The Last Installment

I PROMISE.

So about halfway through the two-hour flight, while the man beside me slept and Kim and I dozed to the tunes on our respective iPods, I happened to glance out the window.  Not even the little Ativan pill I had swallowed before boarding the plane could prevent the pit in my stomach that formed when I realized we were flying over a lightening storm.

I call it a lightening storm because lightening is what I fear — not the harmless thunder.  Lightening has the power to instantly ignite our metal box and turn us into a statistic in a matter of moments.  LOST, anyone?

I looked at Kim and asked the obvious question, "Is that lightening?"

She confirmed my worst suspicions and then told me that when we were safely on the ground, I should remind her to tell me of her harrowing airplane story.  That was not exactly the encouragement I was looking for.

It wasn’t long before we heard the familiar ding of the fasten seat belt sign, and the pilot came on the intercom to inform us of impending turbulence.  Sure enough, the plane started to bounce and jounce on cue.  I gripped my own arms, as I was sitting like a pretzel trying to occupy only 2/3 of my seat, and started chanting, "Planes rarely crash from turbulence.  Planes rarely crash from turbulence."

It’s true, you know.  I read that somewhere.  Are you impressed by my reliable sources?  Clearly I am no journalist.

After about 20 minutes of harmless turbulence, the flight leveled out, and I breathed a shallow sigh of relief.  I say shallow because I never entirely relax on an airplane.  Except for the time that I took two Ativan, a few years ago when I was at the height of my anxiety symptoms.  Now THAT’S the way to fly.

I watched my watch anxiously, eager to place my feet safely on solid ground.  The way I figured it, we were within 20 minutes of landing.  That’s when the pilot reappeared on the intercom to inform us that flights were backed up coming into Philly (big surprise – NOT!) and we would need to circle the airport a few times before we would be cleared for landing.

Joy!

Fortunately the lightening and the turbulence were behind us, and after we circled a few hundred times, we were cleared for landing and came down out of the sky to the welcoming sight of the Philadelphia International Airport.

I made my way to baggage claim, gathered my bags (which were easy to locate due to my new luggage tags — thank you, Shari!), said good-bye to Kim and her husband and son, and boarded a shuttle that took me to my car.

After an hour in the car, I found myself driving in the silence of darkness down my familiar street.  Like Dorothy, I echo the sentiment — there is indeed no place like home.

I unlocked the door and crept into the house to find everything in order and my husband at his usual post in our family room — reclining in the leather chair with his laptop attached to his hip.  We said our hellos and he went outside to gather my bags.

I bypassed the computer and climbed the steps to the second floor, where I stopped to kiss my son and then crawled in bed with my daughter.  Her glassy eyes opened briefly, as she smiled in recognition and then returned to dreamland.

I heard the front door open and my husband come in laden down with my luggage.  Then I heard him say, "Let me guess, you’re at the computer."  I giggled to myself, as even he never imagined a day that I’d be so tired as to bypass the computer on my way to bed.

I got up and staggered to my room and made the executive decision to forgo my face cleansing ritual — yet another testament to the degree of sheer exhaustion that I was feeling.  I never go to bed without checking the computer or taking off my face.  N-E-V-E-R.

But I did on Sunday night.  That’s what "partying like a blog star" will do to ya.