Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mom and My Flight Through Hell

This was supposed to be the beginning of Mom and my great adventure. But boy did it start off wrong! I drove to Dallas to meet my 83 year old Mom and my sister Becky; she drove Mom down so she wouldn’t have to drive 150 miles by herself. We stayed the night at a Super 8 hotel near DFW, went to an outlet mall and ate dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. We had fun but Becky was very jealous that she wasn’t going with us. If she had known what was going to happen to Mom and me the next two days, she wouldn’t have felt that way!

We got up early Saturday morning, August 2, and ate our free breakfast. Then Becky headed home to Herford OK and Mom and I caught the shuttle to the airport at 9:30 AM. We needed to check in at 10:00 for our noon flight to Budapest.Our Lufthansa flight had been canceled because they were on strike so our tickets had been transferred to a Delta flight and it went to New York City. When we got to the airport we found out the flight was delayed because of bad weather in New York City. They said it should be leaving at 2:00. We didn’t worry too much about that because we would be able to make our connection, but the flight kept getting more delayed. We finally left at 5:30 PM!! We got to NYC and had another 2 hour delay after a 3 hour flight.

We eventually got on a flight that would get us to Paris France at 11:50 AM and we would catch an Air France flight to Budapest at 3:50 PM and arrive at 5:30 PM August 3 (which is 10:30 AM in Texas). We thought we had plenty of time to check in and check on our luggage and relax. We had now been in airports and airplanes for 24 hours!We thought things were straightened out and the rest of the trip would go alright; but then we got to the Charles De Gaul airport in Paris and of course there were major problems. That will teach me to think.

We went to check in at Air France but, before we could get on our flight to Budapest we were told that we had to get a hard copy of our ticket from the Delta office. Well, that airport is huge and no one seemed to know where the Delta office was. Mom and I (I should probably add here that I use a rollator walker to get around, so you can see the absurdity of this whole situation) were running this way and that trying to find it; I know we walked at least 10 miles and spent an hour in an elevator going to one floor and going where we were told & being sent somewhere else and back to the elevator. I kept trying to get Mom to sit and wait for me but she was afraid that I’d get lost (which I often do) and forget where she was. That would have created a major problem for her because she doesn’t speak French. I was so afraid that Mom’s heart problems were going to act up and she was going to go into congestive heart failure and die right there. We ended up spending over 7 hours in that airport! At one point we stopped these 2 girls to ask where we could get something to eat. All of the restaurants were down some steps, so they offered to get something for us. We said great and they asked what we wanted, then said it would cost $40, so we gave it to them.......we were desperate. But they came back with the food and our change.

While we were waiting for them Mom started crying, she was so tired and frustrated. I hugged her and let her talk about it and before you know it, we were both laughing. We finally made it to Budapest at 1:00 AM but luckily the ship hadn't left yet. Our 15 hour and 15 minute flight to Budapest ended up taking us more than 36 hours and our luggage didn’t make it with us! It could be the luggage was tired and needed to rest somewhere in the nether world.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Driving techniques and courtesy

I think we need to have a media campaign on driving techniques and driving courtesy. There are two things that really drive me crazy while driving to and home from work here around Austin TX.

One is the courteous driver that lets six cars pull out in front of him on Lamar Street and Dessau-Cameron. At first glance it seems like he’s being a really nice guy. But then you see the twenty or thirty cars that are behind him, trying to get to or home from work. He’s made all of them have to sit through a couple more lights and impeded their progress. If a person is going to let a car cut in (from a drive-in restaurant or shopping center), they should limit it to one. That lets the cars behind him keep moving; then when the light turns red again someone else can be courteous and let another car out. Doesn’t that make a lot more sense?

The second thing that drives me crazy is people that pull into a turn lane but stop with at least a car length between them and the car in front of them. This means that other people trying to get into the turn lane can’t and they end up blocking people that are in the regular forward moving lane. I mean come on guys; you are stopped so you can move up next to the car in front of you!

OK, I’ll stop ranting now. I just had to get this off my chest.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On-line Dating Services

This can be an experience in itself. It’s tricky to get back into the world of dating when you’re a woman in your fifties.

I consider myself a very courageous woman and thought I’d give it a try. Some very interesting things have happened. I’ve spoken by e-mail to a number of men but when they learn what I do professionally, I never hear from them again. (I’m a counselor for the state of Texas). I think what men are looking for when they sign up on these things is a girl with mush for brains.

I did talk to man that seemed nice for quite a while. He said that he lived in California and was soon moving to the Austin area. After we had talked for a while he told me he was going on a business trip to Africa and he’d contact me after he got back. Well, after about a week he contacted me and asked if I’d do him a favor. I said I’d try and he said that he was having a problem with the banks there in Africa and wondered if he could send me some money orders for $5,000 which he wanted me to deposit in my account and then transfer the money to his account. I thought that sounded OK, so I told him yes.

When I got the money orders I took them to my bank. Luckily a sharp lady at Bank of America helped me. She recognized that the money orders were forgeries and kept me from transferring the money into his account. I mean if she hadn’t caught that I’d have been in the red $5000!

I now don’t trust anyone I meet on-line!

Friday, June 13, 2008

This is a new adventure

Life in my fifties has definitely been an adventure. It has allowed me to view the world through a new pair of glasses, which is a very pertinent cliche'. I have admired audacious people all of my life, and now I have become one.

Since my move to the Austin area six years ago, I have been given the opportunity to explore some really interesting avenues. I still work for the government of Texas but now I’m in a professional position that I thoroughly enjoy and work with people that I like and respect.

I joined a Red Hat Society group called ‘The Pfancy Pfriends of Pflugerville’, a very outrageous group of women that I love and trust. We travel together, shop, go to plays, play cards or go out to eat together at least twice a month. We also dress up in our purple outfits and big, frilly red hats and talk and giggle like school girls; it is the world’s best stress reliever.

I joined a small church in Round Rock and have gotten to know some really sweet people. They’ve even asked me to join the leadership team and made me the lead for the training team, which is fun and interesting. I’m still very active in AA, with over twenty seven years of sobriety.

My son, Demian, has been divorced more than two years now. He is engaged to a very nice girl, named Kindrea. They are getting married October 25th, in Denver. He’s still working for the Venetian Jewelry company but he’s hoping to find a position there in Denver soon.

I’ve had some really harrowing experiences on a dating web site that has taught me some very good lessons. I will write about this at a latter time.

I have a website where I post articles that I’ve written; it’s Most of the articles are about my travels, which I thoroughly enjoy. I haven’t let my walking disability keep me from seeing the world. As a matter of a fact, I’m taking my 83 year old mother on a cruise down the Danube River in six weeks. We’re even going to spend a couple of days in Transylvania! I can hardly wait.

Please join me in this wonderful trudge through latter life experiences.