to be thwarted by angry drivers who would have none of their antics.  Frustrating as all this was, it got worse when we finally got onto the two lane transfer road.  It was Pavlov’s experiment all over again.  Drivers had been so conditioned to drive bumper to bumper at 10 miles an hour, even when we hit the open road again, they kept up the ever slow pace!  It was just insane and one of those times you wished you either had a cruise ship horn to blast or were driving a military tank to be able to roll over everyone in front of you!

A four hour trip took us six and a half hours.  We were so tired, we got slap happy then got serious.  It was just one of ‘those’ times that you wouldn’t mind missing.

Unbelievably, we’re all invited back to Key West in December to celebrate a relative’s birthday.  We’ve all agreed that if we attend, we’re going to fly.


Resorting to a New Hotel
June 27, 2009, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

With a thud and a few ride ‘em cowgirl bucking bounces we landed safely in Ft. Lauderdale at 1:39 a.m. Saturday morning.  Everyone straggled off the plane, some looking for cars, some looking for luggage, others heading straight for the nearest rest room.

We got our suitcase and headed out the door to look for a cab that might take us to our ‘resort’.  A nice Jamaican man in a yellow vehicle, professing to be a cab driver, came along and we jumped into the back seat.  You’d have thought we were still on the plane as off he flew, careening down the road.  He thought what we wanted was some kind of thrill ride and he was determined to give it to us.  Little did he know that we’re used to riding in taxis in New York City.  He’d have to go some, to equal rides we’ve had there.  In fact, I was so laid back, I didn’t bother to fasten my seat belt, just daring him to show us a good time.

Mr. Cabbie only tried to kill us twice:  once by slamming on the breaks to avoid going through a traffic light and the other when he nearly hit another vehicle in a cross street.

I was really excited about going to our ‘resort’ hotel because in the photos on the website, it looked really beautiful.  Ft. Lauderdale 008Just as in the photos, the beach was just across the street with an unobstructed view.  The restaurant was located on the second floor deck with an ocean view.  The pool was clean, although a bit smaller than it appeared online.  Then we walked inside.

The front lobby looked like something that was once beautiful but had seen better days, much better days.  For example, there were dining chairs from someone’s old home set placed around a small table masquerading as a coffee table.  The floor was clearly from another time.  The treads on the stairs should have been replaced about five years ago.  There was definitely a pattern forming here.

When we got to our room, things only got worse.  The curtains were hanging oddly sort of over the windows; the ceiling was hanging down instead of flat like we’re generally used to.  The bathroom…well, let’s just say you didn’t want to spend my time there.  One of the beds sank to the floor when we put the suitcase on it while the other one had a dirty blanket that was very ugly.  Great.

By a twist of fate that I claim was orchestrated by God, someone in our party was unable to make the trip so there was a room available in another, infinitely nicer hotel.  We checked in there the next day.

A Trip Without Adventure Is….
June 26, 2009, 3:06 am
Filed under: Humor, Travel

….not a trip I’m likely to take.

     Today we start our mini-vacation.  But it can’t begin until I work a full day where I get faced down by a volunteer who thinks I should control another 80 year old volunteer, prepare a work schedule for four students coming in to begin an eight week rotation of volunteering, deal with numerous interruptions all the while trying to forget my fear of flying nervousness.  Finally it’s 3:30 and the vacation can begin.

     But this is just the beginning!

     We (my husband Dan and I) were scheduled to leave for a much needed vacation in Ft. Lauderdale at eight tonight.  When we got to the airport, Dan dropped me off and went to park the car.  While I was waiting for him, I thought I might as well get out my driver’s license and be ready for check in.  To my dismay there was NO driver’s license to be found!

     I started to panic.  What if they won’t let me on the flight?  I knew I shouldn’t have taken this trip!  I quickly decided I’d go to the ticket counter to see what I could do about my situation before Dan arrived on the scene.

     I explained my predicament, then the lady explained hers….I needed a government document with my photo on it to get through security!  There’s very little one can do to produce a government document in the middle of an airport.  So, I did the next best thing….I brought out my photo I.D. work badge, my AAA card and various other assorted credit and bank cards.

     With all of these in front of her, the lady at the counter finally got permission to let me go through but warned me I’d probably have some trouble at security.  While I did have to provide even more cards with my name on them, I actually got through security without also having to be strip searched!  YEA!

    Our flight to Charlotte was pretty uneventful in spite of thunderstorm warnings and I breathed a sigh of relief on touch down.  Little did I know that there was still more fun ahead to be had. 

     We got off the plane just in time to run to the gate of our next flight only to catch the strains of the words….’technical difficulties’ and ‘delayed.’  Oh well these things happen.  To stave off starvation we decided now was a good time to grab a sandwich.

     We’d taken about two bites of said sandwich when they announced we’d be boarding …NOW!  We dumped the food back in the box and jumped on the plane with all those in zones one and two.  We sat waiting expectantly for those in zones three and four to board….but no one else got on.  We noticed that our pilot stood in the doorway of the cockpit, drinking his coffee, hanging out with the flight crew.  This was probably not a good sign.

     After about 15 minutes, Mr. Pilot finally told us what the technical difficulties were….the computers stopped talking to one another and they couldn’t fly the plane without them.  “Everybody off!” he crowed.  “We’ll see if we can get another plane to get you out of here!”

     Yeah, right. 

     By now it was 10:30 p.m. so we figured we didn’t have much hope for another plane tonight.  We pulled out our sandwiches again and began to eat.  We’d only swallowed about three bites when we heard:  “Ladies and gentlemen.  We’ve found you a new plane!  Go to gate D13 and we’ll begin to board shortly.”  YEA!

     Of course D13 was all the way at the other end of the airport.  We tossed our food and ran for it.  Quite soon we found ourselves ready to board the plane.  Our pilot stood in the doorway of the cockpit enduring some good natured ribbing – ‘This is the same plane isn’t it?  You just drove it around to this gate didn’t you?’

    With lightning speed we were herded back onto the new plane for the fastest take off I can remember.  I’m still in the air and I know we’re clipping along to make up some time.  Hopefully today’s excitement will end with a three point landing in Ft. Lauderdale at about 1:30 this morning.  I’ll let you know!

June 26, 2009, 2:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Hi Everyone!

If you’re used to reading me at Tribtoday.com, I’m really glad to have you visit me here!  While writing for the Trib was fun, I hope to be able to more fully express myself here.

As always, don’t hesitate to comment – no bad language please – and let me know what you think.  I’m always interested in your thoughts.

I’ll be trying to post at least a couple times each week, maybe more if something strikes me as worth talking about.

Again, welcome and thanks for stopping by.