Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
I just returned home to Eastern North Carolina after another awesome travel / photo adventure in Central America. If you’ve been following Keo Blog you’re aware of my recent excursions to the Mayan Ruins in Copan, Honduras, and visits with some amazing artists and photographers (and exhibitions) in and around El Salvador.
I would never have thought of spending a lot of time in Central America if it wasn’t for my son Adam who joined the Peace Corp almost 4 years ago and has been living, working and surfing in El Salvador ever since. I think the big glassy waves have something to do with him not wanting to move back to the states.
I boarded the plane in El Salvador this past Monday morning and no sooner got settled in my seat when I started feeling nauseous and queasy. Once my stomach starting rumbling and beads of sweat formed on my forehead, I knew I was in for a very long day. It must have been those frijoles and eggs I had for breakfast. The screaming baby climbing over the seat in front of me the entire flight didn’t help matters either. I survived the first 3 hour flight to Atlanta by sheer will power. The minute I got off the plane… well you know where I’m headed with this. It wasn’t pretty to say the least and then it was time to navigate customs almost doubled over in pain. It was just my luck to get on the line that took the longest through customs and then another slow moving security check. Once I got my belt and shoes back on it was another mad dash for…..well you can imagine the rest of the scenario. After many restroom stops along the way I made it to my connecting gate for New Bern, North Carolina. Wheew! Just an hour flight home and then a one hour drive to my house. I must admit air travel stresses me out even though I fly a great deal.
To add to my anxiety level I looked up at the weather channel and noticed thunder storms all along the east coast. Oh boy! This is going to be fun! The plane took off in pouring rain and bounced all over the sky like a cork in rough ocean for an hour while my stomach churned and bounced with it as yet another screaming baby cried non-stop directly behind my seat. Oh the joy of traveling!
Thank God it was a short flight and we landed safely. Ok…onto the last leg of the trip. I hoisted myself in my Honda Element thinking about getting home to bed and close to a bathroom. By this point I was completely fatigued, sick and dehydrated.
After a 50 minute drive I pulled up to my house. Did I mention I was gone for 11 days? I opened the side door and heard a loud rattling noise coming from the hall closet. At first I didn’t think much of it and grabbed my bags and was going to head straight to bed. As I turned the corner of the living room I heard the sound of water and in that instant knew my bad day was about to get worse.
I ran to the downstairs bathroom and stared in disbelief at cascades of water poured out of the ceiling and down the walls. I then looked down at big pools of water expanding on the newly tiled floor and soaking the living room carpet. Now I’m freaking out! I ran to the closet and quickly assessed the water heater pipe had blown. It took me a minute to figure out where the valve was to shut it off.
Once I got the water stopped and dropped all my towels on the floor – I physically and emotionally shut down and just went to bed hoping I’d wake up and it would all have been a bad dream. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
Long story short…..
I cleaned up the water as best I could after a few hours of restless sleep, contacted my insurance company and filed a claim and then called a water damage / construction company who showed up to my house with an amazing crew in 20 minutes.
They tore the walls, carpets and ceiling out and are sucking the water out of the wood with big water extracting machines. The good news is the construction company promised to rebuild the bathroom and surrounding areas of my house once all the moisture has been extracted from the walls. I’m hoping it will be finished before I leave for the next phase of my retirement “bucket list” travel sojourn through 6 countries in Europe later next week.
Yes…there are downsides to travel! It can be stressful, frustrating and dealing with airport security is an ordeal. International travel is not for the “faint of heart” however it all seems worthwhile when you’re climbing to the top of a Mayan pyramid, standing in awe in front of the Parthenon or sipping a pint of Guinness at a pub in Dublin.
When I leave for Europe next week I’ll be sure to turn off the water in my house before leaving for the airport.
Next week I’m off to Amsterdam ….stay tuned!