Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Planes, Trains and Fallen Woodpeckers

OK, so there aren't any trains in this particular story, but we almost had a John Candy moment getting to Maine.

We set out on our annual journal on Saturday hoping to get to Portland before the entirety of New England iced over. Or at least that was what the weather people were predicting. As we taxied in Charlotte (you can't get directly therah from herah anymore) I overheard a young woman complaining to someone that her flight to Portland had been cancelled so I was aware before my earbudded companions that we had to regroup.

We opted for forward motion and were able to get to Boston, arriving at midnight. Alison immediately started assigning shifts for who could sleep at the airport and who would guard "our stuff." 'Cause you, know, Mom, we have to be careful." We decided Jeff should be the last one on the wall because he's always up later than we are. I was designated as the weakest link.

But thanks to my currently favorite BIL, his quick thinking (and sibling tracking) wife and excess travel points, we crashed for a few hours at the Logan Airport Hilton. I'm sure it was a lovely hotel. Not sure I'd be able to pick it out of a line up given that we had to get up at Zero Dark 30 to catch a bus to Portland. And then, finally, one apple and 126 hours since our last meal, we arrived at Grandpa's house. 

(Jeff negated my bid to have the taxi make a drive thru run.) His luggage was still in Boston so he was extra cranky, and if you've ever traveled with the Captain, you know Ali and I deserve more in our stockings this year...

It'll go down as one of our more adventurous trips out, but we're all grateful we weren't the girl we met one year who discovered on board that she was headed to Portland, Maine when in fact she wanted to go to Portland, Oregon. While I don't remember her name, I do remember she was training to be a nurse, so if you're ever sick in Portland, Oregon, uh, watch out.

Since arrival, we've shopped like Tasmanian devils, wrapped faster than Jay-Z and generally made a mess of things at Grandpa's house. He's tolerant, thank goodness. Of course, it IS the season and Santa's still watching.

Speaking of messes, Auntie Jen's cookie factory was going great when to our wondering ears did appear a big, fat, thunk against the window. Alison rushed over to find a woodpecker, which we'd just seen nibbling at Jen and Peter's bird feeder. I don't know what they're slipping into that feed, but the woodpecker looked like he'd tied one on and was passed out on the ice-covered deck, wings splayed like Blake Shelton's arms after a night in the honkey-tonk.

Alison was ready to rush out with first aid, but we waited a while and the bird shook itself awake, tested its parts and eventually flew off, a bit wobbly, perhaps, but it got airborne. So we assume it's OK.  A baby squirrel at Grandpa's house kept Ali entertained for a while in the back yard. None of the feed here must be spiked as all the wildlife seems happy and healthy.

Jeff and Ali are glued to the latest Dr. Who marathon so I'm checking our list and trying to be ready for tomorrow. Frankly, I'll be lucky to have put the right tags on the gifts. I did manage a walk this morning. My current theory is that when it's below freezing outside and you move enough to sweat, you've had a fine work-out. We'll see if the scale agrees post-holiday.

Merry Christmas, everyone, near and far. We're blessed to have you in our lives and we hope you know that we know that and are grateful every day.  Wishing you happy travels and healthy and happy new years...

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