Here are the highlights of the 10 days between our arrival in Connecticut and our arrival in California:
- Finishing unloading the truck and storing all the boxes in the basement. Then Lynne following me in the car as I drove the truck to the local U-Haul to return it.
- Researching a flight we could afford that we could also coordinate with an available cargo reservation for Spritzie. This took many hours on the computer and the phone. We would drive to the library every day to use the public computers there, as Lynne's parents had no internet access.
- Once we bought our plane tickets, finding out that the airline wouldn't waive their 10-day limit on Spritzie's medical certification to fly. We had had her examined 15 days earlier back in Yonkers, thinking we'd have purchased tickets within the 10-limit. We now needed to pay for a Connecticut vet to examine her again and re-certify her. (Consolation: She was an extremely nice vet.)
- Visiting Lynne's father, who was staying at the local senior center until the physical therapy he'd been assigned could get him walking again, as he'd been having some trouble doing that. It was a pet-friendly place, so we got to take the dog with us on these visits, which was a treat for Lynne's dad. As a tough, old-school, retired fighter pilot, he was anxious to return home to his wife rather than be confined to a wheelchair and be dependent on and take orders from nurses.
- Spending time at Petco to select a dog crate that was compliant with airline guidelines, would be comfortable for Spritzie, and fit within our budget. Once we made our purchase, we wanted to familiarize her with it. We kept the crate in our bedroom for a week with its door open until one night she got the hint and slept inside.
- Going to the movies and generally socializing with Lynne's mother, who was an absolute angel, opening her home to us and taking compassionate care of us while we underwent this transition from our old life to our new.
- Getting to know Lynne's brother Randy's new girlfriend, Debi. They invited us over for dinner at her house a couple of nights before our departure. She's a truly lovely person, and we were so glad we got to know her before we left. We hope they'll come stay for a visit with us here at the Morehouse.
- Randy taking the day off from work and borrowing Debi's Jeep wagon so there'd be enough room in the car to take Lynne, me, Spritzie, the luggage and the rather large dog crate to Bradley International Airport in Hartford. He was patient, cheerful and encouraging as he took us to the industrial part of the airport to a cargo warehouse and waited with us while we filled out all the paperwork for Spritzie's travel arrangements. We said good-bye to our dog until we would see her again at San Francisco airport. It was pretty nerve-wracking to imagine her traveling alone in a cargo hold for 3,000 miles.
- Getting on a small propeller plane for the first leg of our trip -- Hartford to Newark -- only to be told we'd be delayed for an hour, and there wasn't time for us to deplane, so we'd just have to sit there and wait. (I was mollified by them compensating us with a free drink.)
- Calling the Animal Help Desk of Continental Airlines while sitting in a restaurant at Newark Airport until it was time to board, and finding out that Spritzie had somehow ended up on an earlier flight and would arrive in California an hour before we would.
- Standing up from where I was sitting in the boarding gate area at Newark to look around, and hearing a voice say, “There's Gerry!” Miraculously, Jack, Ilana and Kassy, who had spent the previous week in Philadelphia teaching several courses, had just 15 minutes earlier been dropped off at the airport to fly home, along with Carol Sue, who had been with them doing effect. They were going to be on the same flight to California as we were! It seemed like a providential sign. (Carol Sue was going to be on a separate flight to Florida to visit her mother.)
- Landing at SFO and walking briskly and anxiously to the luggage office to pick up Spritzie. She was sitting wide-eyed in her crate. She seemed a bit in shock at what she'd just undergone, and was tentatively happy to see us.
- Getting out to the airport sidewalk where there were four cars waiting: Two for Jack, Ilana and Kassy and their luggage, and two for us, our luggage and our dog. As each car had two people in it, there were a total of eight Morehousers there to greet five Morehousers. It was a brief but lively sidewalk party of 13 friends, with quick hugs and greetings before everyone was whisked away.
- Arriving at our new home, the Oakland Morehouse, and being led to the guest room. We had been prepared to rough it during our two-week Evaluate Program. Instead, we were confronted with this beautiful, romantic bedroom with a king-size bed surrounded by luxurious maroon velvet drapes. We were told that we were going to be given a day to rest from our travels, and then our Evaluacy would begin. We had completed our journey, and we were now in heaven.
There's one essential ingredient to glory…doubt.
-- Vic Baranco