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September 3rd, 2004

Off to Greece!

Friday, September 3, 2004

We woke up at about 8:30 and MMMMMMMMMed. I “Pawl Bawldwined” (put on coffee - as in “Cawfee Tawk with Pawl Bawldwin), and thawed, and then toasted two bagels for us.

I packed and did some last minute stuff online, including forwarding our itinerary to Vivian, Jay, and Robert. Robert then forwarded it to his mom and Rodney.

I checked my work email and there was yet another trip update - a change to our hotel in Athens. Grrrrrrr!

Robert and I ran to the post office, where I checked TCW’s mail, and mailed a bunch of it to David. The clerk who helped me pissed me off. The postage for my package to David was $1.98, and I thumbed past the four ones in my wallet to give her a five.

“Can you give me ones? I’m closing early.”

“I’m leaving for a trip, and I need my ones.”

“I’m closing early, getting ready to go home now.” I just gave her two ones, and thought, “By all means lady, let’s accommodate the clerk instead of the customer.” Clueless!

We stopped at the Subway at the corners of Kent and Western on the way home, and once again encountered a distinct lack of customer service. Pathetic.

Robert ate his sandwich, which wasn’t very good, at home. I ate some of the leftover pork chops, and heated up the mashed potatoes, which we both ate. We also each had a piece of the pistachio nut cake. I saved the very last piece for Joe, but felt sure that he would turn it down.

I cleaned out the refrigerator of things that I knew would go bad while we were gone. I put a couple of things in the freezer, some down the disposal, and a big bag in the outside trash.

Joe arrived right at noon, turned down the final piece of cake, and I put it down the drain. We loaded the car with our luggage, and headed to the airport.

The international line had about five people in it, and it was moving like molasses. At first there was only one clerk helping us, who was tied up with one person for at least 20 minutes. After a little bit another line opened, and it wasn’t too long before we were serviced. We were actually helped by a third clerk that was servicing the purchase line, but no one was in that line, so she took us. She was very pleasant. What do you know, a good customer service experience! Third time’s a charm, I guess.

At the gate, I gave mom and dad a call, which was a quick one. Basically, a hello, we’re off, see ya.

At just about 15 minutes before boarding, we noticed Hector sitting in another section. We went over and said hello, and met his partner, Mark.

Our flight from RDU to JFK was uneventful, and on time. When we deplaned in JFK, Steve F. was there to meet/greet us. Hector and Mark are on a different flight to Athens, one that leaves less than 30 minutes after ours. They were going out of gate 9, we were going out of gate 24.

We walked over to check the monitors for flights from Atlanta, which is where the other foursome flying with us were coming from, or so we thought. We had heard at the Delta counter in RDU that the whole state of Georgia was under a state of emergency due to Hurricane Frances’ threat. That seemed like total overkill, as the storm hasn’t even hit land in Florida yet. Anyhow, the one flight coming from Atlanta around this time had already landed.

We hadn’t noticed that Hector and Mark hadn’t followed us over to the monitor, and when we turned around to say something to them, we saw them back where we left them, and they were heading into the food area.

We went to gate 24, and looked for Michael and his party. We didn’t see them. After a while, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, a group of whom we thought might be them, walked by, but by the time we were sure, had passed us. We thought they were just walking over by the gate, and would be back. They didn’t come back after several minutes, so Steve and I went looking for them. No luck.

It turned out that they had gone to the Delta Lounge, so we met them when they came down for boarding. I recognized Michael, and his partner’s name is also Michael. The friends are Andrew and David. David looks a little bit like one of the Michael’s, which adds to the confustion.

We boarded without incident, and took off on time. Robert and I took a USA Today off the magazine and newspaper rolling rack when it came by, and then proceeded to do the crossword puzzle. It was challenging, but not frustrating, which is just how we like them.

The movie that played was “Garfield,” which we didn’t watch, and looked totally ridiculous to me from what I saw up on the monitor. We listened to music, but the choice of music sucked. Once in a while one of the stations would play something good. But you had to keep cycling through; you’d hear one or two good songs, and then they would suck. Very disappointing.

On one station “Rainy Days and Monday” by Karen Carpenter came on, and Robert and I laughed remembering Joe tell us either at the house or on the way in the car about a drag queen, I think in Key West, who performed Karen and on ending one of her songs, faded behind the curtain for a second, and then came out and threw up on the stage floor.

The song was just beautiful though, and in spite of all the jokes, sad indeed, a talent lost. At the end of the song the announcer said, “Thirty-three years ago…” Gosh. I must have been 13 when she was at the height of her popularity. Time flies when you’re getting old.

Dinner was served at a little after 8:00, and we had a choice of beef with potatoes and carrots, or Chicken with rice and a corn and black bean salsa. We got one of each, and swapped the meat. I ate the chicken with the potatoes and carrots, and Robert ate the beef with the rice and salsa.

It was a lot of food. It also came with crackers and cheese, a roll and butter, a salad, and a Sara Lee lemon crème dessert. It was all good.

After dinner, Robert read, and I caught up this journal.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, but unsurprisingly, I was not able to sleep very much. We probably got a couple of hours sleep, but that was it.

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