What A Trip (And a Tease)!

I took my first real vacation in a couple of years this last week. The hubby and I flew out to Arizona to visit my in-laws, but not until after I finished the first draft on my first full sized book. (YAY!)

As a military brat I’ve been on many flights– some fun (me on a plane with an entire college football team just after I’d become legal–and they were flirting), some boring (standard flight with no excitement or turbulence), some a tad bit crazy (the guy who stunk of pot and B.O. and told me he spoke a rare language from a country most people didn’t know which turned out to be Danish/Denmark, then proceeded to tell me that the Philippines would rule the world someday when he found out I spoke Tagalog)….but nothing like the flight my heroine took when she moved to Nashville. (I’ll share what I mean in a moment.)

Our flight to Arizona would’ve been fairly uneventful except that on the layover flight from Atlanta to Tucson, I wound up sitting beside a man with a horrible case of silent but violent gas. Hubby was stuck behind him. It was bad.

The flight home couldn’t have been worse, right? Wrong. From Tucson to Atlanta I was trapped between a French dude who was polite, but didn’t speak much English, and a Russian lady who was still breastfeeding her adorable toddler and didn’t have much by way of courtesy. When I tried to get to my seat, instead of getting up with her child so I didn’t have to worry about smacking someone in the face with my backpack, she just slid her legs to the side–mind you, she had an aisle seat. Fortunately, the Frenchman was kind enough to offer to take my bag so I wouldn’t hit anyone and I squeezed my way in.

Throughout the flight, the child was a trooper, but her mom didn’t pay attention or try to preserve my personal space as the little girl stretched and kicked. The whole shoving her little one under her shirt every few minutes didn’t really phase me because I figured it was her way to try to keep the child soothed and occupied so she wouldn’t get cranky.

Once we reached Atlanta we stopped at Bobby Flay’s cheeseburger place where I promptly had my glass full of Coke Zero shatter, dousing me completely (pants and top) in soda. Ugh. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to walk through an airport all wet and stained? It couldn’t get worse, right?

Wrong. The final leg of the flight had hubby and I sitting together, but the guy in front of us smelled like sour sweat and also had a huge gas problem. I really was kind of hoping by that point that the oxygen masks might fall down and save us from the odors. And the landing? Major turbulence that had some of the people around us freaking out. An old flyer like me? Felt like she’d just gotten a fun roller coaster ride.

I really was wishing my flight had been more like the one my heroine, Kalina Santos, experienced in my upcoming release, A Way With Words. Here’s an unedited excerpt:

“What are we doing here, sweetheart?” The desire darkened his eyes to a golden brown, but concern was there, too. “Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do this with you, but I don’t want you to regret it. Tell me now if you’re not into this. There’s nothing wrong with getting caught in the moment. It’s a judgment free zone, right here.”
She pulled back; looked away from the temptation of those cat eyes (well, what else do you call eyes that are sometimes green, sometimes yellow, and seem to see into your soul?) and considered his words. His thoughtful generosity touched her as much as the thick erection under the soft cotton of his jeans aroused her. The irony wasn’t lost on her that he showed more concern for her and her feelings than the evil ex she’d been with for years and refused to allow to taint this moment with any more space in her brain.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to join the mile-high club.” She leaned in and caught his earlobe between her teeth. “Somehow I think this bucket list item works better with a partner. What do you think?”

So what about you? What was your most memorable plane ride? Ever join the mile high club? Tell me all about it!

Muses And A Comedy Of Travel Snafus

After a crazy day of travel that started way too early on less than three hours of sleep, I’m finally settled in to my new digs.

Many of you are writers or artists of some sort, so you’ll understand. Yesterday my inspiration bug bit. My problem? My house was still in shambles from our dinner party the night before and I was catching an 8 am flight the following morning.

Here’s the thing about priorities… My to do list should have been as follows:
1. Pack for my 3+ week trip
2. Clean up my messy kitchen and dining area (so hubby won’t have to)
3. Write…if there’s time.

What actually happened? I followed my muse, of course, causing #1 and #3 to flip in priority order. Since I was on a roll and wanted to finish my WIP…..that’s what I did. During my breaks I loaded the dishwasher and started to pack. I finished packing around midnight. Finished my WIP at about 2:30 am. My alarm was set for 5:30 (saved time by showering at midnight).

At 5:45 my friend picked me up for the airport. I kissed hubby and the dogs goodbye and was on my way.

I should have known today would not go smoothly when I waited more than 10 minutes for the curbside check in guy to finish with the only couple in front of me only to check in at the counter instead. At the auto check-in the lady told us TSA was busy and had an hour long wait. I was almost through the line when the couple who’d been checking in curbside finally got there. Good thing I didn’t wait. Right?

Our flight left on time, and even arrived in DFW when it was supposed to. The problem? There was still another plane at the gate. We sat on the Tarmac for over 30 minutes. My actual arrival time was 9:51am. My connecting flight began boarding at 10:10 with a scheduled departure time of 10:40. By the time I made it off the plane it was already 10:36. I did what any seasoned traveller would do. Stop at the gate and talk to the lady at the counter in an attempt to get them to hold the flight for a few extra minutes.

As The woman and I talked the gate told her I had 10 minutes. She’d already mentioned the next flight, but they’d told her to have me rush to catch the shuttle and try to get my flight. I was in D concourse and my flight was in c. Gamely I rushed to the new gate, huffing and puffing through my poor sinus infected body, bogged down with luggage and expecting to die of what might become my first asthma attack. I got there 5 minutes after the flight took off. Of course!

Next, they rescheduled me for a later flight…leaving in a little more than an hour. Sweet! Except it was all the way back where I started. In D concourse. At least this time I didn’t have to kill myself. The time gave me a chance to grab a bite of the worst seasoned orange chicken and fried rice I’ve ever had…and to take my meds.

Finally I got on my flight to El Paso at 12:45. I was thrilled! This time everything went off without a hitch. Well, till I got my voice mail saying the rental car place was giving my friend a hard time about me getting the car on her credit card. No worries, though, the hotel has shuttles to and from the airport. With Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand I was ready to conquer anything. Good thing because I didn’t see my luggage on the carousel! Fortunately, when I walked into the baggage claim office, my bag was already there…waiting for me.

So here are a couple of pictures of my new home for the next few weeks…

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What about you guys? Have you experienced Murphy’s law while traveling? Tell me the story… What do you do when your muse and priorities collide?