Tuesday, June 20, 2006

someone left the cake out in the rain

Apparently the good part of having crap weather karma in day-to-day life is that you get fantastic vacation weather karma.
The bad part is that you have crap weather karma in day-to-day life.

We just returned from a wonderful trip to Hilton Head. It was positively gorgeous the entire visit -- sunny, low- to mid-80's but not terribly humid, and a lovely breeze. We couldn't have ordered better if there were...ah...a weather-ordering service.

(My brain, it seems, has not entirely returned from Relaxation World.)

It was so lovely to see my folks. We're really not used to going quite so long without seeing each other -- none of us likes it. In that wise, it really was so lovely just to spend time with them. We walked on the beach on Father's Day morning, sat outside at the Yacht Club, and all played number 16 on the Club Course on Monday afternoon, when the course was officially closed. The rest of the time? Well, we just couldn't bear to be too far from their much-heralded new arrival: La Belle Miss Elle, Shih-Tzu extraordinaire.

Playing with the puppy definitely dominated our trip, and it was so worth it. They say that having physical contact with a pet is therapeutic and I would have to agree fully -- I could sit there and play with and pet Miss Ellie for hours and never get bored or tired. She's just too freakin' cute.

She already has favorite toys -- her rubber duckie, the fuzzy chick, her new pound puppy, the Isaac Mizrahi for Target cell phone she got at her "puppy shower," and La-Di's old stuffed lobster. Apparently, Miss Ellie was born the day that we had to say goodbye to La-Di, and she definitely has a guardian spirit. (We always said that our cocker spaniel, Lissy, was the reincarnation of my great-grandmother Belle. I think this pairing makes a bit more sense, or is at least slightly less anthropomorphic.)

She also loves toes, but we're trying to break her of that one.

Miss Ellie, it seems, is also ridiculously smart. She sits, focuses, and much of the time trots right on over when called after only two puppy classes. She loves her little harness and walks well on lead. She also already knows where Mom and Dad keep the treats.

Smart cookie.

We didn't just spend our time oohing and aahing over the puppy. We also took a great golf lesson -- it's amazing how much my muscles remember from childhood. Doesn't mean I hit the ball where or as far as I want to, but my swing looks good. Heh. We had a party on the beach with lots of dogs and kids (see "puppy shower," above), explained the concept behind Wikipedia to my folks, found some great clothes, and ate a ton of fabulous food, including a taste of the top tier of our wedding cake. We brought the rest home to share with friends, so if you want some awesome cake, you know where to find it.

Anyway. Then we flew home.

After a smooth flight, the plane began its descent into Portland, which evidently was surrounded by the world's bumpiest lightning clouds. Thunderstorms had rolled through earlier in the day, and while it was not still raining at 9:30 last night, the skies had not cleared.

Still, we made it safely to the ground, and taxied to the gate. Or almost to the gate. And then we stopped.

Sixty seconds later -- just long enough for all of us on board to realize we had not, you know, parked at the actual gate per se -- the pilot came onto the intercom.

"Folks, we've just been informed that the jetway is closed right now, due to lightning."

In other words, "Sit down and shut up and no you may NOT get off the damn plane."

OK, fine. Closed for lightning. But...I can see the terminal. It's right there. Let me go hoooome.

After a few more minutes of just sitting there about ten yards from the gate, the plane started moving again. Apparently, the instructions were to escort the vehicle back out away from the terminal, almost to the runway.

And then to unload the passengers onto the tarmac.

No, seriously. Because the jetway can't risk getting hit by lightning, but the airline doesn't give a damn if the passengers burn to a crisp.

Wait! I take that back. They decided that any gate-checked bags would go to the baggage claim, so by not asking us to carry metal-handled wheeled bags, they were obviously ensuring our safety.

So, in order to disembark, we descended the plane's staircase, traipsed across the wet tarmac -- I've almost never landed in Portland when (a) I haven't been unloaded onto the tarmac and (b) said tarmac has not been wet -- into a door that was as far as geographically possible, in our small terminal, from the baggage claim area, back up some stairs, along the empty terminal to the exit, back down some other stairs, and over to baggage claim.

I guess I've got to look on the bright side. We didn't check the cake, so if we'd been stranded on the aircraft, we would have had something to eat.

Too bad I didn't pack the puppy. At least I can call her on her cell phone.

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