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Pre-cruise: Day one – Syracuse to Seattle

September 11, 2010

Or:  Ruth learns that she functions pretty well in an emergency.

We’re off bright and early. A quick stop at McDonald’s for sustenance, then on to Americar to drop the car and get the shuttle to the airport. Holy sherpa, Batman! I’m faced with the dilemma of handling Mom, her cane, two suitcases, her tote and my backpack. I  decide to relay everything: I move her to the door of the airport, then run back and roll the suitcases to the door. Then I quickly push her into the lobby, then run back for the suitcases. Repeat until we get close to the check-in counter. A young guy volunteers to push her to the counter while I get the gear, and unfortunately he moves the wheelchair too abruptly, causing her to spill her coffee in her lap. I’m able to pull a pair of pants from her suitcase before we hand them over, so we do a quick change in the restroom, and I jam the coffee-soaked jeans into a separate compartment in my pack.

Despite some frustrating problems with wheelchair-friendliness (see my rants in the Accessibility post), the flights themselves are on-time and as good as flying cheek-to-jowl in a tin can can be. On both flights, we’re upgraded to Economy Plus, so there’s a little more leg room.

Here’s a tip: putting on compression stocking in a Dulles airport bathroom when you’re hot, sweaty, impatient, and have been traveling already for several hours isn’t a good idea.

We land in Seattle and call the hotel for the shuttle. The Springhill Suites seem to be fairly far from the airport, but I’m not driving nor paying for the drive, so that’s fine. Mom had a meatloaf sandwich in the airport since her blood sugar was low and it was after dinner for us, due to the time change. We make some calls, watch some tv and go to bed around 9 p.m. Seattle-time.

At 2 a.m., I’m rudely awakened by a noise from hell, and from all the lights in the room flashing like a disco. I’m really disoriented, and it takes me a few minutes to realize that it’s a fire alarm. Aud is oblivious, snoring gently, her hearing aids on the nightstand. I shake her awake and help her up, telling her to put her shoes on. While she’s doing that, I run like a mad woman through the room, shoving aforementioned hearing aids, medicines, camera, passports, wallets and cell phones in my backpack. I even have time to get fully dressed and quickly go to the bathroom! Since I’ve never had a hotel fire alarm go off, I really think we may have an actual fire and won’t be able to get back into our room.

Then it’s on with the jackets, and into the hallway we go. Mom won’t have a wheelchair until she gets on the ship, so she’s using her cane. It’s a fairly long walk to the side door. Some dude tries to push past us, and winds up tripping on the edge of the sidewalk and falling – ha, serves you right. There’s a full contingent of fire trucks outside, along with the 300 guests, almost all in pjs. I find a car for Mom to lean against. She’s still half-asleep and asks why we don’t just go sit in our car, and I remind her we’re in Seattle and we flew.

We’re finally cleared to go back inside, and I ask one of the firemen what happened. Some moron was smoking in his room, despite the fact that the entire hotel is clearly marked non-smoking. I tell the fireman that if he were to tell me the guy’s room number, I would go make sure he didn’t smoke again. He laughingly declines. He thinks I’m joking. I’m not. I’m heartened to learn, however, that there’s a $500 fine for violating the no-smoking policy.

Audrey falls back asleep immediately after getting her shoes off, while I’m awake until the alarm goes off. What a start to our journey!


From → Alaska, Elder travel

One Comment
  1. Pam permalink

    Oh, the drama. Ha. Wish I could have seen the rude guy fall on the sidewalk. It’s rare that payback is so instantaneous. Also would have liked to see the drunk (most likely) guy’s face when he learned he had to pay a $500 fine.

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