Continuing on with my report on our trip to Albuquerque for my parent’s 50th anniversary…
On Sunday we got up a bit earlier than we had on Saturday to give us time to pack up. We were packed and out of our room as planned, and quickly made our way down to my parent’s house for the final visits. On the way we made a quick stop at The Satellite Coffee nearby – in part to use the money that was on the gift/loyalty card we had. This money hadn’t been used for lunch at The Flying Star on Friday as expected, so using it made sure it didn’t dwindle.
We got to my parent’s house before any of the other three groups that weren’t staying there – my sisters and their families and my niece and her kids who were staying with my younger sister. But the people at my parents house were mostly up and moving.
The morning was pretty much spent in conversation until about 10:30 or 11 when I realized that at least my family was going to have to leave in a couple of hours and that if we wanted to get some family pictures we’d have to do it soon. So we all headed into the back yard and determined where would be the best place to get good pictures – finally settling on a small hill in the back yard which had enough shade to not be blinding and enough space for the whole crowd. A couple of chairs were procured so that my parents and aunt wouldn’t have to stand – even if at first my parents were both planing on standing – and my sister’s fiancée and a couple of others moved a table that would allow him to use his mini-tripod so he could be in the pictures as well.
During this set-up a few pictures were taken of my parent’s grand-kids and great-grand-kids, including one in which there dog joined.
Earlier in the weekend, their dog – who has only recently become an “only dog” – was being a bit shy and not coming up. But after I came out to try to scout locations and encourage the rest of the family to gather, I saw him and called to him and found him friendly (even if one of the last times I was there was with my dog with whom he had a case of instant violent hatred). So during the early part of the shoot he was around and being greatly admired by the kids and teenagers.
We finally got everyone arranged, and my sisters fiancée set up the camera and set it on timer so that we could get three pictures – two formal and one where most of us were doing silly things. The third picture is getting the most sharing on Facebook – which should tell people a bit about my family.
After the photo shoot, we determined that my cousin had the first flight to catch, and so a party was dispatched to take her to the airport. It was expected that we’d leave before that party got back – so we said our good-byes before they left.
But about half an hour before I’d originally intended to leave – being unnecessarily conservative about the time needed to get to the gate – my younger sister suggested that we get lunch. This sounded like a good idea since it let us visit a bit longer, and kept us from having to eat at the airport – which currently only has counter service type places due to some business and contract reasons.
After lunch, we headed out – first, saying good-bye to everyone, including the party that had taken my cousin to the airport ahead of us. We got to the airport in good time, dropped off the car and got it switched off of my corporate card and headed to the terminal. There was a bit of a line for check-in and another for security – but neither were bad.
Once through security I looked at the monitors before heading to our gate - A6 which is towards the east end of the “T” shaped terminal – and noticed that we had about 45 minutes before the Delta flight to MSP – which probably was my cousin’s flight – was leaving. But I also noticed that it was going out of gate B10 which was at the far west end of the terminal. I quickly ruled out a dash over there for one last unexpected good-bye and we settled in by our gate for our flight.
Our flight was a direct flight, but with a stop in Phoenix. Because of this, it was a full flight and already had a pretty full waiting area when we arrived. We ended up sitting in an area that may have been reserved for the pre-boarders, but nobody seemed to mind.
When the time came, we boarded and found seats. There were a lot of small storms near Albuquerque, so the climb out was rough. And because of the short distance of the flight and the frequent rough air near Phoenix in the summer, everyone – including the flight attendants – ended up remaining seating for the whole flight.
So, when we arrived in Phoenix, I was ready for both a drink of water and coke – I had bottles of each in my carry-on in the bin – and the bathroom. Tara and The Kid were similarly needing the bathroom. We waited for the passengers ending or changing planes in Phoenix to deplane and for the flight attendants to count the remaining eight passengers so that we could do what we needed to do before they started loading the plane back up.
But, when we expected the announcement that we could move – we were informed instead that we’d have to change equipment. But, we were assured that the other plane was at a nearby gate and we would be boarded before the first group.
So we grabbed our carry-ons and headed over to the other gate – which was just across the way. But when we got there, I noticed that they were already boarding the “B” group – so they had boarded at least 40 people ahead of any of us. Fearing that there might not be a group of seats together, I worked my way down the plane where we ended up in virtually the same place one row forward of the over-wing exit row, albeit three row further back by the numbers.
Not too long later, we pushed back and headed for our spot in line. Once we got to the front, we turned onto the runway and sat for a minute or so. Then the captain announced that another pilot spotted something dripping out of one of the wheel wells and we returned to the gate. A few minutes later, he announced that we’d have to have a brake replaced – for The Kid briefly confirming his belief that a totally normal brake noise indicated a bad set of brake. So we were allowed to get off the plane briefly – which we did.
Once fixed, the plane took off and made it to San Diego without any further issues – nor were there any on landing when a brake problem would have manifested. We did have to wait a while for our bags – fearing that they might not have made the connection of the baggage handlers weren’t originally aware of the change.
We headed out, got our car, which was parked for 3 days and 30 minutes. If we hadn’t had a 30 minute delay due to the repair issue, we might have gotten our out exactly three days after we parked it, which would have been fun but of no practical difference.
We are very glad to have gone, and look forward to return visits. I suspect that at least one previously unexpected visit will happen in the next year or so, plus some possible holiday visits. However, even with the short visit, I think we are all at least partially glad to be back home. Tara was, perhaps, the only one of us not getting home with complete joy – she has to work the midnight shift for at least the early part of this week, so was at work less than six hours after we got home.
We are also hoping to be able to see everyone again at some point before too long – especially those who we haven’t seen for way too long, or had never actually met before.