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Monday, December 29, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 2/21/2009

Heading for home, but what will she find when she gets there?

Getting psyched up to return home after a vacation is nearly as intensive as preparing to leave.

Will everything be as I left it four weeks ago? For travelers from Michigan, Ohio, and other frigid zones, the big question is, how did the house survive winter's blast of sub-zero temperatures and ice? As we pack to return home from warm tropical regions our thoughts focus on frozen water pipes at home, and the outdoor destruction that can occur in January and February, including the eruption of concrete driveways and other areas that weaken and crack under cold and ice.

Nevertheless, I am returning home with great anticipation, coupled with thoughts of the long flight from Maui back to Detroit by way of Washington. There are few straight shots from A to B in air travel anymore, other than from Toledo to Cleveland or to Chicago. But as we say about the delays and plane changes, it's OK as long as we are safe.

The flight time from Maui to Washington is nine hours, and most of it is at night. I would lay over in D.C. if I thought I had a shot at visiting the President and first lady.

Now I just want the long flight to go fast. I hope I don't get a seatmate who snores or wants to talk endlessly and show a stack of photos of grandchildren. I intend to sleep comfortably and am armed to make it happen. The problem isn't just that pillows are no longer issued on planes unless you pay for them. They never were much good in the past, but you could easily have more than one. Then the catch was to figure out what to do with the little pillow. Do you place it to rest your head straight back? Or do you lean the seat back and ease the pillow in, realizing you are probably disturbing the person behind you? In that position you can turn a little sideways and nose into the pillow.

That's about the time your back begins to hurt, so you have another choice. You can place the pillow behind your lower back and ask for a second pillow for your head and face the challenge of keeping them both in place while you lean forward to lower the snack tray to reach the free peanuts or cinnamon cookies and water. Or all three. So far there is no charge for water or coffee.

There will be none of the airline pillow hassle for this traveler on flight 44 from Maui to Washington.

I will board clutching a large sofa pillow with a soft, fuzzy cover that cost $5.99. The pillows were also available in pastel pink and sky blue, but I chose the black one so that old Sullivan can have it when I get home. It will be a perfect match; black cat and black furry pillow. The old cat is down to six pounds and a constant concern, at home or away.

An on-board lunch is crammed into my computer case. The new rule is, don't board without food unless you travel first class. Cheese cracker sandwiches, raisins, and unsalted almonds should fill the void after three or four hours.

I hope I will miss the movie on the plane. In my opinion the choice of films is nothing I would select at home. I saved the $4 earphones from the last flight so I can use them to hear soothing music as I drift into sleep and dream of frigid Posey Lake with a warm welcome.

My "in-purse" flight kit includes a bottle of melatonin, the herbal sleep aid. The one-milligram capsules include vitamin B6.

Moving around on long flights when it is permitted is also imperative to prevent the formation of blood clots. Or you can just kick your legs and feet to keep circulation in motion. Why should we care what other passengers think? Just don't kick the person in the next seat.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com.



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