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Travels with my plant

Where do I start, being home? picking up poop not rocks? listening to the salt make the ice crackle rather than the crash of waves on the beach? pouring a glass of oj from concentrate rather than peeling a huge sweet juicie orange? sunny Portugal? going to the arena not for walks? my trip home? Here goes ...

The end of a great warm relaxing holiday is ended by the longest day in my life.

I woke up on a sunny perfect Portugal day, Sunday march 12 at around 7:30 am., 2:30 am. in Ottawa knowing that I had a long day ahead of me, little did I know just how long. Went to the Faro airport to meet K&H for 9:00am., the flight was delayed so I started my hanging out at the airport day with a good diversion. Off they went and I sat outside, went inside, outside, inside, you get the picture, until around 1:00 pm. to check my luggage.

While outside on one of my visits I found a huge sea lavender bush and on my last time outside grabbed a small hunk and put it in the pocket of the polar fleece jacket I wasn't wearing as it was too hot. I met Ena and Joan and boarded the flight to TO. Ena came back and gave me a string bag to carry my braking plastic bag, in which I was carrying a pot, some rocks, later on my duty free vodka and Pimms, and my polar fleece.

The plane was late arriving in TO and I had to hurry to make my 9:00pm flight home, most people on the flight understood my need to get off the plane and let me go through. I had to stop and fill out a declaration form, unfortunately (or maybe not) I had filled out the French side, and while I was waiting in line to hand it in a big fat uniformed dude with his wee tiny beagle sniffer puppy came by and the dog liked my, by then, ripped string bag. I looked at the bag and realized that the duty free vodka was leaking, the big uniform then accused me of stepping on his little dog, which of course I hadn't and wouldn't do and told him so, I wish I had stepped on the jerk redneck. The uniform, not the dog who would have understood and recognized me as a dog lover and hater of stupid big dumb goons like the one attached to his leash and wished me luck catching my flight to Ottawa, said...

"Mam we have to search your bag, step out of the line". I explained my flight connection dilemma and he then said something like "Mam step over to the other uniform goons so we can make your life miserable". They found the lavender so it was then "Mam you have broken the law bringing in banned plant material without a permit". I explained that the sea lavender grows in Canada, and had grown it in my own garden but it wasn't hardy enough to withstand the harsh Ottawa winters, it isn't an evasive plant, unlike the dandelion some british fool brought over centuries ago and it wasn't a threat to the Canadian environment. " blah blah blah and did I have any other illegal items?" I thought of my wisteria bonsai and handed it over, as I watched from the "Resticted area" Ena and Joan leaving with their bonsai A female thug then went through all of my luggage, dirty socks and everything, found the port, which I said was a present, the Tshirts, they didn't matter, then started going through the bag I carry tooth paste etc., found, opened and started going through my asacol, what was it for etc., with the same glove used to check my clothes, dirty and otherwise.

My thoughts were fast and furious, as you can imagine, flight home, stupid goons who kept calling me MAM, I'd rather be called slut, do they use the same glove all day, and realizing I was the only wasp in the "Restricted area" it must have been my tanned swarthy face that confused them. So I told the she-goon the medication was for Ulcerative colitis and she asked me if it was ulcer medication, I said no and told her I wasn't about to explain what UC is and indicated that the bottle was prescription, or subscription as Le Verne would say, and I had a flight to catch. The gooniforms seemed to relish in my need to make my connection and get home to my kids, perhaps they didn't understand the need to be with family, or maybe dismayed that I would rather not spend time with uptight selfimportant uniforms. I was then given the "choice" of paying $300.00 and fighting this or $100.00 and going on my merry way, and at 8:40 pm. exhausted and with a flight leaving in 30 minutes I chose the $100.00, waited around to pay my fine ran to AC to find the gate had just closed.

I booked the next flight then saw on the monitor that my flight was delayed and went back to the counter only to be told that there was fog in Ottawa and all flights might be cancelled, 15 minutes later all flights to Ottawa were grounded. I met a couple who were booking their flight for Monday and trying to find a hotel room, they gave me the AC number, I phoned and arranged my flight for 7:10 and tried to book a room but was told there was nothing available, call back in 15 minutes. Meanwhile I met another couple in the same boat and they were looking into renting a car and driving to Ottawa and I could catch a ride with them. I continued to call the AC hotel #, the couple returned only to tell me that the 401 was closed at Kingston due to fog and they were hoping to find a room. I thought of phoning Bob and Lois but it was getting late and I didn't want them to put them out so late and especially with my early flight time, so I tried the AC # again only to be told there were no rooms call back in15 minutes.

It was now about 10:30ish, I had been up for about 20 hours and was beat and thought I would just spend another 7 hours in the TO airport but caved in and phoned Lois and Bob. I phoned home and told the boys what was happening, and they said Kelly was already asleep at our house and everything was fine. Kelly is the best niece/cousin in the world, thank you!! Lois, the best sister-in-law in the world, saved me, as you know. I woke up in a soft bed and then realized I wasn't in Portugal anymore and decided to let Lois sleep and get a cab to the airport but Lois woke up and drove me back to the airport in the very early, dark & cold morning to catch my flight. Thank you Lois.

I bought a juice and a muffin, checked in with AC and was confident nothing else could go wrong, unfortunately my travel woes were not yet over. As they were screening my ripped string vodka soaked, dog sniffed bag they wondered what the large thing that wouldn't scan was. I said it was a terra cotta pot, they asked me to take it out, which I gladly did telling them that I had been thoroughly screened and searched by Ag-Can the night before, they didn't care and at that point neither did I. The pot was examined and they wondered what was inside the pot. I had a brief moment of panic, racking my frazzled brain for any other contraband I might have stashed and the gooniforms had missed, how could they have missed anything, but remembered the seeds I had collected and stashed in the envelope of Christopher's birthday card but remembered it was tucked into a pocket in my big red bag, along with the port, and was happy to tell them it was just a bag of rocks.

The rocks were dumped out, swabbed, scanned, and reported to the supervisor who looked at me, the rocks, and back at me and asked where they were from, meanwhile the clock is ticking and my flight is boarding. I said they were from Portugal and she looked at me as if I were nuts, so I said some people collect shells, I collect rocks, she laughed and said "Have a nice flight".

I ran to the boarding place and lined up, I was so happy. We did up our seat belts and sat and sat and sat. The pilot then announced there were thunder storms in TO and that they were possibly heading to Ottawa, they would wait 15 minutes and decide whether we would fly. What is it with AC and 15 minutes?! So we sat, the flight attendants offered water, AC, as you know, does not provide any coffee, tea, juice, food, etc., anymore, just water. I opened my juice and ate my muffin. At around 8:50 am. we got the okay and took off, finally for Ottawa.

I got home around 10:30, the time Andrew's orthodontist appointment was booked, about 12 hours later than I was supposed to get home. I was just as happy and relieved to see the boys as they were to see me. Everything was fine. Poor old Chester, who had followed Kelly around while I was gone, couldn't quite figure out who I was, I certainly wasn't the person he had shadowed for 8 days, but Chester being Chester was just as happy to see me as anybody!

Life got back to normal pretty quickly, hockey, groceries, tons of laundry, etc. but I don't feel like I will ever be rested again. Andrew, Christopher and I went to Nate's and then to see the Neil Young movie last night, both were great. We found it hard to keep from moving and singing during the show but were able to do the autistic uncle/brother-in-law routine a couple of times. The way the movie was filmed made you feel like you were at an actual concert, see it if you can!

Portugal was beautiful, warm, sunny, green and blossoming. The food was great as was the port, wine and beer, walking the cliffs, seeing many new places and being spoiled by K&M. I would go back but maybe fly out of Montreal and make sure my unopened booze didn't leak! Andrew is quite happy to tell everybody that his Mum got busted for trying to bring some illegal weed home!!

Thanks again Mum and Dad!


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 11, 2006 7:51 PM.

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