Tick Tales of Misery and Occasional Ecstasy

August 25, 2009

Visits and Vacation Part 5

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , — thetick @ 11:40 am

I woke up at five Tuesday morning. I tried to fall back asleep, but it just wasn’t happening. For one, the guy in the next room had his iPhone charging right next to the connecting door. I heard him get a text message, then go to the bathroom. About five minutes after that, I heard him leave his room, slamming the door, and the ding of the elevators right outside our door. Five minutes after that, the alarm on his left behind iPhone went off. I now know that the alarm on an iPhone will go off for thirty minutes before shutting itself off.

I gave up on falling back asleep and got dressed to head down to the street for a cigarette. As I stood on the sidewalk, I was amazed at how many people were walking around. People still dressed in the clothes from the night before, as evidenced by the two women in clubbing attire down the street talking to two of New York’s finest. There were also people in their business attire, heading into Grand Central terminal. After people watching for a bit, I went back to the room.

W was slowly waking up as I sat in the chair in the room trying to figure out how to deal with the dilemma about the car. The parking lot did not have in/out privileges, and I had until almost six p.m. before I would have to pay for another day. I had to be checked out of the room by eleven. I did not want to get the car out of parking, since finding any other parking would be extremely difficult. But I didn’t want to wander around NYC toting our luggage either. W and I discussed this after she was awake, and I finally had an epiphany. We were staying right next to Grand Central Terminal, and every spy movie I had ever seen set in NYC had somebody leaving items in a locker in Grand Central Terminal. So, we decided to get up, get ready to head out and wander over to see Grand Central Terminal and check out the locker situation. We packed everything up and left it in the room before we headed out to see the terminal and get breakfast.

Grand Central Terminal is indeed grand. The first thing I saw was the clock in the middle of the room, the same one that Melvin gets stuck on his head in the movie Madagascar. We took a few pictures, marveled at the building, and then looked for lockers. I couldn’t see any lockers, and I couldn’t see any signs directing people to lockers. So, being the smart guy that I am, I asked for information about lockers at the information kiosk under the clock. I was informed that the lockers we all removed after 9/11. Crap. I pulled out the parking claim check from my pocket and called the number I was supposed to call thirty minutes prior to needing my car. The nice lady told me that I could absolutely have my luggage put into the car without checking the car out. Just bring it by with my claim ticket, and they would take care of it.

We went to breakfast across the street at the Pershing Square café, and I was again astounded by not only the service, but the quality of the food. After an excellent breakfast, we went back across the street and retrieved the luggage from our room. We dropped it off at the parking booth and made our way to Times Square. I loved walking in New York. I finally found an entire city of people who walked the same way I do, with purpose. These people had a destination in mind, and they were focused on getting there with as few obstacles impeding their progress as possible. The signs telling you to walk or don’t walk go mostly ignored, you walk when there isn’t a car about to run you down, no matter what color the light is.

Times Square was great, they have blocked off vehicle traffic, so you can walk right out into the street. I figured that everyone there was probably a tourist, so I had no problem walking right out in the middle and taking picture after picture. After taking in the sights, we decided that we just had to go into the Toys “backwards R” Us store. I had to see the Lego’s. They were awesome, HUGE replicas of the iconic NYC buildings built out of Lego’s. The Empire State Building even had a Lego King Kong climbing it. There was an entire section devoted to Jurassic Park, which I thought was no longer relevant, but it was worth it to see the life sized Tyrannosaurus Rex that moved, blinked and roared. We went inside the life sized Barbie Dream House, and looked at the Ferris Wheel, where all the cars were based on a toy of some kind. Toy Story, Scooby Doo, Mr. and Mrs. Potato head, Barbie… all of the big names were represented. We finally had seen everything we could think of in this toy store, and headed out. Again using the awesome power of the iPhone and its GPS, we made our way down 6th Avenue trying to find Rockefeller Plaza. We finally stumbled across it looking for someplace to get a drink and finding ourselves in an imported chocolate store instead. The fifteen dollars worth of chocolate, which fit into a dime bag, was gone before I had the receipt signed.

We kept walking towards Central Park, since we wanted to see the Apple Store and FAO Schwarz where the piano from the movie Big is located. We got to 5th Avenue and 58th, and took the glass elevator down into the Apple Store. We sat in the air conditioned comfort for a while, but eventually decided that looking around wasn’t necessary since we already knew most of the Apple product line. We took the glass spiral staircase back up to street level, and I realized that we had never checked out of the hotel. It was just after 11, and I was sure I was about to be charged for another night. It was way too far to walk, and even getting a cab would take too long. I remembered that when I had checked my email on my phone earlier, I had received one from the hotel offering web checkout. I stood in front of the Apple store and used my Apple iPhone to log into my mail and check out of the hotel. The money that I saved by doing that more than made up the cost of the phone. I have mentioned my iPhone a lot in this post, and will continue to do so since it is so awesome.

After that, we went into FAO Schwarz. I took W’s picture with the guard at the door, and we wandered around. W had wanted to get a teddy bear from this place, but we both decided that it was a bit too expensive. An 8 inch teddy bear was about $150. We wandered around the store and saw the Big piano, and W saw the ceramic area. This is actually pretty cool. They have a wall of unfinished ceramics, and you can purchase items, go into a room with tables and paints and decorate the item however you want. Then, they set them aside and run them through a kiln later, and you can come pick it up in a couple of weeks. They also shipped them, so that was what W decided she wanted to do for a souvenir for herself and her mother, since her mother’s birthday was coming up in a few weeks. She spent a couple of hours painting while I wandered around looking at Lionel Train sets and going outside to watch people and make phone calls catching up with family.

When W was finished, we walked across the street into Central Park. We went into the Zoo up to the part where you have to pay to get in. We wandered around the south end of Central Park for a while, but we were both getting pretty tired of walking. It was also getting close to the time where I had to get the car out of parking or I would be charged for another day. We exited the Park onto Central Park west, bought hot dogs from a street vendor, and then started walking back towards the hotel. The plan was to get a cab, but every one that I saw either had the off duty sign lit or someone in it already. We kept walking as I watched for an available cab, then I decided to look like a damn tourist and stick my arm out like I had seen in so many movies and even a couple of times in person while we were there. It worked, and we hopped in the cab and gave the destination. I was seated right behind the driver, looking at his license: Afif Jamal. The New York experience was now complete. We got to the hotel and gave the claim ticket for the car to the attendant. It arrived after about 20 minutes. I checked to make sure that our luggage had actually made it to the car, and got the GPS fired up. We drove in New York traffic again, the GPS leading us to the Lincoln Tunnel to get back to Jersey.

The Lincoln Tunnel was an experience in itself. The GPS told us to go one way, the signs saying “Lincoln Tunnel: Cars Only” told us to go another way, and the construction detour signs offered yet a third opinion. It only took one time going the wrong way to figure out where we really should go, but because of the construction and lane closures and the time of day, it took about an hour to actually get into the tunnel. We finally made it onto the freeway heading home. The drive home was pretty much uneventful, and once we got back to the house we both crashed into our beds immediately.

Next: Shenandoah National Park, Day 1.

August 21, 2009

Visits and Vacation Part 4

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , — thetick @ 9:04 am

The alarm went off at five on Monday morning. I got up and showered, and got W up. She showered while I got the boys up as they had requested. The boys loaded up K’s car with their stuff, and I loaded me and W’s stuff into mine. We all headed to the convenience store to top off the gas tanks and get traveling snacks, and then we said our goodbyes. The boys headed west for home, and W and I headed northeast for New York City.

W had really wanted mini powdered sugar donuts to go with her coffee, but the convenience store only had some weird off brand. We stopped at another one a few miles down the road and were able to acquire Hostess powdered sugar donuts, the only acceptable brand, in my opinion. After that, we headed on down the road. W fell asleep about a half hour later, which wasn’t a problem since she really wouldn’t be missing much. After about two hours, I pulled into one of the combination rest stop and travel center places to use the bathroom. Twenty four ounce coffees will eventually catch up to you. We continued on the New Jersey Turnpike, making good time. I had purchased noon tickets for the Statue of Liberty ferry, and according to the GPS, we would arrive at about ten thirty. No problem, since they will generally let you on the next ferry, no matter what time your ticket says. As we exited the turnpike onto I-78, I was able to start pointing things out to W. The first thing visible was the Manhattan skyline, followed shortly after by glimpses of the Statue of Liberty.

The ship that takes you to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty has two departure points, one in New Jersey, and one in New York City. I prefer the one in Jersey, since it is easier to drive to from where I live, and seems to be a bit less crowded. I haven’t been to the New York side, but I have to assume that parking is cheaper, and more readily available. We found a spot, the ferry was a LOT more crowded this time compared to when I was there with K a few months earlier. We walked into the station, W taking pictures of the old train tracks there, and I walked up to the “will call” window and got our tickets. We walked out and got right on the boat, and only had to wait about ten minutes before it launched. I took W to the second deck, which was less crowded than the open air deck on top, and we found a spot on the railing where we could see the Manhattan skyline. I pointed out the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. As the ferry departed, I got her to look back at the station from the water side, which is pretty impressive.

The first stop is Ellis Island when taking the ferry from Liberty State Park in Jersey. We went in and started looking around. Again, the place was absolutely packed, easily ten times as many people as the last time I was there. Somehow, we managed to always be with the same two family groups at the exhibits. They were remarkably similar: A mother with three or four kids, each kid with a pair of headphones on attached to the rented “audio tour” devices you can rent. These damn kids were all over everything. They pressed every single button that played a description of what you were looking at, even though they had on the headsets playing the same damn thing. They always shoved their way to the front of the exhibit, going so far as to get between the exhibit and the camera we were pointing at it. The mothers spent all of their time loudly calling their kids names to make sure they didn’t lose one. The exhibits at Ellis Island are divided into small rooms, and you can either exit back into the main hallway or through a side door into the next room/exhibit. At every room, the mothers would stand right in the middle of the doorway and call for their kids to “come on!” Nobody got past these harridans. Lines formed, and the damn kids, once they heard the shouting mother over the headsets, shoved their way through the crowd to join the harridan before the whole group shoved their way to the front of the next exhibit. We finally got tired of this and moved to the opposite end of the building to get away from them.

After viewing some more exhibits, the powdered sugar donuts wore off and we wanted to sit for a bit. We went to the café and ordered some fish and chips which were surprisingly tasty for being National Park food. We sat outside and watched boats in the harbor and the pigeons that were looking at us like we owed them some snacks. After eating, we got back on the boat and headed to the Statue of Liberty. I got to use the new video feature of my iPhone 3Gs, making a video of the Statue as the ferry crossed in front of it. After getting off the ferry, I asked W whether she wanted to go inside the monument first, then walk around the outside, or the other way around. She opted to go inside, since it was fairly warm. We had to rent a locker for W’s purse and a few other things that we just didn’t want to carry around with us, and then we went through security. Security at the Statue of Liberty is more involved than at the airport. We had to take everything out of our pockets, remove belts, jewelry and shoes to go through the x-ray machine, even though we had already done that before we got on the ferry. Then we had to go through the “sniffer.” We had to stand in a little closet sized space and have jets of air puffed at us so the machine could look for explosives. The only part that made me nervous was that there were about four sniffers, but only one x-ray machine. That meant that I was standing in a line to get into the sniffer while all of my valuables were sitting unattended in a Rubbermaid container thirty feet away. We were both cleared as being non terrorists, and were able to reclaim our valuables and clothing, and we went into the Statue base / museum.

The Statue museum is pretty neat, a lot of details regarding the history, design, transport and construction of the statue. There are even displays where they have recreated portions of the Statue using the same methods originally used so you can get a close up view of parts of Lady Liberty to get a better idea of the scale of her. I remember the first time that I went; I was surprised that the Statue wasn’t bigger. For some reason, I had thought that she was just so monumentally huge, that the reality seemed small. For instance, I knew that the dark spaces in the crown are windows, and for some reason I had a picture of the inside of the head as being this huge room, with people crowding around the windows looking out. The reality is that the face is only about 10 or 12 feet tall, and the windows only about a foot.

I hadn’t been able to get tickets to go up into the crown; they were already sold out for the two months after we were going to visit when I bought the tickets almost two months prior. But we were able to climb up the inside to where the pedestal ends and the Statue begins. In other words, you can look up Lady Liberty’s robes. We climbed up the many steps, and then wandered around the outside of the upper pedestal looking out over the bay, then decided to leave when the same damn two family groups that were making a nuisance of themselves at Ellis Island showed up and started being annoying. I was very torn between being nervous every time one of the kids jumped up to peer over the railing and hoping he would fall. We went to the gift shop and got souvenirs, then got back in line to catch the ferry back to Liberty Park.

We got back to the car, fired it up and got the AC going. I hooked up the GPS and found the hotel, and we were on our way into Mid-Town Manhattan. I had been really nervous about driving in Manhattan, just as much as I was about walking around NYC. The only real frame of reference I had to go by was movies and TV shows, so as far as I knew, you couldn’t walk down the streets of NYC without getting your pockets picked, then mugged and beaten up because you didn’t have any money because of the previous pick pocket.  We got through the Holland Tunnel, and started taking pictures. As we got closer to Mid-Town, things started looking more and more New York-like. There were so many people! I swear I saw more people pass in the crosswalks in front of me than live in my home town. We drove past Madison Square Garden, the New York Times, and a block north of Times Square. There were so many lights and signs, so many people. I was grinning from ear to ear. I got cut off by a cabbie, I laughed and grinned. I cut off a cabbie, I laughed and grinned. I got honked at by a cabbie, I laughed and grinned. I saw a cabbie nose through a crosswalk, and saw an angry man throw his hands in the air in the “I’m walkin’ here!” gesture, and I laughed and grinned. We finally found the hotel, the Grand New York next to Grand Central Terminal. I had already found that parking was valet only, and there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to turn left to get in front of the hotel. We circled the block, and managed to get in front of the hotel. I told W to grab absolutely anything she might need, and we got out. My car was whisked away, and we went inside to check in. Checking in was easy, there was a computer terminal there, and I just had to swipe the card I made the reservation with. The kiosk printed my receipt and made two keycards, and we were on our way to the 27th floor to our room.

We took a bit of time checking the room out, and looking out the window, then taking pictures out the window, and then just taking a breather. Before too long, we decided that we were hungry and I used the reliable iPhone to see how far it was to an Italian restaurant that had been recommended to us. It was only a few blocks away, so we hoofed it down the street. We went in and were seated by what we think was the owner. It took a while, but we eventually selected our meals from the menu. The food was fantastic. While we ate, the owner dude would come and talk to us occasionally. He found out that we were just visiting, and spent about ten minutes trying to convince to move to New York. I was starting to wonder if he was going to offer us his spare bedroom. When we left, he shook both of our hands and asked us to please come visit again when we were in town.

We had a brief discussion on the street about what to do next, since it was getting close to eight o’clock, and decided that we were really tired and just wanted to go to bed and that we would do the sightseeing the next day. I kind of wish we had at least gone to Times Square at night, but we both crashed pretty hard once we got back to the hotel.

Next: The Walking Tour of (a bit of) New York City.

August 19, 2009

Visits and Vacation Part 3

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , — thetick @ 11:49 am

The weather forecast for Sunday had called for a chance of showers in the morning, then likely in the afternoon for Washington D.C. The plan was to hit Walmart again, since we forgot to get umbrellas the day before, then go to breakfast at my usual diner before heading in to catch the Metro into the National Mall.

After getting everyone up, showered and ready for the day, things went according to plan. Except the weather. It was raining when we went into Walmart, and the umbrellas were opened as soon as we left the store. It continued to rain as we all ate, and for a change, it started raining HARD on the drive in to the Metro station. When we all got out of the car, it was dumping some serious water. Umbrellas out, and we walked to the station. I gave everyone a five dollar bill to get their own train pass, and we went up to the platform to wait. After about ten minutes of waiting, I had my usual panic attack about the car; had I remembered to lock it?

I had an aftermarket alarm on the X-Terra, and it would automatically lock the doors. I still haven’t gotten used to having to lock the doors every time I get out, and will occasionally lock the doors a couple of times from inside whatever establishment I am visiting since I cant remember if I already did it or not. With the frenzy of getting out of the car, getting umbrellas opened and underneath them in the downpour, I couldn’t be sure that I had remembered to press the button on my key fob. Since my car would be sitting in a parking lot outside of DC for most of the day, and I had several things in there I really wouldn’t want to lose, I decided to walk back out and make sure the car was locked. About two seconds after I told W what I intended to do, the damn train pulled in.

I told W to get on the train and to get off at the Smithsonian station, and to go ahead and take a look around. I would catch the next train and meet up with them where ever they happened to be. They hopped on the train, and I went out to the car and made sure it was locked. Then I went back in and waited for the next one.

I sat in the last row of the train, which had the advantage that I could see everything and everyone, there wouldn’t be anyone sneaking up on me! It had two disadvantages… Everyone else was seated facing me, and there was a leak in the roof over my head that dripped on every corner. When I finally arrived at the Smithsonian station, I met W and the boys coming back in.

We left the station, and the rain had finally stopped. We started walking towards the Capital, past the Smithsonian Castle, and wandered through the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden. It started to sprinkle a bit again, and I asked W where she wanted to go. She and the Boys decided to try to hit the National Archives, so we walked directly across the Mall and got in line. I had tried several times to get into the National Archives, but there had always been a huge line that stretched out onto the sidewalk, down the street to the intersection, around the corner and further down the block. Since it was still relatively early and probably due to the rain, the line was short. We still wound up standing outside for about forty minutes waiting to get in.

The National Archives Rotunda Room, where the documents are displayed, is small. They only let a certain number of people in at a time. Once inside, you line up in the standard movie theater velvet rope queue, and a security guard at the front of the line tries to fill the time before letting the next batch into the Rotunda by talking about the rules and providing info about the documents. Here’s how it works. There is a chronological sequence to the displays, starting on the left. You can get in line and follow the different displays discussing events leading up to the Declaration. There is, however, a catch. Once you are let in the Rotunda, any semblance of a line disappears. The guard actually tells you this as you stand in line. What winds up happening is this: You get in line, wanting to see all the displays since it has taken so long to get in you want to see it all in one visit. That way you wont have to come back to see the one you missed. While you stand in line, slooooowly moving from display to display, another group gets let in. About a third of these people get in line behind you to see all the exhibits, the rest race forward to crowd around the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights. The line does not move quickly, and you pretty much have to force your way through the crowd to get to the “Big Three.” The only real entertainment between exhibits is watching for the flashes of cameras which are prohibited, and then see if anyone gets ejected. Hint: they don’t.

After the Archives, we walked down Constitution Avenue to the Museum of Natural History. We looked at the big stuff, the dinosaur bones, the big old elephant, the Hope Diamond, but we all knew that there was just too much stuff to try to see in a day, let alone trying to see other stuff as well. Besides, we were getting hungry. We went downstairs to the Café, where it is possible to feed four people crappy food for the pittance of fifty dollars.

After that, we continued down Constitution Avenue and up the Ellipse to look at the White House across the South Lawn. By now, the sun had come out with a vengeance. It was hot and very muggy. We began to walk towards the Lincoln Memorial, but J was pretty tired, having not slept well the night before and W was having some serious pains in her foot. Also, with the sun out, there was a concern about sunburn. The weather forecast had failed to mention that there would be any sunshine at all, and was in fact completely wrong about what was going to happen. W burns VERY easily, so we decided that we had seen enough, and headed back to the Smithsonian station and caught the train back to the car. J was awesome on the train, he had his headphones in, listening to the music that I had provided on his MP3 player, and fell asleep leaning on the window. He looked like a picture titled “Stereotypical Metro Passenger.” We got back to the car, and headed for home. We stopped at a Best Buy along the way and bought Fanboys to watch when we got home.

After the movie and eating leftover fried chicken, everyone crashed since we all had to get an early start the next day.

Next: Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and driving in Manhattan.

Visits and Vacation, Part 2

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , , — thetick @ 5:51 am

Friday hit, and I got home from work and immediately started doing laundry. It was going to be a busy week, and I wouldn’t have my normal weekend time to get it done. I got all the clothes washed, and we ate dinner. I went to bed a little bit later than usual, I have no idea how long the boys stayed up.

I got up the next morning and had my coffee, then woke the boys up so I could wash their bedding. We worked on getting the house clean, and when that was done, they started playing Halo. The time came where we had to leave to get to the airport to pick up W, and they opted to stay home since it would just be an hour drive, wait for luggage, and another hour back. I drove to the airport, and only had to wait about five minutes before W was standing outside.

We talked  on the way back and finally pulled into the driveway. K was standing on the front porch when we pulled in. I got W’s suitcase out of the trunk and we went inside. They all started singing happy birthday, and there was a cake on my coffee table.

I really didn’t know how to react. It had been so long since anyone has done anything for me that I truly did not know what to say or do. I blew out the candle (thank God there wasn’t one for every year) and we got everyone’s luggage situated into their proper place for the next day and a half. Then we went to Wal-Mart. The first thing that happened… W noticed one of the locals dressed in his “goin ta town” clothes, a very large T-Shirt and sweat pants. I hadn’t noticed him, I guess I have become so used to it that my eyes skated over him. W saw and almost fell over laughing. When I asked her what was so funny, she pointed him out, as well as pointing out the fact that he was wearing suspenders. That’s right. Sweat pants that required being held up by suspenders.

K wanted to make his famous fried chicken for us all, so I turned him loose with the shopping cart and told him to get what he needed. A half hour and a hundred dollars later, we are checked out and on the way home. K got started immediately on the chicken, while J did his best to beat “Through the Fire and Flames” on Guitar Hero. After dinner, we watched a movie and everyone finally wound down and went to bed.

Next: The rainy Capital.

August 11, 2009

Visits and Vacation, Part 1

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , — thetick @ 11:21 am

A few weeks ago, I was pretty depressed. I had a vacation coming up that I was really looking forward to, but it still seemed to be forever and a day away. It was taking too damn long. About that time, I got a call from my oldest son, telling me that I needed to talk to my youngest. My youngest, J, had called my oldest, K the night before extremely upset.

See, my first wife got re-married fairly quickly after our divorce, and the step-dad appears to have a problem with kids that aren’t his. Not the stereotypical mistreatment, but definitely playing favorites. I say “appears” because I only have my kids’ versions of what has happened. OK, technically not true, I also have the ex-wife’s version, but I am pretty sure that both versions are equally biased.

In talking with K, I verified that he had not been able to find work yet, and he still had the car that got good gas mileage and was mechanically reliable. I asked him if he wanted to make another road trip, and his only objection was that he had no money. I told him that I would pay his way, and that since it was a Saturday, my mother would be in the town he lives in and could give him a check so he could leave ASAP, and then I would mail a check to my mom.

I called and talked to my ex about this, since I was technically violating the divorce decree by not planning the visitation six weeks in advance. Her only objection was that she had no money, so she couldn’t pay her half. I told her I would pay for it, and at that point we were both in violation of the decree.

The boys left on the following Tuesday, and got to my place on Friday. I had pizza ordered for them when they showed up, and we ate and watched movies until we all just crashed. The following morning, I took them to breakfast at the diner, and then we went to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. They enjoyed seeing the SR-71 and Space Shuttle Enterprise.

I realized something about my youngest while we were in the museum… While the oldest and I were walking around, we would both get hits on the Hot Female Radar (HFR) and just look at each other. My sons’ eyes would ask “Did you see that?” and I would simply nod or say “yup.” The youngest would then look around at planes or something and ask “What?” My youngest is almost 16 and has no HFR. I felt I had failed him as a father. I taught my oldest about the radar, and the second. My youngest was lacking a fundamental skill needed to successfully function in society. I discussed this briefly with K, and we decided there was only one course of action we could take. We drug him to a HUGE mall on a Saturday afternoon. It was a risk we were going to have to take.

As soon as we stepped into the mall, K and I were hit with a tangible blast on the HFR. If you remember the scene in the movie The Hunt for Red October where all the surface ships are using active sonar to try to locate the sub, imagine that, only instead of a few seconds of pingpingpingpingping it was constant. It only took about ten minutes before the overwhelming force of girls his age bumping past him kick started his HFR.

And then… I realized I had created a monster. His HFR picked up everything, and it seemed like I was going to have to physically restrain him from pointing. I finally explained that he didn’t need to point them out to us, we knew already.

Sunday morning, I went to breakfast with J since K was still asleep, and while there I asked him what he wanted to do the week he was visiting, since I still had to work that week. I offered suggestions that could be done in the evening after I got home, and also suggested that since I have every single video game system on the market, he could just play games he wasn’t allowed to play at home. He chose World of Warcraft, and we stopped and got him a pre-paid card for his account.  That pretty much had him covered the rest of the week. K and I watched three seasons of Bleach while he played.

Next post… The arrival of W and my first REAL vacation.

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