Sunday, 12/24, I started the day extremely early - even for me. My alarm went off at 2:15 and I was on the road by 3:15 AM. It has been sleeting so the roads were a bit slick, but not too bad. There wasn't much traffic so I made it to the airport in plenty of time. After checking my very small bag in for luggage, I went to the TSA line. Much to my delight I was TSA pre-checked so the nice officer said I could leave my shoes on and it would save time. Never had that happen before. Of course, the metal detector went off and after divesting myself of boots and belt I made it thru. Still less drama than usual.
I made it to Chicago and made my connecting flight with time to spare. The flight to Wichita surprised a lot of people as most carry on bags were required to be checked in plane-side. That didn't affect me as my tickets had not allowed me a carry on anyway (only one small personal item that could fit under the seat). The reason for them taking the carry ons was apparent once we entered the plane.
Yes, that is 3 seats across. The only overhead bins were those over the 2 seat side. The center aisle ceiling was so short that I had to take my readers off the top of my head (and I'm 5' 6.5"). This is the smallest jet plane I have ever been on and I seriously believe that Greyhound buses have a bigger passenger area.
I arrived without incident and had several great days with family that included attending Christmas morning with Fantastic Niece, NG's1 & 2, and Rachie in their "new" house (they've been in there for a year or two). I spent time with Wichi Dude and Dudette and Cop Car and her HH were kind enough to put me up for my stay (along with delivery to/from airport). There was a lot of catching up to do since I haven't been back there for 3 years. Some of the highlights were going to browse the "Tool Store" (we didn't get nearly enough time there or cover more than probably 1/8 of the store, but it was awesome!), having lunch with not only family but a dear family friend (Elegant Friend) and shopping for a new purse.
Yes, I said shopping for a new purse was a highlight - not something you would normally hear from a non-girly female :) . It seems every time I go back to Kansas I am in need of a purse. Usually I have been looking for the replacement for a while here in NH, but somehow I can't find the right one. Well, Wichi Dude and I took off one day and he took me to the mall. We visited 2 shops, where WD had to listen to my running commentary on likes and dislikes as I quickly eliminated one choice after another; no "onesies" (the inside needs to be divided into at least a couple of sections - not just a pouch), several outer pockets, small zippered inside pocket, size requirements etc. Let me tell you that WD pays attention and by the time we hit Sears he was going thru them like a pro and bringing my attention to good candidates. I found 3 different purses that would be good and was trying to decide on two of them - figuring that I wouldn't have to look again for 4-6 years. Then the "Sale" sign caught my eye - 50% off. Woohoo! I bought all three for just over $100 and should be good for 6-9 years. Now that is a successful shopping trip.
Cop Car was smart and decided to forego the ordeal of cooking meals - no massive leftovers, no mega dishes to wash, no working around food allergies of various family members. She did make a good selection of cookies and fudge plus there was plenty of lunch meat/cheeses and vegies so we could snack between going out or picking up meals to eat at the house.
Thursday HH took me back to the airport so I could find my way home. My first flight was delayed by a little over an hour. However, I had a 2+ hour layover planned so it was not an issue for me (I think I'm the only one that didn't have to scramble for a different connection). Although my connection boarded and closed the doors on time (or very close to), we sat there at the terminal for an hour waiting to be de-iced. The plane landed in NH right before midnight.
Although I normally walk to my car from the terminal, the temps ere in the negative numbers with a breeze so I elected to take the shuttle. I was the only one on the shuttle so the driver and I chatted. I had disclosed that the only reason I was taking the shuttle was becuase of the cold and he gave me some tidbits of info. The most important one I paid attention to was that if my truck wouldn't start (since it had been sitting in frigid temps for days), that I could wait until the next shuttle came by and inform the driver. Then the driver would arrange for someone to come out and give my battery a boost. Even though it turns out I didn't need it, that is a nice service to have! The shuttle driver also told me what to do if I lost my parking ticket (they take inventory every night so know how long each vehicle has been there) and also disclosed parking strategies (for 7+day trips park in the garage as it has a cap on parking rates where the open parking lots don't). After sweeping off all the snow from the truck and letting it warm up a bit, I headed on my way home - arriving about 1:30.
I had a great time seeing family, but as usual, it was nice to get home.