The expedition began with adventure ... connecting with tommdroid in Chicago on the first try, instead of tapping on a dozen strangers' shoulders before getting the right person (credit to padawan_helena and sithhappens for having a fine portrait of the darling 'droid included among their wedding photos so that I knew what face to look for (the wild'n'curly hair escaping from braids was a clue, but 'twas the first view of her face that confirmed her identity ***smile***). Then the happy sight of hadesgirl awaiting us at the airport in Ohio, and providing comfort when we discovered that our luggage had decided to travel separately (it was eventually delivered to the house just after 12:30 a.m.). Then off to the hadesgirl and mjpg residence, to reunite with anotheranon and semmie17 and watch their jaws hit the floor when surprise guest tommdroid made her entrance. Also fuzzily reunited with resident felines, Max and Thelma Lou, and formally introduced to new-cat Cisco ... all sweeties in their own unique furry ways. :-) Next day saw the arrivals of kat1392 (surprise guest #2) and timcharmorbien! (my personal soft spot, since Lady Morbien was the very first e-person I ever corresponded with ... seems like only yesterday that that all began, while simultaneously feeling as if I've known you forever!)
Gathering completed, there was much feasting and nattering and catching up and viewing of strange things and wonderful field trips to beautiful local places ... there just weren't enough days (or nights) for it all!
Happily, luggage decided to drop snobby attitude and travel on the same airplanes, so arrived with me. Mostly. I did accidently leave behind the photo CD that mjpg kindly made for me, my Scottish Celtic knot earrings, and my ***WHIMPER*** copy of "Mendoza in Hollywood" that I was 3/4 of the way through! Came home to cold, rainy weather ... this is day four according to my taxi driver ... which feels far less humid than Ohio. :p Now for hot tea and catching up and winding down and, eventually, bed (with thanks that I've taken tomorrow off for "recovery"). :-)
P.S. Even though it's not my brother-in-law's airline, I have resolved to, whenever possible, travel with WestJet in the future (this was my first trip with them) ... the crews for my Calgary-Toronto and Toronto-Calgary trips were a delight. Have you ever seen a quarterback-built, shaved-headed, earringed, goateed steward wearing shorts and Doc Martins as part of his uniform? (for that matter, when was the last time you saw airline uniforms that were actually designed for the comfort and convenience of their wearers? ... I think WestJet is a pioneer in this one). Or a gate attendant performing a spontaneous standup routine, in German (for the benefit of a large party of German tourists), when boarding is ten minutes late? And when was the last time you experienced aircrew passing around the microphone, telling silly jokes and singing songs (including one about how if you married one of them, you could fly for free) to the passengers during the landing? This is obviously a company who makes their staff VERY happy and it shows. :-)