When my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I told him I wanted to go home to see my family. I wasn’t thinking that this was a reasonable request so I just laughed and went about my day. He purchased round trip tickets for me to go to California to visit from November 30th thru December 12th. I was surprised and excited because I haven’t seen my family in a few years. I would be making my trip alone because my husband had work and my son had school. I was nervous how they would fare for 12 days without me around, but I figured they would handle it and no one would starve to death in my absence.
I posted on social media that I was coming out for a visit to alert my family members that if they wanted to see me, that would be the time to request me to drop by for a visit. My niece and I did a countdown to my visit and everyone seemed excited for me to be coming out.
The day of my departure arrived. I left on an afternoon flight, so I didn’t have to be up super early. Hubby took me to the airport where I had my purse and one rolling travel duffel bag. I didn’t have to check it at the counter, so we walked around the shops and waited until I had to go to security before parting ways.
I got on the shuttle that took me to the TSA area for security checks. This time around I thought I was prepared. I had slip on shoes on so I wouldn’t have to untie and tie them going through the check point. I only had my purse and one bag, so I considered that a win with the luggage. Well that is until I went through the bag scan section. Apparently my bag was flagged for suspicious liquid contents. I was asked to step aside after I went through the body scanner. When the TSA attendant brought my duffel over to the table, he said rather abruptly “Don’t touch anything on this table, keep your hands back”. I stood there while they wiped my bag down with powder residue wipes. Then he rifled through it until he got to the culprit, my toiletries bag. Inside that bag were the usual, toothbrush/paste, makeup, and my face wash. The attendant pulled the face wash out of the bag and said “You can’t have this, it’s not regulation size.” I stood there and was irritated that I was being put through all this for a friggin bottle of face wash. I hadn’t even opened it yet, it was brand new. I have to admit I was snarky with him and said “Yeah cause I’m gonna hijack your plane with my Aveeno face wash”, I think I heard my eyes roll after I said that. He responded back “That’s not funny ma’am”. I opted for them just to “toss” the face wash as I didn’t see the point in mailing it to my destination and I didn’t have time to go back downstairs to the check in counter to declare it and check it there. This is the second time I’ve traveled and had my face wash of all things confiscated at TSA. I should have known that bottle was too big, but honestly I didn’t even think about it at the time of purchase.
Beside that small hiccup, my flights were smooth and transitions were easy I flew American Airlines this time. The first flight from Tampa to Dallas was on one of their new planes. Talk about high tech! The back of each seat had a small TV screen in it that not only allowed you to watch media during the flight, but it’s also how we watched the security video before take off. The seats seems slightly larger and there seemed to be more leg/foot room. I was comfy and I slept through most of that flight. Landing in Dallas I had a bit of a layover so I decided to grab some grub. Most terminal fare is not anything I can eat. My food allergies make it difficult to have any fast food. I found a sushi restaurant and decided that sounded so good. I purchased two sushi rolls and some miso soup. This restaurant did things different though, their miso soup had this sea grass in it instead of the standard seaweed pieces. It was delicious. My rolls were wrapped well and very fresh. I delighted in my food for so long that by the time I had paid and moved into the gate waiting area my plane was boarding. I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t have time, so I boarded and figured my bladder would wait until we were in the air. My bladder was angry. The seat belt was pushing into it, the takeoff made my stomach drop and I was miserable until we reached cruising altitude. I managed to get a flight attendant’s attention and asked her if she could tell me as soon as it was safe for me to get up because I really needed to use the bathroom. We hadn’t quite reached cruising altitude when she tapped me and said “Come on.” I have never been so relieved to have access to a bathroom in my life. The rest of the flight was spent sleeping and I did a little bit of reading.
I landed at the Fresno airport and my niece’s were there to pick me up because my sister was at work. It was like old times, we were joking around and laughing. I always have fun with the girls when I’m there. I even made a stop to get my chai latte at Starbucks so I would have a little bit of a pick me up before the car ride to their place.
I stayed with my sister who lives in Visalia. Her house is so nice, even if the bedrooms don’t have lights in them. The house was built in the 1960’s so the bedrooms did not have ceiling lights, they used lamps. The bedroom I was using didn’t have a lamp so my niece had to hunt one down for me. I got a bedroom all to myself and I settled in as much as I could. Later that evening my niece and I went to go pick up my sister from work. She was surprised to see me because she thought that I would have been in bed already with it being around midnight. I told her I slept on my flights, so that I was tired but not too tired.
While I was there I visited my father. He is sporting a ZZ top style beard now which was a complete shock to me. I’ve never seen him with that level of facial hair! We sat at his dining room table and chatted for almost 3 hours. I could tell that he really wanted to get onto watching his football game, so I left and headed 4 minutes up the road to my other sister’s house. She and I decided to go get some food when her hubby got home from work. He was tired and didn’t join us. We went to a Mexican restaurant. I was worried when we walked in because food allergies mean that most Mexican dishes are not on my list of things to eat. However this place completely customized a plate for me that consisted of refried beans, Spanish rice, an enchilada and a taco. I admit I pigged out. I had no regrets and I ate everything on that plate. There was no dairy, no gluten, no onions, no garlic and no other allergens that would irritate my stomach. While we were there the brother of her boss came in and said “You two look so much alike, you must be her sister.” She introduced me and said “Yes, she’s my sister.” We both favor our dad in the face but she does have some features of her mom too. (I have a different mother).
I was planning on going to visit my brother once she and I were done eating but he’d had an accident earlier that day as he was trying to get Christmas decorations out of his attic. He fell through the attic floor and landed in his living room. He was scratched up and very bruised and welted. I didn’t figure he was going to be up for visitation with that incident taking place, so I just drove back to Visalia and spent the evening with my nieces.
While there I rented a vehicle to be able to get around on my own for a few days and not have to use my sister’s car. I ended up getting a Jeep Patriot. I was brand new and only had like 159 miles on it when I rented it. I was the first customer to drive it and it still had that “new car” smell. I loved how well it drove and the U-Turn ability was amazing considering it’s size. It was spacious and I loved having cruise control (we don’t have cruise control on our car at home). I almost felt sad having to take it back, but I couldn’t afford to keep it the entire time I was there.
12 days flew by but yet they seemed to go by so slow at times too. I ended up getting really sick the 5th day I was there and my cold just got worse and worse. I spent most of my days on my sister’s couch binge watching shows with her, playing with the toddlers and taking lots of medicine trying to knock my symptoms out.
We had an adventure getting Christmas trees. Did you know that you can fit two 7ft Christmas trees in the trunk of a Chrysler 500 series? For those of you who don’t know it’s a luxury car and beautiful as it is, it is not meant to haul trees. Now we had to use twine to tie the trunk down to one of the trees in order to keep it from popping up while we drove. Luckily we didn’t have far to go to get back to her house. We drove like 2 miles an hour the whole time and my panicked sister kept yelling at my niece who was sitting in the backseat “Are the trees still there? Is everything ok?” I didn’t do much but sit in the front seat and giggle the whole time we drove the trees back home.
Overall it was a fun trip. I slept on both flights back home due to my cold but despite being sick for most of the trip we still had a great time. I did mention however that I would not be visiting again during winter. It was too cold for this Floridian and next time I’ll visit in summer so I can actually go outside and the air won’t hurt my face.