Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Declined?

Posted: February 24, 2009 in state, travel, work
Tags: , ,

It is 12:36 AM as I write this and technically it’s Tuesday. But in my mind it’s still today, meaning Monday. To me, the day of the week doesn’t change until I wake up the next morning. Midnight means absolutely nothing to me except the cut-off hour for buying beer.

Today I headed to San Antonio from Houston for my monthly San Antonio run for work. It’s a three hour drive there and a three hour drive back doing the posted speed limit of 70 MPH. After rolling into town I have seven accounts that need tending to. After that I drive to the tiny, ultra-charming town of Wimberley through San Marcos for just one account. After that I drive back to San Marcos and stay the night.

By this time it’s around 7:00 PM and I’m pretty strung out from all the driving and rushing to get all the accounts taken care of in one day so I can just get up the next morning and drive home. I walked into the lobby of my regular motel and asked if they had anything available that night. They always do but I’m just polite that way. They did of course but when I asked if I could get a smoking room she said there were none available. A construction crew that was staying there had taken all of them. In a way that’s sort of funny to me. It fits such a stereotype and it looks like I fall right in with them. This is a place with a lobby with an elevator which takes you up to your floor. It’s all inside. You can’t walk out of your door and be outside. Then I noticed a sign on the desk that said anyone smoking in a non room would have $300.00 charged to their credit card. Geez! That’s excessive for just running their own ozonator in the room the next day. I wouldn’t do that to their room (although I did do it in the bathroom at Harpo studios). So, I just told the girl I’d look down the street and that I would be back next month.

There are about six of these same type motels right in a row down the I-37 feeder road so I just went to the next one. Yes, they had vacancies. As the guy was running my company issued credit card he said it came back as “declined”. I said “Nah, that can’t be. It’s a company card.” He tried it again and looked up sheepishly and said the same message came up. He then said that their lines have been acting up and told me he would reset the machine. After he did that, same thing. I gave him another card that I don’t think I had ever even activated because my boss said to only use it if I really, really needed to and I can’t even remember what year that was. Before I handed it over I noticed it was due to expire in five months. Of course, that one didn’t work either.

Even though I pretty much knew I was screwed, I went next door to the next place for one last long-shot. Declined again. No surprise at this point. All three of them were very apologetic. Each time I pointed out that it wasn’t in any way their fault. I kept all the bad words to myself until I got out of the lobby and walked back to my truck. It lasted all the way across town to a convenience store where I noticed that my drivers license was back at the last motel. She forgot to give it back to me and I didn’t realize that I had walked away without it. Fortunately, I hadn’t gotten too far away. I went back to get it then headed back for Houston. Again.

This has never happened before. It makes me think that things may not be well at the office in Simi Valley. It sort of worries me.

Update: I really wasn’t expecting any comments on this. Thanks for your questions and kind words. I never heard back from my boss but on a whim I tried getting gas one morning on the card and believe it or not it was accepted. I then tried it again to send some postage and it went through. After that I used it for an oil change for the truck and another tank of gas. Apparently, the amex issues are settled. I had to figure that out on my own. No one told me shit.

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I’m home and back at my desk

Posted: February 15, 2009 in state, travel, work

I’ve been away for awhile because the last few months have sort of sucked all the energy out of me. Not only that but it seems that I’m always out of town. Not for pleasure but for work. Getting out of town isn’t a bad thing but enough of it can turn a natural hermit like myself into a computer hermit as well. I’ve been tired. I ran out of steam. I had nothing to say. I’m here now though. It’s like a wave. There are troughs and crests. I’m on a crest right now so stay with me before I drop in on this wave and eat the sandbar again.

Remember Lawrence Welk? I only watch TV when I cook and while I’m eating dinner. As I was walking through the “living room” of our apartment I turned on the TV for some background sound because Gabby isn’t here and it was just too quiet. The TV happened to be set on PBS and there they were: Lawrence Welk and his uber geek band. I actually sat on the arm of the couch and watched about 15 minutes of it in a completely slack jawed state. First, I cant’ believe PBS is still running this. Second, I can believe it because I know octogenarians are funding it. Thirdly, I saw some amazing musicianship and realized that if I still smoked the weed (notice the article laurie k?) that I would have probably watched that stupid show until the very end. TMI. I know.

This is rare: I had a very productive Saturday. I got myself out of bed at 9:00 and got to the tax office by 10:00. I got my taxes all “did” then paid my light bill and my phone/ISP bill. I’m all caught up except for Gabby’s contacts. I was supposed to call the eye place two weeks ago. Sorry. I’ve been very busy. Call UPS, CPS . . . Whatever it takes.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the movie which inspired the very, very last fractured sentence above.

I was on South Padre Island all last week. Sounds great doesn’t it? It’s a great place to be but I was just there to work. All I did was work in a pump room and eat seafood after work. I was on the most beautiful beach on the Texas gulf coast, practically Mexico, and all I did was work, stuff myself with seafood after work and go to my room and crawl into bed. What I really wanted to do was shed all my clothes and run into the surf with my rod and reel. It was too cold though. I would have frozen my ass off. The wind was blowing about 25-30 MPH the whole time I was there. It was enough to almost blow the door of your car off it’s hinges. At times it seemed the wind was blowing from the ground up. I don’t have long hair but what that damned wind did to me made me look just like Ted Kaczynski. Sans beard of course.

This is the island that I stayed on last week. It’s a barrier island. Rather than a dot out in the ocean, it’s a strip of island that follows much of the Texas coastal bend. On one side is the Gulf of Mexico and on the other side is the lagoon. Laguna Madre. We usually just referred to that as the bay. I grew up at the north end of this island.

south-padre1

This is the part of Texas that I am most familiar with.

I was tired as shit and sore as hell the evening after I installed our equipment on this new condo. After dinner I was sitting on the couch in my room and thinking ” what the hell am I doing in my room like this? I’m on South Padre Island”. So . . . I got up, took the elevator down, walked out of the building and headed toward the water. I walked down a sidewalk until it was blocked by a sand dune. I made my way over the dune and finally found myself on solid sand. I walked all the way to the water. As I was standing there facing the surf, the wind and the moon and having a deep, mystical experience, I had a very serious revelation. I realized that this beach is just like the one at home. I walked back to my room and went to sleep.

I was at South Padre last week gathering some information on a condo I will be installing on in a few days. I’m just waiting on a delivery of a piece of equipment. As soon as it arrives I’m going straight back down there. It’s a seven hour drive.

While I was there last week I saw another condo which at one time was under construction. It’s not anymore at least for the time being. I’m not sure if it is because of the physical impossibility of continuing or because it may be up to it’s neck in some serious, serious litigation. I’m guessing both.

What happened is that the residential tower of the condo started separating from the parking structure to which it was attached. This is a very tall building. Even just a few inches of separation at the very bottom is very visible at the very top. It’s quite a sight. I noticed it as I was driving over the causeway on my way there. Before I leave this time I’m going to drive to the end of the island to get a closer look at it and maybe a picture.

Never a dull moment

Posted: January 24, 2009 in home, travel
Tags: , ,

I got back into town yesterday after my monthly San Antonio/Wimberley run and my stay in a motel in San Marcos. I hate those places. I really do. The motel rooms that is. The only good thing about these trips is that I can eat an expensive dinner on the company and then go back to my room and watch some cable, which I don’t have at home.

When I got home it was time for my daughter to go to dinner with her friend’s family and then spend the night. I was so tired from the road that I fell asleep right after she left. About two hours later she called and said that the sky in our neighborhood was full of smoke. I walked outside to take a look and sure enough, it was.

The smoke was so thick and dark that it blocked out most of the sky. As I was standing there looking at this the entire block suddenly went black. The power went out. Just like that. I went back inside and sat in the dark just like I did when hurricane Ike hit us. This time I didn’t light my oil lamp. I just went back to sleep.

About two hours later I woke up to find the power back on and this computer telling me that it had been shut down improperly. Duh. I went outside again and saw that the air was choked with smoke. It looked like fog. When it was burning the smoke rose high and blew to the northeast but after it was extinguished the wind changed and sent the smoke from the smoldering remains right into this apartment complex. It smelled like being on the windward side of a campfire that had been dowsed with water.

Back so soon

Posted: August 9, 2008 in travel, work
Tags: , , , ,

No new computer yet, just using my daughter’s laptop when I can

Here I am back at my desk at home writing this not even 24 hours after sending that short little mini-post last night in Los Angeles. The reason it was so brief is because it was very, very late and I was only in the hotel computer room to print out my boarding pass. I figured since I had access to a computer I might as well say hi and as you may have seen, that’s about all I did.

I don’t like flying Southwest because of the open seating. I like being assigned a seat. That way I don’t have to shuffle down the aisle looking at all the faces that seem to say “please don’t choose this seat next to me.” Face it; Nobody wants anyone sitting next to them. Myself included. Even worse is the split-second decision you have to make during that walk of shame down the aisle, then stopping in front of the unlucky passenger and watching their face fall as they hear the inevitable: “Anyone sittin’ here”? Being a single guy I guess it would be expected of me to scan the seats, find the prettiest girl on the plane and plop down next to her. But I’m not like that. I don’t think women want some strange guy doing that. Plus, I’m sort of on the bashful side and when I fly my head plugs up so bad that I can’t hear anything and if I were to speak in flight I would probably be shouting at the person. I just try to spot a seat next to someone who looks like they would have no interest in speaking to me for the entire flight.

I’m dissapointed to be back so soon. I love being out there. This was my third time. I flew out there Thursday morning, spent the night, attended a meeting at our main office then flew back that afternoon.

I have to tell you about the greatest part about this particular trip to LA. Several years ago I met Catrina through our blogs. We have stayed in contact all these years even though she stopped writing on her blog. We communicated through email, IM and just recently by phone. Originally, I was to arrive at the Burbank airport last week. She lives in Burbank and about five minutes from the airport. She offered to pick me up. I was thrilled because now I could finally meet her in person. However, that company meeting was pushed up a week. That meant my flights had changed. Instead of arriving at Burbank, I was now coming into LAX. It looked like I wasn’t going to see Catrina.

When I called her about that she sounded dissapointed. I certainly was. It’s not easy getting to, getting in, or getting out of LAX and because of that we both understood that we most likely would not be seeing each other.

Let me tell you what a super-swell person she is. She called and told me she would be picking me up from LAX after all. I tried to talk her out of it but she wouldn’t budge. She insisted on picking me up. It was sort of a sweet moment outside the airport when we made contact. I knew what she looked like but she didn’t know what I looked like. I think the only way she knew who I was by my reaction after spotting her.

Two more things: The guy who drove me back to the airport was so late that I think we did 100 MPH all the way to LAX. On the way there he came within about 1/2″ of rear-ending someone. He got me there on time (barely) but my hands were shaking so bad that I looked suspicious at my check-in. For some stupid reason I tossed my truck and house keys in my bag. Since I was late checking in, there was the chance that my bag would have to arrive on the next flight which was at 1:00 AM. As if these flights are not miserable enough, I had that to think about this all the way back here.

If you happen to see this Cat, I want you to know how much I appreciate all you did for me. Love you.

I am finally home from a very long week of driving. That’s practically all I’ve been doing for the last five days. I like that my job gets me around but I prefer to fly across the country rather than drive across Texas. Please don’t take this the wrong way; I have great, great love for this state. What I mean is that it is so huge that driving from one end of it to the other (East-West) without cruise control comes very close to ending all blood circulation to your ass and right leg and foot. That’s exactly what I did this week, and then some.

This wasn’t without reward though. I got a newer, bigger, better truck out if it. The main office of the company I work for is in Los Angeles. My Dad and I are the entire Houston branch. In the last two years the company bought two new company trucks. One was for me and the other for one of the guys in LA. I got a six cylinder Tundra which is fairly low to the ground and he got an eight cylinder Tundra which is very high off the ground. He’s not a very tall guy and complained daily about how hard it was to work out of it. In addition to that, he is known to take off from a traffic signal like a drag-racer and wears out brakes almost quarterly. Since I had the six-banger and he had the eight cylinder and that I don’t drive like he does and that gasoline is cheaper here in Houston than it is in LA it was decided that we would swap trucks.

And so we did this week. We met halfway between Los Angeles and Houston to make the swap. As I said before, Texas is enormous. Halfway to California is El Paso, Texas. That’s right at the state line and the border of Mexico. I had to stop in Austin for some other work first. After that I drove on to San Antonio so I could spend the night and catch I-10 in the morning. From San Antonio it took me nine hours to get to El Paso and that’s only because that right out of San Antonio the speed limit is 80 mph all the way to El Paso. Thank you TXDOT.

I have to say that this painfully long drive was a very scenic one. I drove through a combination of desert and mountain country. I had never been that far west in Texas. I was so impressed with the beauty of the landscape. I’ve lived most of my life on Padre Island and Houston and there is no such thing as a mountain in either of those places. Not even a hill. Although I’ve seen most of the U.S., seeing that part of my own state for the first time was sort of a thrill.

During my return drive back home I got a call from my Dad. He told me that one of our accounts needed a repair. It was in Corpus Christi which is three hours south of Houston. I wasn’t even halfway back to Houston when I got this call. Why does this shit only happen at times like this? Normally, I would have veered south at San Antonio. But no, since we were swapping trucks I had no tools or materials on the truck. I had no choice but to go all the way home to get one single little plastic fitting for the repair. I was basically just passing through town at this point. I managed to get a decent night’s sleep for the first time in four days before having to get back in the truck and drive another three hours for two minutes of work and then drive another three hours back.

I am so going to become one with my bed tonight.

Little jet-setter

Posted: January 27, 2008 in music, travel, Uncategorized

My 20 year old daughter called me tonight to tell me she was having a hell of a fun time. She called me while she was backstage after the Velvet Revolver show in Detroit. She is so grounded when she gets home.