Dec 282006

Ah, home again. I’ve actually been back in Austin since Monday evening, but I took a bit of a sabbatical from the Internet for a few extra days.

So. A holiday recap is in order, I suppose. To those not in the know, I spent a good portion of the Christmas holiday weekend traveling. Heather and I went to St. Louis to see her family, and got back to Austin on Christmas around 6pm (more on that later).

Let’s start with at the beginning, shall we? Well, as close to the beginning as I want to, at least. I realized a few minutes after getting on the shuttle from long-term parking that I’d forgotten my cufflinks. Eh, that’s inconvenient, but not really a big deal. And our flight left Austin right on time; that was nice. However, when we got to D/FW, there was apparently another plane parked in our spot. And rather than just get another gate, we sat and waited on the tarmac for a good half hour or more. We got off of the plane, walked 2 gates to the right, and got on the connecting flight to St. Louis. However, unbeknownst to us at the time, our luggage didn’t make that connection. We landed in St. Louis around 4:30, I arranged for the rental car, and then we proceeded to wait for another hour and a half for our baggage to arrive (on the next flight from D/FW). We finally get to the car rental place, and the car which I’d arranged for (and paid for) two hours previously isn’t in the lot. In fact, there aren’t any “economy” cars in the lot; Heather and I watched someone drive off with the last one just moments before we picked up our luggage to walk over to it. That was the last straw for both of us, but I was too zombified to do anything about it. Heather went inside and sweet-talked us into a Dodge Kaliber (is that spelled right? I’m too lazy to hit up Dodge’s web site). Nice car, it held our luggage all right, and it gets great mileage. We do finally get to her sister’s house, and everything calms down for a bit.
On Saturday, we spend a little time doing touristy stuff. We went up to the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, took lots of fun pictures, and walked around the museum underneath it. Fun stuff, I definitely recommend you check it out. We had a (decidedly too big) lunch at a place called the Spaghetti Factory (a restaurant I’d never heard of before), and hit up the St. Louis Art Museum (which is in the park which previously housed the 1904 World’s Fair). I really like art museums; I don’t know how to explain it fully. They had a very nice gallery of furniture, some of which took my breath away with its complex simplicity. Spent a little time in a store finding a new shirt and tie (because they’d sold their last pair of cufflinks about 15 minutes previously), and headed back to the house. Which, did I mention, has 2 cats and 2 dogs in it, in addition to the 4 adults and 3 kids, the oldest of which is 10?
Sunday was Christmas Eve. Nice church service, even if the band and organist couldn’t really play in sync, and nobody in the congregation can apparently read music. Spend a little more time with the family, open the “from each other” gifts, and fill the kids’ stockings after they go to bed. Fall asleep around midnight after having a very nice discussion with Eric about the wedding.
Wake up on Monday morning around 6 AM. Eh, kids; what can you do? Had a bit more fun with that (Santa brought me a potato masher!), and headed back to the airport. Get to the airplane with plenty of time to spare, and after everyone’s sitting down and the doors are closed, we sit at the gate for about half an hour. We finally take off, and land in D/FW at 4:10. Our connecting flight is supposed to start boarding at 4:20. This is not a good thing; the last time we had a close connection like that, we ended up having to wait for our luggage to connect at the airport for an hour and a half (see previous paragraphs). But it turns out that delay didn’t really matter; we waited in the D/FW terminal for about an hour (yes, an entire hour. maybe more), because one of the flight attendants decided not to show up. Some random flight attendant who was on her way home volunteered to pick up the shift, and we finally got in the air about half an hour late. But here’s where it gets interesting.
The pilot comes on the intercom just as the doors are closed and says, “Folks, this is normally a 55 minute flight. But based on the data I’ve received, it looks like we’ll be able to shave a bit of time off of that time. We’ll have an 80-mph tail wind, and should make it in about 28 minutes”. And wouldn’t you know it, from wheels-up to wheels-down was about 28 minutes. That pilot, and I feel bad about forgetting his name, is my new favorite person for at least the next week or two.
The baggage actually made the connection this time (nor surprising, considering that it had an extra 30 minutes to get onto the plane), and despite the fairly bad cold that I apparently acquired on Sunday, we had a pretty decent time at the parents’ house on Monday night. Tuesday morning, more wrapping, and some tasty food at the folks’. Then glorious sleep.

Thus ends the holiday recap.

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