Saturday, January 22, 2011

About Texas...

I received a wonderful Christmas present from my husband -- a trip to Texas to visit my younger sister.  You should have heard the phone conversations that went on for weeks before my January 7 departure (or maybe not. They consisted mostly of stuff like"Eight more sleeps! Woo-hoo!") . I flew on (with? by?) American Airlines. Before I packed, I warned my sister that she would be providing my Texas wardrobe, because I had no intention of checking any luggage. My carry-on would carry all I really needed. I didn't even take a purse, because one of our plans was to go purse shopping. I didn't want to waste time waiting for my luggage when I could be spending the time with her, and she thought that was just fine.

So. Off I went, visions of Texas sunshine and warm weather floating in my head. I flew first by float plane to Vancouver's airport, then (four hours later) by AA to Dallas, then by AA again to Austin, where I sauntered out, ignoring the baggage line-up, to where Sis waited for me. We drove home, stopping only for my first Mexican food fix.

(I have a love/love relationship with Mexican food, and R doesn't like it, so when I'm off on my own, I take advantage. While I was in Texas, my food choices consisted of Mexican, Mexican, Mexican, Mexican, Thai, Mexican, and Mexican, with maybe a little more Mexican for good measure.)

The Thai interlude came when Sis and I went to San Antonio to have lunch with two of my online/real life friends. We had lunch at a Thai restaurant in a mall called The Forum that turned out to be a great place to shop. After lunch, we said good-bye to our friends, and Sis and I did some serious  -- and successful -- purse hunting.

That was fun, but the most exciting shopping I did while I was in Texas was on eBay. I found an eReader that interested me, and I bid on it. Much to my surprise, I won the auction. Well. Then I had to pay for the thing. That turned out to be more difficult than I thought. PayPal didn't like the fact that I was trying to use a Canadian credit card from a U.S. IP address, and it kept rejecting my payment. Finally, I found a way to pay. By then, it was Sunday night. The vendor was in Florida. I wrote her a note, asking whether she could possibly get the eReader to me in Texas by Friday. If not, I said, please ship it to me in Canada instead.

This was Sunday night.  She mailed my eReader out on Monday by Priority Post. I had it in my hands on Wednesday.


I hereby declare my undying love for the U.S. postal service.


That was freaking amazing. Florida to Texas in two days. I'd be lucky to get a letter across town in two days, using Canada Post. Seriously.

Oh, by the way. It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops. Remember how I was looking forward to enjoying warm weather in Texas? I nearly froze. I had to come home to get warm. It froze every night and rained almost every day, and the wind blew. And blew. Fortunately, I had my winter coat, and my sister had lots of warm clothes to lend me. She also has a fireplace. Bonus.

So here I was with a new-to-me e-Reader, which I promptly began to fill up with juicy stuff like Kat Magendie's "Sweetie". Oh, I'm gonna love this thing. 

The rest of the visit was mostly talking, hugging, laughing, all that stuff that makes family reunions wonderful. On my last night, the family threw me an unbirthday party complete with tortilla soup and tres leches cake.  It was splendid. It was joyful. I laughed a lot, and I only cried a little.

This brings me to the end of my holiday, when I had to pack to come home. Remember the "no luggage" part? Right. I came home with two new purses -- one of them a gift, the other a bargain from our shopping day at The Forum; a small crock pot; a set of indoor gardening tools;  numerous kinds of tea; and some Adams Southwest Seasoning (which is the stuff I've been saying is good on EVERYTHING); my eReader, of course; the "Shhh - Writer at Work" mug that I had bought from Rebecca Woodhead (inspirational shopping) and had shipped to Texas. My just-small-enough-to carry-on suitcase was stuffed full.  My backpack was stuffed full. One of the purses  was stuffed full. I had to check the suitcase. I tried to organize that online, but it couldn't be done. When I got to the airport, I told AA that I wanted to check one piece of luggage. Sure. No problem. That will be $25, please.

Excuse me? One piece of luggage? Under thirty pounds? I snarled. I paid. I came home. I got over it. But I'll find another carrier, the next time I decide to fly.

Oh, I don't want to leave this on a negative note. It was a wonderful trip. I'd do it again tomorrow, if I could. When I got home, I went grocery shopping. For tortillas. 


critter said...

I think they all charge $25 per checked bag nowadays. I flew Dayton to Wilmington NC & back in Dec & it was $25 each way.

Kathryn Magendie said...

First - You mentioned Sweetie in your post - I am honored! :-D

Second - I have family in Texas, but Dallas Ft Worth area - too bad your sis and my family doesn't live closer or we could one day meet :-D

And finally -oh yes, the $25 fee - ARGH - and it's BOTH WAYS - so it's $50 if you check both ways ... danged airlines! (Southwestern doesn't charge fees - let's hope they go more places!)

Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

AngelMay said...

Sounds like you had really nice trip, Sandra. And about that luggage... you'd probably have to pay no matter what airline you took. Flying sucks.

Sandra Leigh said...

Critter, AngelMay, I fear you may be right. I will simply have to restrict myself to flying only when I'm leaving the continent ('cause then you don't get charged. I guess they figure if you're going all the way to Europe, you might actually need a change of clothes. OR, as per Kat, I could go where Southwestern goes. Kat, if I'm in Austin and you're in Dallas, I'll get my sister to drive me to Dallas! She wouldn't mind a bit.

Pros said...

I feel so u Have a great time with your sister for christmas right and a wonderful trip in texas too right....