OK, so I’m going to try and describe our trip in detail over the next few weeks as things gel in my mind.

Our first night of the trip was spent at the Chicago Double Tree Inn, where we sit toothbrush-less because our luggage is in transit over Boise, Idaho. And here is why. It took us 5 freaking hours to drive to Seattle because some one decided that the first, portentous day of our trip they needed to drop a load of enormous plastic pipes on the only stretch of road between Portland and Seattle. The one, the only, legendary I-5.

Prior to that we had fairly flown up the highway. We stopped in Olympia to enjoy a Starbuck’s interlude in their own Starbucky backyard. Then it all comes to a creeping, crawling halt. They are predicting doom and gloom on the radio – it will take hours to open the road. I am laying a green brick on the seat of the car. My trip, my trip! I’ve planned and saved for years. Waahhhhh.

As we creep and crawl along it’s clear that things are moving better than expected. Within an hour we pop out the other side and continue our mad dash for SeaTac airport. We drop the rental car and head for the American desk where we check in and the boarding time shows as 2 hours later than the original flight departure time.

OK, just breathe.

Lucky for us, Mr American Airlines rebooks us pronto on a flight leaving in 45 minutes. We check our bags and run for security and some how manage to scoot onto the plane before the doors close. Frankly, I am amazed. I had planned on rolling into Chicago, eating something at the airport, cruising to the hotel luggage in tow and crashing early. Big doings the next day you know.

When we arrive and head to baggage claim lo and behold only one of our bags made it. Oldest girl has nothing, and all of our toiletries are packed into, what I am lovingly calling the sarcophagus, and checked. No toothbrush, no wonderful moisturizer which lets me look my 50 years after applying, not the 95 I appear when I get off the plane. The sarcophagus – narrowly missing the 50 pound limit – is a rolling duffel the size and shape of Tut’s final resting place, but not so pretty.

I am not a happy camper. I am also thinking that if this is the direction the trip is headed I am in deep yogurt. I am told I can come back and get the luggage or have it delivered within 24 hours. Uh, I am not going to BE here for 24 hours so scratch that. I opt to ride the shuttle back and grab the luggage when the flight arrives. Imagine the suspense as my luggage is literally the last stuff to come off. But it does come out. I roll back to the hotel with the sarcophagus and Oldest daughter’s luggage. Victorious!

I go to bed after transforming myself back into a 50 year old with moisturizer. The alarm goes off early the next morning. The wretched spirit which had hovered over us for that first day evaporates. The trip begins in earnest.

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