Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring Break Part 4:There is No Place Like Home

Saturday, April 12

Lola and I woke up to snow on the ground in Iowa. We thought it was pretty cool, but my mom was a bit worried about us driving all the way to Minneapolis airport in it. Apparently one of her neighbors told her the snowfall north of our immediate area was heavier…and so we left Mom’s house at about 11am so as to allow enough time in case the driving was slow. Ironically, the snowfall was pretty much nonexistent most of the way to Mpls so we had time to sightsee and have lunch.

We were doing quite well according to schedule so while we stopped for a late lunch break we also took a quick side trip to one of the Cabela’s Outfitters stores, this one in Owatonna, which is just south of the Minneapolis metro area off I-35. Lola was fascinated at the display of wildlife there. The animals are all real (or once were, but have been victims of the taxidermist) and are in real-life poses. The variety is mind-boggling! They range from the usual bear, squirrel and deer to elk, arctic fox, buffalo, moose and polar bear - - it’s really quite amazing! They also have an aquarium with several huge tanks containing fish indigenous to North America. As Lola would say, “Very COOL!”

On our way again to Mpls airport, Lola had a package of gummi worms candy which we shared. There was one gummi she had singled out from the rest (due to it having a rather crooked body) and that worm was her ‘special friend’. She put it in her jacket pocket and saved it for later to eat. It was eaten with lots of love and TLC just before we arrived at the airport, but not before she kissed it several times and told it she loved it forever.

Dropping the car off was quite fun and painless, as was the visit to the airline ticket counter to get boarding passes. We were both amazed!! We wandered over to the security area (now, bear in mind the AirTran terminal at Mpls airport is really small and there are only two or three security x-rays and one security checkpoint person. On this particular day there was a very nice woman there who checked our boarding passes and my ID, but then said to Lola, “Oh, sorry, all bottled drinks must be either put in the trash or consumed before you can go to the gate. There is a seating area over by the windows if you want to drink your Diet Pepsi.” Oooooooooops! I had forgotten about the Pepsi, and Lola wanted to drink it, so we settled in over by the windows in two comfy chairs. Then I remembered I had not only one, but TWO bottles of water in my backpack. And so we began. I gulped my first water with no problem. I was not so fast with the 2nd bottle. Lola had been drinking her Pepsi one gulp at a time. “Mama, help me,” she pleaded, handing me the bottle of Pepsi. “You drink.” Ugh. I am not a fan of any soft drink, especially when it has oodles of carbonation. I protested, but upon her insistence, I did force myself to take one drink. Now, bear in mind by the time I was summoned to help her I had already consumed 1.5 bottles of water. That one drink of Pepsi I swallowed did it. This huge massive burp flew out of my mouth before I even knew it was there! I must have looked amazed, because Lola went into gales of laughter and actually fell off her chair! At that point the only thing I could do was say ‘excuse me’. Yes, there were people around. Yes, I was MORTIFIED. But it’s not like I could rewind time and cut the burp from the script, and it really was pretty funny, so I laughed too. Mostly I laughed at Lola laughing, which was pretty funny in itself.

We finished our drinks, a bit more leisurely toward the end, and sloshed ourselves over to the security checkpoint. The woman there told us, with a little chuckle, where to find the restrooms in case we needed them. While in the waiting area and in between bathroom breaks we played UNO. I must say, that little card game has saved us from many a boring wait in any place – St. Petersburg & Moscow airports, on the plane for a 12-hour flight to America, on rainy days at home, at my mom’s house in the evening just to relax, and now at the Mpls airport waiting for yet another flight. If anyone has written a manual on how to keep kids occupied, page 1 should feature the game of UNO.

I am so joyously happy that Lola loves to fly! I don’t know which of us is more excited when the plane begins the roll down the runway for take-off! On this flight we were relegated to the economy seats (which is where we should have been anyway) and the ride home was still ok. It was pretty good to be home that night back in our own beds. Isn’t it funny? No matter where you go or how much fun you have or how luxurious your vacation is, there really is no place like home!!

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