Are We There Yet? The Summer in Spain

As of this morning, we have 11 days until the plane takes off.

Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

Leaving On a Jet Plane

The plane will leave with us or without us, and we’d all prefer that it leave with us.

The plane is going to Spain with a brief stop in Atlanta. By “brief,” I mean about 23 hours. We had hoped for a long layover in London or Paris when we booked the Express Deal on Priceline, but Atlanta will have to do.

Madrid, Spain is the final destination.

Most people take vacations that last a week or a long weekend. A crazy family will take a 10-day or 2-week vacation. We’ve taken long trips twice previously. One for about 26 days and one for 30, both to visit my in-laws in Spain.

This trip will be for 56 days.

Discomfort and trepidation creep into crevices of your mind sniffing out the thoughts of leaving your house, friends and a comfortable country where most everyone speaks the same language, for 8 weeks.

The plane is going to Spain.

The 2010 Trip to Spain

You Can Never Go Home

I expected to come back from our first trip to Spain in 2010 and try to find a place to stay in Wichita Falls to ride the Hotter ‘n Hell 100.

When we returned, the friend I had cycled and trained with most of the previous year and a half had packed up and moved to Florida. My other cycling friends, for reasons I can’t remember now, decided they weren’t riding Hotter ‘n Hell. That ended up being the end of my cycling career.

I did not expect that.

I did start running, though. That was good.

“A small white house surrounded by trees in the autumn” by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Back to Leaving

The thought of leaving your house unattended for several weeks is discomforting. In 2010, we paid someone in advance to feed the lawn and mow the fish.

Reverse that.

It all went well if you don’t count the dead fish.

Goldie was still alive when we returned. I don’t know if it was the loneliness, or maybe the shock — or disappointment — of our return that did it to her. Whatever the reason, soon after our return, Goldie moved on to that great fishbowl in the sky. Goldie soars in the clouds. Luca Brasi might say, “she sleeps with the humans.”

It all went well if you don’t count the dead fish.

So Much To Worry About

Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

In North Texas, though, fish and grass aren’t all you have to worry about.

We have storms. They destroy fences, roofs and entire buildings.

Then there are burglaries. Our neighborhood was safe, but that doesn’t matter to the burglars.

You’re not supposed to announce your vacations on Social Media, not supposed to mention that you’re on vacation until you return.

That’s easy for the long weekends, but were we supposed to go 26 days in Spain without posting some “hey, look at this groovy fountain in the roundabout!” post?

If burglars had any sense of decency, they’d honor the Social Media code and not hit our homes when we’re on vacation. They’d wait for the family to return from vacation and rob the place during the day while everyone was at work and school. They’d make sure to be gone well before anyone returned home to the senses of loss and violation.

That’s what a decent burglar would do.

Contact Text Support

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

I texted my friend Jay from the airport the day we left. It’s hard to believe we had texting way back in 2010, but we did. Jay texted me tell me about this crazy, new invention called the weasel.

No. The wheel. It was round and smooth so it rolled and helped cars go faster.

I’m kidding.

I texted Jay to say I was scared about leaving my house for a month. I didn’t mention leaving friends or leaving English. Jay said he would check on the house and make sure the Jagermeister was cold.

I knew he wouldn’t. I got a laugh, though, switched off the phone (remember in the old days when we had to do switch off phones during flights?) and tried to get comfortable in those impossibly small coach seats.

Are we in the air yet?

How Do You Sit in Those Seats?

I’m a short guy, relatively fit, and those coach seats are uncomfortable for me. I can’t imagine what coach must be like for all the overgrown humans, the ones that reach soaring heights of 5’8” or 5’9” and especially the taller ones.

Are We in The Air Yet

The thing I remember most about that flight to Spain in 2010 was my daughter. She was four at the time and so excited about her first airplane ride. She must have asked us twenty times, “Are we in the air yet?”

It was so cute. She was (is) so adorable. The other passengers laughed long with us. She has a way of making everyone laugh.

During the 10-hour flight to Madrid, she colored and played, played and colored. She even stretched out across the seats and slept for a couple hours. Not once did she ask, “are there yet?”

That Was That Trip

That was that trip. This is this trip, and the plane leaves in 11 days, with us or without us.

This is just the beginning. Not even the beginning, this is 11 days before the beginning. Next in the saga: 10 Days Before Takeoff: Goodbye is the Hardest Part. For the complete saga, follow my Summer in Spain series.