Tag Archives: traveling

back in the saddle

Home. My little apartment. I got back last night after a day of travel: driving from Spokane to Seattle, to the hotel where I rented the car, then walking to the Transit Center to catch a bus to the airport ($2.75, a deal!), hurrying through checking my bag and through security to the gate where the plane was 30 minutes late. Then it was an hour, then another half hour. I got to SFO at nearly 7, twelve hours after I had left Spokane.

I makes me think I should just drive all the way next time.

Today I did laundry and caught up on the myriad things that the real world demands: bringing my checkbook up to date, paying bills. One bill was for car insurance. My traffic light indiscretion last year cost me nearly $500 at the time. Today I found out that it will cost me another $300 on my insurance. Grrr . . . . As far as I can tell, there is no mechanism for removing the one point I now have by any kind of traffic school so I guess I’ll have to eat the increase for the three years! the point is on my record.

There is a thing called Mature Driver Discount that AAA will give me if I complete an online class so I started that today. I thought about shopping other insurance companies but it makes me weak.

Then there is work. I called in and the Christmas crunch is getting rolling. We’re ok through next weekend but after that I may be working 5 or 6 long days each week. That’s 60 or more hours for those of you who haven’t been paying attention. Welcome, real world!

some good things

Politics and bad drivers seem to be often in my mind for possible blog posts but there is much that is good in my life.

What are some good things that have been in my life recently? I need to get my laundry done today and someone has been using the laundry room for the last 2+ hours. Well, writing another blog post is a good thing!

Seeing Sarah at the Symphony, playing in that great orchestra, is a good thing. She’s playing every, or nearly every, set through this month through the East Coast tour a month from now. After that, no one is saying.

I went to the dentist today for a teeth cleaning. I hadn’t been in 3 or 4 years so I guess that’s a good thing. She wants to do a deep cleaning, of course. I expected that, but she and the hygienist were very nice so I decided I would go ahead. The hygienist recommended a Water Pik instead of an electric toothbrush so I bought one afterward. Now I just have to use it!

The jazz band is playing two charts that have guitar solos and a couple others that have exposed parts so the results of my practicing – or not practicing – is evident every week. That’s good. I’m practicing more. I’ve gotten compliments on my playing from band members. That’s good.

Work has been good. Work is work so what I’m really saying is that I haven’t had too much of it. SoundBox is next week and indications are that last months’ chaos will not be repeated.That’s good. I am continually thankful that my colleagues are all people that I enjoy being around.

I did a really thorough house cleaning before Tom came over last week. That’s good. I’ve been keeping up with the dishes lately so there aren’t piles in the sink all the time.

After living through several droughts in California, I learned to appreciate the rain. We’ve had both rain and sunshine in the last couple of weeks. That’s all good. The deep green hills look great in the sunshine.

I bought plane tickets for the work weekend in South Carolina last week. Not only will I get to see Jeremy’s family but also Micah and Julie will be there from Baton Rouge. I had already bought a ticket to meet Jeremy in Georgia to help move his family out west. There’s one more ticket I bought that I can’t talk about because it’s a surprise. I gave JJ all the dates so there won’t be any work conflicts. The other summer trip is the one to Germany with Mary Beth. We haven’t bought tickets yet but it will happen in August. These are all good things.

I went to a funeral Saturday. That wasn’t so good but I saw two people there from my high school days that I didn’t expect to see. That was awesome. John and Gary, I hope you read this!

Ally posted a video on Facebook of Noah from 2011 that I watched about 4 times. Then there was a current one of Noah and Myles together. Both precious for different reasons. I am really looking forward to seeing Noah at the work weekend. I already have a birthday present for him!

Rose continues to be my rock and my best friend. I often think about the unexpected paths our lives took to bring us together, then apart, then together again. Maybe someday I will find the strength to write the story of Rose and Chris. It’s not what you think and we don’t know the ending yet.

Every day I spend with Mom and Dad is precious. Last week I had two. On one, Dad asked me to cut down a dead pyracantha and I almost had a heart attack sawing it up with his little hand saw. After we got home from the funeral, I had at the stump with my sawzall. That took about 20 minutes instead of the 30 seconds I thought it would be. Dead wood is harder than live, don’t you know? He’s always happiest outdoors with growing things.

the Denver trip

I went to Denver last weekend with Mom & Dad. We had been planning it for several months but it kept getting pushed back. They didn’t want to wait so long that the weather turned crappy and I kept having work conflicts. Anyway, about three weeks ago Mom & I sat down and hammered it out. We ended up booking through Priceline.com about which more later.

They bought the tickets and paid for the hotel room and I paid for the rental car. I think they want to reimburse me for the car but I will resist.

The trip actually was OK overall, but there were difficulties with practical issues.I did a pretty good job of slowing down my expectations of what Dad can do. Spending 4 solid days with him gave me a new appreciation of what Mom has to deal with. He’s just enough on the ball to surprise you once in a while but more often he’s just not quick enough to do what he wants to do. And I can see he wants to do all the things he’s always done.

Especially traveling around Denver, his home town. He knows the streets but not necessarily the best way to get around. I ended up using the GPS in my phone most of the time but one time he was right and I was wrong and I gave him full credit. At all times I tried to treat his directions with respect.

Traveling is tiring under the best of circumstances and even though it didn’t seem like we did much, he was worn down. Sunday night at the airport going home, Mom told me (out of his presence) he said to her, ‘Never again!’ That makes me sad as he has always been a great traveler.

The weirdness started Wednesday night. I went down to Santa Clara for the night. Mom and I had agreed when we did the booking that we would fly out of SFO instead of San Jose because there were more and cheaper flights. Oh you fools! Well, that meant we had to get from Santa Clara to the airport and back during a time when everyone in the local family was working. I decided to drive Mom and Dad each way and just use long term parking. Expensive, but simpler.

When I got to Santa Clara, Mom was concerned that they hadn’t been abler to check in for the flight so I went straight to the computer. There I found to my horror that the airline we had chosen, Frontier, charged for baggage on a sliding scale. The closer you got to the gate, the more it cost. Not only that, they charged for carry-ons!  This discovery was after we all had packed in small bags for our 4 day trip. It was actually cheaper to check the bags than to pay the fee for carry-ons.

Then it turns out that if you want to sit together, you have to pay extra to get a seat assignment. What??!! I had to do the same thing on the flight back so that added almost $200 to our trip costs.

We got up the next morning and got to the airport in good order. Got on the plane, got to Denver pretty much by the numbers.

Our plane landed at 3:20 (I kept notes for all of this). At 4 pm, after thrashing around with different carrels, our luggage came out. Then we got on the shuttle to the Avis rental place. Arrived there at 4:30 to find a line of perhaps 50 people to rent cars. I got to the head of the line at 5:20 and showed the clerk the timer on my phone. He said, yeah that’s about right. then he hammered me with all the stupid extras that I never want; tried to upsell me to a larger car. Jeez, just give me the goddamn car, would ya?

At 6pm we were driving out of the lot. We never did get lunch. I spotted a Denny’s on the way to the hotel and we went there (6:30 pm).

I realized after I got home that I had paid Priceline ahead of time for the rental so when I returned the car I had evidently agreed to a $30/day loss damage waiver so there was another $100 I hadn’t counted on. Priceline, Frontier and Avis – you can all piss off. Never again.

Well. it’s only money. The hotel was fine (Holiday Inn Express). Friday morning we ate breakfast late, marveled at the stopped traffic on the freeway at 9:30 am, and headed along surface streets to the stone cutters. That was the main goal of the trip and it was perfect.

I’m going to finish this story later.