For my first day of vacation, I was up at the same time I usually get up to go to work, 5:30. But at least I could wear jeans, and Dan went to get fresh bagels and coffee, so that helped. We were driving ourselves to the airport, so after finishing some last-minute packing and seeing that the pets were fed and everything was in order, we headed out. Traffic was light and we arrived at the airport on schedule.
We both managed to set off the metal detectors (Dan's shoes had steel plates and my sweater had a steel zipper), but luckily that wasn't an indication of how the rest of the day was going to go. For entertainment while we waited for our flight, we watched some brown-robed Asian monks nap and meditate on the floor. One had an authentic conical straw hat, another had a gray fishing hat and a walkman. Buddhism welcomes both traditionalists and moderns, it would seem.
Our flight to Cleveland was uneventful except for lunch, which consisted of the world's tiniest sandwich and a chocolate candy. Since we were still hungry upon arrival and had a little time to kill before our connecting flight arrived, I bought us a veggie wrap and oatmeal cookie to share at the airport. The veggie wrap was okay, but it was essentially salad in a whole wheat tortilla. In Houston it would've had guacamole and cheese or something. But no matter, it staved off the hunger for awhile and we boarded our flight to Hartford without problems. As we neared Hartford though, we were diverted into a holding pattern about 30 miles away from Bradley Field due to the convergence of several storm systems in the area and 30 mph winds. Dan had never been in a holding pattern before and I told him that procedure was to fly in a big circle until either our airport cleared us to land or we ran out of fuel and crashed. He said that wasn't funny and I should save such jokes for when we were on the ground.
We were about 10 minutes from being diverted to Albany to refuel when the storms cleared and we were allowed to proceed to Bradley and land. We quickly picked up our luggage and car and headed toward Cheshire. We managed to get the 5pm traffic, but it cleared out a bit south of Hartford and we had an easy trip the rest of the way.
My uncle Jeff was at John's house when we arrived. I hadn't seen Jeff in something like 24 years. He is only 2 years older than John, but looks older than that, probably because he smokes. But he's a quiet man, as I remembered, very intelligent and with a subtle sense of humor. We all sat in the living room and visited, and it was interesting to see the two brothers interact. This was something I hadn't noticed much the last time I met Jeff, and it was fascinating to see how similar and yet how different these two men really were. It got late and no one bothered to turn on a light, so when Susan arrived, she wondered aloud what we were doing sitting in the dark, and announced it was time to go eat because she was hungry.
We went to a nice restaurant I'd never been to before, but which I was told is popular with couples and prom kids. Luckily no prom kids were in evidence that night. I had a delicious capellini with artichokes, mushrooms and garlic. There was way too much pasta for one person, and of course I ate it all. After dinner John and I went to the store. He needed to buy breakfast things to make a quiche for Grandma in the morning. I needed an electric mixer so I could make the frosting for her birthday cake.
I didn't get to bed until around midnight, making for a long first day of vacation.