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4 July 2020 - Day 84 – Home in Florida

Happy Independence Day! The phone woke me at nine, and I got cleaned and put on the clothes from my backpack that I’d packed yesterday in Valletta. Looking out the window over Newark Airport, it was partially cloudy, and the phone said it would be warming up. I threw yesterday’s shirt, socks and skivvies in the trash, put my mini-toiletry kit in the now less bulky backpack and wheeled the roller to the lift. Prepaid, I was clear of the hotel and walking across the circle to the International building by 9:30, and soon on the inter-terminal shuttle to Terminal 2.

A kiosk spit out a boarding pass and luggage tag, and I wheeled the blue monster over and dropped it off.

Security at 10 on a Saturday morning for domestic flights was miserable, even TSA Precheck, but I was through in 30 minutes.

At one of the non-Starbuck coffee places I got a cup of decaf and a chocolate croissant, plus a bottle of water, and headed through the concourse to the seating area and boarding gate.

At 11:20 they started loading the preboards, followed by the privileged. I’d bumped up a little, so I was in the next group, and was soon boarding United UA325 bound for Tampa.

When I’d originally booked my ticket for miles, I had planned on an earlier flight to Sarasota, but then United notified me they’d be leaving Newark at 6am. I tried to get a later flight to SRQ, but they didn’t have one. So into Tampa. I had seat 9D on the aisle in Economy Plus. Three hours until Florida after pushback at noon. Bloody Mary from beverage service, and one of their exorbitantly priced lunch “meals”. My seatmates were a couple heading to Tarpon Springs for a week. We had a good conversation for most of the way, as they were from New Brunswick, where I’d been in college 50 years ago.

Partially clouded skies when we arrived in Tampa, and I still knew that I’d probably beat my bag back to baggage claim, so I was in no rush.

On turning my phone back on, I had a text from Nancy that she was waiting on my text that I had my bag.

I suspect about half the baggage was dropped on the carousel before mine appeared, after about 10 minutes of waiting for it to start. I sent my text to Nancy and headed out under the United “2” sign.

Her SUV pulled up and I pushed the bag into the back, and sat up front. Traffic wasn’t bad, as we breezed over the causeway and then the Skyway. Traffic slowed around UTC as usual, and we had a cloudburst while between Laurel and Jacaranda. I asked about how it had been while I was away, to find that the rainy season might be finally beginning, so I started feeling concerned about my plants.

Through the gate and into my driveway, the house looked good, albeit a little overgrown. My neighbors had been keeping the green beasties alive, and the hibiscus and plumeria were in bloom.

After paying Nancy and sending her off, I rolled the bag into the house, leaving inside by the front door, as my lanai furniture limited access to the bedroom. With the temperature about 90°F outside and 90% humidity, I wasn’t too keen to have the sliders open as I brought stuff out. I turned on the ice maker and went out to the garage. The car fired up (new battery 9 months ago) and headed to Publix to get enough staples for the rest of the weekend.

With a meal-in-a-bag to throw in the oven, and a glass of a Livermore cab at hand, I wrote an entry in the journal. My neighbor Barbara stopped by and dropped off two deliveries from the post office – I’ll get the last held mail on Monday. I decided to get this last blog post for the trip up, and then maybe the furniture can go out and I can begin functioning here again. Maybe I’ll do a wrap-up post in the coming week. And, yes, it’s great to be home!

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