I Am A Secret Agent Of Travel (Which Is Different From a Travel Agent)

My vacation is over. I’m writing this from the air over Pennsylvania (and probably LOTS of other states), on my way from Philadelphia to Minneapolis, where I will spend 10 (probably long) hours before I fly home to the Far North (Ha! You totally thought I was going to give you a city name there, didn’t you? Admit it!). Three weeks away from home feels like forever and also doesn’t feel like nearly enough time with Niece and Biggest Brother and Sister-In-Law. 

To commemorate my last night in town, Niece attempted to kill herself. Okay, it wasn’t nearly that extreme, but my racing heart sure felt like it was. She took a header off of her “big girl chair” at the dinner table, landing on her chin and biting through the side of her tongue, which bled and bled and made her pregnant mother nauseous with both worry and blood-related aversions. Then, after she had calmed down and sucked on a few ice cubes and had her bath, she bonked her head on a doorframe, trying to avoid being more than three inches away from her mother’s side. Needless to say, the evening was a slightly traumatic way to say good-bye.

Since Niece is so verbal and has such an excellent memory (Example: when my parents visited two months ago, my mother made a comment about how, when Niece was a big girl, she could maybe ride a horsey, since she was so enamored with them. Now, any time we praise her for acting like a big girl, she asks, “Me ride horsey now? Ride black horsey? Mommy, daddy help?”), we decided to prepare her for my departure a day or two in advance. 

In order to help her understand that I wasn’t going to live with them permanently, I started asking where various people in her life live, thinking I’d ease in. But her response to every question formatted “Where does _____ live?” was “in church” or “to work.” So I started asking her where people slept. For some reason, that worked and she understood that I usually sleep in a bed in [Far North] in the same house as Sister (This is where I REALLY wish I used our real names, because then I could phonetically spell out the adorable ways she pronounces our names with her version of Auntie in front of them). But every time I tried to explain that I needed to go back to that bed and that I wouldn’t be there for Easter, she would frown very seriously and say, in the most matter-of-fact voice, “But me need you, Onta [Elsie].” Break my heart, kid. Go ahead; I don’t mind. 

Anyway, leaving was ridiculously difficult (I welled up a little, then did my classic feeling-avoidance moves and read about other people’s feeling son blogs) and I imagine she’s going to ask for me for a while and probably refuse to talk to be on the phone because GIRL CAN HOLD A GRUDGE! So, I’m totally looking forward to that… Compounding the issue was the obnoxion that was trying to check in for my flight on Delta. I cannot BELIEVE the things they are charging for these days and the hoops they are making us jump through. Okay, I’m sure I’m not the first to complain about this and y’all are probably all, “We’re SO over it by now. Oh, and also? Stop complaining about the ‘new’ body scanners already, that’s so 2011…”

But man, I miss my civil liberties and the money that used to be in my bank account. I guess this is just the cost of living safe in the land of the free. Wait… Huh? Okay, I’ll avoid getting all politically ranty up in here, since it’s PURPOSEFULLY not my style (on the blog anyway—meet me in real life and we will have a very different conversation), but can I just say that I HATE them? And that I stand inside them with my hands above my head with (what I hope is) a clear demonstration of my rage on my face and in my posture, just to make sure that those who are looking at my digitally naked body understand that I’m COMPLYING, but I am NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT (because, as a habitual Rule Follower, I am destined to be a chronic Hoop Jumper, no matter my level of indignation)? And also: that it boggles my mind that we have them at the Airport of the Far North, but Philadelphia doesn’t? Because that seems inconsistent and strange. 

I seem to have lost the thread of this post… Ah yes. Ending my vacation. I loved everything about this trip and am really sad it’s over. Pennsylvania, you’re kind of awesome (well, the twenty square miles of you I saw). You’re awesome enough that I started looking at job opportunities in the Philadelphia area, JUST IN CASE. You know, in case I get a sudden signal from heaven that PHILLY IS WHERE IT’S AT, ELISE. GO FORTH AND LOVE THE AMISH! Or something. 

I’m pretty sure that as soon as I get home, I will remember all of the reasons I moved back there in the first place, despite the six feet of snow remaining in my yard (which will probably still be there in May, even though the rest of the country seems to have collectively made a 2012 New Year’s Resolution “to prove some variation of the global warming theory and confuse meteorologists, just for kicks”). Added to this will be my DEEP LOATHING anything dealing with a) packing; b) moving; and c) things that are packing/moving ADJACENT, including but not limited to 1) house hunting, 2) cable/Internet installations, 3) learning new road systems, and 4) realizing that NO SINGLE PERSON WITH NO MONEY SHOULD HAVE THIS MUCH CRAP. All of this means I am probably NOT moving to Pennsylvania anytime soon. But you never know (See my capslocky rendition of the voice of God in the previous paragraph).

Which means that there is no longer any barrier to me looking for and, you know, OBTAINING some form of employment in my hometown. I kept putting it off because I was always just BACK from travelling or just ABOUT TO travel or in the MIDDLE of wearing yoga pants and watching television. But really? My last official day was October 3, 2011. It is now April 2012 (in case you somehow missed that fact). Enough is enough, Elise; get off your rear and be productive already.

But before I end this rambling diatribe masquerading as a blog post, I need to comment on the travel thing. I did not leave Far North ONE SINGLE TIME in 2011, so this year has been very weird. I did some math (counting calendar squares is math, right?) and I have spent a grand total of 47 nights in my own bed in 2012. That’s less than HALF of this year so far.  Wow, that might comes off kind of dirty. Let me assure you: except for seven nights spent stealing the covers back from Roommate and failing to keep her from sleeping in my armpit (oh, and the endless fights with Satan’s Cat to JUST STOP SCRATCHING MY FACE ALREADY), I have spent all those nights in other beds ALONE.

January started off normal, but I think it was just lulling me into a false sense of security. Then February hit. I spent three nights of February in my own bed. First, I went to see Roommate on my way to Phoenix (and PJ’s @ TJs). When I got home, Sister was out of town (being frivolous and learning how to do her new job, pfft) which meant I was in her room with Satan’s “I USE MY CLAWS TO SHOW MY LOVE” Cat. I thought March would be fine, since I only had the two night retreat, but then Pennsylvania called and I was off again. 

I’m not complaining, by the way—I feel truly blessed with all of these opportunities. I just find it all very unusual. But here is my one complaint: most of the other beds I slept in were queen-sized, which makes it more and more difficult to return to my pathetic little (broken) twin bed. And actually? I won’t even get to spend tonight in my own bed, even though I’ll be in my own house, since Sister is in Alabama being a Groomswoman for a college friend. So I will sleep in her bed to better corral Satan’s Cat. 

Maybe this is not noteworthy to you… Maybe you spend the majority of your nights in beds other than your own. Maybe you even do this in the fashion I unintentionally implied. Maybe you make a habit of sneaking into mattress stores and trying out a new bed every night just to be eccentric and have anecdotes of your eccentricity to put in your autobiography someday. Whatever. It’s notable for me. I am a creature of habit and I CRAVE stability. So 2012 has been a little more topsy-turvy than I’m used to. Not bad. Just DIFFERENT. 

Wow, apparently being trapped on a plane with no internet access—and no toddlers tugging me to “come on; me show you sumpsing”—makes me wordy. Wordier. Whatever. I wish I had a great way to wrap this up, but I have two hours of flight time left to ponder the imponderable and gaze at my navel, so I think I’ll just cut this off by saying that a Dunkin’ Donuts large iced coffee is indeed LARGE and I need to mosey down the aisle to avoid an unfortunate public incident. 

Until next time, when I’m sure I will again stun you with my limitless fount of blogging prowess. Have a Happy Easter. Or, you know, don’t. It’s really up to you.


  1. APrinceAndProzac4/7/12, 11:36 PM

    hehe. The title of this, the body of this, and especially the last paragraph of this, were a joy to read.

    I hope the rest of your flight is great and that Satan's Cat gives you a claw-free welcome home.

  2. I hope the rest of your trip goes without any problems and you have a happy reunion back home.

  3. Thanks! The second flight was only borderline terrifying, but I made my peace with Jesus (or renewed my peace with Jesus?) and lived to tell the tale. Also, I dodged a bullet and left Satan's Cat at my parent's house for the night and didn't end up sharing a be with her at all. ;)

  4. Just as I suspected, I really do love my hometown (and the Far North in general). And I hadn't realized how much I missed my family until I saw them again and by then it was too late to worry about it. So it was, indeed, a happy reunion.

  5. I flat out refuse to travel by air. I drive my happy heiney to Texas four or five time a year to see my family, and I enjoy how free I feel while I'm rolling down those roads.

    And whoa, wait...there's six feet of snow in your yard?

  6. I wish I could just drive everywhere. But it takes three days to get anywhere from where I live. So, not so much... And the snow? There was quite a bit when I left, but a lot has melted. I'd say we've got between two and three feet now. ;)

  7. Laura Diniwilk4/10/12, 4:51 PM

    Your niece sounds adorable...toddlers sure know how to pull on the heart strings. I would fully support a move to PA, we could meet in the middle (Pittsburg!) when I go to Ikea or travel there for work. Probably not as fun as a bed in the living room, but it would be nice to see you again!