August 15, 2007: Returning to Normal Life

I got paged at four in the morning.  Nothing major (barely anything even minor) but it got me up for an hour after having gone to bed just after three.  So when I got out of bed at nine in the morning it was not exactly qualifying as an extremely restful night.

This morning was very quiet and I just hung out in the room at the hotel and worked from my laptop for several hours.  I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t even leave for food.

We went out of lunch around two and were on our way to the Mississauga airport (Pearson, I believe it is called) a little after three.  It ended up being just barely not enough time for all of us to have managed to have made our flight except that since we were flying into Newark the flight was delayed so in reality there was more than enough time and we were stuck waiting for about an hour before boarding.

The flight was bumpy but fine.  We got into Newark not too late – just after eight in the evening.  I hopped the AirTrain to NJ Transit and took the NE Corridor line into Newark’s Penn Station.  That trip was way too expensive and I will figure something else out for next time, I think.

It was around nine when I got back home to 1180.  Oreo was very excited to see me.  I was pretty tired but couldn’t get to sleep until after eleven.  I am planning on working from home tomorrow so that I have a chance to get caught up on some sleep.

Dominica played the Wii a little after I got home so that I could see it.  So far it looks pretty unimpressive to me.  Nothing that I have seen on it seems interesting.

August 14, 2007: Mississauga

Today is the crazy busy day with an unbelievable amount of work to do for an “out of town” day.  I only got three hours of sleep last night because getting up just after six this morning.

It was a good eleven hour day at the office today.  But at least the weather in Toronto is amazing.  New Jersey has been really hot recently but Ontario’s north shore is cool and breezy.  What a nice break.

August 13, 2007: Toronto

Today is my hard-core travel day. I got to sleep around two this morning or maybe a little later. Oreo was very excited to see me when I stumbled in in the middle of the night. He couldn’t contain himself. He was very snuggly once I was able to actually get to bed.

I had to be up at just before six this morning so my totally sleep time was around three hours. I got up and showered and ran out the door to catch my cab going to Newark – Liberty International Airport. I am beginning to feel like I live there. I have spent much more time in the airport than I have at home over the last several days.

I got to the airport just a little after seven. I got my bag checked (I always have to check at least one bag these days because I have to carry on my CPAP and laptop bags) and I got myself through security and met up with some of the guys from the office waiting for the plane. We had all arrived in plenty of time so that we could sit and wait for the plane for about two hours. Better safe than sorry.

The plane for Toronto actually left on time which must qualify as a miracle at Newark airport.  I am sure that they are considering erecting a shrine there now to the patron saint of commuters and traveling salesmen.

We got into Mississauga, Ontario around mid-day and spent the day doing logistical things needed for working in the Toronto area like getting checked into the hotel and finding our way around.  We are up here through Wednesday.

August 12: Orange is the new Green

Today is Andy and my “nothing” day. I had nothing to do this weekend except to drive him around but he had figured that he would probably have to work some today in addition to yesterday but he had managed to have completed everything that he needed to yesterday so we don’t have to worry about anything at all today.

We slept in pretty late and took advantage of the lack of anything needing to be done. Both of us have needed a break in our schedules and this was pretty good. We got a late check out at noon and just took our time getting out of the hotel.

Once we left the hotel we started hunting for some lunch. We couldn’t decide what we wanted so we just went down to the Waffle House. We didn’t expect Waffle House to not have a single seat available but apparently it is the hot spot for Sunday lunch on the north side of Anderson so we gave up on that idea. We had seen a Cracker Barrel next to our hotel so we went there. Same story though. The place was packed and there were tons of people outside in the heat waiting for there to be space in the cool inside to go in to wait. So we bypassed that option as well.

We thought about going to outback Steakhouse but they don’t reliably have much of anything that I can eat so we thought that that wasn’t worth the risk. So we went back to Hooters since we know that they have vegetarian food and it is the only other restaurant that we know without driving back into the city of Anderson which we didn’t feel like doing. We walked in and were immediately greeted by the same waitress that we had had last night. Last night had been her last night of training and this morning she had taken her “Hooters’ Exam” and was officially a Hooters girl and was able to wait tables on her own. So it turned out that we were her last “training” customers and her first first “official” customers as well.

As Andy and I needed to kill a lot of time as we had made no plans for today at all we hung out as long as we could there in Anderson. Then around two thirty or a little after we decided to go get some exercise at a park in Georgia so we hopped into the Chevy Cobalt which is possibly, likely in fact, the worst car I have ever driven. The car handles like crap and has no power at all. At some points I had to put the accelerator to the floor just to keep the car moving in traffic when there was a small hill involved. It was the mushiest and least responsive vehicle that I can remember having had the misfortunate to have drive including my grandmother’s old Ford lawnmower and several broken golf carts over the years. I have had vehicles stall and still have more power than this thing.

It was early when we got out to the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area in Georgia and we had a couple of hours to spend visiting in that area. We went out to Lanier Lake and the Buford Dam area and took some pictures and went for a short walk. It was a really nice area and there was a lot of really nice new homes being built in the area. There was even a restaurant Dam Good Food but we didn’t stop and I didn’t bother to get a picture. But at least I mentioned it.

We continued on to the Atlanta Airport and got the car turned in before seven. We were running plenty early but best to have more than enough time rather than not enough. I checked in and tried to get an earlier flight but there were none so I am stuck waiting until the late flight tonight to get back to Newark.

We managed to get into the main restaurant for the Concourse C area and we had some dinner and killed some time in there before Andy had to get to the gate to wait for his flight. His flight boarded just a little after nine and that left me two hours to just sit at my gate waiting for my flight. Luckily I managed to score one of the best seats in the waiting area that had both an electrical connection but also a nice view of the terminal so that I could people watch instead of just staring out the dark windows. It gave me a chance to mostly get caught up on SGL even though I couldn’t post it as I wasn’t about to pay $8 for two hours of Internet access when there wasn’t any emergency.

Dominica called today to let me know that she had finally managed to procure a Nintendo Wii from the Target in Clifton. That only took us about nine months to finally get one from the time that they first went on sale here. That is crazy. And it isn’t like they have been selling like hot cakes or anything. I don’t know anyone who has one! (Okay, I know one person.)

Dominica managed to get two full sets of controllers (which cost a ton extra because the Wii comes with almost nothing) and she managed to get a few games including Trauma Center, Red Steel and the new Zelda game. The Wii comes with the sports game that is kind of a sampler of the system. Min did not get a chance to set up the Wii today though so although she has it she has not yet been able to play it.

While at the airport tonight I noticed, yet again, that every time that I am at the airport that the national security alert level is orange. Is there any other colour? It has occurred to me that orange means “no danger” and they have just assigned moderately scary sounding colours in an attempt to excuse the high level of discomfort that one has to suffer at the hands of airport security. In reality, orange is completely meaningless and should be completely ignored. It means that there is no reason to believe that today is any different than any other day. As far as I am concerned the federal government has cried “wolf” on terrorism threats so often that they don’t have any means of actually alerting the public anymore. Who would believe them? Threat Level Red must mean “low to moderate” chance that maybe some undisclosed agency of some unidentified country thinks that some child’s lunchbox might actually contain a moderately contagious strain of the flu riding on an undercooked chicken salad sandwich!

Andy flew out around nine thirty and I flew out a few hours later around eleven thirty.  I took the time between his flight and mine to plug in my laptop in the fairly empty airport and get somewhat caught up on SGL.   I can’t let myself fall too far behind now as I will be out most of this week as well.

It was around one thirty or a little later when I finally got home to Newark.  I was exhausted.  I have to be up quite early tomorrow to fly to Toronto so I am hoping to at least get a tiny bit of sleep tonight.

August 11, 2007: Anderson

Andy and I were totally exhausted this morning.  It was nearly five in the morning by the time that we had finally managed to get to bed last night in Anderson, South Carolina.  So we decided that the best plan this morning was to sleep in as much as possible.

Joe called us around nine in the morning to see where we were and we told him that we were pretty tired and that we weren’t going to be meeting anyone for a while because we needed some more sleep.  Joe is busy during the day today anyway so it isn’t like we could have hung out.

We went back to sleep (at least I did, I am not sure if Andy ever woke up at all) and slept until about eleven thirty.  It wasn’t a full eight hours of sleep but it was a reasonable amount and we felt pretty good.

We got ready and then went out to Waffle House again to get some breakfast before getting started with the day.  I am enjoying my chance to get some southern diner food while I am here.

After Waffle House we drove back out on the highway and up around town and down on route 81 into town from the north and met up with someone at the health campus where Andy had some work to do before we could relax for the weekend.  The facility is practically a ghost town on the weekends and you really get a chance to see the campus without people being all over it.  It is a really impressive facility and very beautiful.

It is a really hot day here in Anderson but luckily not nearly as hot as it has been for the past three days.  For the past three days temperatures have been in the low 100s and breaking all kinds of records for the region.  Today wasn’t quite that bad but was in the high 90s and still very hot.  In the shade with a breeze it was okay but once you got out in the blazing sun it was unbearable.

Andy’s work went really smoothly and quickly.  We couldn’t have asked for a better processes.  He was done in no time and we were able to drive down to the hospital so that he could wrap up there.  That only took about an hour and we had plenty of time to just visit there before leaving for dinner at five thirty.

We didn’t know what we wanted to eat so just ended up going to Appleby’s since it was fast and easy.  We had both felt like getting food at Red Lobster but when we stopped in there apparently everyone else in town had had the same idea and the place was totally packed and we didn’t feel like waiting that long just to get some food so we bypassed that options.  We hadn’t expected Andy to have so little to do this weekend so we are quite pleasantly surprised.

After dinner, around seven thirty, we went back to the Comfort Suites and relaxed for a little bit – we both ate way too much and needed to just relax a little to give ourselves a chance to do some digesting.

Joe called us around eight and said that he could meet us at Hooters at eight thirty so we walked on over there (it is right next door to the hotel) and got a table and a pitcher.  Joe and his friend Wayne arrived as Andy and I were just getting into our first beers and we all had a really good time hanging out until midnight when the Anderson County Blue Law kicked in and closed down all of the establishments (other than private clubs) in town.  Having the drinking stop at midnight is a sure way to guarantee a sleepy town with a lifeless Saturday night.

We had a really good time visiting, though, and Andy and I really enjoyed the rare opportunity to just relax and hang out which we have not had a chance to do in a really long time.  Andy and I saw each other for about an hour two weeks ago but that is the first time that we have really seen each other, other than Bob and Lisa’s wedding, since Dominica and I moved away from the Rochester area.  Andy hasn’t had a chance to come down to Newark to visit yet either.

After Hooters Andy wanted to go for a walk and so we walked for about half an hour or more around the shopping complex near the expressway where we are staying.  It was about one in the morning before we finally got back to the hotel and got to bed.