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Land of Lincoln (and travel woes)

I took a week off from blogging while I was traveling, and even longer from reading blogs! (I’m 10 days behind! Gah!). I’m going to be playing catch-up all week!

Last week I was in Central Illinois… where the wireless Internet is slow (and thieved from a neighbor!), the corn is currently knee-high, and the fireflies come out in droves after an early evening thunderstorm. Life is so much slower in the Midwest. I was born there, and moved away when I was in the 6th grade; though it will always really be “home” to me. My entire extended family still lives there, and I get back whenever I can manage it, to visit.

I went with the purpose of spending as much time as possible with my Gram. It was great to get to relax and hang out with her. Getting out-of-town was a nice bonus, as well! I was hoping for cooler weather in Illinois, but alas, didn’t get much of it. The day that I left (it figures!) the high was 68*, and it felt amazing, if only briefly!

My Gram and I are very close, and we spent our visit chatting, debating the ages of various celebrities (and looking them up on IMDB to settle the debates!), and basically enjoying each other’s company. We didn’t kill ourselves trying to accomplish a ton of activities. I went grocery shopping and cooked a few meals; and we watched a RedBox movie or two. I helped her around the house as much as I could with little things here and there – but for 81 years old, my Gram is pretty darn self-sufficient. She kicks butt, actually. She is an 18 year Breast Cancer survivor, and a nearly 5 year Colon Cancer survivor. My Grandpa has been gone for 14 years, and she has settled in to living alone very well. Luckily my Mom has three brothers that all live less than 45 minutes away – with one of my uncles, living in her same town. They take wonderful care of her, but my Mom and I wish we could do more. My Mom is able to get back to visit about every other month, which is great for my Gram. I am going to try to get back more often than I currently do. In fact, I am going to see if I can’t swing back up there in August for a few days. *Fingers crossed*.

Here are some photos of my trip…  (I only brought my point-and-shoot camera – I didn’t want to lug the DSLR this time around). 

Illinois trip (30)

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The cutest Cubs fan, ever?

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My cousin's son, Max, enjoying a 'Dilly Bar'. We both were a bit sticky afterwards!

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Enjoying my bare feet in the grass - without fear of fire ants! Divine!

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The sheep behind my Gram's house... so cute.

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Wind Power!

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My Gram and I

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As for the travel aspect of my trip…

My flight(s) up were fairly uneventful, and I arrived at my Grams around 11pm after having worked a half-day here in Charlotte. It was a looooong day, but I was thrilled to be there.

My flight(s) back to Charlotte, were another thing entirely. I ended up leaving IL 2 hours later than scheduled, due to weather problems in Atlanta (where my connecting flight was). Thankfully, I know how Atlanta can be, and had scheduled a 3-hour layover, to avoid any potential missing flights issues. The flight down to ATL itself was lovely, actually. We were on plane that could seat about 80 passengers, and there were only 14 of us! That never happens anymore, in the days of fewer and fewer flights per route. I was thrilled to sit in the back all by myself, read my BUST magazine and relax. Little did I know what was in store for me…

Illinois trip (1)Illinois trip (3)Illinois trip (2)Illinois trip (6)

I arrived in Atlanta with about an hour to spare before my flight to Charlotte, and made my way from Concourse D  to Concourse A on the tram; only to find out that my flight home had been pushed back as well. And back. And back again.

We FINALLY departed Atlanta around 1 a.m. and headed for Charlotte. It’s quite a short flight, only about 38 mins of flying time. The time flew (ha) by, and before I knew it, we had landed. After sitting on the tarmac for a few minutes, the Pilot came on the loudspeaker and told us that the gate/jetway that we were supposed to deplane at, currently had a plane full of people waiting to deplane – and that the jetway was broken. Apparently that plane had already been sitting there for over an hour, while the CLT airport tried to get their #$%! together and call in some off-duty mechanics to fix the jetway. Our Pilot then informed us that the jetway was the only Delta jetway that was currently “available” for us, as it was very late and all of the others had planes parked at them for the night… Yadda, yadda, yadda. Needless to say, there was a collective groan among the passengers, as we all were already quite tired of traveling, and it was almost 2 a.m.  We continued to sit on the tarmac for 1 HOUR (!!!). I had been growing more and more impatient by the minute – and I was not the only one.  Finally we started to reverse a bit, which was NOT the direction we wanted to go – but at least we were MOVING! We moved out the way, so that a tractor could come and tow an empty plane away from another gate, to allow us to deplane. It was an absolutely ridiculous situation, and frankly inexcusable. By this time, we were all ready to inflate the yellow slides, and jump down from the plane, a la Steven Slater! Woo!

I finally walked in the door of my house at 3:30 a.m… Tired, cranky and scuzzy from traveling all day. Poor Tristan picked me up, and had to go to work later that morning. I, luckily, had the day off.

I love to travel, and have had my share of interesting travel stories, delays, sleeping in airports, etc… but this situation takes the cake! Landing at your destination, and being UNABLE to get off the plane – at 2 in the morning, no less – is frustrating in a way that I can not even explain. Grrr!

The trip was lovely, the journey home… not so much.

~

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