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This was the first time we were all together in a long time…

March 17, 2008, 10:48 PM

Stuarts Draft was, as always, a lot of fun. And note, that is one sentence I never thought I’d find myself saying. But anyways…

So the whole dump-the-car-at-Vienna plan went according to plan, though it did take longer than I had planned to get out of the exit ramp. Of course, look what I had to contend with:

Traffic on I-66 at Nutley Street

The three lanes to the left of the barrier in this photo are the westbound collector-distributor lanes for Exit 62. The lane closest to the barrier is the only one that actually joins I-66. Then the lanes to the right of the barrier are the westbound lanes of I-66. So not only was I-66 jammed, but it was bumper to bumper to even get onto the Interstate. As Homer Simpson would say, “Gas, brake, honk. Gas, brake, honk.” No fun.

But we did eventually get home.

Then the next day, we went out. While Dad was at work, Mom, Sis, and I went up towards Harrisonburg. We went to the Green Valley Book Fair, and then to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The former was typical, selling relatively current books along with new-old-stock books. The latter was amusing for the voice changer that Mom bought. One wouldn’t think that a domestics store would have a voice-changer toy, but it did. Go figure. And one of the voices you can make sounds like just like the Chipmunks, as in Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. I sang “Christmas, Christmas, time is near [and so on]” into the thing in my regular voice, and voila! – instant Chipmunks. I also sang “Witch Doctor” into it. And Mom still bought it, to use with her students.

And coming back, I saw something that made me wish it was true. Look:

Prices at the Exxon in Stuarts Draft

Oh, how I wish it were actually the case that gas really was 19 cents a gallon, and not $3.19 per gallon at the Exxon station in Stuarts Draft. If only that were the case, and not the far more likely case that they had just run out of threes to throw up in the sign…

Then that evening, while Sis was out with her friend David, I got together with Katie. We went out for dinner, and then coming back, I topped off the car. And one must wonder if someone is sending me a message about the meaning of petroleum, because look what the pump stopped at:

$6.66 as the total sale on the gas pump

And I will swear on a stack of something that this was not a staged shot. I swear. But nonetheless, that’s weird. Still, I’m reminded of David Barrows in his devil Bush outfit, the puppetmaster photo from J20, and of course The Church Lady (“Could it be… SATAN?”). The gas pump displayed the mark of the beast. Creepy.

Then Friday, we went to Charlottesville, and wandered around there a bit. And then we got to spend an evening at home, where we saw Chad Sinclair on The Price is Right (see previous entry).

Then on Saturday, we had to get our goodbyes. I had to return to Maryland, and Sis had to return to Chicago. So we got our photos, first of her:

Sis poses in front of the house

And then of everyone:

Everyone in the house

Have to admit, we are a happy bunch.

However, our respective return trips didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. I got a bit of rain on my return trip. It wasn’t as much rain as I got for Election Night 2006, where it was raining so hard that I had to have the wipers on full blast and go 40 mph on the Interstate and still had trouble seeing, but it was enough to be a bother. Unlike most trips, where I can set cruise control and kind of coast on in, I was pedaling it the whole time on this one.

However, Sis ended up in what could best be described as “airline hell”. First her plane was delayed two hours out of Charlottesville. Then her connection to O’Hare was delayed to the next day. She ended up having to stay at a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina, without her luggage. And the airline refused to provide her with the luggage that she had checked. No good. Then when she actually did make it to O’Hare on Sunday evening, she found out that the TSA people had opened her suitcase, which is par for the course anymore, but – get this – searched her bags of potato chips inside said luggage. I call that adding insult to injury. A sealed bag of potato chips, and they want to search it. Something tells me that one of those jackasses at TSA was hungry, and, knowing that they weren’t accountable to anyone, saw the chips as a quick snack, looking to “inspect” it in the interest of “security” (which is a whole load of bull—- all to itself which we won’t get into here). So there goes two bags of potato chips out the window, since now the chips have been tampered with.

The lesson learned: Ship your take from shopping via UPS next time, and keep it away from the Transportation Security Administration.

But at least she made it home, and we had a great time.

Web site: September 15 cheer sheet. We'll be cheering on March 19, so watch for us!

Song: Two girls trying to do American accents

Quote: By the way, I find it very strange, but I came down with a mild case of rail-sickness this morning on the Metro. I got on the bus as always, no problems, and then got on Metro at Glenmont, no problems. But then by the time I got to New York Avenue, I was feeling a little topsy-turvy in my tummy. No idea what caused it, but I felt bad the whole rest of the way to Dupont Circle. Things settled down once I got out of the Metro and started walking the rest of the way to work.