Where have I been?

Bags Fly Free

It has been crazy busy the past two weeks. Seriously busy and all of it self-imposed. I have been in South Texas since Tuesday morning and it has been hot. I grew up here so I should have know what I was in for when I scheduled the trip, but I haven’t lived here for over twenty years and you forget how hot it really gets until you visit. It is so hot it literally melts you or at least it melts me.

In early July, I decided to visit Houston and my Texas family because I rarely see them. My mom, brothers, sister-in-law all live there with a handful of nephews and nieces. Sure, I talk to Warren almost daily and call my mom several times a month. I write and keep in touch, but it is nothing like visiting and spending time together as a family. Olivia came with me and though she was apprehensive at first (when I posed the trip) she has had a wonderful time visiting with and playing with her cousins: Sam, John, Parker, and Jackson. We have been busy since we arrived and have squeezed every minute and made all of them count.

However, our trip didn’t start as it was planned. Monday before we left was filled with errands and a few unexpected appointments. As I always do I underestimated the time it would take to finish a task and left it undone until late Monday night. I went to bed Monday night 85% packed. Olivia was 100% packed and ready to go. I thought (that’s what I get for thinking) I would have enough time Tuesday morning. As I said, that’s what I get for thinking. It was a frenzy getting out of the house and to the airport.

We made it to the airport with less than forty minutes before our flight – all of the delay my fault. We were flying Southwest Airlines, so bags fly free. Beth dropped us off and left us as we checked our bags at the curb and hurried to make it through security and to our gate. We were a couple of hundred yards from the gate when I heard last call for our flight and my last name. Yikes. We made it to the gate, boarded the plane, and found two middle row seats in the same row. At least we could see each other. It could have been worse. I texted Beth: ‘Made it’ and she replied ‘no way’ before I turned my phone off. Within minutes, we were taxiing and in the air. We made it just in time.

Southwest runs a tight ship and we arrived on time and made our way to baggage claim. We waited and we waited, and we waited some more. Our bags didn’t come. I called my mom (who was picking us up) to let her know we were running behind schedule and why and assured her I would call her when we were ready. I checked with the baggage agent and after I explained our situation, she told us it was likely the bags were on the next flight from Chicago(at noon), but she couldn’t guarantee it. So, I called mom and she picked us up. We climbed in the car and she had a ready solution – go grab lunch and then come back for the bags. So we went and had lunch at my favorite BBQ joint – Goode Company Barbecue. Seriously good barbecue, if you are ever in Houston, you have to eat there – at least once. All the plates are served with jalapeño cheese bread and the meat is covered with their fabulous sauce.

After we cleaned our plates and I had mopped every bit of sauce with my bread and Olivia’s, (she gave me her piece) we headed back to the airport to pick up our bags. Olivia was exhausted and fell asleep in the back seat and woke only when we pulled into the arrival area and I hopped out to check for the bags. Mom took a loop around and I walked in and promptly found our bags waiting and marked – LATE. So even though bags fly free, they don’t fly if they’re late. 

me (the author) and my parrot, Pedro, in Venezuela - 1969

I collected the bags and waited for mom and Olivia to make it back through to the arrivals area to pick me up and drive home. It was hot, really hot, hotter than I remembered it could get, but I was home, even if for only a short visit. That was as bad as it got. Our luggage was late. It has been a great visit and time has flown. I have made time for what is really important as Goethe suggests we do. It is late as I write and I have a few things to finish before we go home tomorrow. I purposely scheduled a late departure so we could stay late and enjoy a full day. The days have counted, more than I planned or even imagined. Making the Days Count, spending time with family. Have you ever had a traveling incident, if so tell me about it, I can’t wait to here about it!

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