Shel took me to the airport early. I like the SLC airport. it's small enough to find things easily. I was glad that I arrived early. I walked up to the check in counter and asked for help. I've found it to be the easier way to get checked in. The lady was very nice and accommodating but her supervisor stepped up afterward. The look on her face said that she wondered why but he soon explained. He had seen my NIU t-shirt and had gone to NIU for two years on a sport scholarship. They had discontinued that scholarship though so he had to finish at DePaul. We had a nice chat about DeKalb and Sycamore. He even said that he still comes out for a game each year.
After that I went through security and had the person ahead of me AND behind me pulled over. When they left the line, they also took my tray so I had to go and claim it. They wanted to make sure that the tray was mine which was actually easy to do. Not sure which convinced them more, the fact that I was wearing a NIU t-shirt and I had all my ID's , including my NIU ID, in there or the fact that I fit into the shoes whereas the two senior ladies didn't. Either way it didn't take long and finally I was settled in the gate area. At least I didn't have to move to different gates this time. I was also happy to have my HP Mini charged up. There wasn't an available outlet to plug it in. While I waited, I did manage to check emails and text messages. It took up my time nicely and soon I was boarding the plane.
There was some confusion on which seat to sit in since the plane was United Express and not as wide across as the regular ones. That translates as some people had seats "f" and there wasn't any "f". Eventually everybody found a seat. Then, before taxiing it was noticed that we had empty seats towards the front of the plane so the flight attendant was asking eople if they would move forward more. I was in 8D so I didn't move. The person next to me stayed also and I had a nice chat with her. She was flying out to PA but she had a couple of hours layover in Chicago. The people in the seat behind me carried on a conversation about where the women was travelling to. She was on her way back to Ireland and the man was asking questions about her visit. Evidentally she had visited Yellowstone and his daughter lived in that area. He jokingly said he should have asked her if she had Guiness in her carry on and her reply was "No Guiness, just whiskey". :)
If I had to write down everything that I enjoyed while on vacation, I'd simply say.....EVERYTHING. I really enjoyed listening to all the Gardner's play their musical instruments and see the girls artwork as well as watching them do their creative assignments from school. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Shel when she was quilting and her sewing section gave me a few ideas of how to change mine. I enjoyed meeting Joe and also seeing Stephen's new iPAD. I truly felt welcome and like part of the family which made it kind of sad to have to say good bye. Of course this does not mean that we cannot keep in touch. There is IM, Facebook and email and letters. Shel has a couple of projects she is doing which I am looking forward to seeing the end results. It was also fun to watch John GM a Traveller game in person. It was totally cool to meet so many of my internet gaming and sewing friends, namely George, Michele and Sadee.
soo, as I write out this rough draft on the plane home (I'll type it up once I'm home), I come away from one of the best vacations I've ever had. Thank you all who helped make it so...whether or not you contributed funds for the trip, contributed to the transportation, or approved me taking off of work.
Now it is time to think about next years vacation. I know it is a full year away but when you live paycheck to paycheck you have to think well in advance. I've been to CA and met a gaming friend there and his wonderful family. Now I've met my gaming friends in Utah. That still leaves the Dakota's or Southern route in the US to visit. I doubt I'd do two weeks but perhaps one might be doable.