Beep. Beep. Beep.
5 a.m. comes too early. Without opening my eyes, I reach over and press the snooze button.
I play this game for 25 minutes, knowing how much time I can waste before I must face the pre-dawn morning. Since quitting my job, I rarely set an alarm for myself. After all, waking me up is what a 4-year-old does best.
Today is a different situation. We are flying to my father’s house in Arkansas to celebrate
the holidays. Instead of wandering in a hazy, slow morning routine of feeding Vivian and sipping coffee, toiletries need to be packed, puppy needs to be walked and packed for the dog sitter, and a list of last-minute cleaning items that can’t wait seven days sits on the counter.
My normal M.O. is to wait until the last minute on almost every to-do item, then run around in a frantic whirlwind trying to accomplish everything while I ooze anxiety and frustration.
Today I understand the ease and relaxation that not procrastinating provides. Initially the dog sitter was going to be a house sitter as well, so I spent the last week cleaning my house hotel spotless with the fear of a stranger living in my house. Things change, and now the puppy is going on his own vacation.
And I wake to a clean house. Small things like changing cat litter and taking out the trash are finished as I meander about the house enjoying my coffee. Two cups, which is historically unheard of on a travel morning.
With plenty of time and a near spotless house, we walk out the door and head to the airport.
After over a decade of planning and arguing, Denver is beginning construction work on the central I-70 corridor. The freeway is the quickest and most direct route to the airport, so we planned on construction delays as well as standard rush hour traffic we’ve come to expect.
We experience neither, as my mom and current airport chauffeur keeps a 75-mph pace most of the way. A pace that continues through the entire airport process, putting us on the concourse with 3 hours to kill before our flight.
More time is better when vacation traveling through DIA. The airport is a city. Denver International Airport finished construction in 1995, 16 months behind schedule and $2 billion over budget. In total, the airport cost the Denver metro area $4.8 billion dollars. The first year was riddled with issues including baggage claim malfunctions and debates regarding public art choices. All this aside, the airport is the 5th busiest in the U.S. generating $26 billion dollars with 61.4 million travelers annually. The terminal and 3 concourses are filled with art, culture, and constant renovations including addition of a hotel at one end of the terminal and running a lightrail from downtown.
If you ever visit Denver, make sure to look for our famed demon horse. Despite schedule
and budget issues, the demon horse continues to receive the most media attention. Not only are the eyes red, but the horse’s head fell on the artist, killing him, while he was working on the commissioned art piece.
At 11:10 we are boarding the plan, and at the schedule departure time we push away from the gates and are on our way. Vivian is self-sufficient regarding entertainment, for the most part, so she plays with her toys as I listen to music.
We land at Dallas Love airport for a two-hour layover, during which we eat lunch and run body checks and wander through their small play area. Then back into the air for a quick 40-minute jaunt to Little Rock, AR, to start our week-long vacation.