The McCarthy Trials

Last week, I went with my husband to Washington D.C. to attend the (his 50th) Woodrow Wilson High School Reunion. BTW, I’m much, much, much younger than he is. Unfortunately, I don’t travel well and hate flying but driving the two-thousand+ miles wasn’t even a consideration. Making the best of it, I tried to plan ahead for everything. I had Dramamine and wore Sea-bands (accupressure bands for motion sickness). Our suitcases were under the  fifty pound restriction, there wasn’t any contraband in our carry-ons and I wore shoes that slipped off easily and very little metal. Everything had been confirmed online and both iPhones were fully charged. What could go wrong?

Surprise #1 came before we’d even boarded the plane at Sky Harbor Airport. I was pulled aside at the security checkpoint because my hands tested positive for explosives. I’ve only taken a half-dozen flights over the past ten years and this is the second time this has happened to me. The first time we were in Honolulu and my bag tested positive for explosives–probably the result of the fireworks display on the beach the night before, but I still had to go through the drill. This time, the glycerin in my hand lotion turned out to be the culprit, but that wasn’t determined until I’d been subjected to just about everything but a cavity search. It was very disconcerting to watch complete strangers go through and test wipe everything in my purse and carry-on. And they weren’t satisfied with doing it just once. Every single item got at least three swipes. And then I had to go back to a little room for the official pat down. I wasn’t happy. Not one bit. We almost missed our flight.

By the time we reached Baltimore and picked up our rental car it was close to midnight. Surprise #2. My husband neglected to put the address of the friends we were staying with in his phone. Knowing we would be late, they left their front door unlocked for us, turned off their phones and went to bed. It took 45 minutes of Internet searching to figure out where they lived.

And then there was Sandy. She wasn’t a complete surprise, but wasn’t too much of threat when we left Phoenix. A few days later, she was projected to hit right where we were and everything in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area shut down. She went north of us, and as you probably know, hit hard. I can’t complain too much about the inconveniences when I see the utter devastation she left in New York and New Jersey. Missed shopping trips, cancelled flights and an uncooperative airline whose name rhymes with Yelta, pale in comparison to what our northern neighbors are going through.

After a day and a half on the phone and two drained cell phone batteries, we managed to get a re-routed flight back to Phoenix. Our traveling companion on the route to Detroit was a Baptist Minister who did his best to save my husband’s soul. I knew better than to involve myself in the conversation so I pretended to be asleep. We changed planes in Detroit and our traveling companion from Detroit to Phoenix was a very nice, very large lady who took up her seat and half of mine. I’m pretty sure my spine resembled a comma for the three and a half hour flight. I was tempted to drink to dull the pain in my back and refrained only because of the prices.

In Phoenix, we thought the airline had lost our luggage.  It turned up in the lost and found. And I can’t end the tale without mentioning that my husband complained the entire hour it took our shuttle driver to get us home. It should have taken half that time, but every time my husband would ask why he was going the long way, the driver would respond with, “It will take seventeen minutes and twenty seconds, unless traffic is bad like parking lot.”  The number of minutes and seconds would change, but the rest of the response stayed the same. I don’t think his English was very good.

I have to add, that overall, we had a good time. We saw friends we seldom get to see, visited my husband’s childhood homes, and he had a great time reminiscing with old school-mates. I was introduced to Pinot Grigio and was able to enjoy the brilliance of the autumn leaves–something we don’t see much of in Phoenix.

Our suitcases are in the attic and I’m staying put for a while. Next week, I’ll continue with my experiences in self-publishing.

Until then, Have a great week!

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About Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas, author. Coorganizer of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop. Member Arizona Historical Novel Society, Member BooksGoSocial Authors, Transplanted Texan. http://www.meetup.com/Arizona-Writers-Workshop-com http://twitter.com/#!/themodernscribe
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  1. Eric Pflum says:

    Hey Diana, you are so funny. It took you this long to discover Pinot Grigio?

    Who did your cover designs? I’ve been going back and forth with my publisher over the cover and we still haven’t settled on it yet. It does keep getting better. I can’t complain too much since I only paid $299.00. I’m so picky that at some point I’m sure they’re going to tell me that my fee has been upgraded to hourly charges.


    • I’m not a big drinker and tend to stay with what some of my friends call “the pink sh*t” otherwise known as white zinfandel. I drank the Pinot Grigio while we watched the outskirts of Sandy blow in. Now, I probably have an emotional attachment to the stuff.
      I bought the graphics for my covers on Dreamstime but did the design myself. I worked as a graphic designer for 12 years & figured I could handle a book cover. It was harder than I thought it would be because I wanted a ‘look’ I could use on all my covers. I must have done close to 20 before I found two I liked.

  2. Oh, Diana, you poor woman. What an ordeal! glad you were able to have fun, though. I try not to fly, if I can drive. Since 9/11, I’ve flown once and had only minor inconvenience. It seems to have gotten worse. I do want to get out west again sometime so we’ll have to suck it up and fly–unless hubs agrees to a cross country road trip!
    So, did you like the Pinot Grigio?

  3. Isn’t travel great? It always seems so much better in the planning stage. Glad to hear though that you weren’t arrested for suspected terrorist activities, it would have been difficult to keep up the blog in prison. Who would have thought hand lotion would test positive for explosive residue?

  4. liz marshall says:

    OMG, girl, that sounds like the trip from hell! Welcome back.

  5. I haven’t flown in a while. I’ll be taking a trip via air in a couple of weeks. I’m thinking it would be easier to strap on a pair of wings, ship my bags and take my chances with the jet stream and the geese… 😉

  6. Let me know how that works out for you. At least you wouldn’t have to go through security.

  7. souldipper says:

    Yikes! What a trip, Diana. I did so much air travel in my career that the thrill of travel has been well satisfied. At trips grow longer and seats grow thinner, our nation seems to contain far more overweight residents.

    I thought I’d perish during a 48 hour trip to South Africa – and 40 hours back. I became aggressive on the trip home. I told the flight attendant for the flight over the Atlantic – “I need sleep more than anything. If I don’t get it, I will become ill. Please find me two seats”. She actually found a seat next to an empty one. A very sweet young man was willing to trade with me – well he had fallen for the flight attendant who swooned over him with equal enthusiasm. God knows what they did in Toronto, but everyone knew it was inevitable! We had no Baptist Minister to guide them! 😀

    So my bags gather dust and my heart rests without the horrid experience of being treated like a subversive.

  8. Lafemmeroar says:

    I love going places, but I hate having to travel to get there! You managed yourself quite well considering … now you can take a relaxing vacation “at home”. 🙂

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