My stay in the hospital was not that long, only two and a half days. But after being released, Mother and I stayed in Roanoke another five days before we were finally able to finalize my affairs there, and obtain a flight home.
The first order of business was a real cuppa Joe at a local Waffle House. Oh my Lord was it glorious! Real eggs, scrambled with CHEESE! Sad thing was that I wasn’t able to eat very much. But the Coffee… Forgive me, I digress.
That first night in the hotel, I just laid there. Watching TV and resting. Lest you think me completely lazy, there wasn’t much more I could have done. Packing to go home wasn’t possible because my truck was still to be cleaned out. The winter weather blowing through the United States was still causing all sorts of delays in air travel. This was during the big scare over the “Polar Vortex” if you recall, silly as it was seeing as how the weather pattern wasn’t anything new or not understood by meteorologists.
Tuesday morning, Mother and I bundled up in layers and went to the towing company where my truck was parked. My employer decided to move the truck from the Truckstop, to protect the equipment and my personal belongings. It was bitterly cold. It was about 14 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind chill. Inside the cab of my truck is was even colder, as it had gotten down to almost Zero Fahrenheit the night before. It took Mother and I almost four hours to pack and clean. This was made more difficult due to the extreme cold, and some of the things I had in the truck.
One particular item was a bottle of water I had. It was a brand I hadn’t seen before “Voss” I think it was, but the draw was the fact that it was in a glass bottle. Well, during the bitter cold of the three days I was out of my truck, it froze and burst. In fact the resulting mess froze my sheets to the mattress of the top bunk and glass shards and slivers too. There were similar issues with most of the liquids I had in the truck, though the broken glass bottle was the only breech.
Two thirds of the way through the clean up and pack, we broke for lunch. It was during this lovely meal that we discussed our plans again. The next day we would have to sort through everything that we had packed out of my truck. Some things would be packed up and shipped home, others would be donated to a local Goodwill, and others would simply be discarded. We still had to make firm Airline plans, Mother had one standby reservation for the next day’s last flight. It was shaping up to be too much to do in that time.
Back at the hotel after finishing up, I was beat. Mother wasn’t in much better shape. Granted she hadn’t just had a heart attack, but you also need to understand I was under doctors orders not to try and lift more than 10 pounds, so she was doing all of the lifting and carrying.
That night I called Delta, and after getting shuffled around three or four times to reach the right agent, finally spoke with the person that could help us. I do wish I could remember the agent’s name, because she deserves recognition. With all of the terrible mess the winter weather was putting the airlines through, she was calm, helpful, professional, caring, and most of all, sympathetic. No, there was not another seat on the flight Mother had the standby on. No there was not another flight out of Roanoke with two seats until Saturday. We would return home via Atlanta. The wrinkle was that it was a tight layover in Atlanta, but they would be able to provide a wheelchair for me. With that settled, I went to bed content to know that we had a way home that did not involve driving the rental car.
The next day was sorting, cleaning, and packing. We put everything I intended to keep: tools, needed files, personal effects I couldn’t part with, etc al. into three boxes to be shipped home. Everything else, went into two large black canvas bags, or one of two carry-ons. It was a lot of stuff we were sending home. But the pile of stuff staying was just as impressive. A trip to the local Goodwill and 2/3rds of that pile were dealt with. Leaving only the trash and stockpile of snacks and foodstuffs I had kept on the truck. The hotel offered to handle that. By suppertime Wednesday we had almost everything finished. It was a good thing too. Of all of the medicines I was on then, three of them listed dizziness as a side effect. I was worn out, mentally and physically.
Thursday was the day we intended to get things shipped out, so that we could have Friday to rest and have fun. It was late in the afternoon by the time we got the three boxes packed. All three boxes ended up about the same weight, 42-44 pounds. Pro-Tip: When packing many items in a box to be shipped, place a heavy duty garbage bag inside the box first, that way if the box becomes damaged in transit, the items inside are still contained in the bag. And let me tell you it was a good thing I followed my own advice. Of the three boxes, all were beat up some, and the two smaller ones were breeched, but not the trash bags inside.
Again I sought the help of others and received it. The hotel’s maintenance man lifted and moved those three heavy boxes to the car, and when we arrived at the shipping place, their employees — on learning of my needs — happily came out to the car to retrieve the boxes to be shipped home. Ground trains for the three boxes ran up to just shy of $200. I learned then that both UPS and FedEx will ship luggage for similar or cheaper costs than airline baggage fees.
That chore done, Mother and I settled in for the night content to know that tomorrow we had the time to have some fun before turning in early for our flight home.