Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gone but not forgotten...

I posted about our return trip home and the fun weekend after the cruise, but now I see it never actually made it to the site. Hmmm....wonder where it went? No matter, although I didn't save it to Word I think I can still remember what happened two weeks ago. But if I get some points wrong don't go calling Oprah and Larry King on me!

We port in on Friday morning and I wheel mom down to the wheelchair staging area. There is a huge group of people without a chair that need chair assistance in getting off the ship. Thankfully we have our chair and are not giving it up for anything. We are Gold1 for disembarking, which is about the 3rd or 4th group. The first group was supposed to start disembarking around 7:30 (ish). But that time comes and goes. Immigration is being blamed. When actually it is individual people who haven't completed their immigration paperwork that are to be blamed. When it is our turn, they won't let me push mom - I've been pushing her around for 10 days and haven't sent her flying over the side yet, but can't be trusted to push her now, whatever - so a nice young man comes and takes her away. As we get off the gangplank we meet up with Rita and Kadreya. The nice young man parks mom near the luggage and proceeds to help us find our luggage. Now, for those who have never done this before, it is quite a site. You must put your luggage in the hallway outside your stateroom the night before so they can get it all organized and ready to be staged off the ship in morning. When you get off, you enter a HUGE warehouse that is lined with luggage, think 2,000 passengers and quite a few of them have 2 bags each! Each “group” is sectioned off together. As I walk through our section I feel like a Drug dog. Going up and down each row, sometimes more than once, describing our bags to that nice young man. As I point them out, he picks them up and gets them to moms parking place. We gather all 5 bags and drag them and mom through immigration and outside. Down the long hallways and out to the street, I had fabulous luck in finding a van/taxi right away. We walk through a parking lot (thank goodness for wheels on luggage) to the van with the nice young man still in tow. An uneventful drive to the airport where we have plenty of time to wait for our flight. We probably could have made it on the earlier flight had we tried, but we didn’t try and that will come into play later.

Ft. Lauderdale is a wonderful airport. They have free wireless access for us computer nerds that allowed me to get some work done that I didn’t think would happen. (BTW mom, that report was perfect!) However, the girls behind the counter didn’t care one whit about my free Diet Coke card. Back to reality! We sit and wait and read and nap until it is time for our flight, where we sit and read and nap again. We arrive at DTW a little early but are expecting Mr. Shuttle Man to meet us and pick up our luggage for us and take us home. Hmm… no Mr. Shuttle Man. We get our own luggage and wait some more. Hmm…still no Mr. Shuttle Man. The ladies are getting fidgety and upset, so I call the shuttle office to find out what’s going on. “Your group took an earlier flight so we cancelled the 4pm pick up.” “ No, 2 of the 6 from our group took an earlier flight, the rest of us are here and waiting.” “Oh…ok, let me see what I can do.” This is all happening at about 4pm. I have 1 bar on my cell phone and I know that Kadreya will need it to call her son for a ride home when we leave the airport. I see there is a missed call and a voicemail, so I take a risk and check it. Whoo Hoo, Erika is on her way from Indiana early. Our weekend plan is that Gretchen will stay in Detroit and Erika will drive up so we can hit the casino in the morning. Erika wasn’t going to be able to make it until late at night, because she parties too much, but had wiggled her way out of it and was now coming early. This missed call came at noonish and so I called her back and she was already at moms. Not having heard back form Mr. Shuttle Mans office Erika and I made a contingency plan of her picking us up. Long boring details about multiple calls to Shuttle Man’s office and finally around 5ish I spot a nice young man (the world is full of them) with a Holliday Park sign. He is heading towards the pay phones (about 5 feet from us) where a not so nice young lady is very upset on the phone holding a crumpled up piece of paper that I later notice says Holliday Park on it. Her story is she’s been there for 2 hours looking for us. Obviously she never bothered to walk past the phones, or put her sign up. As we have been sitting in the same spot the whole time, right in front of the luggage carousel. She stomps off and the nice young man gets a porter to take our luggage. BTW mom is in a wheelchair form the airline that they were so happy that I was willing to push her, I think they would have let me keep the chair forever. We push mom down the hall up the elevator, over the walkway, and through the parking lot to the van and start our ride home.

We get home just as Kadreya’s son arrives to pick her up. The rest of us, Mom, Rita, Gretchen, Erika and I head out for dinner. We go to a pizza buffet called Cici’s. I have heard of this in someone’s blog along the way, but have never experienced it. I am not a big pizza person, but even though it is a buffet they do take special orders at no extra cost. Cool. Dinner was good, company was better. We head home for some much needed rest to begin our casino day.

For those who don’t know my mom, casino day starts around 4-5am. When she goes with Erika it lasts about 2 to 3 hours and they come home before any crowds can gather and have the casino to themselves. We get started about 5, with a quick drive thru at Mc D’s for breakfast and soda and head down to Greektown. The Greektown casino was an old warehouse when I was a kid, then became the Greektown Mall when I was a teenager. Now it is a casino, and I think my favorite in the Detroit area (including Windsor). There were lots of open machines for us to play 4 in a row. And all of them pennies! There was winning and losing done by all. Suddenly we realized it was lunchtime! Yikes, we had been there for almost 8 hours! We have a very nice lunch at the diner where mom proceeds to order the biggest hamburger I have ever seen. Of course she pans on eating it for many days at home but still it was quite a sight on her plate. Back home and Erika and Gretchen take off for their respective homes. It was a quick visit but a good one. Mom and I settle in for a nice nap. (I could get used to all this napping) Dinner was at my favorite place of all, Long John Silver. They are few and far between now. And the one we went to, although the food was still quite tasty, the place was a dump. Dirty and falling apart. A quick run to Kmart for mom’s closet set and some cool chip clips (Erika I left yours on mom’s fridge). Back home to catch up on some tapes and rest up for our casino trip tomorrow.

Sunday morning breakfast with Rita at Coney Island, YUMMY! I can’t get over how good and cheap it is. Then a shopping trip to Meijers and then off to the Windsor casino on the bus. Strict rules are in place for the Super bowl next week for immigration and such so we have to take extra precautions when traveling to Windsor. This casino, while very nice looking, is so very crowded and has nearly no penny machines. The penny machines they do have are crowded and have a line waiting for them. The nice part of taking the bus trip is it cost $5, and then they give you $20 to play with – Cash not tokens! You could take the bus, and just go to have lunch with your extra $15.00. We run in to Jeanette who has friends/relatives visiting. She has driven with them to the casino as a days outing. Not such a winning day. Except for Rita who does pretty well. Mom and I lose pretty steadily and are ready to go home when the bus arrives.

Sunday night is for packing. I do a load of casino clothes that smell like a tobacco factory and try to organize and pack everything. I purchased quite a few gifts and have not planned ahead well. The weight limit for suitcases is 50 lbs. I have my huge duffle and 1 big roller bag. I fill the roller with the gifts and cram everything else into the duffle. The duffle weighs about 60 so I have to shuffle. However, there is no more room in the roller bag. I end up taking mom’s huge bag and putting my roller inside it and some of the clothes form the duffle.

Monday morning, my flight is in the afternoon but we get started early for a late breakfast at he Coney Island again. I can’t get enough of this place. I had trouble checking in on line last night and wasn’t able to print up my boarding pass, so I want to get an even earlier start at the airport than I normally would. Mom understands and drops me off about 2 ½ hours before my flight. I get checked in ok, my problem the night before was I somehow clicked on upgrade instead of check in and that freaked the system out. While sitting at my gate planning on a long wait, an announcement is made that there is room on the next flight to Chicago if anyone on my flight is interested. Sure, why not. With the assurance that my luggage will come with me and that they will put me on standby for an earlier flight from Chicago to LA, I traipse up the gangplank 2 hours earlier than planned. When I get to Chicago, the standby flight is already boarding but I am the first standby to arrive and I get a seat. This is a HUGE plane. The seating is 2 – 5 – 2. I am on the aisle of the 5 set. I usually prefer a window but knew I couldn’t be picky. I put the computer bag in the overhead because I knew that the movie would be In Her Shoes and I was amped to see it. When the attendant came by with drinks and such I notice that I hadn’t eaten since the breakfast that morning and the rumbling I heard was my tummy not the engine. I took a look at the flight magazine and found one of the “snack packs” that had the most stuff I would eat or be willing to try. Actually it was really good; it had mm’s (not PB though Sean, just plain), sun butter (peanut butter but made with sunflower seeds), crackers and goldfish. There were also a couple of other things I didn’t eat, juice box, applesauce and fruit snacks. Not too bad for $5.00. I have my snacks and a good movie (really good, I even found myself crying at the end), what more do you need for a 4.5-hour flight? I arrive home more than 1 hour before planned and what to my wondering eyes should appear? But a beautiful baby waiting for me! She is asleep but not for long. She has grown so much! It is nice to have a cute baby waiting for you but it would have been nicer to have my luggage there as well. Not so the case! It seems all of us that took the earlier flights did not get our luggage. Since I don’t need anything immediately and since my luggage weighs a ton (each bag ended up weighing in at about 48 pounds), I’m not too upset about them delivering it to my door the next day.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!


  1. Wow, what a great story! Now I really wanna go on a cruise! Oh, and by the way, when I turn 21, I'm going with you and Aunt Paulette to go casino hopping!

    Also, thanks for mentioning my addiction to peanut butter M&Ms...HAHAHA Anyhoo, I guess I'll talk to you later.

  2. Hey, Sean you only have to be 18 in Windsor and the Indian casinos so next time your up in our next of the woods let us know.

    Thanks for the clips Adrienne, I have thought about them about 20 times since mom bought hers but I could never get my butt to a K-Mart to get them. Lord knows I did not want to venture into one with Jackson by myself.

    I am glad you like the movie. I loved it too. I assume your luggage did arrive or you would have told us now that it is more than two weeks later.

  3. Our trip to Windsor that sunday almost depleated my stash of Canadian money. I only had $40.00 left and that's what I took with me on Valentine's Day. Jeannette treated me to the casino and lunch for my birthday. It was more crowded than most Tuesdays and I don't know if St. Valentine had anything to do with that.

    A $100.00 hit on an Angels and Devils nickle machine about a half hour before we had to get on the bus brightened my day considerably. I went with $40.00 and came home with $115.00. That's my starting point for next Tuesday.