|From the resort's website. The room we usually reserve|
has a slightly different layout.
I could tell you all sorts of great stories from our many vacations there, but I'm not going to (well, not today, anyway). Today, we're going to focus on our experience getting to and from that little piece of paradise.
Anyone who has traveled by air over the past few years knows that TSA regulations for what you can and can't bring on an airplane change all the time. When I book our flight, I read up on the current rules. On our last trip, my parents and our son's friend traveled with us so I made sure they were aware of the restrictions well in advance. I was not as specific as I should have been.
At the time, and I don't think it has changed since, you could not bring any type of liquid, cream, lotion or any product resembling such in your carry-on luggage or on your person. This would include, but was not limited to: medications, cosmetics, beverages, food items, and toiletries.
I gave this information to my mom. I went over it and gave specific examples of what she should not take on the plane. I think I mentioned lipstick, hand lotion and a few other things she would commonly have in her purse. I reiterated it the day before we left as well as on the way to the airport and again as we entered the building. She assured me she had none of the forbidden items with her.
Check-in took longer than we expected that morning because I had made a mistake when making our flight reservations online. My dad has back problems so I always request a wheelchair at the airport for him. Somehow, I had managed to request a wheelchair for each of us. It caused quite a stir, and eventually a lot of laughter at the check-in desk because they were preparing to bring seven wheelchairs and seven employees to escort us all to our gate.
I've been to a number of airports in my life, but I can unequivocally say that the baggage claim area in the Smith terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport is the worst. It is seriously equivalent to the bowels of Hell.
|If you've seen the movie Joe vs The Volcano,|
you may remember the terrible lighting in Joe's office.
I think those are the same bulbs they use in the baggage claim area.
While Mr. Willoughby went to get our vehicle, the kids and I fought through the angry crowd and eventually retrieved all of our luggage. It wasn't pretty. My son had to dive over the carousel to grab one of our suitcases that had fallen off. Battered, we rounded everyone and everything up and headed outside.
Our transportation for the sixty minute drive home was my mom and dad's mini-van. It's a good size, but clearly not meant for eight people plus their luggage. It took at least twenty-five minutes to force everything in and still leave a little room for passengers. We were in a loading zone and other people were honking their horns at us to move along. The overall mood was foul and becoming fouler by the minute. We finally pulled away from the curb with three kids in the third row seats, my mom and I in the second row seats with my son sitting on a suitcase between us, my dad in the front passenger seat and Mr. Willoughby in the driver's seat. We were all wedged in place by luggage. No one could move more than a half inch. It was uncomfortable. I'm sure we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.
Only five minutes into the drive, my daughter started screaming. She had lost her souvenir ring and couldn't find it in the dark. We told her we would find it at home, but she was inconsolable. The screaming turned to crying. At about the same time, the "door ajar" alarm malfunctioned (a frequent problem in this vehicle) and made an incessant dinging sound. My mom suggested that we pop in a cd and turn the volume up, so we did. The only cd in the van was one my son made for them. It's heavy on the Barry Manilow, but my mom's favorite is Chicago's "Your The Inspiration".
Every time the song ended, she asked if we could play it again. I think we heard it five or six times. I believe we heard "Mandy" two or three times, too. I wish I had some audio to share with you because you just can't imagine it. Ding, ding, ding, sob, sob, sob, ".....you're the inspiration...", ding, ding, ding, sob, sob, sob, "...you bring feeling to my life...." For an hour. One. Whole. Hour. We arrived home shortly after midnight and practically exploded out of the van. My mom and dad headed home, the kids went to bed and Mr. Willoughby and I each took a dose of ibuprofen.
We laugh about it now. Amazing how your least favorite experiences make for your most favorite stories, isn't it?