There are airborn events I’ve heard about that I dream of experiencing, like getting bumped to First Class. Then there are Mile High Clubs that I never wanted to join — not just the original MHC (ew), but the Oxygen Masks Actually Descend Club, for instance, or the Turbulence Caused a Toilet Tsunami Club. (OK I’ve never actually heard of that but turbulence can get really bad.)
Or, the Medical Emergency Landing Club. Never wanted to belong. Joined it this week.
When I took the great Don George‘s writing class, one of the best pieces of advice he gave seems like the most obvious, but I’m amazed at how often I fail to follow it: Take copious notes!
When you’re having an amazing travel experience, it’s easy to think, “I could never forget this piazza beneath the bluest sky or these porpoises leaping from the bay.” Oh, couldn’t you?
I recently found a journal that I had forgotten writing, about an experience that was less joyous than the above, but definitely memorable. It was from our September 2001 trip to China, including my contemporary account of the events of 9/11. Since I recently wrote about those same events from memory, today I’m sitting down to compare how my memory stood up to what I wrote back then.
I just found this post in my drafts! Not sure why I didn’t publish at the time, but all the info should be still good.
My kids have a week off of school in February. Some people in California call it “Ski Week,” and in the past, we have used it to do just that. But this year everything is different.
For one thing, my daughters, who have been skiing every winter since before kindergarten, decided they don’t like the sport. And even if they’d be willing to join us on the slopes for old times’ sake, they won’t go to a ski resort during the continuing Covid pandemic, which I obviously can’t argue with. (Yes, I went during Covid with their dad and brother and it was fine, but it’s OK that our risk tolerence varies.)
Note: I already wrote a blog post about our visit to Wrigley Field this summer. But then I put together this essay about how that trip to the Midwest was in part rain tourism for us dusty Californians. I was thinking of trying to sell it, but heck, I’ll just share it here with you. After all, the rainy season actually showed up on time in California this year, so this piece may have passed its sell-by date. Still perfectly good though! Enjoy.
How dry was our pandemic?
So dry that my son’s Zoom class went nuts when one of their classmates announced, “It’s raining!” and focused her camera on the falling drops. I rushed over, squinting to catch a rare glimpse of precipitation.
The classmate was attending school from Puerto Vallarta, and there we were in the umpteenth year of California’s megadrought. To make things worse, Covid cancelled our annual visit to the grandparents in Wisconsin, where we usually received a welcome deluge in one form or another.
Finally, vaccines in arms, we prepared to fly East in July 2021.
“Please let there be a huge thunderstorm with pouring rain and lightning!” my daughter wished.
I made it! I earned my Southwest Companion Pass for next year! And I swear, like Scarlett O’Hara with a handful of dirt, that I will fly more with that Companion Pass in 2022.
But what do I do now? We still have stuff to buy every month — groceries, a new roof, this and that. Which credit card to put the spending on now that I really don’t need any more Southwest points unti January?
I’ve been trying to scrape up enough American AAdvantage miles to take the family to Europe at some point in the next year, so my ears perked up when I heard that American is changing things up with their loyalty program.
Now, I’m at the point where I think it’s more likely than not that I never had Covid at all. And I’ll never know for sure at this point. But it’s looking more and more likely that I had a false positive last week.
Last night I returned home from walking the dog — yes, the Health Dept. and Kaiser not only condone but encourage going out for walks while masked and social distancing! — I returned to my backyard entrance to see that my family was eating dinner.
Our dining table is flanked by a large window. It was just starting to get dark out, so the scene was illuminated from within. They were laughing and talking, eating the raviolis and pasta sauce I had purchased in what now feels like another lifetime. You can bet it felt poignant to stand outside, looking in.
A year ago, no one in my family would dream of getting on a plane, because, hello! Global pandemic.
Starting this summer, once we were fully vaccinated, we started venturing onto flights again. In fact, we were going to fly to Oregon this weekend to tour Oregon State University, visit “Leverage” sights in Portland, and meet up with friends.
Have you seen these prices for flights between the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii? Someone tipped me off last night, so I started poking around Southwest and Google Flights, and wow! There are nonstop flights between a number of Bay Area and Hawaii airports for right around $100 each way. The airlines I saw advertising these cheap flights: Southwest and Hawaiian.
Usually, we pay around $500 for a roundtrip to Hawaii from here. If we’re lucky, $400.