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Returning home

Ø August 2-3 Flying home (Friday and Saturday)

Up and dressed, we headed down for our last buffet breakfast. Berries and banana for me, with tea and a croissant. We returned to the room, final ablutions, and zipped the three bags up, slipped our backpacks on and did a final check of the room. Down the stairs, out the door onto the street where we walked over to George Square and got to the #500 bus stop. About a one minute wait, and we boarded. After multiple local stops, we were soon rolling to the airport, arriving at #GlasgowInternational about 9:30. As the departure was scheduled for 1pm, we couldn’t check-in for half an hour, so we rolled the bags around. I had so much nervous energy it was best that I just kept moving.

Check-in at #Delta went smoothly, with only a little juggling of contents to balance the weights. Next through security, where we had to do what just about everyone arriving early had to do – shoes off, pockets empty, fluids and electronics out, not belts, yada yada yada. Then we entered into the mile-long gauntlet of duty free. Mandra found the Scottish bag she’d been searching for and spotting since Edinburgh plus some more stuff. After sitting for a bit, I proposed getting a drink. At the bar, a sign said “No Ice” so there went my idea of a Bloody Mary. So I got a beer, and she asked for a gin and tonic. Her gin was Edinburgh Gin, flavored with rhubarb and ginger; and it came with ice! The flavored gin was a hit, so once we finished, we set out in search of some to bring back.

While she was buying her three-sampler pack, I counted my change and decided I would spend all the coins I had, if possible. Looking for my “Raspberry Shortcake” Cadbury bars proved futile, so I opted instead for a 200g Springbank Single Malt Mature Cheddar. Mandra picked up two other flavors. We headed back to the gate, and my boarding group was called. [I had upgraded with my remaining miles to Economy Plus for the leg room. I had tried to do the same for her, but her ticket class wasn’t eligible.] My seat was by the window, but the space in front was too small for my backpack and I already had the small roller up above (after adjusting a bag that hadn’t been stowed wheels in, but rather horizontally.)

The seat in the middle was empty when the cabin door was closed. We’d received a serving of rosemary nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecan, Brazil) before liftoff. The flight was pretty smooth, except off the western coast of Ireland. I opted to watch two movies, since I so rarely watch any: Peterloo (because of my visit to Manchester) and Star Wars VII-The Force Returns. That was about all the entertainment I needed. About an hour out, they announced we’d be getting in early, so the almost 4-hour layover would be longer at JFK. My seatmate was an Englishwoman who would be spending the weekend in New York with her son, before flying on to Iowa to return home to her husband, who was a (former British) farmer. They’d been in the States 20 years.

#JFKInternational was as expected – a huge terminal with people racing and jostling to get wherever first. Since we had more time than need, we strolled through the corridors, into the kiosks to electronically pass through Immigration and Customs (Mandra had to do some kind of manual process), and the bags got repacked and sent on to the #Orlando flight. Our gate was out at one of the satellite buildings, so we headed out to the middle of the field and began what I felt was yet another interminable wait. Smartly, we decided to eat about 4:30, with me getting a burger and beer, as by 5 the queues at all the restaurants were horrendous. The building was crowded, warm, packed. Finally, our 7:25 Delta flight was called, and we boarded, again with me earlier as I had opted for legroom. A three-hour flight, we got in, retrieved our bags, and found the lift to the hotel’s reception.

Eleven at night, we’d been up just about 24 hours. With both large bags and the little roller open, using some handle bags, we began shuffling around stuff and getting what we needed for the next day. I think we were both so tired that all we really wanted to do was sleep.

When we got up at 7 in the morning, we returned to the airport’s arrivals level (8:15) and caught the shuttle (8:40) to the parking lot where Mandra’s new VW had spent the fortnight in a grassy lot (during Florida’s rainy season.) Once they cleared a path, we headed south, stopping at Sweet Mamas in Lake Nona for breakfast (9:30).

Needing a little protein and carbs, I ordered a corned beef benedict with bananas and OJ. I texted Nancy and confirmed we were on our way. When we got to Ellenton, we pulled into the Chilis lot and started looking for Nancy’s SUV. After 10 minutes, she appeared and I hugged Mandra and was on my way back to Venice.

Undoing all the preventative stuff was the first order of business once Nancy dropped me off at home. Turning the main water feed into the house back on, throw the hot water heater circuit breaker so I’d have water for a shower, set the switch so the freezer would start making ice. Because all my lanai furniture was in the middle of my living area, despite the heat outside, I moved them all back outside. The mailman came by with half my accumulated mail (the earlier half was across the way at my neighbor’s, who was away for the weekend.) What dirty clothing I’d brought back went into the washing machine, and I made a quick run to Publix to get enough to function for a day or two.

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