Once the guy was done, it was time for time-critical errands. First I hit my PO Box. Next, it was down to San Jose to try to get a press pass -- to no avail. It turns out they only process forms Tuesdays through Fridays. Grrrf.
Next it was a stop to AAA to get maps.
After that, I tried finding that elusive butane-powered curling iron to no avail. Walmart had butane-powered straightening irons, but I don't need something to do what a blow dryer already does to my hair. In general I noticed a wealth of straightening irons and a dearth of curling irons.
I then went to Tony and Alba's and ordered an "Alba's Special" since Warren was craving "garlic pizza." I browsed in a beauty supply and Cost Plus while waiting.
After eating the pizza, I had two hours left for showering and packing. My packing "technique" consisted of tossing boxes of stuff into the big suitcase, and cramming carry-on stuff into the outer pouch of my computer bag (since they no longer let you taken on a carry-on bag if you're transporting an animal...bastards).
When we arrived at the airport the guy at the ticket counter realized there'd been a snafu with the doggie reservations on the Philadelphia side of my trip because they'd forgotten to reserve the dog on the portions run by US Air. Instead, the agent got me onto United flights for those legs.
In air I slept, drank diet soda, slept, watched a little TV, slept, and drank lots of coffee and a little orange juice. The coffee was a godsend for the drive from Philadelphia to Mom's new house in Mays Landing, NJ. The route was mostly unfamiliar, so it was really weird driving it. The weather was very humid.
I found the house with no effort, thanks to directions I'd printed the night before, and rang the doorbell. No one answered, so I tried phoning. Mom answered and said she hadn't heard the doorbell.
I felt "tremendous" in the wrong kind of way -- as in there's too much of me right now. Mom pretty much looks the same as she did three years ago, except slightly thinner; this is a good thing. Her hair is oh-so-slightly lighter, but to alter a quote by Gloria Steinem, if "that's what 71 looks like," I'll look amazing when I get up there.
The two dogs -- my Lady and Mom's Monty -- sniffed each other briefly, then each went their own way. Monty mostly slept all day, and Lady mostly stood on her hind legs, begging for food as Mom cooked...and cooked...and cooked. (My cousins refer to Mom's place as "The House Of Food.")
Mom brought out some bagels, cream cheese, and various types of smoked fish for me. I opted for a garlic bagel (it was either garlic or plain) and some of each fish. After I ate, Mom asked if I'd eaten garlic the night before. "Yes," I replied. "Warren wanted 'garlic pizza' for dinner."
"Well, you reek of it."
I thought but didn't say, "Gee, Mom; thanks for telling me after feeding me a garlic bagel!" I ingested a couple of Mint Asure tablets and hoped for the best. I also took a full shower and made a complete change of clothing.
I met a couple of Mom's neighbors. Then while Mom started cooking supper, I surfed the net and cleaned out my e-mail. Mom's wireless network was set up by the cable company. Here folks don't seem to care about secure networking.
We ate, then I called my friend Katie to figure out when I should head her way. She was heading home, so I headed out with Lady and digital camera in tow. (I'll upload the photos when I'm alert enough to find the cable to do so.) En route, I took a detour to visit the house in which I spent most of my childhood. It's now the "Dennis Center for Dental Esthetics." Last time it was the "Dennis Center for Dental Rehabilitation." It no longer sounds like a prison for teeth, but it sure looks like one! There's now even a sign forbidding folks from parking in front of the space. Heh; I remember my relatives parking in that "forbidden" space years ago.
I had no problem getting to Katie's. I got a photo with her, her husband Bob, her daughter Debbie, and Debbie's daughter Ashley, who is incredibly cute. Ashley and Lady immediately took to each other. Katie and Bob's dog Augie wanted to check Lady out, but when he decided he wanted to hump her and it was clear she didn't want to play that game, we opted to keep the dogs apart.
They sent out for pizza (had to get my east coast pizza "fix"), then went off to a tavern so the "kids" could get Ashley to bed. Katie and I had part of a quesadilla, then she and Bob took the rest home for the kids.
After that i drove home, first taking a detour to go past the most recent "old house," then taking a more straightforward route that was, alas, "scenic." I now know why it takes my mother forever to get home. Mom had rice pudding waiting for me, but I was too tired to eat it, and Mom was asleep anyway.