I may or may not have mentioned that I had to go to Jersey City for a business trip this past Thur & Fri. Not too bad. But not a place I plan to visit when given options. There were some cool parts. Like every time I had to take a car service from my hotel to the office, I had to drive by the Statue of Liberty. I mean, it's closer to the Jersey side of things and you can see her very well from the highway. THAT was cool. Especially now that I live so far from her. The other cool part was the people. I work for corporate America - dull dull dull. But the people I met at this conference were all very nice and personable. And of course, the best part is all the free perks like all expenses paid, free dinner out with some of those people, nice hotel, car services. That's fun. Spending someone else's money is always fun.
Escaping New Jersey. There was a challenge. I didn't watch the news at all last week. So I had no clue there were all sorts of crazy storm systems in the north east. These were the same systems that just cause unseasonable tornadoes in the southeast. Good fun, that. Add to that that I was trying to fly out of Newark on a Friday night? Yah. Not really a good plan. But I wasn't going to stay and be flying for work on my BIRTHDAY.
I might as well have. Because I ended up flying on my birthday ANYway.
My original flight was supposed to leave Newark at 7:50pm. As we drove to the airport, another coworker who lives in Atlanta was telling me her flight was delayed until 10:30pm. I called my airline and everything was on time. I was smug. When I got to my gate a full 2.5 hrs early, I was psyched. I can kill time with my MP3 player and texting all my friends. No problem. I kept hearing announcements over the really really bad PA system saying something about delays up to 2 hrs. But our marquee keeps showing 7:50 departure. I wasn't worried. Well, those announcements finally became clear. There were delays on the runways - in and out - that were causing delays up to two hours. Ugh. At some point during my MP3 browsing and my friend texting, our gate's marquee suddenly changed to 9:35pm departure. Still, that's not so bad. I can take it.
At this point, I thought I'd get some food and change from my work clothes into my jeans. Yah. Well, the ladies' room was flooded. So you couldn't put your bags on the floor. And unless I was going to spontaneously grow 2 more arms? I wasn't going to be able to change. So business casual clothes (size TWELVE, again, thank you very much) was fine with me. I got some pizza and some putrid lemon ade that I ended up tossing. I played through all the songs I really wanted to hear on my MP3 player. I had texted everyone that wouldn't kill me for it about 4 times. I checked my email via my cell phone (love that feature). I called people. I slept. I walked around to wake my butt cheeks up. I chatted w/ people. I stared out the window. The marquee still said 9:35 but as we approached 9:35, there was no activity.
At 9:35, they finally informed us that our flight crew had been delayed in Tampa and was in the air, on their way. Expected arrival was 10:04pm. Then they'd get on the plane, do their safety checks and we'd board. So I'm thinking 11:00pm boarding at best. 10:00 rolls around and no flight from Tampa. 10:30pm or so, the flight got in but still no flight crew. I figured when they got to our gate, we'd all break into applause or something. Nope. We were too tired and trying too hard not to be pissy.
We finally got on the plane...I don't even know when. I think it was around 11:30pm. Keep in mind I had been sitting there since before 5pm. And there had been people already there when I got there. I was in the first row of the coach (queen of the po' people). So I waited for everyone to board. As I took my place in line, this drunk Irish dude (and that's not a stereotype - it's just a fact) offers to let me go ahead of him saying something about beauty before age. I declined and he insisted. I declined again and noticed his boarding pass said row 19. So I pointed out I was in row 5 which in my mind made sense for him to go first. Well, he was flat out drunk and starts going, "Oh WELL. Row FIVE. Well now, aren't YOU special!" It was in total jest but I was thinking, ok....where is THIS gonna go?! I joked that I hadn't meant that I was special and laughed with him. But he kept ribbing me and I was too tired for it but kept laughing uncomfortably - thinking where these well-meaning things can go bad. So he keeps referring to me as "your highness" and "princess" as we make our way down the gangplank. I kept joking that I thought there was going to be a party in aisle 19 - he agreed. Hoo boy. Anyway, he kept poking at me with the whole "your ladyship" and stuff so I finally said, "Be nice! I'm as tired as you and at midnight, it's gonna be my birthday!" Suddenly he grabs me in this sideways hug - almost a head-lock. And he starts kissing the top of my head going, "Well! Happy birthday darlin'! Happy birthday!" The whole group of people around us was cracking up - including me. So I got a few birthday kisses - albeit unwanted - from my drunk Irish "friend". It really was funny once I had some sleep.
So we all get on the plane with no nastiness or complaints to the people manning the gate. I was impressed by that. So I'm sitting there waiting to leave the gate and the pilot informs us that there is over an hour taxi ahead of us due to delayed flights. I would have cried had I had the energy. So at 1am on my birthday, our plane FINALLY took off.
I got home around 4:30am - Central time - 5:30am according to my body time. I couldn't sleep for a while but eventually my body just shut down.
I was awoken by the telephone around 10am. It was my aunt singing happy birthday. They drove from Maine down to Texas to be here today. She was about an hour away. So I got up, showered (in slow motion) and got dressed. That took 2 hrs. Like I said - I was totally in slow-mo.
I'll skip my day - mostly hanging with family and grocery shopping with my adorable boys. Nice and mellow. Just what I needed.
Tonight, my mom hosted a dinner for me. My aunt & uncle were there. My sister and her Ridiculously Tall Husband were there. And me and my boys. The boys had hot dogs. The rest of us feasted on salmon, cheesy potato casserole, green beans with almonds, hot rolls, raw veggies & dip and iced tea. It was amazing. Especially since I've been eating very frugal portions lately in my new attempt at a lifestyle nutrition change. Yah, I'm sitting here typing this with a huge gut sticking out. I can't even PRETEND to suck it in! My best friends (that live 3 doors down from me) came up after dinner. So add 2 more adults and 2 more kids. We all ate cake & ice cream. I got some LOVELY presents, too. I hadn't expected that.
My dad wanted to get me something special. He found me a silver heart-shaped locket with a tiny diamond chip on the front. He painstakingly worked to get teeny tiny pictures of my two gorgeous boys in there. My sister & her Ridiculously Tall Husband got me some lip gloss and some Coco Chanel body lotion - VERY subtle and lovely smell. My aunt & uncle each gave me a book. My boys had made cards for me. The Boy wrote me a poem on one. I have to go get it. Hold on. Keep in mind the names you won't know are Pokemon references.
Cacnea might not know
that it is your birthday, but also
then Pichu, Pikachu, Raichu, and more
could get invited and come in the door
But all of us - you know it's true -
We wish you a happy 42!
And when you are 43,
let's invite Delcatty!
If you want, at 44,
Grottle will come in the door!
And again - this is true,
Have a happy 42!
Lil' Bro's card had cute stickers all over it and my mom had written what he asked her to write. On the front it said, "Happy Birthday Mommy!" Inside it said, "Dear Mommy, I hope you come back for your birthday. Happy birthday! I love you, [Lil' Bro]". My mom tells me he came up to her and said, "Grandma, come here and write these words in this box," and she did.
So I'm sitting here all fat & happy from too much wonderful home-cooked food. And I'm wearing my new locket. Tomorrow, I will probably use my new Coco lotion so everyone at church will wonder why I stink. And I'll probably leave lip gloss on the microphone at church, too.
God - thank you for all of my wonderful friends and family. Amen.