June 25, 2012: Finally Home

I had to get up this morning and work from the hotel until they kicked me out.  I have rather a hectic day today trying to fit everything in that I need to do.  I was up around eight, showered and got everything caught up before checking out of the hotel and heading around the corner to meet up with some folks from Dell for lunch.

We had decided that it would be way easier, since Dell does not have access to public WiFi inside of their offices, to just meet at a restaurant rather than actually going into their offices since we would not have to deal with security or anything and there really isn’t anything to do or look at inside of the office so we might as well get good food while we are at it.

Both my EconoLodge and Dell are located right by the airport and the restaurant was right off of Interstate 40 one exit west of my hotel which worked out well since that put me two minutes closer to Dallas.

The restaurant was a great choice for lunch.  I managed to get a smoked salmon wrap and a salad – time to focus on my diet again I guess.  I’ve got some weight to lose after the trip to Europe.

Lunch was good, we had a good meeting and got a lot accomplished.  Fortunately we were on Central time already (which gave me some more sleep last night as well) so I am aligned with the office in Texas again (boy that is going to be weird to get used to) so managing my schedule today is easier than it might have been.

I watched my BlackBerry carefully but since we had done an early and “short” lunch there was nothing needing my attention at the office so I took my chances and hit the road west to see how far I could make it during the remainder of lunch.

I ended up having a very slow day at work, thankfully, and was able to press on all of the way to Jackson, Tennessee before I was actually needed to stop and work.  I knew that along US Interstate 40 that there are good stops pretty often and McDonald’s are littered everywhere and they all have free, good WiFi from AT&T so I was pretty sure that stopping and working would not be too much of a problem.  Learning little tricks like this one are important to being able to work and travel effectively.

I stopped at the McDonald’s in Jackson by the highway, got a snack and coffee and set up with the laptop and worked for a few hours to wrap up what needed to be done for the office.  It worked out fine.  I was able to do the evening deployments, ensure that everything was done and that no one needed me, let some people know that I was getting back on to the road and by a quarter to five I was on the road and driving again.  All in all I lost very little time and am way ahead of where I had feared that I would be.

The drive west went fine.  Nothing really to report.  I made good time, hit no traffic really, had no construction issues.  I was pretty sleepy by the time that I was west of Little Rock.  The drive and the last several weeks have been taking a toll on me to be sure.  I need some time, at home, in my own bed, sleeping without any traveling, without any big change.  Just time to sit and slow down and take stock of things.

I did not manage to quite finish “A Short History of Nearly Everything” before getting back to Texas, but almost.  Only half an hour or so left to go.  I will finish that up tomorrow without any problem.

It was very late when I pulled into Dallas.  Around three in the morning.   The house was ninety-five degrees when I stepped into it.  Very, very warm.  I kicked on the air conditioning, did a quick walkthrough of the house and set to unloading most everything from the Acadia.

For the most part, the house appears to be intact.  The pillars out front are taking a beating and are in much worse shape that they were even last summer.  There is no doubting that we simply must do something about that now.  They are going to collapse and tear themselves apart.

The plants are in horrible shape.  Five of them are definitely completely dead, nothing left at all.  Those that remain are having a really tough time of it.  Hopefully I can nurse them back but there isn’t much left of most of them.

I was exhausted and ready for bed after getting home.  I turned the power back on to the networking gear and turned on the datacenter air conditioning unit too.  Hopefully we can get that room at least down to ninety or a little lower.  I’d like the networking gear to survive for at least a little while.

The Internet came back on pretty quickly and we are in business.  I got the phone hooked up so people can contact me again at the house.

I plopped into bed with only a few hours to sleep before needing to get up and head into the office.  I am going to be seriously exhausted tomorrow.  But at least I am home and the house is still here.  I poked my head out the garage door too and the Mazda is still intact.  The hail did not destroy it as my dad had feared.

The house is very quiet and lonely, though.  My Oreo was supposed to be here with me and now I have to go to my first night of sleeping alone.  This is my first night of sleeping at home without him snuggling with me for seven years.  It is hard not to think about him.  Tomorrow I will put him up on the mantle in the living room.

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