After a great trip to Assisi and Rome, Italy, I had to get home and back to family and business. I was up early and left my hotel for the short walk to the Termini station at 7:00am. I caught the 7:22am Leonardo Express train to the Fiumicino airport. I was there by 8:00am. Because I was flying on U.S. Air, I had to go to the new “Terminal 5,” which is not actually a terminal but just a processing station for those flying on US airlines. So, I caught the shuttle bus to Terminal 5, checked in, cleared customs, and then took a shuttle back to the actual terminal from which we would depart.

I was at the gate by 9:15a for my 11:15a flight, so I did a bit of duty free shopping, trying to use up my Euros so I wouldn’t have to exchange them. I spent my last 23 Euros on a jumbo two pack of Campari (with gift glasses), which is an essential ingredient in three of my favorite drinks: Campari on the rocks, Campari and soda, and Negroni (Campari and gin). I didn’t realize this, but apparently Salma Hayek likes Campari as much as I do — though she gets paid to like it, and for me the opposite is true.

The flight from Rome to Philadelphia was on time and uneventful, though extremely long (9 hours) and on a stupid Airbus A330 with absolutely no leg room. Thankfully, it had personal entertainment systems at each seat so I was able to watch “State of Play” (Ben Affleck still cannot act and was wholly unconvincing as a Congressman) and “Julie and Julia” (made me really like Julia Child and want to punch Julie Powell in the face).

Unfortunately, in Philadelphia I had to claim my luggage, re-check it, and go back through security screening for domestic travel, so those two jugs of Campari I bought at duty free had to be packed into my suitcase, which took a good 20 minutes.

By the time I made it through security screening again and got to my gate, it was 4:30pm (10:30pm Rome time) and my 6:30 flight was delayed because of bad weather in Charlotte. I called home to find out that there had beena significant storm on Friday and even worse was expected Saturday.

We boarded the plane and were told that we would not take off until 8:00pm at the earliest because of weather in Charlotte. We did get out of Philly and landed in Charlotte around 9:30pm. I collected my bags and caught the shuttle to the long term parking lot. I was on the road by 10:00pm.

The roads were suprisingly clear, and I was looking forward to being home around 11:20pm — which would be 5:20am Rome time. A long day. About 15 miles into my 70 mile drive home, snow and ice started appearing on the interstate and then traffic came to a complete stop. After 15 minutes, traffic started moving again, but it was single file on ice and snow covered roads the rest of the way home. I never got above 30 MPH again.

It took me three more hours to get home. I pulled into my driveway at 1:30am — 7:30am Rome time, or 24 hours and 30 minutes after I left my hotel the previous day.

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