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Packing up for a nice vacation…

August 21, 2005, 9:13 PM

I’ve got my suitcase all packed up, and all I have left to do is to properly pack Big Mavica, unhook my alarm clock and my cell phone charger, and put together my entire toiletries kit. Not too shabby. Then over here on the Web site, I’m going to change the photo feature to an image from last year’s trip to the beach (the black-and-white photo of the woman in Dupont Circle was deliberately held longer than intended to time this next feature), and then I’m going to put a vacation message on the updates list.

All in all, I’m excited! And I think that everyone at work knows that I’m going on vacation. I told everyone, and even was nearly counting down the minutes until 4:00 (which is “quittin’ time” for me). I also jokingly told a few more coworkers I’d get them some sand as a souvenir. And then other coworkers were saying it’s going to be so quiet around the store without me for those five days.

Also, I had one of those priceless moments at work today. In a slower moment, a coworker needed a CSM. They ultimately needed to page over the squawk box for them. So they dial the number to page, and thought they were paging. What do we hear? A voice without amplification. So I said, “I don’t think you got it.” So they try again, and they still don’t get on there. So I give it a try. I dial to page, and I’m live on the PA system, and successfully deliver the page. I hang up, and turn to the coworker: *raspberry*. Yes, I couldn’t resist doing the old “Bronx cheer” there, giving them the raspberries. They knew I was being silly, and so it was all good.

Meanwhile, of all the off-the-wall tunes to have stuck in my head today, you know what I had stuck in my head today? Put Down the Duckie. From Sesame Street. As in “You’ve got to put down the duckie if you wanna play the saxophone!” And it makes perfect sense. If you want to play the saxophone, you’ve got to put down that blasted duck. But if you don’t really want to put down your duckie to play the saxophone, don’t worry. You can always pick it up when you’re done.

So I’m going to be setting out for Virginia Beach at the same early hour that I usually leave at for my DC trips. Since such a departure time will land me at my hotel well before the stated check-out time, I’m going to take the trip out as an adventure in itself, making a number of stops.

First of all, I’m going to stop to eat breakfast at Zion Crossroads. Zion Crossroads, for most people, is a small cluster of roadside businesses in the middle of nowhere designed to capture business from people getting off of I-64 for a food and gas break. There is a Citgo station (which is also a truck stop), a combination Burger King/Exxon station, a combination McDonald’s/BP station, and (get this) a University of Virginia Health System Dialysis Center. Seems like a weird place to have a dialysis center, but as I’m not familiar with the local area beyond the aforementioned businesses, I’m not really in a position to judge.

Then I’m also going to revisit the rest area in New Kent County that I first visited during last year’s vacation. For one thing, it’s a great facility, and it’s the first new rest area built in Virginia in like thirty years. So it’s worlds apart from the otherwise downright dumpy rest areas in the rest of the state (including this one’s westbound counterpart).

Then when I get down as far as the Newport News area, I’m going to try to positively identify a mall that I stopped at on the way home from the Norfolk segment of The Schumin Web Photo Essay Blitz 2003. I stopped at the mall very briefly, only to stop at the Barnes and Noble there to use the men’s room, and then leave. Back in March 2003 when I visited, the mall seemed to have a fairly new interior, with Edwards fire alarm notification appliances on the walls. And I know that there’s a Hooters restaurant across the street. Some quick-and-dirty research online using Google seems to lead me towards the Patrick Henry Mall. So we’ll see. I’ll know it when I see it if that’s the one. Just remember Edwards fire alarm horns, with that flat strobe. That’s what will be the real giveaway. Always the fire alarms, you see.

All in all, I think I’m going to have a fun trip. I’ll see you when I get back!

Web site: Patrick Henry Mall, the possible identity of the mystery mall that I visited in 2003...

Song: Put Down the Duckie, of course!

Quote: Now, I need to get off this computer and get some other stuff together!