09/27/2017 The photo and quote were on the wall at Emily’s home, I felt it was appropriate to use it on this blog.
The day before I was to leave the island I was down at the pool. I went to lock the gate open with the hook and eye that Bill installed on it to hold it open so the dogs could go in and out. When I went to place the hook in the eye, there was something in it. I pulled it out and just about died. It was Lola’s whole pinky toenail, totally ripped off her toe. She compulsively jumps over the gate in her effort to always be first and must have caught it and just torn it right out. I can’t fathom how much that must have hurt her. We started doctoring her immediately. Great, I’m leaving tomorrow and need to worry about this. Bill was Lola’s nurse for the week and I’m happy to say it’s all healed up. I started her on cephalexin immediately so there wouldn’t be any infection and she wore a sock and the cone of shame for 9 days.
My trip to the US began on an excellent note, I was upgraded to First class on the Houston to Baltimore route.
Excellent, free wine but no food. I got to Baltimore, got my bags, got my rental car and drove to the hotel I was staying at for the night. When I went to check in she said my reservation was for Sunday night, not Saturday. It actually was 1:30AM Sunday morning. When I made the reservation on Expedia before I confirmed online, I called the hotel and asked the person who answered the phone about it. He said, no, it would be for Sunday night, not Saturday because Saturday ended at midnight. So I bought the reservation. The girl at the desk said, “well, actually, it still is Saturday.” I see her point, but it wasn’t. I told her I spoke to a male at the desk and he said to make the reservation for Sunday. She said the hotel was full and there were no single bed rooms available. A room with 2 beds was $50.00 more. Seeing as how it would be 2 AM before I even got to the room and planned on leaving by 10 AM I could see no reason to pay for a bed I wouldn’t touch. I was really nice to the girl, explained where I came from and that I would be in the room a short time. She finally gave in and put me in the 2 bed room. I was so excited I gave her a nice tip.
I got up in the morning, showered and set off for my sisters house. Missy called Mom and Dad and they wanted me to come for brunch so I hustled over to their place. They were waiting in the area by the dining room. They both look really good and were extremely happy to see me. We sat down to eat near the salad/fruit bar. Dad got up with me to help me get some food, like I need help. He kept trying to get me to have some milk or tomato juice. Never in my life have I liked either of them, nor did I want any, especially since what he was trying to get me to drink was ranch dressing and french dressing. They were in the big plastic bottles with the red pour spouts. I told him I thought they were salad dressing but he said they were milk. We had a good breakfast but while we were sitting there Mom was freaking out over some lady who was taking all of this food back to her room in to go boxes. I tried to tell her not to worry about it, she wasn’t paying for it. She was relentless and very loud about it. I think since she is hard of hearing she doesn’t realize how loud she speaks. It was an experience for sure.
We went back up to their apartment and visited for awhile. Missy was having us for dinner that evening so I got Mom and Dad together, ran a few errands for them on the way and went to Missy’s home, less than 10 minutes away. We had a great meal there. Mark and Missy were astounded at how alert Mom and Dad were and that they seem to have changed after Ashley’s wedding the previous weekend. It’s the first they have been out to a real social gathering in quite some time (their choices not to socialize). Mark and Missy and I stayed up for awhile after Miss and I took Mom and Dad home, chatting about the situation with them and coming to the realization, it is what it is.
The next morning I headed to TJ Maxx, oh how I’ve missed that store. I shopped for a few hours but felt guilty the whole time I was there so I left (after buying a few things) and went to visit Mom and Dad.
I asked Mom if she wanted to go shopping, she did, of course. I said she had to take her walker, she said, “your Father will be fit to be tied.” (We have some Pennsylvania Dutch in us). My Mother has a bad knee and she’s NOT a knee surgery candidate, she should be using a walker, but my Dad won’t allow it. He said she looks stupid and it embarrasses him to be seen with her. OMG OMG OMG. I said that I didn’t care and he could deal with me. We got off the elevator and she didn’t know which way to go to get outside, there are no signs at all. I figured it out and once we got there, VR (my Dad) was wandering around. He walked outside with her to wait while I brought the car around. When she got in my car she said he told her she looked stupid with a walker, she looks like an old lady. For shits sake, she IS an old lady, she’s 92.
I wanted to go to Target so we set the GPS and were off. We shopped for a little bit, she bought him 5# of M&M’s. Then we went back to the grocery near where they live. She was looking all over for cannoli but ended up buying eclairs and coke for VR. Eclairs, Cannoli, not the same.
They wanted me to go to the dining hall with them for dinner. I was introduced to everyone there as their OLDER daughter who lives on an island. I was thankful that this year Roatan had not moved, last year it was in the Pacific Ocean. Or so my mother thought, geography was never a strong subject for her. While waiting to be seated 4 ladies came in, all with walkers, all in a line. Dad said, “look at those lazy women, they could walk if they wanted to, they’re just lazy.” I was appalled. I told him he didn’t know if they could walk without them or not and it was not nice to judge them for using a walker.
After we were seated I went to get some fruit and Dad once again offered me milk (ranch dressing). During the meal he asked me when I started wearing glasses, I said 5th grade, don’t you remember? I wouldn’t leave the bathroom at 4 Mile elementary and they had to call Mom to come over. He was off on another subject by then. We were joined by a man at dinner and neither Mom nor Dad spoke to him so I started a conversation with the man. He had some interesting stories and every now and then he would say something that piqued their interests, like eating at Horn and Hardart in NYC. Then they had something to say. That evening Dad wanted ice cream. It was not served fast enough and he filed a complaint. OMG OMG OMG. Let me also say my Father drinks 3-4 cans of coke a day. He NEVER drank soft drink and he eats M&M’s by the pound. Mom says she buys 7# bags for him. The man does not have a single speck of fat on his body and you could probably bounce a bowling ball off of his abdomen. No, I did not try.
I left after dinner and went back to my sisters. They told me some stories and I shared some thoughts with them. This was Monday night, I was still feeling good.
Tuesday I was driving to Silver Springs proper to meet Barry, one of Trace’s best friends from Williamsport. On the way there I stopped by Mom and Dad’s. Mom was in bed. I asked Dad what was wrong and he said, she’s sick. I said does she have an upset stomach, he grimly replied, she’s sick. I’m all like, WTH? Does she have a headache, is she having trouble breathing? He said, SHE’S SICK. I said, fine, I’ll stop on my way back through. Oscar the grouch personified.
Barry (Trace’s friend) and I have been friends on FB for a few years and he wants to come visit us and get certified. We met at a Thai place that was super easy for me to find. How did I live in the US as a young mother without GPS? What wasn’t easy was figuring out how to do the bar code scan parking. I got the app installed, set up a pay from account and then got frustrated and went to a bicycle shop for change. She gave me a $2.00 roll of nickels, it worked. Barry and I had a great lunch, reminisced about many things from Pa. and discussed the best time for him to visit. After we said good-bye I was on my way back to visit with my parents.
I walked in and there Mom was at the counter, cutting up an orange. I said, “You’re up, are you feeling ok?” She replied, “I’m fine, your Father told me to go back to bed this morning, so I did.” I asked if she would jump off the balcony if he told her to and got a dirty don’t be stupid look. Why did he so gloomily say, She’s Sick? I lost brain cells while there. Soon after I got there Missy arrived too. I had messaged her and relayed the scenario. She called and Dad told her Mom was sick and in bed. SHE WAS NOT SICK. Maybe he has Munchausen’s syndrome? Miss left and I got to go to dinner with my folks again. While I was eating lunch with Barry my throat felt scratchy, I knew I was coming down with something. After eating with Mom and Dad I went back to Missy’s, took some cold drugs and went to bed.
I felt worse in the morning so I went to Macy’s. Isn’t that the cure for sickness? I needed something magic to suck my gut in for my class reunion dress. I found something that reduced my fat by 1/4″ so I bought it, 2 bras and 5 pair of undies (which are all too big, they look like something my grandmother wore). The lady at Macy’s said if I used my Macy’s card I would save $80.00. I haven’t used that card for 4 years. They reopened it for me and I did save a little over $80.00, that’s a lot.
I left Macy’s, picked up my dress at the cleaners and went to my sister’s. I thought I should stay away from Mom and Dad for a day, maybe a mental health break. Miss and Mark cooked a good dinner, I organized my stuff (Amazon Prime is my middle name) and went to bed.
Thursday I went over to Mom and Dad’s a little later in the morning. Mom wanted to go to CVS to buy some miracle anti aging creme (she’s 92, remember). She’s addicted to that stuff and let me tell you, it does NOT work. I took her to the grocery again and spent some time with them in the evening. I told them I was leaving in the morning to meet my friend Stan at BWI but I would stop and say goodbye before I left. Missy and Mark took me out for dinner that night to a great restaurant that I think we went to a long time ago.
After that I made sure I had everything organized, stuff I needed for Williamsport and my other suitcase with things for Roatan.
I said good-bye to Miss the night before and Mark carried my bags out in the morning. I drove to BWI, got there on time, called the FBO and told them where I was so they could pick me up to meet Stan in his plane.
We made it to Williamsport around 1 and drove around for awhile. Stan stopped by his parents graves then we drove past my old house on Edercrest Rd.
We then stopped at the Bullfrog Brewery for some lunch. Stan parked 3′ from the curb so I told him to move the car closer. He did but forgot to put $$ in the meter so we came out to a ticket. Simple things.
We drove around a bit more and then checked into the old City Hall. They renovated the building into rooms and some businesses. It’s a pretty nice place, especially for Williamsport.
We arrived at our reunion spot around 5 PM. It was at the old Shore Acres, my old stomping grounds, now nicely renovated into a busy restaurant called Pier 87. There is a lot of inside seating, seating on the porch and outside seating by the Loyalsock Creek. It’s owned by young Frankie Morrone and his business partner. Frankie and his parents, Barb and Frank are all long time friends. I tended bar for the Morrone’s at the Pub and The Old Corner many moons ago. Some of my favorite people.
A few of my girlfriends come out to see me there, wish I could have visited with them longer but I had my high school friends to visit with too. A lot of our classmates were there setting up for our party that began at 6.
I was pretty under the weather and the night got quite chilly down by the water so we left around 10 and went back to the hotel. I took some meds and sacked out. The next morning I met Stan and we walked to a place called the Sawhorse for breakfast. It was across from Lycoming College. We had a good breakfast and were trying to decide what to do for the day. On our way back to town we noticed a farmer’s market so we walked through there. Stan bought some pickled jams and jellies to take home.
Then he went to Helmrich’s seafood for smoked shad. UGH, my kids loved that stuff.
Our original plan was to go to Montreal to see my college friend for lunch but Stan left his passport in New Hampshire. We called Jan and Jerry to see if they wanted to ride to State College with us for lunch. Jan is Stan’s cousin and Jan and Jerry happen to be some of my best friends from Williamsport, our kids grew up together. I’ve known them since the early 70’s. I still was feeling pretty crappy and had no voice and a super sore throat, but it was a sunny day and it was nice to be with Jan and Jer.
We had lunch at the Tavern, an old restaurant in State College that has been there for years. After we ate Stan wanted to walk up on campus so he and Jer did that and Jan and I sat and shared photos and talked.
Our class reunion gig began at 6 PM so we started our way back to Williamsport. Jan and Jer came into the City Hall and checked out each of our rooms, then we said good-bye to them and got ready for our big party.
We decided to walk over to the hotel where the party was, it was only 3 blocks. It was the first I’ve worn shoes other than sandals in 4+ years, I wasn’t sure I could do it but it was just like riding a bike.
The reunion was a lot of fun, Ginny and the crew worked non-stop for a year dreaming and planning. They did a great job. It was so nice to see people I’ve not seen since 1967, yet still have a connection to. It was a wonderful evening, I’m so glad I made the trip.
I was feeling pretty crappy so we walked back to the hotel around 11. I took a hot bath, soaked my face with hot washcloths, took more meds and put on leggings, a long sleeved shirt, socks and went to bed. The next morning we drove out through Bloomingrove Rd and Poco Farm Rd, stopped by Cicily’s but she wasn’t home. I wanted to see my brother P.J. before I left town so we met him and Devon at Perkins at 10. I saw them come in and got up to greet them and on the way back to the table Jen and Missy Jackson spotted me. My niece and her daughter, so good to see the two of them, absolutely adore them. We had a nice breakfast with PJ and Devon, they were talking about coming down and Devon said she wants to. We would love to have them visit with us, Devon is an excellent swimmer, I think she would enjoy the ocean.
After that we drove back down to Montoursville to the airport for my ride back to Baltimore.
I got to BWI and the driver for the FBO (flight bureau operations) took me over to United. I checked in and went to my gate to wait. We should have been boarding by 4 and we weren’t. Then they announced a gate change and said the plane was late. Great, I had a short connection in Newark for my flight to Los Angeles. I talked to the gate agent and she said we had plenty of time to make the connection. She lied. She also forgot to tell us we had to take a stupid slow bus to our gate which was forever and a day away. When I got out of the bus was the time boarding closed. I do not run, I can’t run. I walked as fast as I possibly could, sure I was going to stroke out at any minute. They were waiting for me to close the gate, I was the last person on the plane. PHEW, didn’t miss my flight to LAX.
BUT…about 2 hours into the flight the flight attendant came on the speaker to say we had to make an emergency landing, somewhere. We were leaking hydraulic fluid in the left wing. Hmm. I was sitting over the L wing. Great. Then she came back and said we would be landing in Chicago and would need to stow everything, take off our glasses, pens out of pockets and they demonstrated crash position landing. The two young girls next to me were freaking out, the one was near tears, other people were crying. It was pandemonium. I got my phone out despite them telling us to turn them off and stow them. I signed up for United’s wi-fi, paid $9.95 for 30 min and messaged Bill, Mr. Pilot. I told him the hydraulics were leaking and he said they are redundant. What does that mean? He said there are backup hydraulics on everything. I asked why the flight attendant made it doom and gloom and we’re all going to die? He said procedural. I got the two girls calmed down somewhat. As we neared Chicago I told them we would be met by fire trucks and ambulances and that we would more than likely come in hard and fast. As we were on final the attendants were strapped in yelling BRACE BRACE BRACE. It was getting ridiculous. I was in the window seat and could see all the vehicles racing down the runway while still in the brace position. We landed fine, no issues at all. I told the girls that we were ok, no worries, the one started crying again. They shut the plane down and we were towed to the gate.
I knew I was going to miss my 11:39PM flight from LAX to SAL (El Salvador). As soon as I stepped off the plane I called the Premier desk at United. After 41 minutes the girl booked me on a later flight at 1:30 AM out of LAX to El Salvador. Turns out I missed that flight too. We arrived in LAX about 10 minutes after my flight to SAL left. By this time my butt was dragging, I barely had a voice and I felt like absolute crap. Again I called the Premier desk at United and she said they had me booked on the 11:39PM flight to SAL on Monday evening. I gave her my baggage claim checks and she verified that my luggage was at Avianca (my flight to SAL and then to Roatan was on Avianca) being held for me. She told me to walk to the end of the hall and turn R for the customer service desk. I approached the desk and the guy said, “are you Debbie?” They had 2 nights room vouchers and $60.00 worth of food vouchers waiting for me. I waited a whole hour to get to the hotel. Luckily I was the last one on the bus which meant I was the first one off so I didn’t have to wait too long to get checked in. My room was freezing, I had no toothbrush and only the clothes on my back. I wore them to bed.
The next morning I got a message from Cathilee who lives 20 minutes from the airport saying she was coming to get me. Cathilee picked me up and we went to the school her 2 youngest grands go to. She called Poppy down to meet me and this is how she did her hair.
After that we went to Cathilee’s daughter Emily’s amazing home. Lucky day for me, I got to meet all 4 of the gorgeous Power kids. I felt like I knew them already.
After that Tim and Cathilee took me to Terranea for lunch. It was AHMAZING! It’s where Mike Nelson filmed Sea Hunt. We started lunch off with the best soft pretzel I have ever had in my whole existence! OMG.
After we left there we went back to Cathilee and Tim’s home and relaxed with them and sweet Ginger, what a funny dog. She craves attention. I got a toothbrush from Cathilee and brushed my teeth before we went to meet the Power family at a sushi place for Hudson’s birthday. Emily and I chatted about them all coming to visit, there will be 11 but if Latifa and her crew come too it will be 16. I would love it. I feel like I know all of them from FB and Instagram so it was another reunion of sorts.
After dinner we went to Cathilee’s and they called an UBER to take me to LAX. The girl came on time and dropped me at Avianca. The lines were huge, 150+ people waiting to check in. I noticed a Star Gold Alliance sign, called the Premier desk again and they said to go there. I was the 3rd person in line. She checked me in gave me my boarding passes, called baggage to retag my bags and I was off to my gate. I have never been so happy to board a plane in my life.
I can’t begin to thank Tim and Cathilee and Emily and kids for their hospitality, I honestly felt like part of the family. I love all of them!
My flight to San Salvador was fine, my flight to Roatan was on time and all I wanted to do was go home and see my dogs.
I slept some the day I got home and went to bed early that night. The next day I went to the clinic and they advised me to get a z-pack and take it. I did and am feeling so much better. It’s really a drag when you go to your class reunion and don’t have the voice or the stamina to uphold your riotous reputation. It was still fun and I’m happy I was able to see my parents, sister and brother and niece and all of the people who put up with my shenanigans during our school years.