Day 94, The end of the beginning of the middle of the rest of our lives: part one- 10/10
I set the alarm to face melt guitar riff to ensure we would be woken up properly for our last day in Lisbon which was also our last day in Europe which also happened to be the last day of our honeymoon. Shana and I gathered our things, double checked the directions and we said goodbye to our Lisbon apartment.
We walked the twisted alley ways of the Bairro Alto to get to our bus stop. We took an unplanned detour. I had meant to go left, but instead made three rights. The bus came and we mashed ourselves (human sized backpacks included) into a nice corner of the bus to stay out of peoples ways. The man beard+hair+giant backpack+crowded bus combo = soggy Jerrad. I was thankful to get off our first bus and transfer to the next where we could sit and I could almost stop sweating like a fat kid. A short while later we arrived at the airport.
We showed up to our gate two hours early and found a real sweet seat next to an outlet to charge our belongings. An hour an a half had gone by and a nice gentleman sat down next to us. We started chatting to kill the time. Our conversation was cut off and we overheard them say on the loud speaker, "Goolp-in-glop derp herminivitzstsze, narm bucca buuca Loud noisE, beep boop orangutan greep dooz alpha one niner skeez-in-dees-leez sdgrndgh iaohg aso[hgas[ aosihg aoh One Theolofius Von Doobinsnatch veen shepnkerp," and then repeated in english, "The flight has been delayed due to technical difficulties. Please stand by for our later departure time." The gentleman I was talking to went up to see what the issue was. He came back and said they told him it was a broken seat and they're taking care of it. I knew broken seat was code for something else. Our flight had been by an hour and a half. This didn't bother us too much because we got to know our new friend better and we were even fortunate enough meet his new husband. They had been together for twenty eight years and had just gotten married less then three weeks prior. They were really cool and we shot the shit until we were told the "seat" had been fixed and were able to board. Our new friends sat in first class and we said we'd see them on our next layover.
Our flight home consisted of a stop in Ponta Delgata (small island outside of Portugal), a stop in Boston, and then back to Phoenix. The original tickets we purchased said we'd have a small layover in Ponta Delgata and then a three hour layover in Boston. The first flight delay wasn't too bad and we'd still be able to make our flight home. As we landed in Ponta Delgata we were all escorted to the small airport waiting area. Shana and I spotted some seats and swooped in. Our new friends saw us and were kind enough to buy us coffee. We sipped our hot milk infused crushed brown bean juice while we talked. We found out our friends ran an amazing non-profit. While we stood and exchanged pictures of our kids (aka dogs), cracked wise, and conversed about favorite TV shows we hadn't realized the flight out of Ponta Delgata was also delayed due to a "stained tray table"*. We exchanged info with our new friends and wished them well in their travels back to Florida. We boarded the "stain free" plane and prepared ourselves mentally for the long sit down ahead.
The six hour flight was filled with microwaved potatoes and fish? dinner (boo) and an abomination of a film called "Joyful Noise" starring... it doesn't matter because you shouldn't watch this movie. Time had finally come to get off the plane and step back onto american soil. We had made it to customs with forty minutes to spare. YYEEESSSS!!!! Unfortunately customs at Logan International airport in Boston runs like an un-oiled machine with a bitchy attitude. The lines were long and the organization was terrible. After surviving that debacle we grabbed our bags and ran to the shuttle that would take us to our next terminal. Once the shuttle got to our terminal shuttle we jumped out of the still opening doors to our ticket desk. We made it to the desk with ten minutes to spare... before our flight left. We were informed that the plane had already been pushed back from the terminal and there was nothing they could do. We were so close. The lady working the ticket counter was crunching numbers like a mad man. She said it would be hard to get a flight out of Boston because of the three day weekend. Shana and I looked at each other puzzled and asked her what three day weekend might it be. She said it was Columbus Day on monday. Of course it was Columbus Day. How could I have missed the day we celebrate the guys who sailed over and killed a bunch of people. She worked some magic and had put us on a flight that would leave the next day at noon. We asked about a hotel and she said we would have to go back to the international terminal and have the other airline take care of that. We weren't too keen on staying at a hotel and paying for a cab. Luckily we had a Beantown brother who helped us out.
Jace had swooped by the airport and picked us up. He said we could stay the night and catch the metro in the morning. We were so thankful, not only for being able to sleep at a buddies' house, but that we got to see Jace. We didn't know the next time we'd be able to see him.
After we dropped off our crap at Jace's house we went out to a bar to sip on some bourbon flavored whiskey and catch up. The varnish was going down easy, but Shana got swindled on the second round. We finished our drinks and hit up the Chinese food place across the street for dinner.
We walked back to the house and geared up for some TV watching whilst dinner eating. Jace's roommates Suzanne and Dave came home and joined us. They were pleasantly surprised to see us as we were to see them. We caught up and marched upstairs to watch Portlandia and eat cheap Chinese food. Less then three hours back and we were acting like true 'Mericans. After a couple of episodes Jace needed to hit some hay and we needed to see how long we could keep our eyes closed for. We thanked him again so much for his generosity and told him goodnight. We also thanked Suzanne and Dave and wished them a good night as well. It felt good to be back, even though we had yet to reach home.
*I was not sure why the next flight was delayed because they never announced why.
Day 95, The end of the beginning of the middle of the rest of our lives: part deux: the non-essential sequel made solely for money
What's that brain? We need to get up? Why? It's still dark out. No I'm not being lazy. It's three o'clock in the morning. Huh? You're still on Portuguese time and want me to sleep in seventeen minute intervals until sunrise? FINE!!!!! Shana had fallen asleep so hard last night I kissed her on the cheek and said "I love Kung Fu" and she didn't even blink. I checked for a pulse just to make sure. Seven o'clock had come and I was wide awake. Sucky. Shana had woken up too and we debated wether or not to sandblast the crud off our bodies or just let it mellow and sandblast it later. The others had woken up too and we packed our things for what would hopefully be our last day of travel. We noticed everyone in the house had some bad ass pajamas on. Jace was wearing pajama pants with little bicycles all over. Suzanne was rocking an all leopard print matching top and bottoms, while Dave kept it real with a super comfy robe. I felt like I was underdressed. Jace showered and got ready for work. Shana and I prepped for our travel day and made sure all of our things were properly packed. Jace dried off, put clothes on, and was ready to go. We said our goodbyes to Suzanne and Dave. We thanked them and wished them well. Jace, Shana, and I walked out the door to the end of the drive way. We thanked Jace again for being an amazing friend. We said thank you and that we hoped to see him soon. The wifey and I strolled to the metro station to catch our last metro for a while... maybe.
Boston's metro system was easy to use. We took the orange T (T is what that call their subway system) to the blue T to the number fifty five airport shuttle. In less than an hour we had arrived at the airport. Our flight didn't leave until twelve, but we thought we'd get there early just in case. The security line was pretty long and when I got to the machine where you threw up the diamond cutter symbol I was asked to step to the side because the security guard decided I looked like someone who was dumb enough to smuggle drugs onto a plane by just hiding them on my person.* The officer took me to the side and gave me the ol' "I do this to all big bearded guys and people with the skin tone darker than that of a marshmallow" pat down. The frisking was brief with no pleases or thank yous. Afterword I went to the conveyor belt to pick up my things and what little dignity I had left. It did put a smile on Shana's face so I guess it wasn't all bad. Next stop, sit and wait town.
We were fortunate enough to find seats next to an outlet. We were so happy to finally go home. We talked and figured out we were just as excited to go home as we were when we left for our trip. Eleven fifteen am had come and we noticed the gate was surprisingly empty for a flight that was supposed to board in twenty minutes. I got up and checked the screen behind the gate and it said twelve pm departure. Shana double checked our flight info on the internet and it turns out our flight was cancelled. Damn it. We saw another flight that was leaving to Philadelphia at twelve thirty and headed over to that gate to strangle someone, I mean see what was going on.
There were two individuals at the counter with the same idea we had (minus the strangling part... I think). Our turn had come and the nice lady behind the counter put on on the standby list for that flight, and if we didn't get on that flight we'd be put on the standby list for the next flight. If that didn't work out we'd have to be put on a separate standby list for a flight that left Boston and went directly to Phoenix at four. She informed us all these flights were really full. She did guarantee us a flight the next day at six twenty in the morning if the other flights didn't work out. Damn. We thanked her for her help and played the waiting game.
Twelve thirty had shown up and unfortunately so had all of the people leaving for Philadelphia. Standby plane one was a no go. We headed over to the other gate to wait for our next standby flight. We found some seats next to a woman and asked if they were taken. She said they weren't and that we could sit there. We got to swapping stories and found out she was put on the standby shuffle as well for different reasons. We got to talking and found out her name was Shay. She was awfully nice. We told her our US Airlines crap storm and she informed us that there was a federal regulation that said the airlines had to provide us a flight, even if it wasn't with them for our situation. She had traveled for her job and was a pro. She went as far as to call the airline and have them search other flights from different airlines for us. We love Shay. Turns out there weren't any other airlines with any seats available. We thanked her so much for going above and beyond. We continued to swap stories and told her of our honeymoon adventures. Our next standby flight was being called and we thanked her for everything. We really enjoyed her company. We all hugged it out and wished her a safe flight and safe travels. Turns out everyone made it to this flight as well so we went to the other gate to see if we could get on the non stop flight that left at four. Shana said she'd talk to the ticket officer where we were and I made my way to the other gate to talk to the ticket officer that was handling the non stop flight.
Fifteen minutes had passed and Shana came strolling up and told be to grab my things. I looked at her strangely and asked, "Why?". She said she talked to the ticket supervisor, told him our real life sob story and he magically found us a flight to Philadelphia and another one to Phoenix. I couldn't have been given better news. Shana showed me who she had talked to and I made it a point to shake his hand and thank him profusely for what he did. We got in line for the next flight to Philadelphia. This happened to be the same plane Shay was on. Earlier she explained that the airlines couldn't get her to her destination and the best they could do was get her close. Close to US Airways meant a flight to a surrounding airport then a six hour car ride. We talked to Shay until it was time to board. Our flight to Philly was a short one hour and forty five minute flight. Shana slept most of the way and I talked to a woman named Mary, the person Shana was sitting next to. We talked mostly about movies and how Shana and I managed to go to Europe for three months. The plane had hit some heavy turbulence and luckily Shana had switched herself off, because this would have rattled her a bit. We landed a short time later and wished Mary safe travels.
We made it to Philly and all we had to do now was catch our plane to Phoenix. It was a little rainy and we hopped this wouldn't delay our flight. They announced our flight and we got in line for hopefully the last time in a while. The only unfortunate thing about this flight was a five and a half hour voyage and Shana and I wouldn't be sitting next to each other.
We each had the middle seat. Shana was in row ten and I was in row twenty three. The plan was for me to ask the people I was sitting next to to trade their really awesome (not middle) seat for my wife's mediocre seat. The deal even came with a free drink. There were no takers so Shana and I had to sit thirteen rows apart.
It could have been worse. The only thing that was crumby is I know Shana hates takeoff's, turbulence, and landings. The take off was kind of bumpy and we hit a couple patches of turbulence on the climb out of Philly. I felt sorry for the poor saps Shana was sitting next to because she has a nervous stomach and she ate a deep fried veggie burger right before we got on the plane. May god have mercy on their souls.
Hours had passed. I tried to time warp** but couldn't manage to in the middle seat. Captain Speaking got on the loud speaker and announced that we were on our final decent to Phoenix. So close to home we are, mmmm. We locked our tray tables and put our seats in the full and upright position and prepared for landing. Captain Speaking touched down with ease and we made it back to Phoenix all in one piece. I grabbed my things and exited the aircraft. Shana was waiting for me outside the gate and we made our way towards baggage claim.
Turns out only one of our bags had made it to Phoenix. The other was on a flight that would get there in an hour. We gave the people at baggage services our address and number for them to deliver it to the house because we've done enough airport waiting for the day. We exited and waited for Shana's parents to pull up. A couple of minutes later we were greeted with large welcome back hugs. I hucked the luggage in the trunk and we were on our way to Chipotle.
The car ride to Chipotle was filled with our stories and misadventures. In the middle of a story one of us was telling we saw a bright white sign that said HEAVEN, but they spelled it CHIPOTLE. We waited in line with our hearts full of anticipation. Once everyone a gotten their burrito pillow we found a seat to stuff our faces. I slowly unwrapped my burrito and bit into its pure amazingness. Once my mouth hit that giant meat, cheese, bean, rice, veggie, salsa filled cylinder time had stopped. I began to float. Satchmo played in the background. I hadn't felt this much joy in such a long time. I started to sing along with the music, "And I think to myself... what a wonderful world."*** Time had restarted and we continued to chat and catch up on what had been happening. Our meals were finished and we got in the car and went home.
Shana and I hadnt't seen our beautiful dog Yoshi in three months. We quietly came in the house and stood by the front door. Shana's dad went to the bathroom to release the hound. We heard the tapping of her nails on the tile floor and she ran around the corner (and in slow motion) towards us. She hopped around and made funny pug sounds and licked our faces. Man, how we had missed this little creature. The night continued with us watching baseball playoffs, cuddling and playing with Yoshi, and just hanging out with loved ones. Just as midnight hit we heard a small scuffle. Shana and I were slightly delusional from lack of sleep and thought nothing of it. I saw a figure out of the corner of my eye. We heard a ,"Hey guys." Shana's brother Zac had drove in from LA and surprised us with his presence (not as good as tangible presents, but we still love him). It was a great surprise. We all sat around and continued swapping stories and enjoying each other's company. One o'clock had hit and we started to drift off into sleep. After saying goodnight Shana and I crawled into bed with the our little furry angel. We slept in our own bed for the first time in three months. It was good to be home. Pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good.
**Time warp = sleep on a plane/car and wake up at your destination where it feels no time has passed.
***Did not actually float, time did not stop, but I did hear Satchmo.
eating candy teeth on the airplane