It was very difficult to find time to post earlier this week. I was working 12hr shifts and I had stuff to try to get done after work. To follow up on some of the earlier things:
I received both the setting and the diamond that I was going to give Monica. I had an appointment for Wednesday after work with a local jeweler, who was going to mount the stone in the setting for me. He called me Wednesday afternoon and canceled. The ring is still at home and will go to my regular jeweler when I get home for the work.
My laptop is gone and the new owner is happy. I received my new one and so am I. I still have to do the eBay feedback thing. The new Dell is so small and light, I’ll be able to carry it around with me – making it possible for me to use some of the dead time in airports. Oh, I also have my phone back. It’s repaired and working perfectly. I can take photos again (the phone is always in my pocket).
Kate is still home – she has Bonnie for the week. Bonnie is my Lhasa – she is a very nice little dog. Really, she’s more of a couch pillow with legs. She’ll bark at the door if she’s in the area and she hears something, but other than that, you can’t tell that I have a dog. She really likes to sleep. I hope that she’s not too much trouble (Kate’s mom has a new dog.)
Thursday was travel day. American has a 7pm flight from PHL that goes to Miami, where I can catch the overnight flight to Rio. I have done this often. I call this flight the “stress express”. I often do not leave work on Thursday afternoon until 5 or 5:30pm. I then have to drive home to meet my son and he drives me to the airport – up I-95 through the rush-hour traffic. Oh, and my son never has gas, so we have to stop on the way, just to make things more interesting. I have never actually been late for this flight, but I worry about it all of the way there. No stress at all…. This last Thursday, after rushing to the airport, clearing security and getting to the gate with 40 minutes to spare, I found that the plane was not yet at the gate. The flight was listed on the monitors as “Delayed” and there was a tentative take-off time of 7:30pm (they lie!) listed. I boarded with the first class passengers (another upgrade!!) and took my seat about 7:20. The plane left at almost 8:30. It was 90 minutes late, spending about 15 minutes in line waiting for our turn on the takeoff runway. Why did I care about the time? Because my layover time in Miami was exactly 90 minutes. I spent the entire flight worried about making my connection. I did get a nice meal . First class is good for that. I also had no problem having a drink or two (but that’s all).
Fortunately, the flight did not take the full scheduled 2 hours and 45 minutes. We pulled up to the gate a full 20 minutes before my next flight was supposed to leave. We were in Terminal D and I had to get to Terminal E. I ran all of the way like an idiot, making it to the gate with minutes to spare. Once in my seat, I heard the captain announce that the flight would be delayed for about 30 minutes (they always lie about the time) due to a maintenance issue. I called Monica from my seat and we spoke for about an hour. 90 minutes after the plane was scheduled to leave, we took off for Rio. By that time, I wasn’t even sweaty anymore. The flight was uneventful, once we took off. Exit row seats (especially window ones) can sometimes be cold due to the lack of insulation in the door area. On this flight, that was not a problem. After dinner (notice a difference from the first class one?), I settled in for a nap. I must have slept pretty well, because I missed breakfast.
No checked bags this time, so I saved an hour (Rio is SO slow at this). I met Monica at the gate and we took a taxi to her aunt’s house in Tijuca, where her son is living. Leandro seems to be doing well. I met Monica’s aunt and her family – they were all very nice. We went to lunch with Leandro because the aunt has a business supplying lunches to workers and her kitchen was busy. After lunch and goodbyes, we took the subway to the area where Monica’s niece lives. The subway looked just like any subway in any city, except that it was pretty clean and I noticed that they reserve certain cars just for women during rush hour (guess some of the men are real pigs).
Monica and her niece are very close, and we have had some great times with Magid and Marcelo. I could write pages and pages about Magid – she is a warm, wonderful and very interesting person. She’s also well-traveled (speaks English and some other languages) and beautiful . She just had a baby (three weeks ago), so we went by to give her our best wishes and meet the new addition to the family.
Babies are always so cute. Maria Clara is cuter than most . We had a nice visit with them and then left for home. Marcelo, who has that worn-out look peculiar to new fathers, was nice enough to drive us to the bus station, where we took the 5pm bus to Volta Redonda. For me, it was a two-hour nap.
That was last night. This morning, it was like I had never left Volta Redonda. Vagabond dog was outside waiting for Billy and I to take the morning poop walk, and everything else was just as I had left it. In this picture, he’s taking shelter from the rain (it has rained here since yesterday) in front of our door. He really doesn’t live here, though. Really.