Monday, January 24, 2011

As Frosty would say: "Happy New Year!"

Never mind the fact that we're more than 3 weeks into the new year... it's the thought that counts.

Typically when I go blog AWOL I pop back in to say I don't know where the time has gone, I've been laying low, blah, blah, blah. This time I can say I know exactly where the time has gone and I have NOT been laying low. Instead it's been: funeral, near funeral, the court house - twice, and cootieville. Stories? I've got 'em. It's gonna take a few days, but I'll try and take them chronologically.

First, the funeral.

My uncle (my mother's brother) passed away shortly after Thanksgiving. Sixteen years my mother's senior and suffering from Alzheimer's, his death was not unexpected but sad all the same. He was a gentleman to the core, beloved by many and adored by my mother. Fortunately, my parents had flown to Texas to visit him just days before his passing and I know that visit was a gift to them.

When I got the call that my uncle had died my initial reaction was that as much as I wanted to, I could not make the trip for the funeral. I won't bore you with the details, but I felt there was just too much stuff going on and no way I could leave town for three days. I tried to make peace with that decision but could not escape the knowledge that there has never been a time that my parents have not dropped everything to come to my aid. Seeing my internal struggle, PB looked at me and said, "Go."

I'm so glad that I went.

Because it was fun.

Just fun.

Fun, fun, fun.

Can I say that about a funeral? Because I just did. Because it was.

Sweet mercy, it was fun.

Can I tell you about my flight? Oh, let me tell you about the flight.

My sister, EC, and I were supposed to fly out together: Orlando to Houston (or was it Dallas?) to El Paso. I called EC the morning of our flight to coordinate our trip to the airport only to find out the plague had descended on her house and she was in the middle of puke fest 2010.

She didn't think she should fly.

Um, no honey, you shouldn't fly. You shouldn't be sitting on the same airplane as me, breathing the same recycled air with me, sharing an arm rest with me... I mean, no darling, you shouldn't fly in your condition. You'd be miserable.

And she really would've been miserable because the flight was CRAZY.

We left Orlando 45 minutes late which made me nervous because I only had an hour layover in Houston (or was it Dallas?). I really started to panic when the pilot announced the flight was going to take a little longer than planned because we were going to have to fly over a storm. I kept texting PB and telling him to pray, pray, pray that I would somehow make my connection. I had a sudden onset of double restless leg syndrome because I knew that I would be up the creek if I missed my next flight. Given the late hour and the fact that I was flying to El Paso (not exactly known as a travel hub), I knew my connection was my only chance to make it to the funeral on time. I might've been rocking back and forth a wee bit as I prayed that not only would my fanny but also my checked bag somehow, someway make the connection.

I think I made my seat mate a little bit nervous.

As we landed the flight attendant announced that our connecting flights were being held but we would have to hurry and there was no guarantee that we would make it. The map in my trusty Sky Mall magazine made it clear I was going to see quite a bit of the airport as I ran through three concourses to get to my gate. There's no way to recreate my mad sprint for you other than to say that I ran faster than I've ever run in my life. I ran down one escalator only to have to run up another one because I shouldn't have run down the first one to begin with. My lungs were about to explode.

And did I mention that I had to pee like the race horse I looked like?

EC could've made that dash without breaking a sweat but I'm pretty sure she would've tossed her cookies somewhere between concourse B and C.

I made it to the gate, thrust my ticket at the gate agent who told me that not only had I made my flight, but they would be holding the plane for a few other passengers which meant, hallelujah, I would get to use a real bathroom before strapping in.

My bladder might've been relieved, but I was still recovering from my run as I walked through first class into regular class when a priest (A PRIEST!) stopped me and told me that he wasn't going to be usinghis seat "up there" and would like me to have it.

"Up there" being first class.

I was still breathing pretty heavy and now I had a look of utter confusion on my face as he spoke to me. I'm pretty sure he must've considered it a part of his ministry to look for the most frazzled passenger and bless them with a seat up front.

That would be me.

So I made it, my bag made it, and I almost kissed a priest.

And that was just the flight.

The funeral was a lovely and simple celebration of my uncle's life including the best eulogy I've ever heard. Oh, and one dear soul asked me if I was my 85 year old uncle's widow. Um, gross.

And then the fun began.

My sister, Ma Bell, had flown in from South Carolina so we did a bunch of family bonding as my parents drove us around Texas and New Mexico for a day and a half visiting some of the places they frequented with my uncle and aunt over the years.

There was an attempted border crossing (US to Mexico):

I sent a picture to one of my friends who texted me back that my sister and I would be the only ones heading in that direction.

We did the tourist bit, and we ate amazing food.

There were fluatas and flan. I'll just leave it at that.

Yes, I had fun at a funeral. Lots and lots of fun. And I hope that whenever my time comes someone will say the same thing about my funeral.


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