Originally, I planned to park my car in the long-term parking lot at the airport. As I thought about it, I started imagining dragging my luggage to check in. The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to do it myself. In one of my moments of genius, I decided to park my car in my daughter's driveway and call a taxi to take me from their house to the airport. The problem with when I was going to the airport was that it was at 12:55 on a work day, one of my daughter's busiest. They wouldn't mind picking me up when I returned, but they couldn't take me.
I could be at their house by 11:15, so I got online and reserved a taxi to pick me up then. I grabbed everything and headed to their house. Because I was early, I stayed in my car and tried to download a GPS app on my phone. Right at 11:15, I got a phone call from someone with a very thick accent asking me something. Although I couldn't understand him, I did recognize the word taxi. He was in the street verifying that I was there. I told him to come get my luggage out of my car. He probably thought I was nuts, and he started to leave. I said "Don't leave, I'm in the car in the driveway." He turned out to be really nice, and we talked about how SA has grown in the 14 years he's been here. I was surprised at how much the taxi cost. My daughter lives behind the airport, and it cost $28 and change. I can imagine how much it would have cost to take a taxi from my house, 20 miles away.
My flight reservations were through Southwest Airlines, but my flights are actually on AirTrans. Because I'm used to Southwest, I assumed 17A was my position in line to get on the plane. I was pretty excited because I would be one of the first to board. The boarding pass also showed Zone 6; I wondered what that was.
When I was in line for security, I reached for my phone, but I couldn't find it! I started freaking out. What would I do without my phone? I checked my pockets, all the pockets of my backpack, but it eluded me. I told the lady in front of me that I thought I lost my phone. She turned around and commiserated with me saying she would be glad to stay with me until I found it or so I could make a call if I couldn't. She was so nice. Once I got through security and I could put everything down to do a thorough check, I found it! Eureka! She came by to check on me. How nice!
I'm practicing stepping out of my comfort zone, so when I arrived at the gate, I picked the first empty seat I saw and made myself comfortable. I was with a group of kids in their early 20s chatting. Half the time I couldn't understand them because they talked so fast.
When they started boarding wheelchairs, then some other group, then business class, I was so confused. We weren't all lined up to board like all other Southwest flights. Apparently with AirTrans, they call Zones. By the time they called Zone 6, half the waiting area was empty. As I entered the plane, the flight attendant asked me to wait because there were lots of folks stowing luggage and clogging the aisle. I took the opportunity to ask her if I could sit anywhere. I'm still thinking the plane runs like Southwest. She was really nice and told me that I was assigned to Seat 17A, which was a window seat. Awesome! I wasn't going to have to be squeezed between people in the middle like all the other flights before. Usually when I boarded a Southwest flight, the only seats left were the middle. I found my window seat and got comfortable. A guy who looked like he might have been from India sat in the aisle seat, and I thought we were home free.
Then a big guy in fatigues sat between us. He wasn't large, just tall and lanky. He took over the arm rest (I never get to keep the arm rest ;o( ) and half my space. He was all elbows. When he sat down, i detected the scent of a cough drop, and danged if it wasn't he. He sniffled a bit and coughed a couple of times, and he NEVER covered his mouth. As soon as I could, I grabbed by backpack, pulled out a tissue, and held it over my nose as much as I could the rest of the flight. At first I was thinking "Dang him! I don't want to get sick!" Then I realized that I don't get sick. Flight reservations are made days in advance, and he didn't know he was going to be sick. He brought a newspaper, and I swear, he read every square inch of that paper. He folded, refolded, folded, and refolded that paper the whole flight.
The flight was bumpy much of the way. The flight attendants were out and about only long enough to serve the pretzels and drinks, and then they were back in their seats buckled in.
Once we arrived at the Atlanta airport, I decided to walk to baggage claim. OMG! I knew the airport was large, but I didn't know it would be a 5K walk to Domestic Baggage Claim. After the first couple of miles, I was not about to give up. I was on a mission, and I walked the whole way. It took me at least 30 minutes. My friend probably thought I got lost on the tram or something. About 2/3 of the way, I asked an airport employee how many more miles it was to baggage claim. She said it wasn't too much farther. She lied!
Honestly, I think they need mile markers or signs saying "3/4 mile to Domestic Baggage Claim - Grab a Tram while you can!" I was determined to walk the whole way. I even tried to keep up a little swing in my step like it was a walk in the park. I tell you what, though, I was never so glad to see someone as I was my friend. I feel like I conquered something because I went the distance.
The last time I went to the Atlanta airport was in 2006, before my knee replacements, and I rode the tram. It never occurred to me to walk it, even if it would have been a short distance. But this time, I didn't even think about taking the tram (well, maybe once).
When we arrived at baggage claim, my bags were just coming around on the carousel, so it was perfect timing. I grabbed them and off we went.
At my friend's house, I unpacked and settled in and we visited a bit. It was like we'd just seen each other. We have been friends since January 1969, and we've experience a lot of life since them. I was stressed about the weather in San Antonio. I took a minute to call a friend in San Antonio to see if he could do a little flood prevention in my backyard. If someone would remove the bottom board of my fence, the water could flow between the houses like it was designed to do. He said he would take care of it. Now I could relax and start my vacation, and we were off to Big Daddy's!
I loved Big Daddy's. It was quiet, and for a Friday night, that was something unusual. There were lots of things going on in the area, so we had the place to ourselves practically. I promised my nutritionist that I would lose 2 pounds while on my travels, so I tried to be good. I ordered 1/2 dozen parmesan something oysters and a Greek salad with the dressing on the side. I thoroughly enjoyed the oysters and the salad. It was all so good that I wolfed it down, and I started helping myself to the shrimp in my friend's bucket. All in all, I was good, except for the 3 Fat Tires I drank. Dang that was good beer!