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So I made a little side trip into New Jersey on the way home…

September 27, 2009, 6:42 PM

My travel day on Friday went fairly well, and I am so glad to be home again. As much as I learned on this trip about Mac servers, and as much fun as I had, it’s still great to be back in Silver Spring.

That said, my travel day worked out pretty well for the most part, but I don’t think I’d actually want to live in South Jersey again. Many members of my family have found it wonderful, but I don’t think it’s for me.

After checking out of the hotel, I went down to Chinatown in Philadelphia. I hadn’t been there in ages, and so it was worth a visit. Turns out that Ho Sai Gai, a restaurant that my parents used to go to in the 1970s, has reopened its location at the corner of 10th and Race. We went to Ho Sai Gai at its new location up the street from the old one just about annually from 1996 to 2001, and during that time, the corner location had always been abandoned, with a few improvements here and there. Now it’s once again open for business:

Ho Sai Gai

And a bit to my surprise considering that the original location had reopened, the “new” Ho Sai Gai was also open for business:

The "new" Ho Sai Gai

I also checked out a few shops and such, though I didn’t buy anything. But it was fun to look around. I even checked out a fish market, that had all sorts of seafood out for sale. Got a few good pictures of that, and one of them made it as the current photo feature.

After that, I went over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge into New Jersey, where I visited with Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary. I also got to meet my cousin Rob’s newborn child, Sophia Rose Schumin, for the first time. She was adorable at nine days old. Mom and I later had a debate on the phone over whether Sophia’s relation to me is “second cousin” or “first cousin once removed”, but I think that, based on this article, “first cousin once removed” is likely correct. Either way, she’s absolutely adorable, and had a lot of hair for nine days old. Not all of us get to enjoy the privilege of having a full head of hair like that.

Following a visit with Uncle Bruce and crew, I got to check out my parents’ old house in Glassboro, at 304 Cornell Road. I half-expected to see the house gone, because at Funk the War 7, some students from Rowan indicated to me that they had demolished a lot of houses for some redevelopment, but they weren’t sure if it had reached there or not. Much to my delight, the old house was still there, and here it is:

Our old house in Glassboro, New Jersey

Unfortunately, the property looks really rough now. Compare this picture from Friday to how it looked in the 1980s. Time has unfortunately not been kind to it, as that dark wood exists around the door, the driveway has weeds growing through it, the lawn is patchy and looks unkempt, and some yutz parked their truck on the grass. Folks, the driveway is there for a reason. Please use it.

I showed this new picture of the house to Mom, and she commented about what it might look like inside. I told her, “You probably don’t want to know.”

Also worth noting is that the “falling down stop sign”, which I was photographed with in the early 1980s, is once again falling down. The sign had been replaced by the mid-1990s, but by 2009, it was again at an angle, but this time leaning the other way:

The "Falling Down Stop Sign"

While the original “falling down stop sign” was leaning to the right, apparently after having been struck, the new sign was leaning left, apparently after the ground underneath it settled somewhat.

Then from there, I headed south, back towards Maryland. Stopping for gas, I pulled up to the pump and prepared to get out of the car with the intention of filling up the tank, and up came the attendant. I said, “Oh, that’s right, this is New Jersey,” and waited while the attendant pumped the gas for me. I charged the gas on my debit card, and gave the guy a $1.00 tip. I don’t see the point in statutorily prohibiting customers from filling their own gas tanks, especially since 48 states and the District of Columbia allow it, but I suppose if New Jersey wants to do it, that’s their prerogative.

I was also a shade annoyed once I found that the road I was on took me right past Uncle Geoff’s street. I could have said hello to Uncle Geoff in less than two minutes. But since I didn’t know that my route was going to be that close to it, I didn’t plan for it with him, and so I skipped it. However, it would have been nice to have also visited Uncle Geoff. I haven’t seen him in about seven years. Perhaps next time I’m up that way, I’ll visit Uncle Geoff.

Otherwise, the ride was uneventful, as I took the New Jersey Turnpike to the Delaware Memorial Bridge and then from there, caught I-95 to the Beltway. I paid around $10.85 in tolls on the way back down. That’s $0.95 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, $0.90 on the New Jersey Turnpike, $3.00 for the Delaware Memorial Bridge, $4.00 for the Delaware Turnpike, and then $2.00 for the Fort McHenry Tunnel. Every time you turn around, it seems, there’s a guy in a yellow safety vest with his hand out.

And the idea of taking a travel day worked. It was smooth sailing all the way as far as Baltimore. There, an accident gummed up the works. Thus traffic just beyond the Fort McHenry Tunnel looked like this:

Traffic on southbound I-95 in Baltimore

Oh, joy. Just what I needed. Thankfully, though, it didn’t last long, and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way home. I got through Delaware and Pennsylvania, which caused the big traffic hangups last time, well before rush hour, and with no trouble. Excellent. Baltimore was no problem.

Meanwhile, remember what I said two entries ago about taking photos in the hotel pool? Well, they came out kind of as expected, but got a few surprise gems. Once I figured out how to do this, the pictures came out surprisingly well. This picture amused me:

What you're looking at is one of the drain covers at the bottom of the pool, partially detached from where it should be. The weird lighting comes from the fact that the lights under the water were turned on. The photo amused me because it reminds me of those photos of the Titanic debris field, with an item of interest along this flat, featureless bottom.

What you’re looking at is one of the drain covers at the bottom of the pool, partially detached from where it should be. The weird lighting comes from the fact that the lights under the water were turned on. The photo amused me because it reminds me of those photos of the Titanic debris field, with an item of interest along this flat, featureless bottom.

I also got some interesting hot tub photos, like this one:

In the hot tub

And this one:

In the hot tub

That second one I particularly like because it has this over-the-cliff look to it. I actually managed to get down in the bottom of the small space to point upwards for that one. Not floating out of position and getting the shot before running out of air (I was holding my breath) was a bit of a challenge. After all, I had to take a big breath, and then swim down into position, line up the shot, and then fire in the time that I could hold my breath and not have to resurface. This was definitely a low-tech operation. I am not a scuba diver, and the only equipment I had was a pair of swim goggles and Duckie.

Then yesterday after getting home, I almost immediately had Mom over for a day. She went to the National Book Festival on Saturday, and met Judy Blume, among others. After the Book Festival, Mom and I met up at Gallery Pl-Chinatown station, and went to the Wikipedia meetup at Burma, a Thai restaurant. Those folks are a lot of fun, and it’s fun to discuss the lighter side of Wikipedia with them. We all take Wikipedia quite seriously, but still, it has its moments, and it’s fun to meet and discuss over dinner.

All in all, Mom and I had a fun day together. She was also a good sport about it when we got home and I realized I’d left the car at Glenmont. See, Mom had parked at Vienna that morning in order to expedite getting to the Book Festival. I parked at Glenmont because it’s close to my house. After the meetup, we both went to Vienna to bring the car around. And we went right past Glenmont and up to my house. I’m about to say, “Park next to me,” when I realized, wait, no car. Then it hit me that the car was still at the Metro, and so Mom took me over there. Thankfully, I live really close to the Metro, so it was just grab-and-go, and we were back in about five minutes.

Web site: Hot tub jets in action at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fort Washington. Taken with Duckie.

Song: "Splendido", the so-called "nothing but furniture" showcase cue from The Price is Right.

Quote: And then tomorrow, back to the office!

Categories: Family, Glassboro, Philadelphia