Friday, July 28, 2006

Stacy A-Go-Go

I promised to share Stacy’s traveling woes with you a few days ago, so here you are. First, let me make her situation clear. She was flying Delta out of Dulles with three little girls, ages 5 years, 2 years, and 7 months. She had three car seats, one large bag for clothes, one smaller bag for leftover items, one carry-on backpack, and a stroller to gate-check. To say she had her hands full would be a woeful understatement.

The porter I hired to carry bags didn’t show up
Thankfully, she was able to use the sky cap to check in the luggage and car seats, but that left her with a backpack, a baby strapped to her front, and a double stroller with two willful little girls. Her flight would take her to Salt Lake for a three-hour layover before continuing on to Boise, ID.

Boise, world capital of, um, well, nothing at all

Nicole was to pick up Stacy from Boise and they would make the drive to Portland together. Odd travel plan, but the money they saved on the flights made the difference between driving and flying straight to Oregon.

Stacy and the girls made it on to the airplane with no problems. The first leg of the journey went off without a hitch. It wasn’t until she got to Salt Lake and found out that her flight to Boise had been cancelled that the fun really began. She had already planned to have lunch with her dad during her layover, since he works in Salt Lake. Now, it appeared she would be spending the night at his place with the girls, because the airline did not have another flight out until the next day. To make matters worse, the airline could not locate her large bag with all of the clothes in it (plus our nice digital camera and the power cable to my laptop!)

Poor luggage, lost out there, all alone

All Stacy had was the car seats and a bag with no clothes. In such situations, Delta has a policy to furnish stranded passengers with necessities, such as diapers for babies and the like. They did not do this.

Bare baby bum, not safe for the Internet

Stacy swung a deal to have Delta fly her and the girls out to Portland the following evening rather than force Nicole to make the trip to Boise twice. Nicole was having her own adventure. She was half way to Boise when Stacy called. While she was thankful she didn’t have to drive the whole way and that Stacy would be coming into Portland, she was also stranded. She forgot to fill up the gas tank on her trip and found herself unable to get home. After calling her husband to pick her up, she sat in the van with her kids and watched movies on the DVD player. Little did she realize that by the time Ryan arrived, the battery in the van would be completely dead from the drain of the DVD player. One gas tank and a long battery-charging jump later, she drove home with very few words passing between her and Ryan.

Ryan’s cold shoulder may have been a little excessive

Meanwhile in Utah, Stacy and the girls were having a grand time with grandparents. The next morning, Stacy called Delta to find her bags. Delta still had nothing to offer. Stacy found out that Delta would replace up to $1000.00 worth of items from the bag, so she should keep receipts for any replacement purchases. However, they specifically stated that they do not replace cameras. Great.

Do you know how long I had to save up for that? That’s top of the line!

Stacy’s flight to Oregon was exhausting, but without mishap. Ryan was waiting at the airport for her when he heard a call over the intercom for Vicki to come to the baggage claim. Wondering why our 5 year old would be getting paged, he responded and found that not only had they located Stacy’s bag, but had delivered it to Portland. Odd, considering Stacy’s flight plan never hit Portland until after they lost the bag. Stacy and the girls arrived safely, found all of the luggage, and made the trip to Ryan and Nicole’s without any more problems.

Now Nicole is a couple of sizes bigger and drugged while Stacy is corralling all of the children until Nicole recovers. After that, watch out Portland!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quasi-bachelorhood, Sweaty Work, Screaming Slugs, Overweight Houses, and More Sweaty Work

Monday found me spending the morning with Stacy and the girls at Dr. Jim’s Emporium of Back Ache, Neck Injurie, Spine Crackyng, and All Natyral Remedys. Stacy wanted to get in a good session of spine crackyng before she and the girls made the arduous journey to Portland, OR. Stacy will be there for her friend’s life (and breast)-altering surgery. I say good on her. If you don’t have much to begin with and adding somewhat will make you feel good about yourself, then get implants by all means. With her husband going to school full time, she won’t have much help around the house with her three little boys. This is where my wife comes in, with her three little girls. So what you actually have now instead of an invalid with three boys is an invalid, three boys, three girls, and my wife. Lucky her. More on her traveling travails later.

Don't worry, she's used to traveling!

In the meantime, I have been plunged back into quasi-bachelorhood. As I’ve said before, I am a boring bachelor. Not only do I not do any of the “fun” things other bachelors do, I don’t do any of the “fun” things other people in general do. My idea of a wild time is catching a double feature at the movies. Wooooo! That being said, my next two weeks will most likely involve puttering around the house while I try to finish up projects that have been waiting forever.

I've really got to finish that living room!

One such project is the yard. It’s amazing what weeds will do when left to their own devices as we vacation, recuperate from minor surgery, sit on our lazy asses, etc. I made some good headway today, but was cut short when my lawnmower got so hungry that it decided to perform some self-cannibalism. Either that, or the rubber piece that smooves down the grass before cutting suddenly became suicidal. It went right under the blade, metal mounting rod and all. I decided that since I had already sweated out my first two bottles of water and I still had a service project to attend later, I would stop for the day.

Foreground: Mowed, Background: Overtaken by the Verge

I’ve seen a few trailers for Monster House over the last couple of months and thought I’d preview it to see if Stacy could take Vicki. Unbeknownst to me, the theater I chose was showing the 3D version. Bonerus! I sat through the usual batch of kid movie previews and was surprised at how entertained I was at the trailer for Dreamwork’s Flushed Away. The screaming slugs just put it over the top for me. Although Nick Park (the feller what does the Wallace and Gromit) has nothing to do with it, it is an Aardman Animation production. The animation looks like computerized versions of Park’s work. There’s a short clip of one slug below, but the big one is at the end of the full trailer. Check it out here.

The movie itself wasn’t bad. I certainly wouldn’t take Vicki to see it, though. Just the first 15 minutes would give her nightmares for months. The animation was done Polar Express-style with motion capture suits on the original actors. The cast list is impressive, including Steve Buscemi, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhal, Jason Lee, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jon Heder, and Kathleen Turner. Everyone did a fantastic job. The big payoff is when you find out that a former circus sideshow “giantess” (which is a nice way of saying, “she’s as big as a house”) is responsible for the haunting.

Oddly enough, she didn't sing

I polished off the day with a couple of hours helping a lady from the church. Apparently, the church has been helping her remodel her home after a bunch of unfortunate flooding accidents. I worked mainly on some drywall with a sprinkling of electrical work. I also could have filled another couple of buckets with sweat. I don’t know if it is the humidity or just me, but I have been perspiring like a perforated swine.

Because I've mentally scarred you with this talk about sweat, here's a picture of sexy Halle Berry in sweats. Feel better?