Wednesday, December 15, 2004
rolling, rolling, rolling....
When I got to the Manor last night, I had very little time to dawdle. It was nearly 1700 and daylight was letting out it's last whimper before finally winking out. I was busy hauling the recycling bins up the main drive when I saw my neighbor Gus waving to me. He is usually not home at this time of the day, so I went over to talk to him. He greeted me with his usual warm, old-world way and asked about the health of the kids. Everyone is good as can be expected, I replied. He then let me know that he and Irene would be going to Greece for a month. I'm sure he told me this because I watch over his house when he leaves. I let him know that I can tell when he is gone because he parks his van in the driveway instead of the street. We talked for a bit and then it hit me. The Mrs and I had bought presents for our neighbors and we had not had a chance to do the cards yet for anyone except Sharon and Marvin. I asked him if he could wait just a moment while I ran inside and brought out something for him. It only took a moment, but it was a clumsy affair. Run the whole mile up the drive, through the car-port, through the mudroom, Disarm the internal anti-personnel security system, up the grand stair, down the south wing hall way, and into the guest suite where we were stacking all the unwrapped gifts. I had to rummage about for a bit. So much stuff ... 72" plasma televisions, platinum dining ware, Hummers, Personal Satellite, DaisyCutters ... ahhh, here it is ... a clear container of pistachios. I retrace my steps and mention to the hounds that I will be right back to let them out. I hand the gallon of pistachios to Gus and suggest that he bring it on the plane with him to pass the time. It's a long flight to Europe and shelling nuts can really be an engrossing distraction. He is visibly appreciative of the gift, which makes me feel good too. He has to get to the Philly Hellport and I need to start preparations for the evening S&R mission so we wish each other a merry Christmas and set get back to our respective tasks. The moon has just started to peek over the horizon and the stars lend only the slightest illumination. Hunting Mastodon spore is going to be a vexing task in this context. Argh.
After the Turmultous Twins start their evening meal and the Mrs gets home, I start a task that I need to get done tonight. I have decided to 'adopt' a soldier over in Iraq and the package should have gone out last week when I got the email message. I've been a bit lazy and had to dedicate at least 30 minutes to this. Got the box, the shipping address and the brown paper. I put a short letter inside the box along with some envelopes, paper, pen, toothbrushes, toothpaste, insect repellent wipes, alcohol wipes and some sun-block. When and if the final recipient gets this, I'll be able to send some more reasonable stuff. I don't know who will get this so I had to send 'general' stuff. Hope it is appreciated.
The commute in this morning started late and became most frustrating quite quickly. Yet another day of sucking in diesel exhaust and counting the rust spots on the bumper of the car in front of me. Today's great trials began even before I made it to the Tpk. There was some kind of accident on Northbound 611 just before the TPK entrance. The vehicles had pulled off into the Pep Boys parking lot and there was a police cruiser there with them. There was also a cruiser blocking the right lane of the north bound traffic. I have no idea why he was doing this, but it was creating a great deal of misfortune for those of us in that lane. The left lane is typically backed up for a mile at this point on a regular basis because of the large medical complex on the left side of the road. The turn light is not nearly long enough to handle the volume. SOoooo, the right lane was forced to merge with the left lane and hope that even though they were waiting for a long time, they would let us in so we could get around the blockade. It was a pretty civil engagement from what I could see and only burned about 15 minutes of my life. How charming. I should have taken the Mill Road Option, but my previous experience forbade me to do so. Through the tolls and down the Turnpike I zoomed at a mind boggling speed ... about 25 mph. Yesh, we are cooking with gas now! I eventually scratched and clawed my way to KOP where once again, the traffic was backed up for a mile or so. I stayed in the left exit lane till I crested the hill where the laser beams of sunlight turned my windshield into a semi-translucent white sheet. The clear parts of my windshield that were not sandblasted let in enough light to cook my retina and boil the contents of my eyes. Reacting quickly, I flipped down my visor and took advantage of the stunned drivers to my right. Zipping across to the left most opening, I had an easy shot at the EZPass lane that would let me avoid the usual tangled mess that occurs after the tolls. Not today. For some reason, there were 3 semi trucks side by side on the other side of the tolls with ANOTHER police cruiser in front of them. Argh, the law is out to ruin my day! It only took a minute to squeeze around them, but jumping jehosephat, I have never seen this much police activity at this time of the day.