Alarm goes off at 4:30 am. We turned the light off at 11 pm last night but I didn’t have the uneven sleep I have been having; in fact I was so sound asleep the alarm was a complete surprise. Coffee. Shower. Dress. Toiletries packed and suitcase zipped with some difficulty. I am at 47 pounds having relieved Mitch’s suitcase of a few items to get his weight to 47 pounds. (Our suitcases weigh 13 pounds each empty!) We may have to shift things a bit to get under our EasyJet limit.
The remaining functioning bathroom has to be cleared out before we leave so I make a few trips between the bathroom and guest room and laundry room to accomplish that. As with everything in our house (and more so during the remodeling) this means going up and down stairs.
Despite all of this activity I am barely able to put together coherent sentences. I am not a morning person and have become extremely addicted to caffeine. Without restful sleep this is a trifecta that makes my mind active—even agile—but makes oral communication a challenge for the first hour or so after I get up.
With luggage ready, I don my coat and call the elevator to street level, grab the pieces of mail that need to go out and run to the mailbox at the corner. It feels good to get a bit of exercise so I also run home—uphill. The car taking us to the airport has arrived so I pull the bags from the elevator and hand them off to the driver (who may have been a little confused having seen me run down the street!). We set the house alarm, lock the door and climb in the car.
We are flying to Barcelona via JFK, then London Heathrow to Barcelona. So this is just the first leg, which will put us at JFK this afternoon. The unseen brilliance of this is that we only had to be at the airport one hour ahead because it is a domestic flight. We have a seamless security experience—I had a brief moment of disquiet when I realized the newborn in line behind us was going to be on our flight—and on to Peet’s for more coffee, a banana and a bran muffin. Time to down my espresso and banana before boarding. And the annoying middle-aged couple boards for first class, making me delighted we didn’t upgrade!
Mitch is in an exit row so I get to board early with him. I am sitting in the row in front of him so I can look at the window. It is not cloudy for the first hour or so. The phrase “alluvial plain” keeps going through my brain as we go over mountain ranges and alluvial plains. I love the geography/geology from planes. I can no longer always remember terms learned in high school and college classes, but I can picture textbooks explaining the courses of rivers, geologic formations and structures, and even cloud formations as we pass overhead.
I am plugged into my iPod with noise-cancelling headphones as I write this. I begin most days with Bill Frisell or Brad Meldau, or one of a handful of other jazz musicians. Quiet creative sounds to ease me into the day. I am waiting for Mitch to get his credit card from the overhead so he can unlock my Nook (don’t ask us why) and I can start a vacation read. I am working on a New Yorker (for take off and landing) but I’m in the mood to read a book. I have an audible book when I get ready to knit.
Victory! My Nook is unlocked and I can start my book. I start with The Black Book by Ian Rankin. Sure to be a page-turner. You may wonder why Mitch is involved in my Nook. First, it isn‘t mine. I’ve taken my mother’s. He set it up for her and just used his credit card. I’m waiting for our arrival in NYC when I get a new Nook from Mitch’s BIL.
As we were leaving security and walking to the gate area I noticed that my neck wasn’t actively sore. This is good. My neck has been stiff and sore for at least a year and perhaps two. I am not surprised that finally getting to go on vacation is bringing some relief. We cancelled our planned September trip due to ongoing negotiations on behalf of a client of Mitch’s. We were already a year overdue for a real vacation. Add in that we began a remodeling project at the beginning of December which has left us with no kitchen and a single bathroom (in a 4 story house!). While having one bathroom is not in itself a true hardship, due to our set up, we are always at least one floor from a bathroom, and usually two or three. We’re living in much less space than usual, with stuff piled up around us and plastic walls between us and work areas. Another real estate purchase this fall was perhaps not the best timing! Add in just our usual busy lives and we’ve pretty much been in fried territory.
I began to think about what I want to do on this trip earlier this week. I try not to anticipate too much, but I indulged in a little pondering. While I love shopping and museums and walking in cities, all I could really wrap my head around was red wine at lunch, siestas, and tasty dinners, followed by a full night sleep. Now that I’m on the plane, I think I might be able to consider museums and shopping.