Monday, July 19, 2010

Home from the road!

Here it is, a week after my return trip from Tennessee. Things have not let up for the multitasking me.

What can I say about the trip? It was hot, but it was fun. I got to spend time with good friends from Boston and Atlanta. We had marvelous food at Olive Garden (the 5-cheese ziti al forno was wonderful!), Chili’s (where I actually had chili), The Fox and Hound (where Joe and I split a pizza), and Cracker Barrel (for the traditional Sunday breakfast). We relaxed, attending a couple of filking events and the annual Baen Publishing slide show. One morning, as the most frequently killed character in Baen-published fiction, Joe Buckley (check out the literature link), and I were sitting in the hotel breakfast area, we had the pleasure of meeting Larry Correia, author of the Monster Hunters International series, and his lovely wife Bridget. As Larry and Joe discussed Joe’s possible future demise in Larry’s work, Bridget and I had a very nice chat. Many of the people we meet frequently at sci-fi conventions were in attendance. Our man Eric Flint was master of ceremonies. John Ringo was there as well. And of course the usual bar flies were there in abundance.

The drive home was long and hot. I was looking for a BP on my way through Kentucky and I was hungry. I stopped at one exit and picked up a McChicken sandwich and a small fry (both on the dollar menu). I got back on the road and pulled off at the next exit to fill up the car. A bedraggled homeless man was standing at the end of the exit ramp with a sign. I don't know what it said, but I gave him my chicken sandwich that was still untouched. I figured he needed it more than I did. Later, I sat in Covington, Kentucky for an hour waiting to cross the bridge into Cincinnati. It seems Ohio is not the only place where the construction starts in earnest right after evening rush hour!

It was a long, busy week after I returned. Work was carried out at a rather frantic pace. I came home early from my usual Thursday night outing due to an upset stomach. Friday after work, Jim and I raced over to my friend Laurie’s house to put up a 20 x 40 foot canopy in her back yard for a bridal shower on Saturday.

After taking mom to her normal Saturday morning excursion to the beauty shop, we hopped into the car and headed for New Castle, Pennsylvania for the annual Boyle Family reunion. We hit a huge traffic mess on I-80 that had cars backed up for miles in both directions. We arrived at about 12:15. By our normal standards, the reunion was a bit small this year…about 50 by my estimate. It has been as high as 150 in years past. But with such a small crowd, the pace was relaxed and everyone in attendance had a nice time. We attended the Boyle Family mass at St. Vincent de Paul church, formerly St. Lucy’s, and then headed back home.

It was 98 degrees when we left New Castle and only 84 when we got home, but the hours of heat while we were there took a toll. In order to avoid the traffic mess on the return trip, we got off at Route 7 and took it north to Route 82. Shortly thereafter, we found Route 11, so we jumped on and headed north toward Ashtabula. The return trip took an hour and 35 minutes, which wasn’t at all bad.

After getting everyone settled in at home, I went to the BP and filled up my tank. Then I stopped at Your Vine or Mine for a celebratory birthday glass of wine. Meredith joined me for $3.00 Sangria, the Painesville Party in the Park special. I did not go out and walk around the park. It was much too hot and I was drained from the heat all afternoon in New Castle.

Sunday was the wind-down day, at least it was after we took the canopy down in the morning. Joe, Flo and Joe Jr., my brother and his family, stopped by to tell us about their Mediterranean cruise, which sounded lovely. We drank wine and listened as they regaled us with stories of the beautiful coastline and the scenery, the mountains, cathedrals and artwork. It made me long to see Greece and Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Perhaps someday I will get the chance to see such things.

In the meantime, I'll just apply for my passport and hope for the best!