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Home again

My flights yesterday were all right.  I got up on time, got ready, and caught a ride with my coworker’s husband to the airport.  Augusta Regional Airport is very, very small.  I was thinking it would be comparable to Bluegrass Field, but…it’s not.  You go in one room and there are some places to check in, and then you go down a hall and through security, and then you end up going outside(!) to get to the gates, which are all in a row in the back.  (I think the outside area is more of a courtyard, but it was still weird.)

Atlanta was Atlanta.  I was sent to the wrong gate by the helpful woman giving directions as I deplaned, ran back to the proper gate, and was apparently too late to board.  I went back to the other gate to wait an hour for that flight, and discovered that the computer thought I was on the flight I was supposed to be on.  That was a little odd.  But they straightened it out and I got on the next flight just fine.  I sat in seat 1C, and there wasn’t room for my duffel so it had to be stowed, and I had to stow my laptop bag too because there was no seat in front of me to shove it under.

Our flight attendant, Penny, was a hoot.  She said things like “The FAA says we can’t have baggage sticking out from under the chairs, and the FAA is the law, so I’m going to check everyone’s seats” and “I’ve already checked everyone’s seatbelts, but the FAA requires that I demonstrate it for you anyway…now I can keep my job!”  And at the end of the flight, when she was debriefing us on flight procedures, apparently someone in the back stood up, because she cut off her droning-yet-pleasant speech to shout, “SIR, SIT DOWN!”  That’s not exaggeration; she really did shout.  I about cracked up laughing.

The other great thing about the ATL to LEX flight was the fact that they served…cran-apple juice!  (Brooke knows what I’m talking about…)

I got to AGS at around 6:20.  The flight was delayed until 7:40 or so, and I reached ATL at 8:30.  I missed the 9:08 flight due both to the woman giving directions and to the time it took to get from Concourse D to Concourse C.  I got on the 10:20 flight, meaning I finally got to LEX at 11:30.  Five hours isn’t bad; it’s three hours less than it would have taken to drive.  And since I used a buddy pass, I only paid $54, which is about 50% less than gas and food.  All in all, it’s a great deal, even given the waiting.  (I read Getting Things Done during the between-times…and you can’t read a book while you’re driving!)

I’m hoping quietly that my coworker will be generous again and offer me buddy passes next year, so that Sean and I can use them to get to Japan for cheap.  In the meantime, I think I can score one more for this year, to give to Dawn while she’s here in the States in September.  That would mean she could fly from New York to Atlanta instead of having to take the train.  We’ll see :)

I would probably fly a lot more if it was cheaper.  I’d love to take a hop, skip and jump around the country, to see friends and new places.  But actual plane fares are so expensive :X  It’d be nice if we could get those costs down, and if we also had a good passenger rail system set up between cities.  One like they have in Japan, that practically never has problems and is always on time :)  Oh well, man can always dream.

When I got home, Dad made me a “Vidalia Onion Burger”.  It was really, and I mean really, good.  I’m going to have to buy some to make for Sean.  Then I went over to AJ and Faye’s to see them and Connor and Logan.  Logan is growing up so fast.

AJ said that I shouldn’t feel bad if Logan was shy, because he is shy with everyone.  I started to play with Logan and tickle his feet while he was in his high chair, and Logan loved it.  AJ shook his head and said, “Okay, never mind about that shy thing!”  I know it’s silly, but it really made me feel good that Logan reacted that way.  I don’t have the relationship I would like to have with him, but knowing that he is open to it is really nice.

Meanwhile, Connor is still my buddy :)  He showed me his room–now sans the huge cardboard castle, meaning there is actually room to play–and his new toys.  Then we played with some plastic things that stick together, and Logan played too (mainly grabbing whatever I was making and tearing it apart ;D).  I took some pictures, which I’ll post somewhere at some point, maybe :>  Then we all went back to Mom and Dad’s, because Aunt Evelyn and crew were heading over.

It turned out to be Evelyn, Walter, Bertha (Walter’s mother), and two of the grandkids, Aaron and Sarah.  Sarah is seven months older than Connor, but she’s actually smaller than he is.  Aaron is something like thirteen.  The last time I saw him, he was like…four!  (His older stepbrother, Philip, I remember being around 12 or 13…and he just graduated from high school, and is now learning about detailing cars :>)

We all visited for awhile in the living room, then went out back, where Connor drove Sarah around in his little green car (he’s really good at driving it!) and then let her take a turn driving.  Meanwhile, the rest of us sat under the canopy and chatted.  At some point, Dad and Philip and Walter went to play pool.  Ben and Dan and Boone showed up for band practice, and we all went inside for a bit.  Then, finally they had to leave to visit someone else.

It was nice to see them all again :)  Evelyn told me to say hello to Sean for her, because “he’s a nice boy”.  ;>  Sean and Ben and I visited them in Austin once, back when Sarah was 13 months old (she was so tiny!).  Sarah is really grown up now–she’s five, and she speaks like an adult!  I was really impressed.

After the visit we ordered pizza for dinner and then I watched a bunch of Angel, Buffy, and Charmed with Mom.  It was nice to do that again.  I like being able to share that with her.  I remember when I was younger, she always got on me for watching too much TV, and now it’s totally the other way around ;>

Today I got up at 10:30 and took a shower, and then Connor came over, so he and Mom and I have been doing various things.  Now they’re taking a nap, and the boys are having band practice, and Dad is either watching TV or doing something in the workshop (he’s so quiet, I can never be sure, but he’s usually in one of those two places), so I’ve had some time to myself.  Being around Connor is sort of exhausting to me, because I’m not used to being around kids.  :>

I’m glad to be home.  I seem to have forgotten to bring a network cable, though, so I’m using the engraving laptop that AJ usually uses at work right now.  I won’t be able to use it tomorrow during business hours, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do about Internet access…I may have to set up a card table in the back room and use the cord back there.  We’ll see.

They painted this office the last time I was here, and it still looks good.  It had turned horribly tan/yellow from all the cigarette smoking.  AJ has quit smoking–he stopped on his birthday (which was five days ago, so we’ll see).  I’m not sure if Ben quit too, but I know Dad hasn’t.  It would be nice if they were all able to quit for good…

That’s pretty much it.  Before I sign off, I wanted to mention that I love flying.  The thrill of taking off and landing hasn’t dulled for me yet.  It is just so…awesome.  It’s amazing that we can force huge metal devices filled with people to soar off the ground.  I love it.