December 19th, 2005

Cross-country travel day, meeting Irene in Dallas...

We got up at 6:45 today, and after showering and finishing up last-minute packing, we went upstairs to breakfast.

I had a bagel and some granola cereal with some coffee, and Robert had coffee and a danish.

We took one last look out the window:

Lakeland Village Resort, Room 219

went to the lobby to check out, and then waited out front for our ride.



The shuttle was packed to the gills, and we were the only one on it with luggage. The rest of the passengers were being dropped off at the California Lodge to start their day of skiing.

During the ride, we were subjected to a cell phone call, which started off with, "Hi, it's me. I'm just calling with a minutiae report." And indeed it was. This is going to become my new best-loved phrase: minutiae report.



We arrived at Harvey's Hotel and Casino at about 8:35, and the South Tahoe Express bus arrived just a few minutes later. There were four stops after ours, and by the time it was all said and done, the bus was full for its about 1.5-hour ride to Reno.

I was thankful to have my iPod to avoid having to listen to the conversation all the way of the two guys behind us. Robert was not so lucky.

One was a bull-rider (at one time), and currently works for Sysco, for what I could gather. At first, I thought he said Cisco, but the more he talked, about food, I figured it was Sysco.

The other one was a lawyer, and Robert heard about his entire life: through high school, college, law school, girlfriends he had gone through, his father's career (as a biophysicist), illness, and death, and his wife. Talk about a minutiae report! Though not on a cell phone, it was no less tedious.



We ended up only having about an hour wait for our flight to DFW, which left on time, and was uneventful.

Well, that is if you don't call the rather hefty lady sitting across the aisle from us, whose face was about four inches from her book, which was entitled, "Intuitive Eating," an event.

I said to Robert, "Yeah, she's into Intuitive Eating alright. She sees food, and she's intu-it."

She did take a break from reading, however, to get out three dollars as the flight attendants made their way down the aisle with the drink cart. "I'd like to purchase the snack pack, please."

Afternoon Snack Box - $3
Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish®
O'Brien's® Turkey Sausage
Oreos®
Ocean Spray® Craisins®
Jacob's Crackers™
Le Petit Fromage

How intuitive! She did exam the nutrition label on the Goldfish, the Turkey meat stick, and the processed cheese product, obviously none of which were counter-intuitive enough to deter her.



While we were taxiing in at DFW, my cell phone rang, and it was Irene. She was just leaving Austin on her way to DFW, and her flight had changed. She thought we might be on the same flight, but with me deplaning, and her boarding, we agreed to check back in to confirm in a few minutes.

Before I could get out of my seat, my phone rang again; it was Joe. "Let me call you right back," I said.

In the terminal, I called Irene back, and we confirmed that we were on the same flight from DFW to RDU. We were in row 11, and she was in row 27.

This will facilitate things in Raleigh, as we were going to be coming in on AA and she was going to be coming in on Delta, within 10 or 15 minutes of each other. Now we won't have to go from Terminal C to Terminal A to find her, and all that jazz.



I called back Joe, and we caught up briefly.

Then, Robert and I had a fast-food bite to eat, and while we were eating I had a call from brianrdu. I had no calls all weekend, and then three within minutes of each other. Crazy.



It started getting way past time that Irene should have arrived from her short trip to DFW from Austin. Robert saw that the arrival board listed her plane as "arrived."

I gave her a call, and she told us that they were stuck on the tarmac, not able to pull into their gate, as the previous plane was still in it.

They started boarding our flight, and I called her back.

"We're starting to board, honey."

"We're still on the plane," she replied. "Tell them that I'm here when you check in."

Robert and I boarded, and I said to the agent, "Irene Chandler is on this flight, and she's here. She's stuck on the plane at Gate 7."

On board, we checked in a couple more times, and they still hadn't pulled into the gate left.

"Oh well," she said, I can't imagine that I'll get out and make it from Gate 7 to Gate 31 in time." That was the last call we exchanged.

Just as they were closing the doors to the plane to leave, Irene came barreling down the aisle.

She went to her seat in the back, where she proceeded to have an asthma attack, without having her inhaler with her.



When the flight attendants came through with the drink cart, I asked, "Did you notice the lady that came on at the very last minute before we took off?"

"No, I didn't," she replied, and then, "Does she have on a red sweater?"

"Uh, I think so; I believe she's in row 27."

"Yes, she is sitting right across from my jump-seat, and was talking about how she almost didn't make the flight."

"That's her," I said. "I'd like to buy her a drink. When you get back there, would you give her a Tanqueray and tonic, please?"

"Sure will. That'll be $5.00."



Once we were able to "move about the cabin," I went to the back of the plane to get a hug from her. While I used the bathroom, she ran up and introduced herself to Robert.

I then gave her my iPod and told her to listen to my five latest favorite country singles.



In Raleigh, her luggage did not arrive, which surprised none of us, since she had barely made the flight, so she filled out a report to have it delivered.

While she did that, and Robert collected our bags, I went to get the car from long-term parking.



Once we got home, Robert headed to Durham, and Irene told me that she was hungry.

We made a
California Pizza Kitchen White Pizza

and after eating my half, it occurred to me that I was in the midst of fasting for my doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. Grrrrrrr!

It took way too long for me to get reconnected to the Internet, which seems to happen after I unplug my cable modem and wireless router for a period of time, like I do when I go on vacation.

I finally got the desktop connected (though couldn't get the wireless connection working), and checked my work e-mail.



We finally went to bed at 3:00, and somewhere between 4:00 and 4:30, they arrived with Irene's luggage.

I didn't hear the doorbell, and didn't hear Irene accidentally walk right into my closed bedroom door at some point.