Seattlite Once More

I’m back in Seattle finally, sitting in Zoka, drinking an iced chai, and listening as they play Andrew Bird’s Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs, an excellent album if I say so myself. Before I get into the “backness” of things, let me fill in a bit since when I departed.

I flew out Friday the 20th in the evening after a full day of work, tried to nap on the plane (with “plane dozing” about the sum of it), got into Philadelphia in the morning, and then had a speedy flight up from Philly to Manchester, where Dad picked me up, and we proceeded directly to Squam, where Mom and Freya already were. We all caught up a fair bit, and I filled them in on what’s been happening in my life, some of which simply doesn’t translate to text, public or private: there is the strain and timbre of the voice that carries a weight that is hard to convey with the same ease in written form. I am an ardent supporter of using the myriad forms of written communication to talk and discuss and communicate, but I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it takes a face to face and voice to voice to get the right message across.

Uri didn’t show up until late that night, having had a late start in the morning driving up from DC due to getting his car serviced (a prudent decision, as much as the delay sucked). Finally meandered to bed around 3am for my first real sleep in two days (and my first sleep in an actual bed, not a futon, in months). Sunday brought JJ into the fold for a few days, and Mike and Mariah showed up for the day (with a 3 month old min-pin named Jack in tow), along with more catching up and chatting and, of course, finishing the final Harry Potter, which I managed to convince Mom to let me read first since I was only in town for a week. No spoilers or anything, but I did want to say that I thought it was a nice wrap up of the series — I really feel like she brought the arc to a good close, without leaving lots of things dangling. So, kudos to you, Ms. Rowling.

Monday involved swimming and relaxing and chatting, with the addition of Dave and Margot and their daughter Leah, who came out for the day. It was great to see them, and Leah was adorable and precocious (it occurs to me that some day a dozen years from now, Leah will be googling for her name and may come across this, and not even remember it, but it’s true: you were adorable when you were three years old, already counting and spelling and asking questions and learning how things worked. We rarely think about longevity in what we put out on the internet… maybe we should more often.)

JJ headed out Tuesday, and the rest of the week was basically just the family. I got to spend some quality time with my dog Freya, who lives with my parents (and is fiercely devoted to my mother, though she likes the rest of us well enough). She’s definitely my dog, though: dogs really do seem to imprint something from their owners, and a number of her tendencies definitely mimic those of Mickey, myself, and my parents. In particular, she seems to have my habit in liking to play and socialize, and then after go hang out somewhere quiet and private and safe to refresh. (There were several dogs throughout the week… the folks in the houses on either side of us had dogs, there was Jack the min-pin, and Dave and Margot’s dog India, whom she played with non-stop ALL DAY.) It was great to go swimming every day, get a little sun (light burn that is already faded, leaving just a slightest hint of more color than usual), reading, writing (not the kind of writing you’re thinking: I finished a new area that I’d been puttering on for Avatar for the past 5 years… I’d started it at the same time as the last area I wrote and put in, which took a few years and was put in two years ago… yeah), and just in general chillax. Didn’t worry about food or work or money for at least a little bit, and that was a nice break, above and beyond the fact that I got to see friends and family.

Friday night, we packed up and headed back to the Upper Valley, where I managed to catch up with Eli and even ran into Annah from high school, who was apparently part of a bachelorette party that night. It was great to catch up with her a bit — she’s looking great, and her husband sounds like an interesting fellow (a photographer, currently off in China for a few months). Hopefully we’ll keep in touch a bit. The next day was sort of a dud… Uri and I went out, but no one was around… and I mean no one. Called everyone we could and no responses. Did, however, get ahold of Chris, and arranged to do coffee with him and Gloria the next day, which was excellent.

After doing coffee with Chris and Gloria (which involved next to no actual coffee, it was mostly just a gab session, but that’s sort of why I call it “doing coffee” rather than getting a cup of coffee — the coffee is irrelevant other than as a mechanism to bring people together, like “doing lunch”), Uri and I were chased by a crazy guy who kept on trying to convince us to give him a ride and who knows what else (his voice kept on undulating between semi-coherence and mumbling). We managed to get away, went and did dinner with Mom and Dad, and then headed south to Eli’s house, where we caught up with a slew of people. I managed to get ahold of Bethany and convinced her to come down as well. It was great to see her and talk a bit — I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I used to have a crush on her (and I am of the opinion that crushes do not go away, they simply go dormant), so I suppose it goes without saying that I enjoy her company greatly.

Uri took off Monday morning, and plans to get picked up fell through, so I ended up spending the evening at home, which was fine. Tuesday involved lunch at the Orient with Mom and Dad and Eli, and then departing for the airport. Mom and Dad saw me to the airport, fond farewells and all that… and then the fun began.

It seems that the flight coming from Cincinnati that was to take me down to Atlanta to catch my plane to Seattle had not yet arrived. In fact, it hadn’t even lifted off. Mechanical trouble. The expected departure time kept on creeping forward in increments of 15, until they finally confirmed “yes, it has lifted off, we WILL be taking off at 8:45”. (It was supposed to take off at 5:36). Needless to say, I missed my connecting flight by just under 3 hours, getting into the airport around midnight. Delta set us up with hotels and rescheduled our flights, and about half the plane trudged off grumpily to various hotels around Atlanta to catch what sleep they could.

Got checked in to the hotel a little before 1, and was asleep not long after, sleeping fitfully for the 3-4 hours I had before I needed to be up and hopping BACK onto the shuttle to the airport. Got to my gate, checked in, got my seat, and tried to doze in the seats by the gate waiting for the flight. Of course, there was a small problem: so many people had been shunted around due to not one but TWO overly delayed flights the previous night that the morning flight was overbooked, heavily. They started offering $400 and an upgrade to first class to those willing to wait until 6:30pm, when room really opened up.

I really wish I could have afforded to take that, since that’s $400 towards any flight, anywhere, anytime in the next year (it’s not frequent flier points, it’s more like a gift certificate). That’s a trip back east, say, next year, when we’re having a family reunion. I couldn’t justify it, however: I had already missed one extra day of work due to this snafu, and it being the first, my rent was due, which meant I needed to get home in time to actually a) pay it, and b) deposit the paychecks that had arrived while I was gone so I COULD pay it — i.e. during business hours. However, they did also offer $200 dollars and confirmed seating for the next flight out (about an hour and a half later, which would put me in at noon instead of 11… don’t ask me how they shave a half hour off these things). THAT, I took, which means I now have $200 towards any flight Delta will fly for the next year… domestic, international, whenever, whatever. Given that I have a court date for that ridiculous speeding ticket the Monday following the Morison trustee meeting, I STILL can’t make it to that (nor would it cover it all… a good rate for a round trip ticket from Seattle to New England is ranging in the $350-450 range, assuming you have time to wait for a deal, which I don’t). That said, it almost exactly covers the cost of flying round trip to Los Angeles or the Bay Area, and given I have friends in both areas I would like to visit, as well as potential job prospects in both areas, having this little nest egg dedicated to air travel is NICE. It means I can afford to fly down if an opportunity presents itself, and see people to boot (or vice versa, but the miser in me says I really should try and make it do double duty if I can).

Got in, paid for my car parking (11 days is painful! But it would have been worse parking at the airport… hopefully next time I’ll be able to impose on a friend for the inconvenience of dropping me off and picking me up), and made it home by 2, not only in one piece, but with my luggage to boot! It managed to make it onto the morning flight that I passed up, which meant it was waiting for me when I got in, with no real issues other than some fretting while still on the plane. Showered, deposited pay checks, paid rent, and was asleep by 8. Good to be home.