Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Cherry Pits

Welcome to the first Internet episode of the ongoing saga of The Cherry Pits. These are the things that went wrong on our trip to Virginia and Maryland. We did not have this much trouble traveling in the third world! Our misadventures began the first day when we were flying from Atlanta to Baltimore. The weather was very turbulent and the pilot had the “seatbelts on” sign illuminated. Then he came on the intercom and announced that we had to divert to Newport News. There was a problem with the windshield and the visibility was poor in Baltimore. He wanted the maintenance men to check out the damage and tell us if it is OK to fly the plane. The stewardess told us there was a crack in the windshield. When we finally landed at Newport News they let us deplane and gave us 2 options, fly back to Atlanta on the 3:05 pm flight and stay there to catch another plane to Baltimore, or take a bus to Baltimore. We opted for the bus, even though it would be a three and a half hour ride. Thank goodness we are retired and aren’t rushed for deadlines. I thought, “A nice scenic drive through Virginia’s rolling hills would be nice.” There was just one problem; it was pouring down rain! And when we got within 50 miles of Washington DC, we hit traffic that slowed us down. At one point we had to stop completely, the traffic was so heavy. Al was coming out of the restroom when the driver slammed on brakes, and he fell and hit his head on the back of a baby carrier. We finally arrived at the Baltimore airport and called my sister to come pick us up.

Three days later we rented a car to drive to Richmond and Stafford to visit relatives and friends. We drove about 15 miles with our GPS system plugged in. The brand name is Garmin, so that’s what we call it. So there we were going down the highway and our Garmin told us that the battery was low. Al pulled over and realized that the charge light was not on. He tried everything he knew to get the charge working, to no avail. We called the rental company. Their ideas did not work either, so they said, “Come on back and we will give you another car”. So we backtracked 15 miles and got another car whose auxiliary sockets did work so we could now use our Garmin to find our way to our friends’ houses in Virginia.

Off we went again! We were driving down US 301 to Richmond. Suddenly Al took something out of his mouth and said, “Here, hold this.” It was the top of a tooth! It just fell off! It must have become dislodged when he fell on the bus coming out of the restroom. So I carefully wrapped it in a napkin. It was the top part of a crown that was held in by 2 posts. The posts were left intact, thank goodness, because as long as the inner tooth was sealed, infection could not set in. But we agreed to pray for the tooth for the remainder of our trip because it would be at least 9 days before he could get back to his dentist in Jacksonville. So now he could only eat soft foods and only chew on one side of his mouth for the remaining seven days of our trip!

Despite Al’s tooth, we had a wonderful time visiting friends and relatives. On our last day in Richmond, at 7:30 am, we woke up to an inch of snow on the ground. By the time we left at 10:00 am, it had melted. We then found our way to I-95 and headed north to Stafford, Virginia. There was still snow on the trees and medians and before we got to Fredericksburg, it was snowing!!! “Oh, how pretty,” most Floridians would think, but not Al. The snow turned to slush and the snow plow was out, pushing the snow off the highway. Al moved from Illinois to Florida to get away from snow!! He looked at me and growled, “In the future, let’s not come back up here before April or May.”

After a fun visit with our relatives in Stafford, Virginia we took I-95, planning to take the beltway to get back toward Baltimore and my sister’s house in Millersville, MD. The Garmin told us to take “I-395/I-495”. Everything was going well when suddenly I-395 veered off to the left and I-495 veered off to the right. I said to Al, “There’s I-395” and he took it, against his better judgment. He was headed for I-495, which was the beltway around Washington and Baltimore. I-395 took us through downtown Washington, at 3:30 in the afternoon traffic! Oops! So there we were passing the Pentagon, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the familiar dome of the capitol building. We were in stop-and-go traffic in the middle of urban DC and Al was growling under his breath again. He hadn’t planned on driving in DC traffic! The Garmin instructed us to “take next left, onto Pennsylvania Avenue.” For those of you who are not familiar with Washington, DC, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the address of the White House! Now I got mad at the Garmin and started talking back to it. “Oh, come on, Garmin, surely there is a highway you can take us to! We’ve seen enough of Downtown Washington!” Once we turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, the Garmin quickly led us to Highway 50, which goes directly to my sister’s house. Thank goodness!!

We actually had an uneventful flight back to Jacksonville. But the saga of the tooth still goes on. Al couldn’t see his dentist until March 26. The dentist re-glued the tooth but it came out again that afternoon. Al decided to have it extracted. That was done this past week on March 28. Now he is still eating soft foods on one side of his mouth while it is healing. If it doesn’t heal properly, it will be a dry socket and he will have six weeks of pain! So we are still praying for that tooth. He is going crazy because I won’t let him do any strenuous work in the house or the yard. After my travels, I am now home resting and enjoying my garden. God continues to resurrect the plants after lying dormant all winter. As for animals, I have seen Monarch butterflies, bumblebees, and lizards. Life is good! I welcome the spring and wish all of you a Happy Spring too.

Pictures show Al being dressed up as a girl by 6-year old Hannah and 3-year old JaneAnne; daffodils blooming in the snow, and a daffodil that Hannah gave me when I left her house in Stafford and went back to my sister’s in Maryland. My sister Ivia had a small blue vase that was perfect for the daffodil!

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