travel, ups and downs

December 18: Disembark in Texas and Fly Home

My alarm is set for 7:15. If I disembark with my “group” – which I don’t have to, since I’m carrying off my bags – I don’t have to be anywhere until 9:40. And I’m packed already now, other than the PJs on my body and the last remaining bathroom items I’ll need in the morning.

But I’m up before 6 because someone is tapping on a door outside. Not super loudly, and not mine, but one of them nearby. Maybe more than one. I assume that has to be a family traveling in separate cabins, because we are not in port yet. No one can have gotten off, for housekeeping to be coming through yet.

Sigh. I guess I’ll get up, then.

Even with a lot of dilly-dallying (it’s not like I can go anywhere) I’m ready by 7. I do pop up to the buffet to get coffee – I don’t see Lester this morning, someone else is delivering coffee to those that ordered it – letting Edsel know I’ll be back in just a minute to clear out of the way.

By the time I return, cup in hand, Edsel has come in to start doing whatever he can to get things started – stripping the bed, changing the towels, emptying trash. He looks embarrassed that I’ve caught him at work.

No worries; he scoots out to deal with another room and I finish my coffee, brush teeth, put in all my layers, and grab luggage. It’s time to go!

To the venue where I’ll wait for groups that have airport shuttles, that is.

It’s not a terribly long wait. The Elite lounge is just Club Vista, 7-Aft, repurposed for disembarkation lounge. But it has coffee, and proximity to the restroom. Everything you could want for waiting.

There’s a bit of confusion about the airport transfer but it works out and everyone gets where they need to be. United has changed which terminal I’m leaving from, to one that’s more convenient (caveat: as usual I’m at one of the farthest gates from the door, but not having to walk to another 100 miles to another terminal is priceless).

With 7 hours to go, I fully expect my gate to change, probably at the last minute — but it doesn’t.

With 5 hours to go, I can’t get a clear answer on whether the plane I’ll be getting on will or will not be delayed getting out of LAS. In fact it appears to leave early.

With 3 hours to go I’ve scouted a complete dearth of viable food options here in the terminal. Thank God for the snacks I packed.

Time ticks, books are read, and I’m on my plane, in my seat, luggage stowed thanks to a kind man who honestly does not want it to land on his head as I try. 🤣

Earplugs in. (This is for the pressure so that my ears don’t ache at takeoff and landing, but we have at least two infants with really healthy lungs on board so – bonus feature. Although they are well-pitched to pierce even this protection.)

And then, we’re off.

The controls on the entertainment system at seat 30D are nonfunctional. This would not bother me really; with earplugs in I can’t really watch anything. But I would like to turn on the transit map, to monitor our progress. Or to turn the screen off entirely, as my sleeping seatmate did, because it loops an endless parade of commercials that I can’t stop, only ignore.

We land 25 minutes early. The kind man again helps me get my bag down. My sister was tracking me, and is already waiting. One of my beautiful nieces is in tow, so I get Most Excellent Hugs.

And a birthday present, which is funny. And sweet. (My sister is both, after all.)

(No, it is not remotely close to my birthday. )

It is good to be home.

Dad has kept an eye on things, and my table includes the package I had shipped to them, knowing I’d be away, and one family Christmas card that escaped my mail hold. On it, one of my parents has written a warning: This may be a glitter bomb, ours was. Thanks guys, you were correct and I was glad I knew to handle with appropriate care. (Hey card makers, stop making all your cards with glitter on them. They’re a pain in the backside, and they can’t even be recycled.)

I settle in. I need to wash airport off me and start to unpack. The sounds of the house are unfamiliar, but I need to get to sleep.

Tomorrow, real life resumes.

Thanks for coming with me!

Goodnight! 🌙