On The Road Again!

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Once again, Tony and Jack load the bags and we head to JFK Airport!

The bags were packed – mine stuffed with art to hang on the walls and fabric for Rosa, Pontelandolfo’s great seamstress, to make me cute outfits with.  Jack’s stuffed with new clothes – he is such a cute clothes horse.  My carry on carries all things related to my Mac Book Air.  Cousin Maryellen ran around the house making sure we didn’t leave anything behind.  We had passports, tickets – we are set to hit the highway and fly on home to Pontelandolfo.

Thanks to my nimble Godson, Tony, the ride to JFK was swift and chatty.  We were shocked to see that there wasn’t a line at the Emirate’s Air check in desk.  We checked in – our overweight bags were miraculously not overweight.  Then the clerk said, “enjoy your 4 hours.”  What!!!!  The flight leaves at 7:20 PM.  “No, the check in time was 7:20 – the flight leaves at 10:20PM.”  But, but it is only 5:00 PM!!!!  Well so much for good planning – who read that e-ticket????  We headed to the TSA clearance center to the gates.  I’m glad we got there four hours early – we needed the time.

I’m not one to whine – well maybe just a little –  but 55 minutes in the TSA line at JFK is a real whine, whine, whine! Moms with baby carriages, ladies holding babies, elderly people stooped with the strain of carryons – all marching slowly in circuitous paths.  Step by slow step we moved in one direction, only to be turned around and headed back from whence we came.   The only people that could avoid the 55 minute wait were the .05%  with first-class tickets. Stop bitching Midge -it is not a class issue – just a ticket issue. Sensitivity to the elderly and the woman carrying two kids would have been nice.  They literally had us go the entire length of the huge space in one direction and back four times and then do it again. What great fun. Reminded me not to come to Terminal Four at JFK.

After wending our way back and forth, fourth and back, back and forth, fourth and back, we got to the place where one takes off one’s coat, unpacks ones computer, ones iPad, ones anything metal etc.  I absolutely support this process.  It is better – as they say – to be safe than sorry.  In today’s world, we accept the challenge of travel and appreciate the oversight.  As I was accepting and happy to comply, I watched all of my goods going through the x-ray machine  and walked towards the door-frame like scanner.  Suddenly, I was told to go into another line for a different kind of full body x-ray. I didn’t mind the full body x-ray. I rather liked the patdown. Especially when she was fondling my breasts. I didn’t like seeing my purse, computer, IPad and briefcase laden with my good jewelry sitting about fifteen feet away from where I was. I never think about anyone mugging me or in any way doing all those things that people tell me I should worry about.  BUT – I was carrying  – rather my briefcase was housing – all the euros to pay the May Cooks in Pontelandolfo group expenses.  F#$%! There was no way they would stop patting me down so I could get to my stuff – I was able to turn around and at least see it.  Those of you who know the volume and rancor that my voice can take know that I would be able to thwart any evil doer with my not so dulcet tones. Putdown over I ran to my stuff.

Next stop, Terminal Four’s Tigín Irish pub. Rock and roll, starting with Michael jack son’s Thriller, called us to the pub and perked me up. Since we didn’t board for hours, a slow snack, Guinness and chair dancing to groovy sounds was in order. Perfectly poured Guinness – I might add – the glass rested partially full and then there was a second pour with a perfect head. OK – I belched at the airport prices.  Gulp, it cost over $100 for two Chardonnays one beer, hummus  and veggie platter, a grilled chicken, pear and fresh greens yummy salad and a chicken cheese bacon sandwhich.   Ouch, I want to get to Pontelandolfo where a pensioner can afford the prices.

Last year, you will recall we flew Emirates – cheaply upgraded to business class – ahhhhhh.  This year we tried coach.  The seats were big enough for my substantive butt and there was enough legroom for Jack.  That was a good sign.  The wi-fi surprised me!  Who knew you could have wi-fi in the air and not screw up the automatic pilot. It was 10:30PM and I sure as hell didn’t want dinner – I wanted sleep – wait what is that scrumptious odor?  Yes, I’ll have the chicken thank you.  My little tray sported real flatware – no cheesy pack of plastic.  Wine?  Of course, thank you.  The food was nothing to rave about but wasn’t anything to complain about either.  I think the aisle was a wee bit wider too – easier to walk about – and the giant plane was divided into sections with each section having a large walkable space fore and aft. Sounds like a good flight – right – ehhh – it was still coach.  No foot rest.  No flat down to a bed seat.  No little kit with ear plugs, mask, creams and presents.  Still coach…

Ci vediamo dopo.  Time to take a snooze in Milano.

Let The Second Act Begin!!!

Yawn, my eyes are little goopy slits but I feel compelled to talk to you.  Just a second.  There a gulp of tea and a quick peek at the clouds and I feel a wee bit better.  I’m perched on my Air Emirates “flat bed” seat gazing around the cabin at the sleeping beauties snoring.  Pretty subtle huh?  Yup Jack and I are on the way back to Italy flying Business Class on the classiest airline I’ve ever been on.

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Jack Huber – The Ace Airlines Shopper

Trust me – we paid less for these seats than we would this time of year for coach on anyone else.  There was an e-mail alert that Jack got – he is on all kinds of travel lists – Air Emirates was offering TWO coach seats to Milan from New York for $800 ROUND TRIP!!!!  Then they sent an e-mail that within a three hour window you could upgrade to Business Class for $900!!!  Jack rapid fired a response.  So our two tickets cost us a total of $1750.  Damn, Jack is a great air shopper.  The plane is lovely – Jack says his dinner of herb cured salmon was very good.  He also had huge prawns, scallops,  great asparagus with thin polenta – cripes I’m getting hungry.  I got on the plane, asked the steward to make up the bed and promptly fell asleep.  I missed the open bar.  RATS.  We are spending a week in Milan.  This is the prologue of our new second act.  A Second Act that finds us searching for new adventures.  Perhaps I should explain…

Sigh, some of you may have wondered where the heck I’ve been for two plus months.  Here is the ugly update – I got smacked with a bizarre something or other – lots of tests and no diagnosis – we have no idea illness made me dizzier than usual and held me couch hostage for two months.  As soon as I could lift my head from the pillow, we made good on our promise to each other to list our New Jersey home and start a new and exciting second act.  The house has been in my family since 1926 – my nonna fed all of us from that subsistence farm.

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We made quite a few changes to the place but the soul of it belongs to nonna & nonno.

 The family used the house as a safe haven in any storm.  Listing it was tough – but hey it could take years to sell a 250 plus old farm house.  WRONG – Seven days – 7 days.  The bloody house sold for full price in 7 days.  I’m thinking that Zia Caterina, Poppa and Nonna wanted me out of the house and on the road.

We frantically emptied 3 out buildings and the huge house of 3 generations worth of stuff.  The work was staggering physically and emotionally.  First came the estate sale company – they take 30% of the gross sale. Second I cajoled and begged family and pals to help me belly lug everything left in the house to the out buildings and set up for the “Free Sale”.  People queued up in the rain to be let into the garage ten at a time, race around grabbing all the good stuff they wanted before I bellowed “Your Done – Next Group In”.  Hey, you gotta make this stuff a game or be bored to death.  Shit – there is still stuff left.  A thirty yard dumpster and crew of three tossed the rest of my family’s possessions.  That night I stayed up with my pal Grey Goose and sobbed.

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Bye Bye 221 South Branch Road.  You served generations of us well.

Photo by http://galleries.johnfeistphotography.com/

We closed on the house a week ago.  Now what?  Sell the cars of course.  Might as well be car-less as well as homeless.  That pretty much brings you up to date.  Now that we have shed most of our belongings and bills we are back in Italy ready to open that Second Act.

I’ve got to go now.  The handsome cabin steward just asked if I wanted an omelet,  french toast or – who cares what it is served on china with real flatware!!!  We will chat again soon.

Thank you in advance for following the Italian journey with us.