Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Uber-Long Weekend Report

Credit: Blinkies by Otto

A.K.A. Graduation and Mother's Day weekend. I know this is really long, but it's my story and my blog, so there! LOL Thus begins my tale....

Even if I hadn't already decided to take MARTA (Metro-Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) to the airport before leaving on Wednesday, the weather would have decided that for me. It was *pouring* down rain with very dense fog. I could see the car drop-off zone as the train pulled into the airport station, and it was a sea of brake lights; nothing was moving. DH would have been annoyed, and Luke would have been miserable. I have to say, it was really freaky coming around the curve towards the station where I had to change trains and seeing only a mass of nothing. Usually you can see all of downtown, including the capital, and well up into Midtown (where I used to work, about 30 large city blocks away). All I could see were a few buildings very close to the train (like the hospital), and then nothing but fog. I knew this did not bode well.

Sure enough, my plane was delayed. They said at first that it was only 20 minutes, which I didn't believe for a second. Oh, and sometime after I arrived and checked the screens, they changed gates on me, so I had to change concourses and go from the gate right next to the entrance of Concourse C to the one literally as far away from the entrance as I could get on Concourse D. In the concourse that is being overhauled, so there was no carpet, almost no A/C (just enough to keep you from dying, but it was easily almost 80 degrees and 98% humidity), and only one functioning bathroom for the entire concourse (way back at the entrance, natch). I had just enough money for dinner (forgot to account for airport prices when I said $10 would be enough; it was, but didn't leave much left for a plane snack ($2 for a pack of M&Ms?!?!)), and naturally after eating it, I had to haul me and all of my luggage back to the entrance to pee since my flight had now been delayed an hour. ::smacks forehead:: We finally board and end up leaving about 70 minutes late. The ascent was quite rough, since we were going straight through the stormclouds, but we had a lovely view of the lightening show (from above) after we got to 40,000 feet. Pretty smooth and standard trip from there. Even started a new book, Day of Confession, by Allan Folsom (he also wrote The Day After Tomorrow (the book the movie was based on), which I didn't know until this weekend; I bought this book several years ago). It's pretty good so far, though clearly written by a man. Give me a female writer any day! Pretty interesting, though. I'll definitely finish it, hopefully this week, then start on the forensics book for the Barnes & Noble University class I somehow got roped into taking (I won't mention any names, like Fred!).

So, I land in Ft. Lauderdale, find Jacob, and hop in his truck, which was truly bizarre, since I haven't even *seen* his truck in over three years. (Sheesh, has it really been that long?!) He always flies up here when he comes. It was really weird, especially with a Florida tag on it. Oh, and it was 10 degrees warmer when I landed than it had been when I got to the airport 5 hours earlier! I was dreading what the rest of the weekend weather was going to be, but I bow to the Weather Goddess for blessing us with temps in the mid-80s (as opposed to the upper-90s that it had been for the previous week or two). I got to see his apartment, which is very nice. Again, it was weird seeing a part of his life that has been unknown to me (except in stories) for three years. Anyway, we were up until almost 3 that night, IIRC. Slept until 9:30, showered and re-packed (would be staying at the hotel with my parents from that point on), and met up with parental units at the hotel around Noon. That was also very strange. I can't tell you the last time we were together, just the four of us. DH has always been with us, at least for the last 7+ years, and for a significant portion of time before that. Hit Olive Garden for lunch (which I haven't had in months, since the one near us closed, waaaah!!), then changed for graduation.

As is customary for my family, we decided to err on the side of caution and leave 30-60 minutes earlier than we really needed to. As it turned out, it was a good thing, since a tanker full of gasoline overturned about 10 minutes after we got off of 95. (Got to see the "I-95 Ends" sign!) Even though we were going southbound and the accident was northbound, it shut down all lanes going north and 2 lanes (out of 4) going south due to all of the HazMat crews and stuff. (95 North was actually still closed when we came back after the ceremony; we bailed off just in time after seeing the traffic slow down.) Got there about an hour early (made better time than we thought) and killed some time in the bookstore. Had a brief snack and picked up some munchies for the ceremony (expected to last 3 hours, not starting until 7:30; thus why Luke did not attend). Hiked over to the stadium. Jacob had to be there at 6:30, and it was about 5:45. They were not letting anyone into the stadium until 6:30, nor were they letting the graduates into the air conditioned holding tent. It was in the mid to upper 80s outside and sunny. Could have been considerably worse, and there was a breeze, but that is so not the point. Everyone was dressed up, it is hot, and they won't let us in. So annoying! The finally at least opened the doors to let some of the air conditioning blow on those of us near the entrance, which was nice, and they relented around 6:10 and let us in (crowd was pretty big by then).

We ended up picking seats too far away because we didn't want to be looking from the side (we wanted to see from the front, not knowing how they were doing things), so not a single photo I took turned out. Waaah!! My *one* job at graduation, and I failed utterly. I am so not happy about it. Yes, they had professional photographers taking pictures of the important parts (hooding, handshake, plus two afterwards), but boy are they expensive! Yes, we'll buy them anyway, but it's gonna hurt. Anyway, per the official streaming video, he personally entered the stadium at the 4 minute mark, he was hooded at the 70 minute mark, and the entire ceremony was 2 hours and 40-something minutes. ::faint:: They did all PhDs and Master's degrees (though not JDs (judicial docotrate), PsyDs (psychology doctorate), or MDs), and I'm sure they did it as quickly as they could, but there were about 1000 graduates total, give or take 100 (estimating from the number of chairs on the floor). Finally over after 10. Took us a while to figure out how to get back to the car (amazing how much different campus looks in the dark, and Jacob took classes at the medical campus, so he didn't know the general campus at all), but we eventually made it. Hit traffic not long after the baffling "interstate closed ahead" sign (didn't find out about the accident until the next morning) and bailed off the interstate, but Jacob knew that area of town pretty well, so it wasn't a big deal. Stopped at Wendy's (the only thing still open at almost-11 PM on a Thursday) for a late night snack (we'd eaten lunch at 1, remember), then back to the hotel. Took a zillion pictures of Jacob in his regalia, but not a single one of the family. ::bangs head on wall::

Friday, we slept in (like 9), had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast. We then went to Snodgrass Mills mall, which is gigantic. It is literally about a mile from one end to the other. All told, I think we walked about 3 miles that day. We had lunch at Rainforest Cafe, and dinner (though we were still stuffed from lunch, so we did appetizers and dessert) at The Cheesecake Factory. In between, we shopped and shopped and shopped, including the Disney Character Outlet. We got there around 1 and left at 9. I can't tell you the last time I was out shopping all day long!! My feet and knees hurt, but it was great. Back to the hotel, talked and played Bejeweled (the pay version) on Mom's brand new $3300 laptop (sweet!!) until some ungodly hour. Oh yeah, and I packed. (And BTW, I found out today that the brand new, she's had it for less than two weeks, computer went kerfluey on the way home; they will be replacing it. ::shakes head::)

Saturday, we ate lunch at Toojay's, a local chain of Jewish delis. Yum!!! We hit Barnes & Noble on the way out (Jacob had misplaced the first book of a trilogy that I was hoping to reread, so we stopped off to pick up book one). Then I was dropped off at the airport. Nothing really to report after that. Flight home was fine, except for being in a row of three seats with two other people at least my size! (For those who don't know, that would be three *very* fluffy folks; thank goodness I checked in early online and claimed the aisle!!) Jacob offered to upgrade me for Mother's Day but I said no. Might should have taken him up on it, but I think they were full anyway, thanks to the cruise ship that arrived in port over an hour late (heard several folks complaining that they missed their flight because of it, thus why they were on this one; so much for my "Saturdays are not busy flight days" hopes). Anyway, DH and Luke met me at the airport, they took me out to eat at Applebee's, and then we came home.

Sunday was Mother's Day. I got to sleep late, staying in bed until after Luke's morning nap, which was much appreciated after several long nights. I was presented with cards after Luke got up (my earrings (like this, but in gold) from RenFest (an account of which will be a separate post later, but that makes item #5 off my 101 list) were my advanced gift, since they matched my graduation outfit), and then we headed out for lunch. They took me to eat Japanese (local place called Fuji Ya, in the Best Buy shopping center on LaVista for you local folks; it is fantastic! way better than Benihana), but Luke completely freaked out when we put him in the high chair. I don't know what the deal was, but he was completely terrified. (I know my kid, and he was not pitching a fit about the high chair; he was genuinely frightened by something.) No one was cooking, there was no food out or anything, he just panicked. Maybe it was something about the other people at the table? (There were already 6 other people there.) Maybe the unusual smells? I know he'd never been there before, but he's never been that bad at a new restaurant before. I didn't want to ruin everyone else's Mother's Day dinner, so we left. I don't even think we were even *in* the restaurant for three minutes total. (They hadn't even taken our drink order yet.) DH wasn't happy, but I didn't think we'd be doing anything that nice anyway, particularly after eating out the night before. I knew I wouldn't have to cook (DH has that much sense, LOL), but I was thinking Wendy's or maybe a splurge on Chinese or something. So, we did Wendy's for lunch (since we were already out) and Chinese (take out) for dinner. Thus concludes my insanely busy weekend! Here are a few pictures of Jacob, excuse me, Dr. Warren all decked out!

Currently feeling: proud

1 comment:

  1. Had to comment on the UMiami graduation rites...when Patrick graduated from there back in 2000, we had to go to THREE separate ceremonies - One on the first night for the Theater dept. (indoors, about 90 min as I recall), the big university one the next morning (outside, hours and hours and SIX keynote speakers, are you joking?!), and then the Communications School that afternoon (another two hours in a not-that-well-air-conditioned building). GAH.


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