That's nuts isn't it? Dad's not a Kiwi, we weren't traveling to New Zealand. It should only have been a two hour car ride, but we hit a few detours on the way.
The flight landed a few minutes early. Carry on bags were pulled from the overhead, jackets on and cell phones out. The whole plane was ready to get off of that tin can, when the pilot announced that we would have to wait on board for a few minutes because there was some delay in immigration. Thus negating the whole early landing thing.
The doors finally opened and we headed into the terminal. Whenever I land back in the US I get a warm, happy, glowy feeling inside, even if I'm still in an airport, it's an American airport!
I waited at baggage claim for The Boyfriend to clear immigration. And then he met me and we waited. And waited. And waited. Our bags took 55 minutes to come out. I timed it. 55 minutes. They were literally the last bags out.
I spent the last few minutes before they came praying to see them. The Boyfriend spent that time going red as Gallic huffing and puffing teetered on the verge of hyperventilation (we're really quite a pair). And then the huge sighs of relief to see the two bags fall off the little baggage slide and onto the carousel.
Seeing your bags come has to be one of the best human emotions going. Deep down, you're always worried that they didn't make it, that they were lost because some idiot didn't tag them correctly, or that somehow the zipper busted and your bag will be lying open with your panties and Hello Kitty jammies hanging out for everyone to see. That moment of relief, watching your bags hit the carousel in one piece is so euphoric. If I could bottle that emotion and sell it, I'd be rich. Maybe not Oprah rich, but Gayle rich, and that's rich enough for me.
My Big Sis was waiting for us at arrivals (after circling Logan five times she finally gave up, parked and came in. Bless her) and we headed out into the rainy parking lot towards the little Honda Civic that could.
A few minutes later and we were bombing along the Mass Pike, with heavy rain drops pelting the car. I called Dad, letting him know we made it but were going to stop for some dinner half way. He told us to drive carefully because the roads were icy. Icy? Huh? Nothing but rain outside of Boston.
Using the incredible Yelp application on the iPhone, we saw that we would pass (with a minor detour) an Outback Steakhouse on the way. To me, Outback Steakhouse means one thing... Bloomin' Onion. What a perfect way to begin my culinary tour of American cuisine, with an over sized, battered, deep fried onion. It's a vegetable, sort of. The Boyfriend was very intrigued by this Bloomin' Onion. I told him he would just have to wait and see...
He never got to see the Bloomin' Onion. But, he did get a Bunyon Onion at Bugaboo Creek. You know when you're headed somewhere to eat, you have a specific destination in mind, but then your hunger takes over and you stop at the first place you see? That's how we ended up at Bugaboo. Never been to a Bugaboo before (can you tell I like typing the word, Bugaboo?) It's like some strange, Canadian, Twilight Zone version of Outback.
Bunyon Onion, appetizer sampler platter (buffalo wings I've missed you so) and two bottles of Sam Adams later, I had officially been de-Frenched. And The Boyfriends alter ego, Food Whore, met his nemesis in American portion sizes. Truthfully, I don't think he'll ever recover.
There was just one last stop to make before seeing Dad. After that journey, all I wanted was to take a shower, put my Hello Kitty jammies on, and sit on the couch chatting with a big ol' glass of one of my favorite American wines, Firesteed. We stopped at a liquor store, grabbed the wine and some Heineken and checked out. Well, tried to check out. I got carded! Welcome back to America! This had The Boyfriend in total shock. I whipped out my Texas drivers license...
"Sorry, we don't take out of state licenses."
"How about a passport?"
"Sorry, we can't accept those either."
"But I'm thirty-three."
I guess in Massachusetts foreigners won't be drinking.
Luckily, he did let Big Sis come in and save the day.
We got back on the Mass Pike heading westbound in the rain, and the farther we got, the more that rain started to look like sleet, and the road seemed to be covered in thicker and thicker layers of it, followed by the icy sheets. Not good. Big Sis informed us that she had new tires on the little Honda Civic that could. Just not snow tires. No problem, a plow was bound to come along any moment and clear the road. And yep, sure enough, a snow plow! On the other side of the road, followed by another, and another. No snow plows on our westbound portion of the Mass Pike that evening. Maybe they figure if you aren't heading east towards Boston, it's really not worth getting to your destination. New Massachusetts slogan... Boston or Death!
Big Sis drove about 30mph for three hours navigating through freakish March weather. The Boyfriend had slipped into a baby backed rib coma in the back seat, and I did my best to stay awake for her, but failed a bit. Mostly, she just talked to herself.
At 10:50pm est, (I checked my watch, I'm very time oriented) 04:50am, Le Petit Village time, we arrived at Dad's house.
Do you want to know how tired I was?
So tired that I couldn't even manage a glass of wine.
Moi, turning down a glass of wine, now that's tired.
P.S. The night we arrived at Dad's was the night the clocks went forward in the US. Last weekend, my first weekend back in Le Petit Village, the clocks went forward in Europe. Which means I lost two hours instead of one. There is something wrong with that. I intend on writing a strongly worded letter. Not sure to whom, probably to whomever I end up sending that 'Hill at Nice Airport' letter to. But I'm writing it.