Day 36: Home

All good things must eventually end and ours ended in fine style.  Strap yourselves in and enjoy.  It’s schadenfreude time!!

We awake quite early and pack our bags.  I puts my mud encrusted joggers and jeans, from yesterday’s geocaching, at the bottom of my bag (Note: this is pivotal to the plot later on) then leave in search of wine.  No, I’m not a wino, it’s just that two days ago we saw two wines, “Olssens” & “Craggy Range”, side by side in a nearby wine shop and now I want to get two bottles as gifts (Aeron had confirmed that Craggy Range is quite nice wine indeed and worth the scary price we‘d seen!).

I circle the block from 8:45 til 9:05 as the sign in the wine shop says it opens at 9:00.  It doesn’t.  I head back to the hotel, we check out and lug our luggage (ah, THAT’s where the name came from) to the bus stop and catch the Airporter bus to the airport.  We check in (I score the luggage trolley with the wonky wheels so that every attempt to move it is a battle of wills), pay the departure tax (the biggest bargain we’ll ever get for $50.00 – just joking we just loved NZ and hope to be back), have an incredibly bad coffee at the DownUnder café, and I leave a ‘pensive’ (i.e. grumpy) Disa to look for some duty free Craggy Range.  I find it and get two bottles!!  Then I notice two ATMs beneath a sign saying “Get Australian Dollars Here, Save Time”.  ‘Good idea!‘ I think and promptly withdraw $60.00 dollars.  The ATM gives me three NZ $20.00 dollar bills!   What about the b…. sign!  Disa arrives and is, if anything, more ‘pensive’ than before.  “Why did you get NZ money when we have to board a plane!”  We didn’t have time to exchange it, so we boarded the flight to Sydney  safe in the knowledge we had 2 hours to get from the international terminal in Sydney to the domestic terminal for our flight to Hobart.

The flight was delayed by one and a half hours.  We sat on the plane hearing comforting messages from the pilot about malfunctions in the cockpit (that‘s not all that comforting), engineers fixing problems (that‘s not all that comforting), paperwork etc before finally taking off.  We arrived at Sydney half an hour before our Hobart flight leaves.  Incredibly, our luggage is in the first ten items out so we hasten to customs.

We stupidly (and legally) answered “Yes” to the “Do you have any soil in your luggage” question on our immigration forms so have to go to the “Something to declare” area.  We have to show the officer our soiled clothing (mine are at the bottom of 25 kilos of books & clothing, remember?), and he decides to decontaminate it.  Disa hands me her mobile phone while we are waiting and asks me to phone my sister to confirm our lift home from the airport.  While attempting to make the call another officer approaches me and informs me there is a $1,000.00 fine for using a mobile in this restricted area then indicates a sign saying just that.  The sign is barely discernable at the end of the room by the exit!  Of course!  Why put it at the entrance?  Why should the type be bigger than 6 points?  I cravenly apologise (like I’ve done anything wrong!) and hope he doesn’t fine me.  He doesn’t.  The first officer returns with our clothing and shoes completely soaked in, I presume, kiwi germ killer (industrial strength).  Time is running out as we repack our cases.  Disa finds an information booth, then the shuttle bus where I cleverly sit at the back (Disa sits at the front) so that when we arrive at the domestic terminal Disa is first off the bus and I am last.  I lug my bag (25 kilos) after a sprinting Disa.  We check in and are told our flight leaves in five minutes from the gate furthest away and we need to go through security. 

On going through security I am randomly selected for the explosives test (well I have to admit I did look sweaty and hassled, much like I imagine a suicide bomber might look).  The security officer begins his check, scanning me and getting me to open my backpack and suit bag (containing wedding clothes) so he can probe inside when I noticed a VERY ‘pensive’ Disa struggling unsuccessfully to get her laptop into her backpack and excused myself to help her (ever the gentleman).  After getting the laptop settled, I inform Disa that we have been randomly selected for an explosives check.  The explosives testing officer takes one look at Disa and immediately says “oh no, it’s only your husband I need to test”.  Disa replied “Being married to me he is tested enough!”.  We sprint to the furthest terminal and are the last people seated as everyone else has arrived in time but we are late.  Fortunately the plane isn’t full so we get decent seats rather than being seated opposite the toilet.

Home at last!  We catch the Airporter bus into North Hobart and get a taxi home.  The taxi reeks of cigarette smoke and the driver doesn’t help us load our luggage into the boot (trunk for USA readers).  We get home and the children rush out of the house to greet us, hugging us and exclaiming “It’s so great to have you home” and “EEEWWWW!!!  Have you been smoking?!”.  The taxi pulls away with the boot open and one of our cases inside.  I chase it and grab the case and the acceleration of the taxi closes the boot.

So we are home with the children and only one thing is missing: Snuva.  Disa phones Snuva’s holiday house, the Packer Family, and borrows my key to the van and goes to get her beloved pincess girl dog.  The van won’t start.  It’s been sitting idle for five weeks and the battery is not up to it.  Disa phones the RACT (AAA for US readers).  While waiting for them, Disa helpfully lifts up the passenger seat, under which lies the battery, and the RACT man soon arrives to jump start the van.  Disa comes inside and starts turning the place upside down obviously looking for something.  “What are you looking for?” I ask.  “I lost your van key and am looking for mine” she replies.  “Yours is at your office,” I say “I don‘t think we have a spare”.  Disa goes out and tells the RACT man to go home as we don’t have a key (the children are all out looking for it using the light of their mobile phones as torches, to no avail).  He leaves, and as Disa is putting the passenger seat of the van down she finds the key.  The van starts!!  She phones me on her mobile from the drive way needing me to bring out her wallet as the van is running rough and doesn’t dare take her foot off the accelerator. 

Off she goes to get Snuva, around the block a few times first to charge the battery and so she’s within walking distance of home should the van stall.  She gets to the Packers, leaves the van running, collects Snuva, then goes on an out of the way drive to fully charge the van’s battery.  Snuva is perplexed by Disa’s absentmindedness.  Not only did she forget where Snuva was for five weeks, but now she is lost and doesn’t even know where we live!!  As Disa heads for home, Snuva gives her encouragement as she takes the correct route.  They arrive home and Snuva runs past me to greet the children, checks out the house, then finally acknowledges my existence.

It’s nine o‘clock Tasmanian time (11:00 Disa & Scott time).  The children have already eaten, we have not.  We do presents!!  There is no food in the house, so I go to get some take away.  It’s after 9:00 o’clock in Hobart on a Sunday night of a long weekend (the next day is the Queen‘s Birthday).  The only takeaway places open are KFC and Maccas.  I’m not that hungry, so go to Coles to get some real food.  As I’m wandering down the aisles the lights are switched off.  It’s 10:00, the shop is closing, and I’m the only customer in the supermarket.  I quickly go to the checkout then home to cook pasta for dinner.  It’s 10:30 (12:30 Disa & Scott time) before we finally eat.

Our holiday has ended, Snuva’s in her beanbag, all’s right with the world.

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