Wednesday, 7 July 2010: Tallahassee to Brussels

Written 7 July 2010

"Ah, Atlanta," I thought, "Layover destination of my heart. Home away from home." Maybe it's just because I know the place better than other airports (having spent probably a cumulative couple of weeks there over the years), but flying through Atlanta is always so much easier, more convenient, and more comfortable than, say, Memphis or Miami. The last couple of times we've flown to Europe, we've had to by-pass Atlanta, so I was looking forward to that leisurely three-hour layover on Concourse E. We know where everything is there, and who makes the best food (not necessarily good food, but then I'm a sucker for the sort of hot, greasy, salty stuff you can get there—I'm very fond, for example, of Popeye's fried chicken). There's a bookstore and ice cream. But, of course, it was not to be. The weather is lovely—the dreaded thunderstorms have not developed—but our plane, here on time for once and waiting for us at the gate, has a bad tire, so they've rebooked us on a later flight, promising we'll be able to make our original connection, but clearly not by much.

Otherwise, things have gone smoothly. The tooth I was worried about chose this last week to flare up (rather than, say, the middle of our trans-Atlantic flight), so it was extracted without complication on Tuesday, and I'm already chewing normally. In the fullness of time, it will be replaced by an implant, but for the present, I just have to take one more day's worth of antibiotics and clean the crater carefully at least once a day. Monday was a holiday, so I had time to get everything done around the house that I wanted to deal with before departure (drain the deep fryer so the cleaning lady can scrub it, launder and repair all my travelling clothes, finish a few letters I wanted to get off). I even got through all the rush projects at work, with an hour to spare before leaving for the airport.

The blueberry bushes in our yard are in full cry—before our departure I picked about three quarts (two pies for the freezer, a couple of breakfasts, and a small blueberry crumble for last night's dinner), and the neighbors will be able to harvest at least that many again while we're gone. The first two figs ripened yesterday, so we'll miss that whole crop, but neighbor Gerald loves them, so they won't go to waste even if the squirrels can't eat them all. As for the mushrooms, those lazy bums never came up this year! We ate two small ones a couple of days ago, but other than that, nary a mush, despite all the rain. Hope they're just taking a year off and will be back next summer. We'll be back in time for the chanterelle crop in Lafayette Park.

Now if the thunderstorms will just hold off for another couple of hours, until we can make that Atlanta connection . . .

Written 8 July 2010

The storms did, in fact, hold off, and about 20 minutes before the scheduled departure of our newly scheduled flight, while that plane was still unloading its passengers, the announcement came that the tire on the original plane had been replaced and that the original flight was boarding immediately. So we hopped up and presented ourselves at that gate. The agents ground their teeth, but dutifully re-rebooked us and let us board, warning that our luggage would probably follow on the second flight. We got to Atlanta with time for a snack (uncharacteristically, David wanted a strawberry-yogurt-granola parfait, whereas I went next door, characteristically, for tortilla chips and hot salsa con queso) and a little book shopping before boarding our flight to Brussels, and as we learned 10 hours later, our luggage made the connection as well. Piece of cake.

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