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Evil Jim

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09:45 am: Day nine: Home again
I wasn't sure if I would have anything to write today but we've still a few hours of air time left before home.

We awoke at sis this morning and promptly finished packing. Dad went down about six-thirty to mail a postcard to Sheri and call a cab. Shortly thereafter we were both outside on the curb with bags in hand, checked out and ready to go.

A few minutes later a cab arrove. . . followed immediately by another cab! I swear, the only thing as ubiquitous as security guards in this city are cabs. The first driver was already out with his trunk open when the second started started complaining. He was the one that had received the call and the other was merely passing by so the first pulled away and we loaded our bags into the trunk of the second. The driver was about to open his door when... he couldn't. The doors were locked with the engine running and keys inside! We still had more than two hours before our flight but who knew what else could happen before then, or how long it would take to get back in?

We were mulling over the situation when a man exited the main office, saw what was going on and mentioned that he was a locksmith! He didn't have any tools but suggested using a coat hanger and went to find one in his room. Relieved, I stood back and let Dad do all the talking.

The locksmith however, not having the proper tools for the task, couldn't get the door open and the cabbie, with growing impatience, insisted on attempting the door himself. The first driver hadn't gone far and returned on foot. Between the two of them they managed to unlock the car and with only ten minutes delay we were on our way.

Not much more memorable to record. I saw the Washington Monument and mall out the exit window seat, but due to the wing and fact that our side was tilted away I had only the barest glimpse. Now I can't leave my seat because of turbulence and I really have to pee. I think it has something to do with cabin pressure. My eyes keep drifting out the window. I don't know if I will update again but will relive everything when I record all this in my Live Journal. It will be a change to adjust to real life again but I'm glad I'll be home soon.

LATER
The adventure isn't over yet! We made it to Detroit on time if not early and wandered around for a while after finding our gate. There is a really neat fountain in the Northwest Airlines area that shoots smooth and clear streams of water into its center at timed intervals. The water overflows out past the large rounded lip and recycles underneath. If you think you can get a closer look by leaning up against the edge you're gonna get wet.

Dad kept taking pictures more to use up the rest of his film than anything else but when he went past 36 on a 24 exposure roll of film he became concerned and checked. Sure enough, the film hadn't been advancing and none were used in all this time, thus disturbing my father greatly as he wasn't sure which roll contained his trip to the Air-Space Annex, be it this or the one prior. We won't know until they're developed. I'm crossing my fingers for him.

Before we returned to gate 27 to board a coin in the fountain caught my eye. It was gold with a stalk of grain bending over the hole in the center and I knew that I must have it. I leaned as far over the edge as I could without getting wet and used a pen to scoot the coin close enough to pick it up, the latter task made significantly easier by its hole. I did not steal this coin like a common thief, I'll have you know. I more than compensated by exchanging it for an entire nickle in the cold, chlorinated water flowing over the black marble.

I'm not entirely sure that it's a yen coin but that was my thought at first glance. I will confirm this at the next opportunity. (NOTE: After ten seconds of online research I have determined this coin to be ¥5.)

The flight home was relatively uneventful. I sat in front of three cute girls wearing Wisconsin sweatshirts so I knew we were on the right flight. Coming into Madison I didn't recognize any of the landscape. Either the airport is in more of a remote area than I thought or my window never provided an appropriate view of the city because all I saw was farmland until we landed.

We came in through the same gate we left a week before and nothing had noticeably changed inside. Even the restrooms were still closed for remodeling. We went downstairs to pick up our luggage and meet my mother for the ride home. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

We found Dad's bag easily enough and my Pepsi duffel not long after but my suitcase was nowhere to be found! I watched and waited with growing anxiety until the carriage stopped and realized that for the first time in my life MY LUGGAGE HAD BEEN LOST! *gasp!*

The information desk sent me to the Northwest desk and after waiting in line next to someone checking FOUR strollers with their luggage the disgruntled man at the counter told me that he would need the ID number for the bag that had been lost. I had the copies but somehow he couldn't simply use the computer to look up both to determine which had come in and which hadn't. I ran all the way back to my patiently waiting parents -- who were keeping watch over our other bags at the curb -- to check the tag on the bag that I did have and bring the appropriate number back to the counter.

I avoided the grumpy guy and the nice lady informed me that the missing suitcase was on its way to Minn/St. Paul, would be back to Madison on the next flight, and to my house by special courier that afternoon. Slightly relieved, I thanked her and returned to my still waiting folks and Mom drove us home.

The house didn't burn down during my absence and I quickly settled in, checking my box and e-mail and sorting out all the junk (most of it.) I couldn't leave the house until the courier arrived so I unpacked what I could and settled down with Elvira to check my updates.

As the hours passed, mild annoyance turned to concern, concern turned to worry and worry turned to abject horror!!! . . . Well, maybe not that last one. I wasted time making a couple pointless phone calls trying to find someone at the airline who would know something about my bag but I finally gave up and went to my folks' for a late supper.

I returned home stilling myself for another round of phone tag and trying to hold my temper when I found a message on the answering machine: the courier had my bag and wanted to know when he could deliver it. Taking Murphey's Law into consideration, I should have left the house earlier but regardless, my stuff arrived in an hour and a half complete and intact, thus ending the last of my adventures on this vacation. It's been quite a ride and I still have Japan to look forward to.

I end this series of entries with a quote of my father's: "Life is a series of sproings and spluts; the object being to end up on a sproing." This trip was definitely a series of sproings and spluts, but the spluts were far outweighed by the sproings.

And with that . . .

- E V I L O U T -

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