Friday, July 27, 2018

The Journey Begins, Eventually

My morning ablutions were accompanied by the occasional hiss of the upstairs toilet refilling. So the valve replacement had worked about as well as could be expected. Fbleep it.

Mrs Stevie vanished with the bus to get it washed (something I thought should have been done when we arrived if the aim was to impress Floridians since we would be driving through approximately 1700 miles of bugs before we arrived but what do I know) so all I could do was stack totes full o' stuff until she arrived back in theater.

One of the things I like to pack is a selection of board games for those times when we aren't frantically rushing about "enjoying" the Orlando area attractions and are in the villa together. So I dug out a bunch of easy-to-teach stuff from my huge collection of largely unplayed games. It was sometime during this process that I accidentally found my original copy of Splendor, a rather excellent and addictive boardgame I had been unable to locate for about 18 months.

I had purchased a second copy from Coliseum of Comics in Kissimmee about 18 months ago so that we could play with five or six players without the game dragging to a halt due to lack of resources, then found upon returning that I had lost the original. I turned the place upside down looking for it and concluded that I must have left it somewhere else. It is a popular game and I often carried it to events for emergency merriment. I only realized I had found it when I was sorting through one tote and found myself in the position of holding the game in one hand while staring stupidly at it in the bottom of the tote in which I was rooting around. So that was good.

I also stacked my paints, a toolbox and a box of unpainted lead miniatures for those days when I was alone and not rushing about etc etc etc. I had finished painting my old project used for this purpose, only taking about four years to do so, and decided to try something smaller and more manageable this time.

Then my Strumstick and my new Autoharp 1 went on the pile and I was done.

Mrs Stevie returned and opined that most of this stuff was unnecessary. I said maybe, but one could not exist culturally on a diet of large anthropomorphized mice and wedding arrangements (part of the reason we were going was to start working seriously on options for the Stevieling's upcoming wedding reception). There was a lot of foot-putting-down and posturing and whining and eventually it all worked and Mrs Stevie gave way to my demands. By then it was getting on for 10 am.

I found something useful to do - shocking the pool, turning off the water supply2 and other things that kept me well away from any lifting, carrying and loading duties. Something had put Mrs Stevie out of sorts and I reasoned that she would welcome the solitude.

By the time we got underway it was almost 11am, and traffic had built nicely in Queens, Staten Island, pretty much anywhere we needed to drive, with the result that traffic jams caused by police speed traps3 cost us 90 minutes for what should have been an hour's trip at best. Then there was the bit where the road opens out out before the toll gate from Staten Island into New Jersey and the lane markings go away so the drivers assume there are infinite numbers of lanes and immediately try and fill them despite the clear evidence that there are only six gates. Yet another needless traffic jam. And once through the gates there was the bit where everyone is on the wrong side of the road so they fight to cross each other's paths and enter the turnpike in the direction they intend to travel, so - you guessed it - another traffic jam.

New Jersey flew by, with only a stop for fuel.

On to Delaware, which normally takes about 15 minutes to transit, but by combining the infinite lanes toll gate feeding two lanes of traffic idiocy (See: Staten Island stage), road works and a stalled and abandoned bus c/w massive towtruck, cones etc cost us another 90 minutes. We were then dropped into rush-hour traffic in Maryland and Virginia. More delays.

Suffice to say that by the time we had found our "halfway hotel" in Lumberton (just north of the North Carolina/South Carolina border) we had spent 13 hours making a 7 hour trip. The only reason I wasn't completely wigged-out was that we had been listening to Terry Pratchett's Going Postal Since New Jersey.

And so to bed.

  1. For when my muse took a more musical turn
  2. To forestall plumbing treachery. After being ambushed by ankle-deep water in the basement one time too many on returning from Florida I installed inline valves in both the hot and cold water lines. Now, each vacation starts with me looking like a u-boat chief as I pull the overhead valves to lock the pressure out of the house. I used to connect the sprinklers to a sillcock that exits the house between the mains stopcock and this arrangement but found that they could spring ingenious leaks and flood the basement through the exterior window well despite my measures, so I don't do that any more. The lawn would just have to take its chances with the weather
  3. How? How could anyone speed in this traffic?

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