Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Return to the Bay Area

After all of the weather-related drama these past two weeks, you would expect it to be capped off with tales of woe in airports, but I was thankful that it was not to be. Just like my flight up to Portland was just before the heavy snow hit (and was thus unaffected), today's weather was overcast and a little cold, but no rain or snow, and there was no weather drama for me, thank goodness.

Lisa's father's DSL was off-line, due to the backup battery system running down again. There must be a problem with the ground-fault circuit, because it's triggering when it should not. I didn't have time to troubleshoot why the DSL was down, although I suspect that simply cycling the power to the DSL modem might have reset it. Instead, I packed up my computers and headed back to the trailer, where Lisa was struggling to get sufficiently awake to take me back to Portland.

Thanks to miscellaneous delays getting away from Mehama, we were late leaving, and we needed to make a couple of stops along the way, and that meant I ended up getting to PDX close to an hour later than I originally planned, but that's okay -- I leave lots of leeway in my plans. I needed it, too, because I managed to walk away from the United check-in counter without my boarding pass and had to go back and get it before going to Terrorization. By then, I'd wasted so much time that there wasn't time to have lunch in the PDX food court groundside -- I needed to get through Terrorization and take my chances over there.

The queue wasn't too long, although I wish the people staffing the queues would reject people "crash" the priority line. I have a hard time believing the lot that went down that line were all gold/platinum-level elite frequent flyers. I think they mostly were people who just got in the shortest queue. My day was not made any brighter when I had to remove not just my belt buckle, but my belt, because they had the machine turned up so high that the snaps that hold the belt buckle in place were triggering it. And then they complained that I was taking too long to get reassembled on the other side. Well, I had my shoes off and was holding up my pants by hand while trying to get two laptop computers back into their respective cases. I simply didn't have enough hands to pick up all of that stuff and move off to one of the side tables to reassemble in peace. Fortunately for all concerned, my mildly frustrated remarks did not give the TSA cause to send me to jail, but I found myself remembering that the correct response to the TSA people is to say as little as possible and give them absolutely no cause to take offense.

Anyway, by the time I got past Terrorization, it was only about five minutes before time to board my United flight to SFO. (I was flying United rather than my usual Alaska due to having an unused-value voucher left over from canceling my trip to Calgary last year.) I saw that the options over on the D/E side of the terminal were a lot more limited than A/B/C side. I grabbed a snack box, a bag of chips, and a soda from one of the shops and carried it on to the plane.

The airport had not been nearly as crowded as I would have expected for the final day of the two-week holiday period, but my flight was full. Aside from near-continuous light turbulence, the flight was quite uneventful, and we arrived at SFO some fifteen minutes early.

I was happy to see Cheryl, who was there waiting for me at Baggage Claim, having seen that United was projecting an early arrival. Said early arrival was apparently offset by an inordinately long wait for my checked luggage, but I was in a good mood -- far better than I had been after going through Terrorization in Portland -- and not troubled.

We headed back to Fremont, stopping to pick up burritos from Chipotle and buy an item from Orchard Supply Hardware -- it's Train Calendar season, so it's time for me to buy things from them I've been planning to buy, but spacing the purchases into multiple trips over a short period of time so I can get several of their calendars.

Then it was home to eat the burritos and to open a couple of late presents. Cheryl gave me some DVDs and -- prompted no doubt by two unfortunate incidents lately -- one of those portable power supplies you can use to jump-start your car via the accessory outlet. With luck, I'll never be stuck in a BART lot with a dead battery ever again. I'm very grateful for the presents, and we watched the first two episodes of The Planets -- one of the videos she gave me -- over dinner.

Alas, tomorrow comes much too early, with a 7 AM Pacific Time conference call/online training seminar that is scheduled for two hours, so I need to get unpacked and into bed soon.
Tags: cheryl, travel
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