To Grandmother's House We Go


Nettie and I recently flew to grandma Betty's condo in Aventura, Florida. Plane rides make for interesting stories, even if the experience is less then optimum in real time. My very first flight was in 1959, from Los Angeles to New York City. For reasons I can't remember I had to fly alone. My father had been transferred to the Big Apple and that was that. I rode aboard a Trans World Airlines turboprop. She had four propeller engines and three vertical tail fins. Flight time was nine hours - with a tailwind.

Yesterday's flight from Boston to Fort Lauderdale was only three hours, but seemed like six. Nettie and I fly Jet Blue whenever possible. They have TVs in the back of all the seats. Nettie purchased us two aisle seats in row two. An older Armenian woman sat to my left. She had a strong accent and confessed she hadn't flown in thirty years. Behind us was a woman with a dog. The dog was making cat-like sounds. Kind of a whining sound. Thankfully no caterwauling. That was being accomplished by two young boys a few rows farther back. But none of this was a problem because I brought my noise cancelling earbuds with me. And I found an old Denzel Washington movie to watch. He plays a federal agent that travels back in time to save a girl and keep a ferry from being blown up.

Alas, it was not to be, for my Armenian friend needed lots of help. It transpired something along these lines...

Denzel is traveling back in time...

Tap on shoulder...
"Could you help me with my seat belt?"
Remove earbuds. "What?"
"I can't get my seat belt to buckle."

Denzel is trying to save the girl...

Tap on shoulder...
"Could you help me with my tray table?"
Remove earbuds. "What?"
"I can't unlock my tray table."

Denzel has been shot!...

Tap on shoulder...
"I want to buy a pillow but I don't have a credit card."
Remove earbuds. "What?"
"Can you buy a pillow for me and I'll give you cash?"

Denzel and girl are on the ferry that's about to explode...

Tap on shoulder...
"I dropped my pillow, can you reach it?"
Remove earbuds. "What?"
"My pillow, I can't reach it."

Then I notice she's trying to control her seatback TV as though it was a touch screen. She's poking it repeatedly and with great determination.

Remove earbuds.
"It's not a touch screen TV."
"The TV controls are on the armrest!"

Denzel saves girl and ferry at the last possible moment...

At this point I wished I could travel back in time and be blown up on the ferry!


Traveling is tantamount to taking an advanced placement course in patience. At home you are organized. You know how things work. You know where to find the items you need. Well, some of you do.

On the road your stuff is somewhere in a bag, and your bag is somewhere on the floor. Kitchens and bathrooms are mysteries which must be deciphered on a real time basis.

This morning I attempted to shower in grandma Betty's guest bathroom. Naked, I pull back the white plastic shower curtain to examine the bewildering array of shower controls. I flip the handle that adjusts the flow of water between the shower head and the tub faucet. Then I randomly twist the hot and cold water knobs with unwarranted optimism that the temperature will be within standard operating parameters. Bang! The water pressure is off the charts. A wildcat gusher out West couldn't have blasted out with any greater force. Stepping into the shower, I foolishly carried hopes of adjusting the shower head's flow. Fighting against the stinging jets of liquid, I realize the shower head, like Margaret Thatcher, is not for turning. The mad rush of water has caused the shower curtain to dance like Marilyn Monroe's dress over the sidewalk vent. Being caught up in this mini tornado I silently screamed "Dorothy!!!" Meanwhile the tub is filling up. Apparently a little knob down low which opens the drain had gone unnoticed. The warm shower spray was now the hot-as-hell shower death ray. Various body parts were screaming at me to GET OUT! I've only been on vacation one day and I'm sorely missing the stability of home.

Shutting down the shower in frustration, I reach for a towel to dry off, causing the entire metal rack to collapse off the wall! It proceeds to bounce off the toilet and then onto the tile floor, where it's momentum carries it crashing into the bathroom door. It couldn't have created more of a racket unless... (fill in the first really loud thing you can think of here).

I did take the opportunity to design a very nice sign for the outside of Betty's bathroom door:


Driving Around:

Confession: I've always wanted a handicap parking permit. The restricted spaces in the Boston suburbs are rarely ever occupied. Think of it, never having to search for a space again! It's my bad fortune to be in such good health.

So, you'll understand my elation when Grandma Betty whipped out her parking permit yesterday as we circled Nordstrom's. But like so many things in life, it was a good news, bad news situation. The good news was - we finally have a handicap permit. The bad news was - this is South Florida and EVERYONE has a handicap permit. You can't find a free handicap space to save your life! Arrrgghh!

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