Remember the song “I feel pretty? from Westside Story?
Sure you do. Maria sings:
I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and gay
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me today
I feel charming
Oh so charming
It’s alarming how charming I feel
With my new urinary incontinence briefs, I, too, feel “so pretty, witty and gay.” Lots of LYCRA®.
Since I last wrote, here’s an update on why I am wearing new underwear and things have been silent.
Unrelated to my cancer, I developed a florid but asymptomatic urinary tract infection that spread to the kidneys at or about the time I flew to Australia. When I had surgery in January the quite standard use of a catheter likely stirred up some bugs in the urinary tract, and, like spring, they bloomed. When they hit the blood stream, the “blood hogs” otherwise known as the kidneys took them up and then began to shut down because the blood was infected. Days of IV fluids and various antibiotics in the hospital brought them back from the very serious point they had reached, and at least a month more of daily antibiotics at home will hopefully complete the deal. Happily, it looks like my kidneys will recover without the need for dialysis.
So what am I doing? I can’t be on the bench for lengthy periods of time. So, I will do short matters like sentencing. Otherwise, I am staying home and working from there. I am exhausted. I have lost a lot of weight. The doctors say I should feel stronger in 60 to 90 days. I hope so ’cause even writing this short post is taxing. So, be advised I will write when I can.
Of course, there is an upside. I feel pretty!
After four days of travel, Joan and I are back at home. And thus this vignette.
Our stay in Australia was wonderful. We had a blast. Merely seeing and holding the new little girls Indigo and Zora was worth all the time and trouble getting there and returning.
I have previously reported “on getting there.” I should add this: Qantas knows how to deal with irate and exhausted passengers and does everything possible to help the customer who has been delayed by Qantas. Not true for the airline that begins with “A” and should end with “sshole.”
After leaving Australia on time on Thursday US time and arriving on time Friday US time at DFW 16 hours or so later, we learned that our connecting flight had been nixed because of “bad” weather. That meant a stay overnight in Dallas. Apparently “A” cancelled flights right and left with little or no notice. (“American Airlines, which uses Dallas-Fort Worth airport as its main hub, had cancelled 600 flights, system-wide, on Saturday, after cancelling 700 on Friday, said airline spokesman Matt Miller. One American flight from the airport to Oklahoma City that typically takes less than an hour ended up being a nine-hour journey for some passengers.” Here.)
We were given a voucher for a hotel. Of course, the hotel refused to honor the voucher claiming that it was not a reservation and the hotel was all booked. We then wandered around paying $150 in cab fees trying to find another hotel. No luck. Back to airport. Guess we will sleep in the airport.
Not so fast, you bald-headed bastard from Nebraska. WE care about your security.
We won’t allow you to check your bags because more than 24 hours showed on the clock before your connecting flight left. Because we couldn’t check our bags, we couldn’t get a boarding pass that allowed us to enter the airport.
Joseph Heller once wrote a really good book about planes and idiocy. See Catch-22. If you haven’t read it, read it.
It was cold. Joan and I had left with heavy sweaters but nothing sufficient to deal with the Dallas temperature. Since we were freezing, we took a shuttle to the rental car place. We rented a car, drove it up one ramp to the top where the cars were returned and “slept” for 5 hours with heater running full blast.
At 5:30 AM Saturday morning, we arrived back at the airport to find that only one person was trying to rebook hundreds of cancelled flights. To our amazement, they took our bags and gave us a boarding pass for that evening. We were flying to Grand Island, Nebraska, about 90 miles west of Lincoln because that made the most sense (at the time) to connect with Qantas and clear customs and immigration.
We were both exhausted. While we waited, I salvaged two cots from other “walking dead” who had no use for them. Fitfully, we fell asleep.
In the afternoon, and I got itchy because I learned the Grand Island flight that left early afternoon had been cancelled. The evening flight was apparently still scheduled to fly–but I thought I should make sure. I finally found two competent “A” airlines employees who reported that not only was our evening flight cancelled, but we had been bumped all the way back until Tuesday evening. When I asked why full price tickets had been cancelled, and we had been bumped, both agents shrugged. They had no idea.
Rather than go postal, I sat on the cots with Joan and suggested that we drive to Lincoln in a rental car. For $900 bucks, that we did. We drove to Norman, Oklahoma Saturday evening US time and then on to Lincoln on Sunday arriving home at 6:00 PM.
By the way, our car we drove to Grand Island is presumably still there. Where is our baggage? That is known only by the Gods, and I presume only the snarky ones have that inside information.
Blogging will be slow. I will return the rental car today. Figure out when Joan should drive me to Grand Island to pick up our car and hopefully the luggage.
While I was gone, my “kiddie porn” case scheduled for trial today settled. I just can’t catch a break.
There seem to be to be at least two things that captivate Australians these days.
First, Australians are focused on whether Indonesia will execute two Australians for dealing in 10 kilos or so of heroin. Death by firing squad is the method of execution. If the firing squad doesn’t do the job, the captain of the squad dispatches the inmate with a pistol shot to the head. See here.
We are in the south-eastern part of Australia at Lake Hume, about three hours north of Melbourne. Melbourne is at the “bottom” or south of the continent. The lake is large and provides irrigation water all the way to the sea.
The Murray–Darling basin is a large geographical area in the interior of southeastern Australia. Its name is derived from its two major rivers, the Murray River and the Darling River. The basin, which drains around one-seventh of the Australian land mass, is one of the most significant agricultural areas in Australia. It spans most of the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory, and parts of the states of Queensland (lower third) and South Australia (southeastern corner). The the Murray River is 1,570 miles long.
We are staying at a car/van camp with cabins. Very popular in Australia. Lots of things for the kids to do. While Joan and I prefer little chocolates on our pillows each evening, this place has been great for the young families. The new little girls are cute and easy-going. The parents are numb, but that’s what they get for having children of their own.
In no particular order, photos follows:
Great place for the kids. Lot to do including petting Ostriches that walk the through the resort and into the wid. Cabins are fine, if a bit rustic.
New grand children–Zora and Indy– fill us with joy as we hold them for the first time. The family from Australia and the family from China are fun to watch. Marne and Pat in ABQ, NM cannot be here. Sigh. As grandparents, you take what you can get.
Odd thing: We have begun to like our children. They are funny, self-deprecating and well versed. I also remind myself that cheap wine gives false impressions.
That’s all now.
Oh, don’t forget: Some things are more important that others
Qantas with no notice on-line or otherwise just cancelled our flight. The only way I found out is that the computer would not give me a boarding pass. Got a nice Aussie person on the phone who mumbled something about the crew needing to rest (after, I imagine, a night of drunken debauchery at the strip clubs in Dallas). Best laid plans and all.
It is very early in the morning, but the good thing about gin is that everyone tells me that they can’t smell it on my breath even though they walk quickly away with horrified looks. Anyway, since Qantas is an inanimate object, the company’s high-handed behavior makes me want to smack the crap out of a kangaroo!
Oh, good. There is a place where that actually happens: