Monday, September 26th to Friday, September 30th

Paris to home


It's been a bit of an adjustment being back home and having to deal with some problems that came to my attention within the first day and a half I was back.

Monday 9/26

As is often the case the night before I travel, sometimes even just from home up to St Augustine, I slept very poorly if at all Sunday night. I might have slept a bit from 12:30 AM to 3:00 but I was very awake from 3 AM on. That meant I of course had no problem finishing packing everything after I showered & dressed and was ready well before Xavier, my driver, came to pick me up at 6 AM. I did rather startle the guy on night duty at the reception desk, though, since he was taking a nap on the couch in the lobby there.

It was quite dark at 6 AM that morning, but there were already quite a few people out and about on the streets. It turned out to be good that I had asked Xavier to pick me up at 6 instead of 6:30 as I had originally asked because I had misremembered my departure time as being half an hour later than it actually was. I still had plenty of time to find the correct check in gate after Xavier had dropped me off at the first Air France sign which turned out to be at the other end of the large lobby and being sent to the wrong one twice. I was using one of the freely available luggage carts so that was OK. Charles de Gaulle is a huge airport and my departure gate was as far from the entrance to the terminal as the check in desk had been from where I had originally entered. I still got to the correct departure terminal well before boarding.

I flew first class on one of Delta's Aerobuses which was lovely, with lots of very nice leg room. This time I had a seat in the middle with a seat next to me but the guy there was quiet and seemed to sleep most of the time. As usual I couldn't sleep but read a bit on my Kindle Fire and watched two animated movies as well ("Ratchet & Clank and "Zootopia") and they were both pretty enjoyable and very well done.

My connecting flight was out of Atlanta, which is also another huge airport. I had to go through Immigration, collect my bags, go through Customs, recheck my bags to Ft Lauderdale, go through Security again, and take the shuttle to the terminal for my departure gate. I got there with only about half an hour to spare.

The flight from Atlanta to Ft Lauderdale was on a much smaller plane where basically first class only gets you earlier boarding and slightly better free snacks. I sat on an aisle seat so I had adequate leg room, though, and the flight was only two hours long.

After I collected my bags, which seemed to be the last ones onto the conveyor, I paid for a luggage cart because I wasn't sure how far I needed to carry them to get to the nearest Go airport shuttle desk for my private car back home. The dispatcher at the desk at first had a problem with the print out of the reservation I had made because I had only of course kept the sheet dealing with the second part of my round trip, from the airport home, and he had to confirm by phone with their office that I had already paid for both ways as I said. I was rather surprised that the only equipment he had at their desk outside was a cell phone.

I got home at about 6 PM and sent Michael & Tim a text message to let them know I was home. That's when I noticed the first problem here–the air conditioner was not actually making it any cooler in here. I decided I'd just leave everything downstairs after unpacking and would sleep in the guest bedroom there as well.

I vacuumed up the leaves on the patio (which I already need to do again) and put out some feed for the squirrels and ducks. One of the squirrels had broken the bird feeder so I need to buy another one. I saw at least a couple of squirrels within minutes but so far have seen only one duck since I've been back. It has rained quite a bit, though, and has been in the upper 80s so I haven't been spending a lot of time out on the patio so far.

I was very pleased that the Dodge Grand Caravan started up right away and drove it to go out to dinner that evening.

Tuesday, September 27th

I had originally scheduled my cleaning service to resume this morning but called last Thursday or Friday from Paris to have it start again next Tuesday, October 4th, and am glad I did especially since the air conditioner still wasn't working.

I was going to take the Mazda to the post office to pick up whatever mail was there, since the carrier had decided they'd hold it there until I get back after my neighbor forgot to empty my mail box a couple of times, but when I tried starting the Mazda I wasn't even able to use the remote to unlock the doors so I took the Grand Caravan instead.

When I got back I called my AC/plumbing service and was able to schedule someone to come that afternoon.

I had also noticed a recurrence of the termite activity in the only place I've ever seen it here, right under the cabinets in the vanity in the upstairs bath area. I called my pest control service but was not able to arrange for anyone to come until Thursday.

While I was waiting for the AC tech I also I used the Mazda service app on my iPhone to arrange for someone to come and check it out and he came very shortly afterwards. The battery was indeed dead and the car needed a jump start. He was able to use the real key to the door to unlock the door and then relock it after getting the car started. That allowed me to leave it running for at least an hour, until after my AC tech had come and gone.

The AC problem turned out to be semi-major. The cooling tube had sprung a leak and the whole unit needed to be replaced. My AC guy was able to get the unit ordered and arranged to come back and install it the following day, Wednesday.

After he left I took the Mazda for a drive to help make sure the battery was recharged and it worked fine, with one minor problem I should get taken care of soon. It's more of a nuisance problem then a mechanical one so I'm not worried–apparently when the car needs to be jump started the Antilock Braking System indicator light comes on and so far hasn't turned off again.

Wednesday, September 28th

I had arranged that the AC tech would come between 1 and 3 PM today but I wound up spending the entire afternoon waiting for him. His last job prior to mine ran much longer than he had thought it would and he didn't get here until well past 5 PM. That was a bit of a nuisance but getting the system running again was my major priority for the day. While he was here and still hadn't quite finished working on the outside unit a thunderstorm with very heavy rain and frequent and close lightning came rolling in so he had to hang out in the living room with me for the half an hour or 45 minutes it took to go past.

I wanted to take the Grand Caravan when I went to dinner but when I started it up the low tire pressure indicator light came on so I drove over to my nearest Pep Boys to have the tires checked. When I rolled down the window it wouldn't come back up although you could hear the automatic mechanism trying to work so I stopped at Wallgreens to buy a roll of duct tape on the way home and used one of my white plastic garbage bags to seal the window and make it waterproof until I could take the van in to the Dodge dealership to get it fixed. I then took the Mazda to go get something to eat.

Thursday, September 29th

The inspector from my pest service was late but more than made up for being tardy by his thoroughness after he got here. Unfortunately he had rather bad news for me. Yes, they can treat the area for termites again but that's not really going to fix the problem. He determined that the wooden cabinets in the upstairs vanity are so completely infested with termites he recommended I have them removed entirely and replaced. I need to contact the contractors who did work for me when I needed the extensive exterior repair work and replaced huge soaking tub upstairs with the walk in shower while I was having the new hurricane resistant windows put in a couple of years ago, and get estimates to remove and replace the cabinets, keeping the counter top, sinks, and hardware if possible, sometime next week. Waiting for the pest inspector didn't give me enough time to take the Grand Caravan in to the dealership.

Friday, September 30th

I was down at the dealership before 10:30 AM even though I drove past it the first time. I hadn't been there for at least a couple of months even before I left on my big trip and forgot on which corner it is and that their sign is easily missed when coming the direction I was traveling.

The dealership was very busy and wouldn't be able to get to my Grand Caravan to check out the window until Saturday or the following Monday so I left it there and was able to catch a ride back home.

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