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July 14th, 2008

I actually got up at about 10 minutes until 4:00. I had ridiculous dreams all during the few hours that I slept, a lot of them involving being on Twitter. As I said, ridiculous.

When I went downstairs to put the dryer on "fluff" for ten minutes, I saw my message light blinking on my landline phone. Two messages: (1) "This is US Airways calling for John Martin to let you know that your 7:30 flight on Monday morning, July 14th, from Washington National to Boston Logon has been canceled. Please call 800... to reschedule this flight. We apologize for any inconvenience," and (2) "This is US Airways calling for John Martin to let you know that we have rescheduled you on flight 2024 out of Washington National to Boston Logon, with an 8:30 departure time."

Well, that was the good news. The bad news was that this hour-later departure put me in Boston at 10:05 instead of 9:00, which meant I'd never make the 10:25 train from Boston to Providence. Grrrrrr.
Robert was an absolute dear—having a very short night's sleep and having to work today—getting up at 4:00 to take me to the airport on his way back to Durham, and then on to a full work day.

I was pleased to find at US Airways check-in that bags 50 lbs and under are still free to check.



In Washington, I called Aunt Annette to let her know I'd be arriving in Providence on the train at 1:15 now instead of 11:30.

There was no free wireless during the layover, so I worked offline on my blog entries. There was a young couple sitting at the table next to me in a food area, and they had met someone they knew who works in the airport. They yammered for about 20 minutes, with a 5-or-so-minute stretch all about the gay people each knew, and the one guy's experience going into a gay bar once with friends. They all took on fake names when they went in there, including one who called himself "Maria." Surprisingly, the conversation was, overall, respectful.

The 8:30 United Express flight from DCA to Boston was packed, no doubt a lot due to that canceled 7:30 flight that I was on. The guy sitting next to me, in the middle seat, was a pilot, so I picked his brain about how to best get from Logon to South Station. A gem was that he told me that I could take the "T" if I wanted to, which I'll definitely do on my return trip.

We landed early—scheduled arrival was 10:05, actual arrival was 9:45. I started to have hope that, if my luggage came out right away, and if I took a taxi, I could make my original train to Providence, which departed at 10:25. I ended up missing it by six minutes.

For posterity: The cab ride was $25 (with tip), with over $12 of that due before even exiting the airport, due to tolls and taxi fees. Ridiculous. It's definitely worth catching the subway if there's time.



In South Station, after just missing the 10:25 train, I waited in the food court area for the 12:10 train. I also took advantage of the time to ask how to get to the pier from which I'm departing on the ferry to Provincetown on Wednesday, so when I get back up here, I'll already know where to go. Too, I went ahead and bought my train ticket for my return trip from Providence to here on Wednesday. All set.

The commuter train ride from Boston to Providence was uneventful. It was actually a nice one-hour ride, stopping in little towns along the way, such as Sharon, something-Junction (not Petticoat Junction), North Attleboro, before pulling into Providence. Attleboro is where my uncle (my second uncle, actually—my mother's uncle) lived in the LaSalette Shrine Seminary for many years.

At the station, I hopped in a cab for a 2.1-mile ride to Rhode Island Hospital, which was just off the next exit South on I-95. Aunt Annette wasn't in the lobby when I got there, so I walked outside and watched the roads that led into the parking lot. After a few minutes, I looked down a side street, and there she was walking up the hill toward me.



We stopped at the Hong Kong Buffet Restaurant before heading over to the nursing home at which Uncle Frank is currently staying. To my shock, they had free wireless in this restaurant—"...from 11:30 to 4:00," their sign said—which was very odd to me. I've never seen an establishment (of any kind) offer free wireless access only between certain hours.

In any case, I was grateful for it, and I took the opportunity to log in to IBM, because I hadn't set my OOTO message for this week's vacation before I left.



When I saw Uncle Frank, I touched his hand, and then bent over and gave him a long, tight hug. He kissed me on the forehead, and I kissed him back on his neck as I let him go. Aunt Annette had tears in her eyes.

My god, what he's been through. And, honestly, he is far from "out of the woods"—a long road to recovery is still ahead. And he's frustrated. And he seems tired of it all at times—and who can blame him.

We spent a couple of hours there, during which Aunt Annette tried to get him to eat some of the chocolate pudding that came with his dinner—the rest of which he didn't touch. He got about five teaspoons down, and then was done. He's still on a feeding tube, too. Aunt Annette then got him about a third of a Klondike Bar, which he did finish, albeit not enthusiastically even.



Back at Breezy Lake Drive, we had some munchies, and drank—screw drivers for her, Canadian Club and Diet Cokes for me— and talked for several hours.

We talked about some "light" things, a lot of "heavy" things, sometimes through tears, sometimes with smiles, and always with warm hearts.



Having gotten to bed at 11:00 last night and up at 4:00 this morning, and having been pretty much on the go all day, I was ready to drop by 10:30, so that's when we called it a night.

Before getting in the bed, I checked my phone, on which I had a message from Robert. I returned his call before lights out. Safe arrival. Sweet dreams. More warmed heart.

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