It has now been a week since we returned from our Florida vacation. The return flight was uneventful--just the way I like it. We left 80* and sunshine and arrived home to 35* and clouds, with a nice brisk Wisconsin breeze that effectively lowered the temperature even more. But, you know what, who cares. We were home. And if being home meant freezing any exposed parts of our bodies, that was just fine. We were home.
One of the best ways to arrive home is to have someone familiar there to greet you at the airport. We were fortunate to have good friends here to welcome us home. Tom and Jean were actually returning the favor we had done for them a few weeks ago when we had our turn to be the greeters and met their plane when they came home from their vacation. They put a bit more effort into their greeting, though.
Tom was standing in the baggage claim area waiting for us so he could help us retrieve our luggage from the carousel. (I could have done it, but I probably would have hurt myself). But that’s Tom--always willing to step up and help without making a fuss. While they waited for us to arrive, Jean kept driving the circle route around the airport so there would be no parking fee to pay. On time and frugal. That’s the way we like our friends.
Once we had the car loaded up and were driving away from the airport, we felt the full realization of being home. Familiar sights, familiar people, and the sense of contentment those bring, make going on vacation for 3 weeks just an excuse to return and feel good about being home.
As we drove into our driveway, the feeling that all was right with the world settled in. But every saga of travel and returning has to have a glitch, even just a small one, to ensure that the transition back to real life is authentic.
“Honey, why don’t you open the garage door so that we can get inside and unlock the side door from inside,” she suggested. We had to get inside to open the side door because the storm door was locked from inside with no key to open it from outside.
“Remind me again what the code is,” I asked.
She gave me the string of numbers to punch on the pad that would magically slide the door up, giving us access to our home sweet home. Nothing happened when I punched in the numbers. Not unusual. It often takes two or three tries to get the pad to cooperate. But after a dozen tries, with no positive result, even the most optimistic would have to agree that there was something wrong here that continual poking at the keypad would not resolve.
Tom suggested that maybe the battery was dead and installing a fresh one would solve the problem. But, of course, all the batteries in the world would do no good if they were LOCKED IN THE HOUSE. Tom, being the problem solver he is, suggested we go to the hardware store and buy a new battery. So we all piled into the car once more and drove the 1/4 mile to the hardware store, purchased a couple batteries, and returned to the uncooperative opener, sure that we had the solution.
I installed the new battery. I punched in the code numbers. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Mary tried it. Nothing. Tom tried it. Nothing. Even Jean gave it a shot. Nothing. Then, for no apparent reason, the garage door magically , if mysteriously, opened. Apparently someone up there took pity on us.
“Mary, why don’t you go in and unlock that side door so we can get in that way with these suitcases. I don’t want to scratch the cars by squeezing between them.” I said while I started to drag one suitcase behind me on the walkway to the side door. When I got to the door I reached for the handle and gave it a twist and pulled the door open. Then I twisted the knob on the entry door, opened it and stepped inside just as Mary entered from the garage to unlock the door for me.
Startled at seeing me already inside, she stammered the question both of us were thinking. “How did you get in? I haven’t unlocked that door yet.”
We both panicked for a couple heartbeats, racing round the place to check if anything was missing or amiss. But everything was just as we had left it three weeks before.
It seems that the last one out that door had failed to lock it behind him/her in the hurry to get going. We don’t remember who was responsible for the potential disaster that could have greeted us. So we agreed to not scream imprecations and yell about the low IQ that enabled such a stupid oversight to occur. We were so relieved that everything was safe and sound and that our home wasn’t violated that we sighed a “thank you” to St. Joseph, who, we believe has protected and guided us and stood beside us during the whole buying and selling and moving process that has demanded all our attention for the past 6 months.