Monday, September 01, 2014

Ron has Landed Home . . . . In Delaware

Boarding plane at Buffalo Niagara International airport yesterday - the blond tattood girl to the right had the assigned seat right next to me on the plane - small world!

I'm home folks!  And what a trip it was.

My flight was scheduled to leave Buffalo, New York at 5:45 PM.  We were going to leave Toronto at around 1 PM for the two hour drive to Buffalo. Pat did want to take me to see the inauguration of the new Toronto streetcars but I decided we didn't have enough time.  We decided to leave early (about 11:30 AM) and then take time to visit Wegmans for lunch and hang out in Buffalo until my plane left.  Good decision!

Me taking a selfie while waiting to board the plane

Why?  Traffic out of Toronto was backed up a good forty to fifty miles.  Bumper to bumper, no exaggeration.  We couldn't figure out was going on.  A Bill's (Buffalo Bills) game?  An accident?  We saw signs that said construction was being done on the road but we didn't see any construction.

So we inched out way to Buffalo, taking about three and a half hours for a normal two hour journey. 

Arriving in Buffalo,  we sauntered into Wegmans at 2:45 PM for lunch was a bit late.  There were some buffet lunch items left over so we made do. 

After lunch we headed for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport with the help of Pat's Tomtom GPS.  We couldn't find the airport!  I saw the airport to the left but he didn't know how to get there.  Some tension in Pat's little Fiat.  Pat and I don't argue but we were approaching that hitherto unknown territory between us.  
Somehow we managed to get to the airport (don't ask me how).

I wanted to be at the airport at least an hour before flight takeoff in order to give myself enough time to jump through the hoops that is now airport security in this day of The War Against Terror.

After some confusion as to where to print out my boarding pass and going through security I arrived at the gate where my plane was to take off.  After all that rushing around, wouldn't you know the plane was late coming in?  Of course it was.  And also wouldn't you know I could hear a screaming and crying baby among the passengers waiting to board the plane?  Of course you do.  

Waiting and waiting.  I asked the woman at the boarding gate "Where is an outlet where I can charge my cellphone?"  She gives me an annoyed look and says "I don't know, there has to be one around here.  Look for it."  Seriously, that's what Miss Hospitality said.  I was so exhausted from our three and half hour drive that I didn't want to get into a confrontation with her.  What was the point?

I found an outlet, two inches above the floor where another passenger was laying with his iPhone plugged in and getting charged, and plugged in my charger.  And I waited.  And waited.

I was cold.  The only clothing I had on besides my underwear and socks was my "It's All Good in the Neighborhood" Mr. Roger's T-shirt and shorts (and my baseball cap of course).  I had dressed for the weather forecast that day of heat and humidity but in the airport, it was Air Condition Cold.  I was freezing.  

Happy me on another adventure

And I waited.  And Waited.

Finally, the boarding of our plane.  I usually wait last to board the plane.  What's the point of rushing on first?  The plane isn't going to take off without me is it?

Everybody boards the plane.  Then me.  I look at my boarding pass seat number . . . . 9A.  Okay . . . . . I look at the numbers above the seats on this very small, propeller driven prop plane.  1A, 2A, 3A . . . . I hear the screaming and crying kid way in the back of the plane.  I continue down the airplane aisle, hunched over.  This small propeller prop driven plane only has a ceiling height of about 5 feet, 8 inches.  I continue to look at the seat numbers listed on the overhead carryon compartments.  7A, 8A and …….OH NO!  My "9A" seat is all the way in the back on right, exactly next to a tall and heavy blonde haired woman.  I feel bad for her because she knows she's going to crush me.  I felt like "Elaine" on that Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets First Class and Elaine opted for the Coach Class and is promptly squeezed into next to a heavy guy.  But folks, the worst revelation about my seat is that I am in the SAME ROW AS THE MAN AND WOMAN WITH THE SCREAMING BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it?  OMG!!!! (ten time over).

I squeeze in and prepare myself for my latest torture, enduring that kid's screams for a good hour.  Then, a miracle happened.  The stewardess came back and said to the girl next to me "We have empty seats up front.  If you would be more comfortable up there you can take one of those seats."  So of course she gets up and squeezes her way past the Screaming Baby and moves up front.  Guess what?  I did too!  Yes I did.  I moved all the way up front and got the empty seat right behind where the stewardess sits.  I surely did.  Out my window I could see the propeller.  And yes, I could still hear the screaming baby but at least I wasn't next to IT.

I settle in for take off.  The forecast for Philly is thunderstorms.  

Oh great. But let's just take off and get out of here.  

I can't stretch my legs because I'm right behind a wall that has the stewardess's things.  I see her legs stretched out.  If I stretch mine she may think I'm playing footsie her so I keep my daddy long legs bended.

I'm cold.  The plane's air conditioner is on full blast.  

As the above photo shows, I'm not happy.  Let's just get this flight over with.  But our problems were just beginning.  

For the one hour and thirteen minute flight, we took two hours and eight minutes until we touched the tarmac at Philly International.  Why?  Because of the thunderstorms.  We were in a holding pattern (flying in circles and yes, with the Screaming Kid who now had to have her diaper changed - oh yes - dad gave the heavy wet diaper to the stewardess right in front of me - nice touch) for over a half an hour.  

I was thinking "This flight is taking forever to get to Buffalo" when I heard the stewardess say to another passenger "We're on the never ending flight from Buffalo to Philly." 

My left leg was so cramped.  I took at chance and stretched it, slightly touching the stewardess's leg, hoping she wouldn't accuse me of sexual harassment.  You know, the old creepy guy in shorts and a Mr. Roger's T-shirt and white beard playing footsie with her. Thankfully she saw my dilemma and moved her dainty, blacked stockinged shapely foot. 

"When is this plane going to land?" I'm thinking.  I can't text Bill to tell him of my delay because I don't have service on my iPhone that high up.  I know my ride has been waiting at the airport for me for at least an hour (bless her heart).  My co-worker Robert finally got a text through to me that said he was monitoring my flight.  Hmmmm…. how does that help me get off this plane?  And all this time, the dad with the screaming and crying baby is walking up and down the center aisle holding his little princess.  Occasionally he stops near me and looks in my direction, cradling his noisy Bundle of Joy, causing me to feel guilty because at least I don't have to contend with a babypoo producing screaming baby.  Only my cold arms and cramped legs.

Finally, after what seems like an eternity, we LAND!  I start to unbuckle but the stewardess tells me "We're not at the (I forget the name) yet.  You have to stay buckled." 

Another fifteen minutes passes by.  "When will this end?"  

Finally, we pull up to our gate.  I unbuckle.  And, since I am up front I am the first to GET OUT OF THERE.  I open my overhead compartment, get out the lady across from me bag and give it to her and then get my bag.  And I'm out of there!!!  By now my ride Monica is texting me "Where are you?"  "Ron!  Are you there?"  

We deplane (is that a word or a quote from the old TV series "Fantasy Island" where Michou Pichou hollers in that pinched voice of his "De plane! De plane!"

I get off and then head for baggage claim.  Now this is where I think I am really being punked.  I swear, the U.S. Airways baggage claim is at the complete opposite end of the terminal than where my plane landed.  I must have walked a good two miles throughout that air maze of passageways to find my $25 per ride bag.   But find it I do (thank God).   I know, I know.  I'm not religious.  "Thank God" just comes out of me automatically when I get a break.  Way I was raised I guess.

Monica continues to text me "Where are you?"  I know she's having a problem because vehicles aren't allowed to stop at the terminals to pick up deplaning passengers which raises the question, how does one pick up the passengers?  Just another Question for the Ages.

Anyway, I pick up my "Thank God" luggage and get outside on platform E which I inform Monica. 

And there she is, in all here beautiful, helpful glory.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Monica!

I am so thankful for Monica and her patience. This woman is my co-worker, mom of four and an all around angel. I loaded my baggage in Monica's SUV and we headed out into the dark, rain soaked right for the two hour ride to Sussex County Delaware. Monica safely delivered me to Bill's door (oh was I ever glad to see him) at about 10 o'clock, ending a journey that began almost 12 hours earlier in Toronto, Canada. Bill and I hugged and I told him a bit about my trip but I was so exhausted that I just wanted to take a shower and go to bed, which I did. I awoke about the hours later (10:45 AM) this morning. And here I am now, unwinding. So how was my Canadian Adventure? Great! Wonderful. I thank all those involved who made it possible, especially the patience and hospitality and generosity of my host Patrick. I daresay I overstayed my welcome by about one week but Pat was gracious enough not to indicate any displeasure. Thank you Pat and thank you Bill for indulging me on another one of my adventures. Now to settle down into my comfortable routine once again. No more trips of events for awhile. Oh, but there is one, my 55th class reunion which is in two weeks. I feel a nap coming on. Later folks.


  1. I wondered if you were going to get held up by yesterday's thunderstorms. and bless monica for picking you up! now you need to get back into the LSD way of life.

    1. Anne Marie,
      Monica was an angel in picking me up. It wasn't easy for her traveling in the rain and trying to maintain her parking place at the airport ("NO STOPPING!") while my plane was circling in a holding pattern for over an hour. I am so lucky to have a friend line Monica. Now I am getting back into the routine of LSD life.

  2. Reading this ordeal, I am wondering if Pat was not smart taking the bus. All he had to do was relax.
    6 years ago, we used free mileage for a trip to France. We always take direct flights but we didn't have a choice this time. On the way in, United lost our luggage. On the way back, we left France for DC and waited and waited and waited… for our connection to LAX. We arrived home at 11 hours late. Thunderstorms in summer are not fun on the East coast.
    I am glad you made it safely and I am sure Bill was very happy to have you back.

    1. Nadege,
      Pat had his problems with the bus. Too many switching buses, fat people sitting next to him, squeezed in by luggage and the sheer length of the trip (24 hours going back).
      Delays in airline travel seem to be the norm. I haven't traveled that much by air (maybe eight or nine times) but I can only remember one time the flight was on time and that flight a woman with a baby wanted to put the baby right next to me during the flight. At least she asked "Would you mind if I put my baby in the seat next to you?" I told her I would mind. To her credit she was very nice about it and said "Oh, that's fine. I understand" and she placed her baby on the seat on the other side of her instead of the empty seat next to me that I was lucky enough (for once) to get.
      Yes, Bill was very happy to have me back and I am very happy to be back with him. That's one of the good parts about taking a trip. One appreciates home more.

  3. Ron,

    Sound exhausting!


    1. Lar,
      My trip back was exhausting. So exhausting I almost collapsed. I fear I am too old for the rigors of modern day travel, especially one accompanied by the always presence of babies and screaming, fidgety kids whose parents don't know how to control but to only indulge. And yes, Bill was very happy to have me back. Someone loves me!.

  4. Ron

    We do have our problems getting back home. This reminded me a little of my trip by bus from Delaware to Toronto on my last visit - which was a remarkable 24 hours. But thanks for the story - love your humour and storytelling talent!!

    Wow - that was one really dragged out drive we took from Toronto to the border. My apologies on behalf of whoever was responsible for that. And, boy, what a change of weather. Quite lovely up in Buffalo and then a huge thunderstorm in Philly. Best think of course is you made it safe and sound. And, not only that, you survived 2 weeks with me and my sparse living quarters. But what a blast we had over all. And thank goodness (X ten as you say) for the moderate temps we had. Good to know you've got your air conditioner on now. It's heating up here too.

    Thanks for being the generous, patient, and fun guest you were!!

    Thanks, too, for this very funny posting. I look forward to a scrabble rematch!


    1. Pat,
      My trip from Toronto to Buffalo then Philadelphia had to be one of the most exhausting trips I've ever made in my life. I can't imagine undergoing what you went through with your 24 hour ordeal when you returned from Delaware to your home in Toronto.
      Thank you again Pat for your hospitality, generosity and patience with me during my two week stay at your lovely home in Tinytown in Toronto. Now to find a Scrabble player worthy of replacing you .

  5. For a moment, I thought you were going to run away with the tattooed lady. had me worried.......
    You also had me laughing all the way through this delightful post. I could feel your pain, but it was spiced with humor.
    We have something in common, Ron - screaming babies seem to follow us everywhere.

    1. Jon,
      I know I complain a lot about the Screaming Kids but man oh man, they drive me nuts. I am so thankful I live in a neighborhood where I don't have to suffer the high pitched screams of the little girls (even though two little girls live right next to us) or crying babies. But unfortunately, all too often when I go out to restaurants or like this airplane trip, parents of these screaming kids and babies are all too often present with their "treasures" to share with the rest of us. Kids will be kids but do those parents always have to take them to public places?

  6. Welcome home, you do get use to the delays and the hot/cold planes, and the uncomfortable seats and flying is a great way to travel. I am looking at three long trips next year, between 6 and 11 hours each way on all three of them.

    1. David,
      Now that I know the routine of travel post 9/11, my next trip by air should be much easier.

  7. I am glad you made it home safe and sound


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