We arrived and are into full day 2. For as much worrying as I did over the Delta flights giving me grief about my carry-on being too large, it was KLM who provided the serving of heartburn. It measured their exact measurements according to their website, including the handle and wheels. Still they made me use the metal template at the airport. It was a struggle, but I could force it in. The staff person sighed, said it was a full flight so I may be uncomfortable having it under the seat. As it turned out, there was plenty of room in the overhead bins.
All three flights were excellent. KLM took us from Budapest to Amsterdam and then Delta pulled a double shift with getting us from Amsterdam to Minneapolis-St. Paul and then from there to Des Moines. Once there, Ron’s friends Susan and Dick Leonard were waiting for us in the baggage area. Miraculously, our suitcases were some of the early ones to arrive, so we were off in a flash.
I had met Susan and Dick once, but many years ago, and even then for only a short time. No matter, these are the type of people that after you know them for five minutes, you feel as if you have known them for years. They took us to their very comfortable home where we were to spend our first two nights. Siting on the bed were piles of packages and boxes. Each pile had a ribbon sitting on top as if Christmas had arrived. These were the items I had shopped for online. As exciting as this was, the need to be social overwhelmed my need to satisfy my curiosity.
After sitting around having a beer or glass of wine, Dick had prepared a dinner of chicken served over spaghetti with spinach. It was delicious. By 9pm, we were wiped out. We had gotten up at 3am to get our taxi to the airport and slept little on the planes.
Yesterday morning, after breakfast, Susan drove us downtown to pick up our marriage license. Dick was going to go grocery shopping. Downtown is impressive with the styles of architecture and refurbished building that are quaint businesses now, but there was an excitement that overwhelmed everything else. That was getting license. I had corresponded with a gentleman from this office so many times; questions ran the gambit how to get the license long before hand due to the 3 day waiting period, did they get the application, and finally is everything alright. He was so kind and gracious with each response, I commented on it. He responded with “I am just doing my job.” To this I responded “Many do their job, but not all do it pleasantly.” Because of this, we brought him a little gift from Budapest. Rats! It was his day off, so we did not get to meet him. We left his gift with a co-worker who was equally as charming, but with little contact with her, no gift.
Downtown Des Moines has a skywalk, a connected walkway that is enclosed with glass walls where you can travel through much of the downtown area. You can literally walk for 4 miles without having to stop for traffic or to cross a street. It is truly an incredible feat and an attractive feature of the downtown area. If you work within the skywalk network, you can go to other offices or restaurants without ever feeling the outdoor elements. No winter mittens, hat, overcoat or boots needed during inclement weather.
Our next stop was the grocery store. This is more than a grocery store as it contains a bank, real estate agency, pharmacy, florist, and of course food. I picked up some ‘forever’ stamps, the US postage stamps that are usable regardless of rate increases for first class mail. At the pharmacy, I shopped for all the little essentials that we cannot get in Budapest or at least in any form we can recognize. With pills, ointments, and balms all collected, we headed for the cheese case. There were an array of cheeses that made my heart flutter, but better was yet to come. Susan directed us to the better cheese case. I could have done back flips when I saw the variety of luscious cheeses from Ireland and beyond. Knowing that all our packages weigh heavily,
Yes, the last sentence ends abruptly and without end. To think I could keep up my notes while being in the home stretch of getting married, was beyond fantasy. That is where I left off and had not returned to until now.