journal for 2003-12-31

in transit

We’re sitting on a Canadair RJ200, a plane that I’d never heard of until booking this trip and that I’d never seen until our flight out of ABE. It’s pretty tiny. There are twelve full rows and two seats in row thirteen. We even had to check our carry-on luggage, just as we did on the way down. It’s weird, but at least it makes it pretty unlikely that they’ll lose our baggage.

Gloria had been worried about our ability to make the connection between our flights in Atlanta. She’d expressed her concern back when we booked, and I was confident everything would be fine. Over the last week or two, though, I’d forgotten the exact duration between our flights, and I started to latch onto ridiculous imaginary figures like “twenty minutes.” This morning, in the shower, I started to think this would really be a problem. When I checked my itinerary, though, I was remined that we had a full 45 minutes, and I relaxed again.

So far, the travel has been fine. The first leg of the trip was uneventful. We got to our connection with a little time to spare, and even so we sat in the plane waiting for other arrivals for quite a while. Now we’re in the air and I’m just waiting for the trip to be over.

At the Pensacola airport (and on the first flight) I watched Sci-Fi channel’s Battlestar Galactica mini-series, but realized too late that I hadn’t loaded part two of the series onto my laptop, so now I’m in suspense. (Sort of. I know what happens.) Both of our flights have given us not pretzels, but snack mix. The first snack mix even had peanuts in it. It was pretty exciting, as far as coach class airline snacks go.


Gloria, her mother, and I went out a bit before noon and went to a gourmet store called Four Winds. The guy behind the deli counter was a real salesman; it was pretty funny. He kept saying, “Sure, sure, I have the thing you asked for, but just try this cheese. See, isn’t it good? How about just a tiny slice?” Then he’d sell us a half pound. Gloria’s mother told him I liked bleu cheese, but I managed to correct that mistake before anything was cut. He did cut me a sliver of a very interesting Spanish bleu, aged in grape leaves, but it was just too moldy for me. We got a very nice brie, a German gouda-like cheese, and some other interesting cheese that I couldn’t quite identify.

Gloria’s father came home for lunch (we ate the cheese with some bread, hummus, and that sort of thing) and then left for the funeral. We decided against going, since it was going to be troublesome to change our travel. Gloria’s mom decided not to go; I’m not sure why, but I guess she thought we couldn’t get by without her.

Jennifer came by for dinner. Sally made chicken salad; it was weird, but pretty good. I had three helpings, anyway. We also had some ice wine. We’d had red on Monday night. It was OK, but didn’t seem like much more than an expensive vermouth. The white, though, was quite nice. It was very strong and sweet, and went well with the fruity chicken salad. After dinner, I taught Jenn to play chess. I think that, by the end, she understood it at least well enough to teach it to her sons. Failing that, their father and grandfather both know the game, I think.

After Jennifer left and Sally went to bed, Gloria and I watched some television. The Family Guy was on Adult Swim, so we watched it, even though it was one of the episodes we’d seen. I don’t think I’ve seen any episodes of the third season, yet, so I’m hoping to catch a few of those sometime.

looming exile

Tonight, we celebrate the new year at my parents’ place. Tomorrow, we recover from our trip and then go to my parents’ again. Gloria works on Friday, and I’ll probably do some planning and packing. We might end up doing dinner with my grandmother—she really wanted to take us out sometime, but the week is going to be pretty hectic. Saturday, I think we’ll try to go through our normal routine until it’s time for me to get to the airport.

I think that I’m going to try to travel differently, this time. I’m not going to race from plane to train to train to cab. I’ll take my time. Maybe I’ll get breakfast in London or just walk around Paddington and take some photos. If I can manage to travel out of my tiny suitcase, that’ll be really nice. I have too many memories of fading in and out of consciousness on the train to Cardiff to want to repeat that kind of trip.

Of course, it would help if the ride from London to Cardiff wasn’t endless, slow, and boring!

I’m going to see if someone doesn’t want to get some dinner on Sunday night. Maybe Godfrey or Rahm or Duan. I haven’t heard back from Matt, yet.

I have high hopes for this trip, because I think we’ve reached an internal organizational structure that will encourage co-operation. There’s some global IT management, but the Massive Barrier that was our ERP system has been functionally removed from the landscape. Unfortunately, I think that office politics may hvae become a new Massive Barrier. I’ll really just need to see what happens when we get over there.

Written on December 31, 2003