Saturday, July 2, 2016

June 2016--Travels

The first month of summer absolutely flew by.  We have had travels, meetings, retreats, camp outs, service projects, science/art workshops, swim lessons, and lots of appointments (ortho, physicals, eye exams, etc).  

So, for travels and meetings...

The URC had Synod meetings in Grand Rapids the week of June 13.  Russ and I flew out a weekend early to visit friends, relatives, and former neighbors.  We landed in Grand Rapids on a Thursday afternoon and, after picking up our rental car, drove to a senior living apartment to visit our elderly neighbor.  She is now 95 and just as sharp as ever.  We then drove to Holland, MI to the Cottonwood Inn Bed and Breakfast. We had a wonderful dinner at Boatwerks right on Lake Macatawa followed by a hike over the dunes to watch the sunset on Lake Michigan.   

Truly waterfront dining!

My calf muscles hurt for days.  This is only a fraction of the stairs.

The next morning, after a wonderful breakfast and great conversation with two other couples staying at Cottonwood Inn, we looked up two special girls who were our former neighbors.  It was so good to see them and give them big hugs!

Russ couldn't be in Grand Rapids without stopping at the seminary and bookstore, so we spent some time there on Friday afternoon.  For supper that evening we had a  mini-reunion with two of Russ' seminary friends (Dave and Ian) and they were able to FaceTime Stan who not able to make it.  

FaceTime with Stan

Russ and I visited Aunt Alyda the following afternoon.  Cousins Dave and Linda also came, and it was good to catch up on their growing families.  For the rest of the weekend we stayed with good friends from the Free Reformed Church, Paul and Laurina.  Russ preached at Mel Trotter on Saturday evening and we worshiped at the FRC for both services on Sunday.   Paul and Laurina invited a few couples to their home Sunday evening which was really a sweet time of fellowship with those who meant so much to us while in Grand Rapids.    On Monday Russ and Paul drove to Grand Haven to pick up bales of hay, so I trekked downtown to visit a dear friend from my Grand Rapids BSF days over her morning coffee break at Spectrum Health.  Russ drove me to the airport on Monday afternoon and picked up his synod delegate at the same time.  Russ' synod meetings were long but uneventful, and he came home late on Saturday evening.  

My flight was not so uneventful; I ended up getting home over 24 hours later than scheduled (Tuesday night).  Thunderstorms over Denver on Monday night prevented us from being able to land.  After circling for over an hour, the plane was diverted to Lincoln, NE for fuel.  We sat in Lincoln for an hour before getting clearance to land in Denver.  Obviously, I missed my flight to Boise, so stood in the United customer service line for over four hours (until 2AM !!) to finally be told that the best they could do was send me Alaska Airline to Seattle in the morning and a late afternoon flight out of Seattle to Boise on Delta.  The recommendation was that perhaps I could try standby for earlier flights to Boise while in Seattle all day.  After dozing in the airport for a few hours, I boarded the plane only to get off an hour later due to mechanical issues.  The plane ultimately was delayed 6.5 hours, and I got to Seattle at 3:00PM.  I hurried to the Delta concourse to make my connection only to find that flight delayed 2.5 hours.  By this time I thought I was in a bad dream!  So thankful to finally arrive home late Tuesday night.

On the ground in Lincoln my attendant call light malfunctioned and would not stop dinging.  Because it was an annoyance to EVERYONE on the plane we were thankful for the MacGyver who jimmied a piece of cardboard along the side of the button and kept it in place with duct tape.  Worked like a charm.

My PTSD from that experience wasn't enough to keep me from flying two weekends later to my cousin Jason's wedding.  Everything on the way out worked like clockwork--I flew into O'Hare, Renee and Andy picked me up, Mom and Dad picked me up in Dekalb, and we made the drive to Lafayette, IN.  (The Chicago traffic wasn't great, but we weren't in a hurry so it wasn't too big a deal).  It was so good to see all my aunts and uncles again and also just to spend time with Mom and Dad.  We spent Sunday night with my cousin Joel and Shelayne near DeMotte, IN.  After a great breakfast at the Cowfe on FairOaks Farms, Mom and Dad dropped me back off at O'Hare.  Everything was going smoothly until I boarded the plane. Evidently, the wrong catering carts were put on the plane.  By the time we waited for the new ones I had missed my connection to Boise in Salt Lake City.  Since it was Delta's issue they put me up in a hotel in SLC that night and Russ made sure I was on the first flight out to Boise the next morning!  Not sure I want to fly anytime soon, but maybe after the first 12-hour day of car travel with five kids, I will be writing odes to the airlines again?  Or not.

Who would have thought these little straws for the the kids from the Cowfe gift shop would be such a hit!  

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