Lost Luggage

lost-luggageThere are times life prepares you for a moment – sometimes you just have to wait 22 years for that moment.  For me, dealing with lost luggage was exactly that moment and I think I got the preparation for it 22 years ago.

Business took me to Amsterdam last week for the International Broadcast Conference (IBC).  Because of the way work goes, I had to change my plans a few days before I left – so my direct flight from NYC to Amsterdam became a connection through Washington, DC and a change in airlines from Delta to KLM.

The good news is I made it to JFK in plenty of time, an easy walk through Dulles followed and a pretty smooth overnight flight to Amsterdam got me on the ground at about 730AM – not well rested but ready for the day.  The plan was to grab my bag from the carousel, head to the hotel, hopefully shower, change and head to the RAI Center where IBC happens.

Problem is my bag did not have the simple transfer I had.  As best I could tell it never got out of Dulles.

Twenty-two or so years ago, when Risa and I took our first ever trip together – a cruise that left from Florida around Mexico and back our bags were lost too.  That is the last time until last week my bags got lost.  Not a bad track record.  Of course in that time I’ve become good at packing the carry on and limiting my chances for loss by flying direct.

For anyone who’s had to face this you know the drill.  Fill out some paperwork with the airline and hope for the best.

In this case though, I am on business travel.  All I have for clothing is a pair of Levi’s I’m wearing and a golf shirt I packed to pull on once the plane landed in Amsterdam.  I got lucky in that my hotel was built as part of a shopping mall – so before I headed to the RAI Center I headed to the mall and did some shopping.

This is where the flashback occurred.  Suddenly it was circa 1995 and Risa and I were busy looking for underwear in stores on Key West.  Back then I remember regretting the things I didn’t buy the first day – deodorant, a second t-shirt, a second pair of socks.  That training 22 years ago prepared me for the day.

It turns out my big issue with this battle of lost luggage was finding a pair of pants in downtown Amsterdam that would fit on my American hockey sized legs – since they were cut for Dutch men who ski.

I failed on the pants, got the extra things I needed – and was able to learn from that lost luggage lesson 22 years ago.  Call it a win and move on to the next.

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New Routes on the Roads Once Traveled

Dead and CompanyTwo events this weekend made me realize that you can re-travel old roads, but as time marches forward, there are new routes to take.  My Halloween weekend was spent at Madison Square Garden in New York City re-acclimating with the Grateful Dead experience.  13.0 without knowing it, headed down a road once traveled too – she too on a new route.

I’m pretty sure this is the first time since 1995 I saw more than one member of the original Grateful Dead at a show.  Dead and Company did two shows at MSG and my Facebook timeline is filled with images of the night.  Sunday night we went out for dinner before the show – back in the 80’s, even in NYC, that would mean some kind of hot dog or falafel.

In 2015 the new routes on the road once traveled to the Dead wound through a nice little tapas restaurant in Chelsea – where we encountered several other tables of folks dining before the show.  Much different from the last time I saw a show.

Before the show Sunday night started, I checked in via text with the girls and 13.0 told me she started watching a new show on Netflix – Lost.

Maybe it was the nostalgia of the weekend, but I thought back to that show, and not because I every watched it.  Instead, it’s the last show I can remember Risa watching regularly.  When the show premiered in 2004 I was communitng five days a week to the city, and my schedule was all over the place – so I could not commit to watching a weekly serialized show.  At the time, our DVR was filled with whatever shows the girls were watching then (Dora?), so I never picked up on the show.

Netflix though is the new route for the road once traveled for TV as well.  All that is old, is available for streaming and binge watching – much like the Grateful Dead experience, very different from it was so many years ago.

I’ll call these new experiences, even though they are very familiar.  Afterall, we’re on a new route too, one that started nearly five years ago – and sometimes the new routes are on the roads once traveled.

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Camp Good Grief Again

Camp Good GriefFor the second summer the girls did a week at Camp Good Grief.  I wrote about it here last  year, so I won’t go too deep into the “what it is” and “what it’s all about.”  But in the end, Camp Good Grief again was a good thing for the girls and for me.

For those not inclined to click, Camp Good Grief is a program for kids who have lost a parent (and it gets extended to those who have lost a close relative like a sibling etc).  Out here it is run by the East End Hospice and is set in a great campground on the east end of Long Island called Peconic Dunes.

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But the take aways from the camp are meaningful for all of us and for me directly, I get a chance to kind of check-in on where the girls are at emotionally with all they have had to process and deal with.  By and large, we all get a clean bill of health once again from the therapists at the camp.

It’s an interesting program.  They break down into small-ish groups, 7-10 kids about the same age and they spend time together doing “camp” things like boating and swimming and then time in small group therapy and art therapy.

I think the biggest lesson/reminder the girls get through the entire program is that they are not all alone in this.  There are other kids like them who lost a parent.  Sometimes when I think back to being 11 or 13, all of my friends had two parent households-I can’t even place a divorce in the crowd much less the passing of a parent.

In today’s world, there is a lot more divorce, and schools run programs like Banana Splits for that.  But there really is not as much available in the school for kids in a widowed household.  Now that both of my kids are in middle school (10.5 starts in two weeks), I really don’t want the weekly or bi-weekly pull out to occur.  I want them in class and learning and getting help when they need it.

So Camp Good Grief gives me that snapshot of this moment in time.  What are they thinking, what are they saying and am I still on the right path.  The good news is that based on the feedback, we’re all doing OK.  The big takeaway though from the therapists for both girls, the groups want to talk more about the deceased parent in the home.  Now that is not an easy one for me, but I will do my best.

It’s good to have goals I suppose.  So, next summer the girls will go back for a third year.  13.0 has already said she wants to skip her first chance at being a counselor at the camp and just be a camper.  10.0 wants me to try to push after next summer to get her a counselor spot early, so she can use this for her Mitzvah project.  So, I have great kids, I’m not complaining.

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