We are happily settled (well, mostly settled) into our AZ home. I will admit that the news stories about the omicron virus the days just prior to our travel day made me nervous about traveling, especially in light of Bill’s and my upcoming surgeries. I’m beginning to hate the Greek alphabet.

Our Christmas travel day was not without its weird problems.

Our first bump in the road appeared early. I had ordered a Lyft the day before to arrive Christmas morning at 9 o’clock. Sure enough, the Lyft driver showed up on time. We had our luggage outside and Bill was standing with the luggage. I had stayed in the house to use the bathroom one last time and lock the door. When I came out, there was no Lyft car. “Where’s our Lyft car?” I asked Bill. “Gone,” Bill replied. “He got back into his car and sped away.” Whaaaaaat? I quickly ordered another car, and I am grateful that she was there in about 10 minutes. I’ve taken many a Lyft, but I’ve never had anyone bail on me. Our replacement driver was friendly, but drove 85 mph on I-225 to the airport. Bill’s and my toes were curled.

Next, for reasons that we can’t quite understand (except that perhaps the woman at the American Airlines counter was expecting a diamond ring from her boyfriend for Christmas, but instead got a flannel shirt and some Christmas socks), Jen’s dog Winston was booted from the flight. No matter that he has flown with her in the same portable kennel any number of times; the counter attendant refused to allow him to travel saying he was too cramped. Winston — who by that time had received his sedative — was overheard to say, “No way, Man. Everything’s cool. I’m just going to take a nap anyway. Just throw in a bag of Doritos and I’m good to go.”

However, God’s hand was even in this unexpected and upsetting situation. Jen had tried to talk her son B.J. from walking her in, pointing out that she was perfectly capable of handling Winston and her bag by herself. Being the Good Son, B.J. insisted on not only walking her in, but staying until she and Winston got their boarding passes. Had he not been there, Jen would have been forced to forego the flight altogether. B.J. took Winston home with him.

Once we got through security, I was desperate to take off my mask. Bill and I went to the Chop House to take off our masks and have a Bloody Mary. I figured Jen could use one by that time. She was feeling sad at not being allowed to bring her best buddy. She told me she wanted to go get a bottle of water and would meet us there.

However, for reasons we can’t quite understand (except that perhaps the hostess at the Chop House was expecting a diamond ring from her boyfriend for Christmas, but instead got a Dust Buster and some N95 face masks), Jen, who bought a small bag of popcorn to eat on the flight, wasn’t allowed into the restaurant because of her popcorn. Perhaps they were concerned that she would bust open the tiny bag and share her popcorn, telling everyone to cancel their food orders.

We called Lyft at the Phoenix Airport, and as I waited for Bill and Jen to get their luggage, I watched the Lyft price increase by $30! What’s a person to do, so we got into our very expensive Lyft with Jimmy, who was heavily bearded and eschewed the use of a mask. He only drove 80 mph. I guess you get what you get in the way of Lyft or Uber drivers on Christmas Day.

Still, the three of us had a nice dinner of Cornish game hens, roasted veggies, and baked potatoes. I had purchased all of the goods before we left at Thanksgiving.

Now we just need to outrun the Omicron Variant prior to our surgeries.