Mykonos, Here We Come!

Thursday, 9 p.m.

So we’re sitting at SFO waiting for our flight to Greece to take off. And waiting. And waiting. Who knows, we might still be waiting when you read this. Actually, I think it’s miraculous we’re still planning to board the plane for Mykonos and a week-long spay/neuter mission for abandoned animals on the island.

It’s almost comical what we’ve been through so far. But we’re on a mission, literally and figuratively. Nothing will deter us. Besides, when 4 strong-willed women get their minds made up, it’s a losing proposition to think those minds can be changed.

Still, we are definitely getting a hint that we’d best stay home. We’re preferring to believe it’s a test of our devotion to our cause and not that this plane will vanish into the ocean minutes after take off. No, I’m afraid we have other plans. 
Here’s what’s testing us:

All our printers stopped working this week except Pat’s, but her cell phone wouldn’t receive texts; Pat’s toilet broke, then mine too; Lisa was late arriving to my house for a ride to the airport because of an accident on the bridge; our area has 55 mph winds so our plane is delayed 4 hours; I bought an $18 sandwich moments before Air France gave us meal vouchers. 

This morning, customs in Athens rejected all our medical supplies we mailed weeks ago and are being sent back as we sit here. So we have no surgery kits. We ordered them today from Athens at double the price. It’s a mystery whether we’ll get them by Monday. Then we learned air traffic controllers are on strike in Paris where we’ll be changing planes. Oh joy. 

Friday, 11:30 p.m.

Made it to Paris 22 hours after leaving home. Now don’t get me wrong; it gets better. The ATM appeared to accept my card (twice) but I received no cash. Who knows, I could be out $1200 at this point. We then waited 2 hours in line at the airport to get a connecting flight but instead got vouchers for a hotel stay. Trouble was, 3 of us were sent to one hotel and Lisa to another, which we flatly refused. 
We have no change of clothes, as they couldn’t locate all our bags, so we received t-shirts and toiletries. Had to call the front desk when the lights in my room wouldn’t work. Turns out I’m supposed to insert my key card into a slot on an inside wall. Being it was pitch black, how was I supposed to see the slot? I’m dizzy, dead tired and not wearing glasses. I was lucky to still know my name. 

Saturday, 8:00 a.m.

Slept a couple hours then snuck Lisa into the hotel restaurant for the complimentary breakfast. Tried boarding the plane at 7:00 a.m. for Athens but my ticket was repeatedly refused at the kiosk. Turns out they’d changed my seat, which the computer didn’t recognize. So now I’m writing this on our 3 hour flight, which will be followed by a 3 hour boat ride to Mykonos.

It’s been a challenging 33 hours so far and the thought did pass my mind that we’re somehow being tested on this trip. But we’re all still smiling and haven’t wavered in our goal to help as many unaltered and starving animals as we can, no matter the challenge in finally reaching them. 

After all, we are 4 strong-willed women on a mission. 

4:00 p.m. 

Landed 5 hours ago. Pat’s luggage still hasn’t arrived. 

Stuck at the Paris airport 22 hours after takeoff

Passport Hell

passport

My passport expired.

Now, that may not seem like a big deal to you and to be honest, it didn’t to me either. But this week I discovered I couldn’t have been more wrong. Little did I know what was in store simply renewing my passport book. And how silly of me to think it would be easy.

I’m planning to visit Greece in May when my nonprofit goes to Mykonos to help sterilize the multitudes of unaltered cats and dogs on the island. So when I noticed my passport had expired, I thought I’d just print out the proper forms and mail them to the Passport Processing Center. Sounds easy, right?

Greece man with cats

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Back to My Reality

reality

Vacation is over. It’s now back to my reality:

  1. Trapping feral cats to halt their baby-making capabilities reminiscent of Octomom and her 14 kids.Octomom and kids
  2. Playing tennis in my ongoing attempt to serve an ace before I die. Accomplishing that feat is so far fetched, it likely would result in my opponent having a heart attack from the sheer absurdity of it. So let’s skip this one, shall we?
  3. Continuing to manage 7 animals…like stopping Jack from pouncing on Savannah, cleaning up after Oliver’s hairballs, keeping Nellie from eating poop in the backyard and trying to get Tippy to sit anywhere but in front of my monitor. tippi blocking computer
  4. Enjoying time spent with friends. Oh wait! That’s what I was doing on vacation. Hmm…appears I have a pretty nice life. Gotta love retirement…

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Deja Vu All Over Again

I hate to beat a dead horse. In fact I hate to beat anything, let alone a dead horse. What kind of a saying is that anyway? Now don’t get me wrong. Today I’m not writing about beating horses so you can just forget the opinion you’ve just formed that I’m a dead-animal-beater. I mean really, what’s wrong with you?

No, today’s blog is about how apropos my last blog was. You see, as I write this, I’m on a plane to Texas to meet my friend Sharon and help her unpack hundreds of boxes shipped from her and Jim’s previous home in Perth, Australia, to her current home outside Houston. Being the kind, considerate, thoughtful and giving person I am, I offered to help her unpack. Continue reading

The Big Apple

nycFive friends and I just returned from New York. Three of them had never been so we took 6 days and did every touristy thing imaginable. We rose early and didn’t hit the sack until early the next morning. I’m now home sick (not to be mistaken with homesick). So if this blog makes no sense, there you go.

I won’t bore you with all the places we went and things we did, but trust me, we did it all and saw it all. Instead I’ll tell you the good and the bad of what happens when 6 women travel together for 6 days.

From left: Sharon, Patty, Janet, Sue, Pam, Karen

From left: Sharon, Patty, Me, Sue, Pam, Karen

We started splendidly, getting to SFO in plenty of time. Already a victory with 6 women, wouldn’t you say? When we noticed our boarding passes said TSA pre-approved, we high-fived our luck, knowing we’d pass quickly through security. I did, however, somehow manage to misplace mine between checking in and the security gate. (Found it.)

Anyhow, we stayed in Brooklyn in a family-oriented community called Carroll Gardens where Brownstones line streets framed with beautiful old trees.

Our Brownstone

In front of our rental

Our first meal in Brooklyn was rather late so when we got to the restaurant, they were out of most menu items. Pam ended up with tomato soup we’re pretty certain was a cup of spaghetti sauce.nyc out to dinner

The next day we headed for the World Trade Center but before we reached the subway, Sue realized she forgot her scarf. We waited while she ran back for it. Once she joined us again, she discovered she’d forgotten her purse. And they say I’m the one who forgets things.

World Trade Center Memorial Fountain

World Trade Center Memorial Fountain

Anxious to try New York’s famous Cronut (croissant-doughnut pastry), we visited Dominique Ansel Bakery. Our opinion? Save the calories for a Serendipity Sundae as big as your head.

Cronuts, among other goodies. And yes, we at them all

Cronuts, among other goodies. And yes, we ate them all

A Serendipity sundae

A Serendipity sundae

nyc serendipity Sisters Patty and Karen will talk to a wall, so on our subway rides they became best friends with anyone sitting near them, from gangster-looking fellows to elderly ladies. People on subways tend to keep to themselves; there’s little talking. But not whenever we boarded a train. We conversed with everyone around us. Seems a simple smile and hello go a long way, even on a New York subway.

Waiting for the subway

Waiting for the subway

We actually found New Yorker’s to be very friendly. Maybe they took pity on us obvious tourists with our map. Everyone we encountered was pleasant except for the owner of a bakery in Brooklyn. He was like the soup Nazi from the Seinfeld program. He was so rude I thought he was joking. But no.soup naziGoing home, we hired a driver to take us and our boatload of luggage to the airport. Felix was awesome and got us there with time to spare. Then we realized Karen’s luggage wasn’t in the car. Holy crap.

Felix drove back for it with our promise to make it worth his while. But he narrowly missed the cutoff to check luggage, so Patty stayed with Karen and they took a later flight home. They didn’t get in until 2:30 a.m., 7 1/2 hours after our scheduled arrival.

Us abandoning Patty and Karen at JFK

Us abandoning Patty and Karen at JFK

We, on the other hand, didn’t have it much better. President Obama was at SFO so we were stuck in the plane on the tarmac for 3 extra hours. I almost regretted voting for him.

Damn Obama

Guess I’ll watch my fourth movie

All told, we took planes, trains, automobiles and a boat. We spent 146 hours together and shared a home with only 1 1/2 baths for 6 women. We walked 56 miles, eating, drinking and sightseeing our way through Manhattan. And best of all?

We returned home not hating each other one single bit.

NYC backdrop

NYC backdrop

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Times Square

Times Square