This morning in Madrid:
Me and my dog were the only passengers in the shuttle taking us to the airport. The driver put his phone on speaker and proceeded to make his girlfriend cry on the other end.
After a 7 minute soap opera, he hung up on her.
She called back to tell him she was sorry for crying. They made up for, oh, 30 seconds and then he started yelling at her again. So, she cried again.
Yes: all this on speaker phone. I tipped him a dingleberry from our dog's fetlock and a booger from my left nostril. Thanks very much for the pleasant trip, Shuttle Nazi.
Inside the airport, things were a bit crazy. Even though I was there 3 hours early, I barely made the plane on time because the Iberia airline staff took so long (almost 2 hours!) getting organized to process the dog that I almost missed the flight. Alas, I did make it to the gate--barely--for the "last call". As soon as I boarded the plane I wondered if they got the dog on-board in time...Oh well, too late to check now. Guess we'll just have to trust this one to The Fates. Off we go!
Here in Chicago:
While waiting in line I saw real live video footage of cowboys, or people pretending to be cowboys--or cowboys pretending to be people. It was hard to tell which was which. I didn't have to wait long, though, because passport control was blissfully quick. The official behind his desk saw that I was bringing an "animal" into the country. Next to the ticked box on my form I put the word "dog" to specify what kind of animal I was bringing in. The official read this and asked, "Are you bringing in dog meat or your pet dog?"
I said, "Both."
He smiled and stamped my slip. I limped off like Quasimodo carrying a bloody hatchet.
Thankfully, I didn't have to worry much if the dog got on-board in Madrid in time, because she was already waiting for me in the baggage claim area by the time I got there. And, she was just laying there in her kennel peacefully. Whew!
Having picked her up, I was instructed to go to the Center for Disease Control area, "ring the bell by the door" and wait for someone to come out to inspect the dog. I rang the bell and waited, oh, 51 seconds (compare: 2 hours in Madrid vs. 1 minute in Chicago; yeah, uh huh). When the CDC lady came out I asked her if she wanted me to take the dog out of the doggy kennel. She said no that wouldn't be necessary. She asked how long we had the dog. I replied, "Almost 8 years."
She said "okay", then signed my paper, stamped it and initialed it. And that was that. "Even The Disease People are nice here," I thought. Which reminds me...
A special thanks to Monaca for picking me up from the airport-- A special thanks to the Johnsonville company for delicious polish sausages-- A special thanks to the lady behind the deli counter for laughing at my jokes-- A special thanks for two-for-one ice cream-- A special thanks to the ice cream company for having the foresight to call their ice cream "Moose Tracks" so as to make me giggle every time I say it.
Also...a special thanks to Ari: he now lets me call him "Grill Boy" and he got my bed ready. Thanks, Grill Boy. Yer neat.
Think I'll go to sleep now.
Love you all. Except those of you that I don't love. Ta.