In a tense series of last-minute discussions my father decided to take us to the airport himself, while my mother stayed to do something or other whose details I didn't follow and which I didn't quite understand. But on his own, and with some pressing by bunny_hugger, my father admitted that he'd found South Carolina rather nicer to live than he expected, particularly given the climate. He still felt lost for not having his tools and workbench and all that, much less the circle of people whose houses he could go around fixing eventually, and he admitted that he was disturbed by the racism folks occasionally expressed.
I don't know what to make of my parents' move. My mother seems content; my father says he is and I guess in many ways he is, but he also tends to sigh and claim he's fine and sulk afterwards. They're doing a lot of the stuff they like, although they were doing that before too. My parents say the cost of living is so much less in Charleston that even stuff like travelling back to the northeast to see their friends and grandchildren makes sense, and my father's enjoying the relief from responsibility of homeownership that comes from renting an apartment after decades of having a place of his own. Boy do I hope they know what they're doing.
The flights back weren't nearly as chaotic or difficult as the flights out, although since we were rebooked on a flight that went through Charlotte that did mean that we managed to have not a single one of the flight segments we had actually originally purchased. (We were supposed to fly back through National Airport). On the Charleston-to-Charlotte segment we were able to swap seats with the other person in the row. But the connection between flights at Charlotte gave us about four minutes to get to the extreme far end of the airport, so we weren't able to talk with the people in the two rows we were assigned to in order to work out a swap, and the overhead bins were full, so we had to check some of our carry-ons. Those would be restored to us, we were told, at baggage claim in Detroit, if all went well. Admittedly, it did. We wouldn't have fresh problems until after we got our bags.
Trivia: The second month of the Babylonian calendar, Gusisa, was dubbed Ayaru in the Semitic calendar and Daisios in the Seleucid calendar. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.
Currently Reading: The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, Diane Vaughan.