Chapter XX: There's No Place Like Home

Sunday, July 9, Anchorage to Dayton.

As my plane landed in Cincinnati, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Although my flight into Seattle had arrived 45 minutes late, they had held my connecting flight for me.  I then found my airline seat was already occupied, but a sharp attendant discovered a computer printer error, calmed me down and got me into my correct seat.  The passenger next to me had already partially overflowed into my seat (thinking no one was going to sit in it), but through sheer funk, I reclaimed it.  On my connecting flight in Houston, they tried to relinquish me of my carry-on bag which contained over $3,500 of electronics.  Through fast thinking (and a little deceit), I was able to circumvent this and emerge victorious.  By the time I got off the third and final flight, I was incredibly sore from spending over 11 hours sitting in the airline's instrument of torture.  It is a minor miracle that I am still able to walk today.  ;-)

As I emerged from the plane, three squealing children and one smiling wife wrapped their loving arms around me, told me how much they had missed me and made me feel truly blessed to be back home.  At the baggage claim, I found my huge box was partially ripped open at one end, but not one item had dropped out.  The Ohio weather, a living breathing summer sauna, hit me like a wall of water.  I left Alaska in a jacket and long pants and now was sweating like a pig.  Fortunately, my new van has excellent air conditioning.  The long drive back to Dayton gave us all a chance to share stories of our time apart.

A welcome home banner hung happily above our garage door.  Sandy and Dickens, as the true loyal dogs they are, went crazy when I walked in the door.  Instead of unpacking and putting things away, I chose to spend the evening with the people who love me the most.  I finally passed out just before midnight and slept undisturbed until noon.  My twelve year old daughter Laura brought me breakfast in bed.  My ten year old daughter Annie left love notes to me hidden all over the house.  My eight year old son John hugged me and said he couldn't wait to see all my train slides.  There's no place like home.

Being off from work for an entire month helped to put my life back into the proper perspective.  Work to live, not live to work.

John at the helm

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