Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trains, Planes & Automobiles

I’m still recovering from 10 days away for Christmas – but it was totally worth it! Despite some bone pain and a fatigue-inspired crying jag on my last day (side-effects from the chemo drug, Taxotere) I had a great Christmas, complete with traditional dinner and the company of an assortment of dear, and sometimes quirky/entertaining family members. Christmas this year was in Black Creek, my Mom’s retirement community, half-way between Niagara Falls and Fort Erie.

My son Adam and daughter-in-law Tara flew from the Netherlands, with a stop off for a few days in Boston on the way. This is a photo-email they sent me from Niketown, before the storm hit.

The message reads: We are strolling in the snow on Newbury Street in Boston. It's actually nice to have a bit of winter. Well, within a few hours, they experienced more than “a bit of winter”. As did so many other travelers this holiday season, they got stranded for 2 extra nights and finally rented a car and drove from Boston to Buffalo.

My Mom (aka the Ever-Ready Christmas Bunny) decorated, cleaned, cooked Christmas dinner for 11 people, and made a gazillion trips to the train station and four different airports. I don’t know where she gets the energy! The weather made for something out of a bad made-for-TV Christmas movie. Just because I can’t believe she did this, here was my Mom's taxi-shuttle schedule:

Dec 17 – Picked me up at Pearson airport in Toronto. Because of bad Ottawa weather and the transit strike, I arrived 10 minutes before departure time, yet managed to maintain my record of never missing a flight (although I’ve come close too many times to mention). My flight was delayed for over an hour, which was a sign of things to come.

Dec 18 – Picked my sister Nadine & brother-in-law Doug up at the Hamilton airport, 1 hour away. We went directly from the airport to the train station to pick up my niece Erin, arriving from Halifax via Montreal.

Dec 20 – Drove Nadine & Doug across the border to the Buffalo airport, where they caught a 7:30 am flight to Florida. Drove back to Buffalo for a second time that evening to meet Adam & Tara’s flight from Boston, which was eventually cancelled. We spent the time waiting in a Tim Hortons (yes, they have them in the U.S. now) and in the Galleria mall.

Dec 22 – Back to Buffalo to meet Adam & Tara at the airport where they dropped their rental car off. We were relieved that they had made the 10 hour trip safely. They made good time, considering that they stopped along the way to visit the Basketball Hall of fame. (Who else besides my sports-obsessed son would do that in a snow storm??)

Dec 26 – Back to Toronto so Adam & Tara could catch a flight to Vegas, where they are spending a few nights before driving to Palm Dessert to visit with Tara’s Mom & stepfather.

Major screw-up: I thought I was leaving from Pearson within a ½ hour of Adam & Tara’s flight, but I realized at the last minute that my flight was from the Toronto Island airport, so Mom had to drive me downtown to get my flight. (Am I the only person in Canada that didn't know that Porter doesn't fly out of Pearson?)

Dec 27 – Back to Hamilton to see Erin off.

Dec 29 – Back to Buffalo to pick Nadine & Doug up for a 1-night stop-over.

Dec 30 – Back to Hamilton for Nadine & Doug’s flight home to Alberta.

Whew! Did I mention that Mom also had overnight company from Sweden in there somewhere? All of her driving, bedding changes and hard work was much appreciated. She did a great job of making sure this was a wonderful Christmas for all of us.

Now it’s back to reality. I had blood work today and have my 6th chemo treatment tomorrow – on Dec 31st. Happy New Year to me!!

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