How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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North to Alaska: Will We Make it to the Airport?

When my sister, Mary, and I booked this trip, by way of Vancouver the year before, I’d been gung-ho. The day for departure had arrived, but my heart wasn’t in it.

The afternoon before our flight, I booked a taxi online, then called by evening to check the booking with a human being. Everything was fine. We were set.

When I go away, I use Gravity Pet Feeders (one for each cat with kibble and one full of water for both). That taken care of, Mary and I watched a movie when Dickens waddled to the sofa and sank into the carpet at my feet. His breathing laborious, heavy, and shallow, terrified me. Was he knocking on heaven’s door? What timing for a vet visit so close to our flight. Dollars spun in my head. I picked him up. His eyes were dull and half-mast. What to do? We analyzed the circumstances and an Aha moment struck. Unbeknownst to me, he and Lady Gaga thought they’d arrived at Kibble Heaven and gorged on the mountain of food before it disappeared. Dickens stuffed himself to bursting and had to wait it out. Lady Gaga, ever a lady, pushed away from the tray sooner than he. Just. An hour later Dickens’ breathing better, we toddled off to bed, I wrestling he’d make it through the night; Mary off to sweet dreams. Dickens isn’t her cat.

I never sleep well before a trip. Worried about the scheduled taxi pickup in the dark hours of the morning—more like the middle of the night—I woke up at 2 a.m. sleep gone. My bedside alarm finally jolted me out of a doze two hours later. The travel alarm I’d specifically purchased as a backup had failed. Mary’s phone alarm rang first. Good save.

Forty-five minutes isn’t a lot of time to get ready and out the door but we managed. Dressed, beds made, breakfast choked down, dishes rinsed and deposited into the dishwasher.

As I scrambled, the phone rang with an automated message that our taxi was in transit. Five minutes later, another call: the cab waited in the driveway. Mary gobbled her cereal as did I. My bags were already upstairs by the front door; hers in the trunk of her car.

What is it with taxi drivers with his personal items in the trunk, leaving little room for passengers’ bags? I’ve seen it happen before. He didn’t know how to position them to close the trunk. Exasperated, I leaned in and made them fit. Our carry-ons came into the back seat with us. I had asked for the $35.00 flat rate to the local airport. Agreed. You have to ask for it. Mary and I each kicked in $20 for a five-dollar tip, considering the ride lasted 15 minutes and the storage shortage in the trunk.

An airport attendant, mere feet from the door we entered, approached right away and helped with printing the boarding passes and luggage tags. The agent told us to bring our luggage to the conveyor belt and goodbye bags. They weren’t even weighed. How does that happen? Wow! Mary over-packs coming and going and fussed about paying extra for an overweight bag.

What a difference between Hamilton Airport and Toronto’s Pearson, or are domestic flights less complicated? A previous domestic flight we’d taken from Toronto was nothing like this one. No hassles: no crowds, long lines, miles to walk, and no belt or shoe removal. The Waiting Area was one minute away from—what else?—a Tim Hortons. Mary needed a coffee; I held off a few minutes. Fumble fingers me almost tossed the hot liquid all over myself when I did. How I managed a quick save, I’ll never know.

“What was that?” Mary asked with a smirk. A few minutes later, she up-ended her coffee on the table where her brown overflow carry-all/purse rested wide open with now wet contents. After our boarding passes had printed, the lovely attendant mentioned boarding would be late about an hour. Our Direct flight to Vancouver needed to be refueled and prepared for return there. I wondered why our boarding pass and the electronic posting still say 6:25 a.m. Mary had checked if the plane would be on time the previous night as you’re supposed to. Confirmed. Flight time not changed. By 6:40, the overhead flight information flashed:

Flight 241 departure 6:25 a.m. Delayed. Estimated 7:25 a.m. 

Thank you.

Our waiting area for Gate 3 had a scattered dozen souls. An announcement over the loudspeaker apologized for a minor delay: some valve(s) had to be replaced. Valve(s)? Didn’t sound minor to me. I believe in transparency, but this was scary news. Why were valves mentioned at all? And don’t say they are a minor fix. What’s minor about them? They all feel major to me since we’re to lift off into the sky.

~ * ~

Next on February 9, 2018: Where’s the Easy Button?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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71 Comments

Are We There Yet?

The Flight

I had no preconceived notions regarding the long trip ahead. The Malaysian disappearance, still fresh in the news, I refused to ponder the distance, time, or mystery of sufficient fuel to complete such a long flight. No point in dwelling on what I couldn’t control. I refused to mull over anything—numerous times. Had I allowed my apprehension to take hold, I might have never taken the wild limo ride to the airport.

We boarded a United Airlines Boeing 777 (I think), Flight 851, non-stop as in direct to Beijing. My seat: 41E in Economy (center aisle, middle seat). Sue asleep, I begged the guy on my right to allow exit for a bathroom break and for strolling to keep my blood moving. When both he and Sue snoozed, I climbed over Sue. I watched three or four complete movies (whose titles escape me), began others but lost interest, and read to pass the time. I could not sleep. I’m the type that needs to stay awake to make sure everything is copasetic. The sandman peppered grit into my eyes. Eye drops helped but. not enough.

United_787_800_RR

We had two babies or pre-toddlers who fussed little for which I am grateful. How the mothers managed is beyond me. The couple in the seats on Sue’s aisle side was difficult to ignore. By their appearance and attire, we guessed they were Amish or Mennonite. One seat was empty, which afforded the wife to lie across the seats her head in her husband’s lap. She had the nastiest head cold and coughed and sneezed the whole way. It’s a wonder her ears weren’t plugged for how could she fly?

Smushed in the middle seat, I juggled my purse, the offered pillow and blanket, a light jacket (it got cold off and on), my book and/or my iPad, I had little room to manoeuvre. Arms tucked in close to my body, I realized why sardines don’t have elbows either. I’d worn full body compression wear beneath my yoga pants and top as a precaution again swelling. My feet sweat in my running shoes, though. Had I been born double-jointed, it might have been easier to untie them.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

As the engines roared, I crammed the pictures and stories from the movies into every corner of my brain to restrict anxious thoughts. The fellow on my right watched our flight progress on the screen instead of movies. I noticed our flight path headed upwards to Alaska instead of due east and assumed we were lost. My seatmate noticed my near-panic and explained, but what I heard was garbled. My brain refused to process the information. I believe he said something about gulf-stream.

We’d eaten three meals and downed countless glasses of water. An hour or two before Beijing, I speculated the water tank (rain barrel?) must have ran low for the water tasted swampy. I cut myself off. It stuck in my throat. Yuck.

Thirteen hours and 35 minutes elapsed. Beijing airport materialized at last and our imminent descent announced. All window shades were thrown up with enthusiasm but no-one clapped on landing. I wanted to applaud and then kiss the ground. The time difference threw me. I hadn’t expected daylight although I knew we were to land at 3:40 p.m.

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

We deplaned with the couple we’d met in Chicago, Russ and Bonnie from Wasaga Beach. Russ, who had memorized the layout of the humongous airport, helped us find the baggage claim. Shortly afterward, we met Jim and Carolyn from Ottawa. Our tour guide, Robert,  holding a sign: English 8, awaited us. Ernesto and Lorena from Mexico arrived a half-hour later. Sue and I made eight. By 4:30, we headed to our hotel by tour bus.

I hadn’t slept a wink. Hours without sleep: 44

* * *

Next on  January 13th: Beijing at Last

©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles 2017

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.


82 Comments

Xian to Souzhou, Day 9, Part 1 – Jade Tour and a Flight

The day began at 5:00 a.m. and not on a good note. Sue hadn’t slept well and we had no hot water for showers. I didn’t bother, but Sue did. My hair needed washing so I stuck it underneath the tap. Brr. Cold.

We’d been instructed to leave our luggage outside the door before 7:45 a.m. As Sue pushed hers against the wall I rolled mine over the thresh-hold and—slam—locked us out. Down to the front desk and back up again we were relieved to return with the assistant manager and her life-saving master key. Our purses with passports and money were still there. Whew. We reported the cold water situation to save the next visitors the headache.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (Taken from 10th floor on our way to breakfast)

The pieces carved out of jade were fascinating: The workmanship was astonishing with delicate and intricate detail but too expensive for me. I don’t need jade jewelry either and certainly don’t have room for anymore dust collectors. I’m trying to down-size collectibles. Bonnie and Russ bought a tricky jade piece featuring five (or seven) balls, one inside the other, which were all moveable, but do not come apart.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles (Jade carving)

Below are pictures of some of the fantastic jade pieces:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=jade+carvings+in+ancient+china&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1242&bih=585&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=VrYlVKG1MMyyyATbrYHQAw&ved=0CBwQsAQ

We headed to the airport after the Jade romp to catch our one hour and forty-five minute fight to Souzhou. At security two suitcases from our group set off alarms. Jim had one of the problem suitcases and Russ the other. Scanning revealed 15 or so ‘A’ batteries stored in his luggage were the culprits. The last flight he’d been told to store them there. This time, they were pulled out and he was advised to them into his carry-on. I’m not sure what problem Jim had. The screaming baby must have fallen asleep. We finally boarded at 12:30 p.m., taxied and lifted skyward.

Lunch was served on the plane. The Stewart threw (not dropped) the boxed meal onto my table. He moved so fast, some noodles spilled into my lap and he didn’t even noticed. Not a good day for him either. Other than the spilled noodles, I don’t remember eating.

Upon landing, I reached for my carry-on in the overhead. By accident, my hand landed not on top of the seat in front of mine, but on the head of the man who sat there. What a fuss he made. You’d think I’d assaulted him. The Chinese language, when the speaker talks loudly sounds enraged to me. I used my most soothing voice to apologize. He didn’t need to understand the words. Wouldn’t you know, I had him on my radar all the way into the airport. While Chinese people appear to invade your space in a crowd and fill any available space, they do not touch anyone around them.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Insert Image #464 (a boatload of people on the canal in Old Town) © 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

We were met by, Jackie, our new guide, a tall, attractive man of thirty-eight with an easy going style and a great command of English. The bus ride to Souzhou took a couple of hours. The city is known as The Garden City or Venice of the East because of its many canals.

Next on October 3, Day 9, Part 2 – Old Town Market (and more). Lots of pictures.

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


58 Comments

100-Word Challenge–The Contest

Meet a woman who never sleeps and writes until I’m sure she drops or simply pours another coffee and continues.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular “Building a Midshipman”, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.
CONTACT INFO


a47e89ab92dfbf28f838705c73601209Worddreams.wordpress.com
worddreams
Jacqui

Askatechteacher@gmail.com

Lunch: 11am – 11:05am
Dinner: 5pm – 5:02pm

***

I got tagged by Tess over at How the Cookie Crumbles. She’s a regular participant in Julia’s One-Hundred Word Challenge for Adults. I’m not. I could never keep to the schedule, but Tess’s submittals are amazing.

So one week, I commented on her pithy submission. The next week, Tess formed her weekly challenge around my comment–and the race was on. I had to respond. Right? As my efriend Peter says over at Counting Ducks:

Yellow is the heart of green.

Understand? (You thought I wasn’t paying attention, didn’t you, Peter?)

Here’s my response to Tess (you’ll have to read the prior piece to understand my answer) and to catch up  from the beginning: 

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/100-challenge/

 * * *

She hung up, confused.

“What’s wrong?” Harry sipped his umbrella drink. Truth, he had shoes older than Collette. And better made. Still, a man had to try or he was dead.

“Oh, nothing… I guess…” Her frown said otherwise.

Harry bit his tongue, hoping to escape.

“Did I mention these folks love a drink? They’re coming over—said a bar’s a better meeting place than the school. I should have remembered that.”

That ticked Harry off. “Why’d you tell them you were here?”

But he knew why. He suggested it. He sighed. Life was indeed the greatest show on Earth.

***

If you’re in my Chapman Writer’s Group–you know who I’m talking about!

***

Anyone can join the fun. All it takes is 100 measly words to move the story forward. Contact me and I’d love to add you to (the organized)  list. The last person to contribute 100 words will receive a  $10.00 coffee gift card of your choice in Canada or the U.S. (if it is attainable).  Do I have your attention now? We have all summer long and b.e.y.o.n.d…and you may enter more than once but not consecutively.


43 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Jacqui

Behave Yourselves

 

Thank you Google.

Thank you Google.

My fickle pen rushes…

Morgan paced like a panther. “You know me. I do what I like.”

“You-know-me-I-do-what-I-like.” Wally’s sour mouth puckered.

Hey stop.

“You dare use that tone with me?”

“Slam-the-door-she-heard-me.”

You’re fighting? Behave yourselves.

“Sorry, sweetheart. I’ve had a dreadful day. Georges-is-unreasonable.”

“Sweetheart? You haven’t called me that in…we’re in agreement then. My choice of destination.”

What? Isn’t this sudden? You can’t change directions whenever you please.

“Destination? I-thought-I’d-explained-I-can’t…”

“Can’t or won’t? You work for me, remember?”

“But the project—”

Enough. I need a break from you two. My wrist’s shot and I have to pee anyway.


124 Comments

Day 2: Are We There Yet?

The Flight

I had no preconceived notions regarding the long trip ahead. The Malaysian disappearance, still fresh in the news, I refused to ponder the distance, time, or mystery of sufficient fuel to complete such a long flight. No point in dwelling on what I couldn’t control. I refused to mull over anything—numerous times. Had I allowed my apprehension to take hold, I might have never taken the wild limo ride to the airport.

We boarded a United Airlines Boeing 777 (I think), Flight 851, a direct to Beijing. My seat: 41E in economy (centre aisle, middle seat), When Sue slept, I begged the guy on my right to allow exit for a bathroom breaks and strolling. When they both snoozed, I climbed over Sue. I watched three or four complete movies (whose titles escape me), began others but lost interest, and read to pass the time. I could not sleep. I’m the type that needs to stay awake to make sure everything is copasetic. The sandman peppered grit into my eyes. Eye drops helped clear them.

United_787_800_RR

We had two babies or pre-toddlers who fussed little for which I am grateful. How the mothers managed is beyond me. The couple in the seats on Sue’s and my left were difficult to ignore. By their appearance and attire, we guessed they were Amish or Mennonite. One seat was empty, which afforded the wife to lie cross the seats and her husband’s lap. She had the nastiest head cold and coughed and sneezed the whole way. It’s a wonder her ears weren’t plugged for how could she fly?

Juggling my purse, the offered pillow and blanket, a light jacket (it got cold off and on), my book and / or my iPad, I had little room to manoeuvre. No surprise. Sardines don’t have elbows either. I’d worn full body compression wear beneath my yoga pants and top as a precaution again swelling. My feet sweat in my running shoes, though. Had I been born double-jointed, it might have been less complex to untie them.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

As the engines roared, I crammed the pictures and stories from the movies into every corner of my brain to restrict anxious thoughts. The fellow on my right watched our flight progress on the screen instead of movies. I noticed our flight path headed upwards to Alaska instead of due east and assumed we were lost. My seatmate noticed my near-panic and explained, but what I heard was garbled. My brain refused to process the information. I believe he said something about gulf-stream.

We’d eaten three meals and downed countless glasses of water. An hour or two before Beijing, I speculated the water tank (rain barrel?) must have ran low for the water tasted swampy. I cut myself off. It stuck in my throat.

Thirteen hours and 35 minutes elapsed. Beijing airport materialized at last and our imminent descent announced. All window shades were thrown up with enthusiasm but no-one clapped on landing. I wanted to applaud and then kiss the ground. The time difference threw me. I hadn’t expected daylight although I knew we were to land at 3:40 p.m.

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

We deplaned with the couple we’d met in Chicago, Russ and Bonnie from Wasaga Beach. Russ, who had memorized the layout of the humongous airport, helped us find the baggage claim. Shortly afterward, we met Jim and Carolyn from Ottawa. Our tour guide, Robert, with a sign held high: English 8, awaited us. Ernesto and Lorena from Mexico arrived a half-hour later. Sue and I made eight. By 4:30, we headed to our hotel by tour bus.

I never slept a wink. Hours without sleep: 44

* * *

Next installment, Friday May 23rd: Beijing at Last

* * *

Previous related posts:  

  1. /2014/05/02/day-1-getting-to-the-airport/
  2. /2014/05/09/day-1-contd-killing-time-at-chicago-airport/