Saturday, November 6, 2021

Rough Start, Got Better

So the Great Where the Hell is My Charger debacle has come to an end.

Had some business on the base Friday, after the completion of that my colleague and I headed down to the Walmart in National City where, so Google assured me, I could find a universal charger. It was in stock, heck Google even gave me the aisle number. So off we went.

Sure enough, there it was, and inexpensive too. I let my boss know that he could free up the space in his luggage he had allocated for my charger. Good on him to volunteer to bring it out. Especially after all the guff we gave him back in July. Yes, he laughed hysterically when I told him that I had forgotten mine. Now we're even. It works as advertised, my laptop is recharged and happy. 

As am I.

After completing our Walmart adventure (come on, that place is always an adventure, it's like visiting another planet) my colleague and I decided to try a local eatery which had come highly recommended from one of my lab colleagues in Little Rhody. This place -

The Crack Shack in Little Italy
The food was excellent. Chicken sandwiches to die for. Lots going on in those sandwiches, all of it good. I give it five Phantoms out of a possible five. Damn but it was good. I shall dream of that meal. Seriously.

Anyhoo, Friday went well, Thursday was something of a shit show, other than forgetting my charger (which was easily fixed).

Set my alarm for 0500, with a backup for 0530. Now I don't ordinarily operate with a backup alarm. fifty-plus years of getting up to go to work made me pretty regular in waking up just before the alarm.

Not Thursday.

My loud and in-your-face alarm went off and I reluctantly awakened. I felt like I'd slept well, at first I wasn't confused about my watch telling me that it was 0530, that's the time I normally get up. Thing is, my tired brain reminded me, "We're flying to Sandy Eggo today numbnuts, shouldn't you have got up 30 minutes ago?"

"Oh shit, oh dear!" Still plenty of time though, flight wasn't until 1018. I wanted to leave at seven-ish so The Missus Herself wouldn't be adrift in rush hour traffic. Trip to the aeroporto was not bad at all. I wanted to get there at 0800, got there around 0730. Plenty of time to check my bag, go through security, etc.

Thing is, it appeared that I was the only one flying that day. T.F. Green (the local air patch) was seemingly deserted. Got the bag checked, got through security, now had two hours to kill before boarding and taking off. No problem, I brought a good book.

Boarding was fun, it was a small Embraer down to Dulles and the gate attendant told people with those "little" roll on suitcases that they would have to be checked at the gate and could be collected at t'other end.

One guy threw a fit, "I'm on a tight schedule here, I can't check my bag!" Real indignant he was. Until the gate attendant said, "What would it do to your schedule if I kicked you off the plane?"

"You can't do that!"

"Watch me," she said, reaching for the phone.

"Okay, okay, I'll check my bag."

Fun stuff.

Apparently the aircraft flew very near to the sun as the inside was devilishly hot. You couldn't touch the window, it was like laying one's hand upon a hot stove. The flight attendant assured us that the crew was aware and was dealing with the heat. (God bless her she didn't call it a problem. The word "problem" tends to excite the passengers.)

The problem was cleared when the door was opened at Dulles. Bit sweaty there, but hey, no problem, only another five hours to Sandy Eggo.

Again the aircraft was beastly hot, beastly crowded this time as well. But we made good time and eventually landed upon Lindbergh Field, dignity intact, though a wee bit soggy.

Avis was fun, apparently one of these guys had had my rental car cleaned and serviced -

Dark garage, black vehicle interior, 68-year old eyes ...

Sarge opens the door, extends his hand into the dimly lit interior and right thumb impacts an immoveable object, peeling back the thumb nail.

Ouch, ouch, ouch, oh shit, oh dear!

The seat was all the way forward, like touching the freaking steering wheel forward. Trying to get in I managed to semi-destroy my thumb (it's alright now, sore, but alright).

Time to get out of Dodge, the car doesn't recognize my cellphone (for the maps that are in it). I properly introduce them, offer to buy them both dinner, nope, nope, nope. Just listen to Madame Waze, she'll get you there.

Which she did. Though it took forever to get out of the garage. The checker at the gate apparently was convinced that his electronic scanner was fine, but everyone's paperwork was bad, or the bar codes on all of the cars were bad. So he had to go into his little booth and do it all on the computer. My colleague flew in some hours after I did, the same guy was still on the gate, taking forever. I wonder if the poor bastard ever got a better scanner?

Anyhoo, with blood oozing out from under my violated thumbnail, I navigated the mean streets of downtown Sandy Eggo to my hotel. It was sort of rush hour so it took sort of a lot longer than previous trips. Traffic wasn't that bad, just slow. Damned slow.

Finally got checked in, discovered the missing charger, discovered that I had lost a pair of socks somewhere along the way. (Don't ask me how I know.) With no computer to play upon, gotta preserve that battery, I watched Thursday night football, a rare occurrence for me. Then went to bed at 2200. A rather long day.

Today, as you read this tomorrow as I write, I'll be aboard ship, doing my subject matter expert thing. ("Not that button, this button." "Why is it doing that? Well, it's a bloody computer, innit?" And things of that nature.)

Long days but I enjoy working with the Navy, not the suits we see around the facility back home, but the actual men and women in uniform who swore an oath. Love working with those folks. Takes me back it does.

Enough to make an old sergeant's eyes water up.

(Cue the Navy Hymn, and we're out.)

Oh, one last thing, I got to see two warships come into Sandy Eggo Friday morning, in a heavy fog, the basso profondo sound of the ship's horn gets my attention every time. The first one, it might have been "my" ship, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), was visible only by her wake and the faintest hint of a very angular transom. The second was in lighter fog, USS Makin Island (LHD 8), much more visible but sliding like a wraith down the channel to Naval Station San Diego. Good stuff, I love it.

Have a good weekend. I'll be busy but loving every minute of it. And being paid quite well I might add.



  1. I have begun to not like traveling. I find the same things as you.

    I'm glad someone I know is making good money off the MI. I'll be eating crackers and peanut butter for the foreseeable since the short term has gone to long term. I used to encourage my kids with "life is tough, then you die." I'm encouraging myself with that now. Welcome to the box, embrace the suck.

    1. Travel gets less and less pleasant, especially for work. This might be the last one, I'm not volunteering for any more!

  2. Well at least you didn't travel West with a party called Donner Sarge.........:)

  3. I safe trip, a view out the window, a good lunch, a new charger and a job you like. I hope the rest of this trip goes continues along these lines! Have a happy Saturday!!

  4. Sarge, what an adventure - and not totally of the good time. If it makes you feel better, I’m traveling this morning and I realized I had not put my fancy “Get out of line jail free” number onto my ticket and got to go back and wait in the long TSA This is why we get to the airport so early, I remind myself…

    Travel is indeed becoming much less fun.

    1. I always get to the airport way too early. It's all that Air Force training I suppose. (Flying out at noon, have all the troops at the terminal at 0500. No, I'm not kidding.)

  5. Try carnitas snack shack. It’s at harbor and broadway, just north of the midway. Easy walk from your hotel. Take a jacket, it’s all outdoor seating.

    1. I walked past that last time I was here, I need to check it out!

  6. You jinxed me. Just did the same thumb trick while loading laundry into the dryer. You're right it does sting a bit.

    1. Ah, ya big wuss, as long as the nail is still attached, well, you'll be fine.

    2. It kinda healed fairly quickly, but when it happens, it's an ouch kinda thing.

  7. Glad the Walmartians were able to help.

    As to the planes being blazing hot, you have now just discovered Florida buildings in winter. During summer, AC blasting ice cold air, sometimes way too cold, especially if you're dressed for outside temps. Cold weather, the complete opposite, everyone turns their damned heaters on to 'melt lead on countertop' temperatures and you have to either dress with layers (breakaway stripper pants would be helpful) or just dress for summer with an easily removed jacket on.

    Oh well, to each his/her/its/their (for those suffering from multiple personalities, dontchaknow) own.

    Enjoy, I'll be watching you...

  8. Enjoy the pay. Also, don't forget to put in for disability payments for your "space bar" thumb. I should think that you'd focus on good hispanical food while you're there. I know I would, 'cuz that kind of food es no "muy bueno" here in the Sunshine state where we just had an "un-named" big blow go by last night. Ocean is angry this day.

    1. We actually have an excellent Mexican place just down the street. Run by an actual Mexican, but I like to mix it up when I'm out here, lotta good eats out here.

  9. Pm me with your availability and maybe we might tip back an adult beverage.

    1. I shall, once the bosses get things squared away.

  10. (Don McCollor)...Kind of a little disappointment. I was hoping to hear your tale of spending the weekend in Apollo 13 mode...

    1. That would be no bueno. I found myself watching more television than I care for. Christmas ads on November 4th?!?! WTF!?!?

      And so it goes.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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