Salt Lake City, 2008

The yearly all hands meeting for one of my groups at work was held in Salt Lake City again in 2008. This time, I convinced my dad and sister to join me for a ski weekend after the work week was over.

Mon Jan 7/08

My alarm went off at 3:55am. I'd tossed and turned the night before, negating a 9pm bedtime with falling asleep at 11pm. So, yeah, suck. Plus I was still in the grips of a really bad cold. I had packed and showered the night before, so I just staggered out of bed, changed, and scarfed down breakfast in half an hour. The taxi, as usual, was early, but I put out pieces of luggage for the driver to load as I grabbed my coat and boots. Delta lets you check your ski boot bag as a free extra item, so I had that plus the ski bag, my suitcase, backpack and purse to wrangle. Managed to not forget anything when getting out at the airport, and luckily had no line at the kiosks to check in. And I didn't even have to lug my skiis very far for their special handling. The wait came at security, but it wasn't too long. I'd checked the TSA wait times and saw that I really should be there before 6, since that's when the wait times could double. There was still a bit of a line at 5, but I got through it fairly quickly. I grabbed some water and settled in at my gate. Apparently no one else on the flight (it was the only direct flight that would get us there before the meeting started at noon, so I recognised about 5 others in the gate area) spotted me, and I sat and read and tried not to fall asleep as we were delayed for half an hour. I'd changed my seat to an exit row and regretted it as I realised I was in the second to last boarding group (just nabbed a spot overhead for my backpack, had to say "mine" to the guy trying to sneak his briefcase in), and the seats didn't recline. At least the seat in front of me didn't recline either, but it made it really hard to nap. I read for a bit, napped a bit, and was also woken up by the drink and snack carts going by twice. It was a little bit bumpy, but the seatbelt signs were only one for a few minutes at a time. My noise cancelling headphones + mp3 player let me zone out a bit at least. Coming in over Montana and Utah, it was a blanket of white and gorgeous. It was bright as we came into SLC and I was peering out my window trying to spot Snowbird and Alta. :)

Fairly short wait for my bags, the suitcase came out right by the skiis (and just after), and I spotted Wendy as I was hauling my crap out to the curb, so we shared a cab to the hotel. Luckily, our rooms were available for check in when we got there at 11am, so I was able to go straight up. I even had time to unpack and unwind and clean up a bit before heading down at noon for the lunch hour and the afternoon of meetings. We blazed through the 30+ projects on tap for the week, and Steve did his summary, and then it was jumping into talking to our group members and starting work. I bailed at 5, though, as I was feeling like a zombie - my cold was even worse due to the lack of sleep, the dry plane ride, and the altitude change (SLC is at over 4000 feet). I made plans to meet up with Katie once she secured all the projectors from the various meeting rooms, and went up to my room to blow my nose a lot and try to smother it in lotion. She was held up a bit, I had time to run to the pharmacy to get more tissued and cold supplies (got a dual pack of cold medicine, half day use half night). We walked over to Sage's Vegetarian Organic Cafe and were ushered to a table in the sun room. Only one other table was in use, it was a quiet night, though we were there before 7pm. I had the mushroom stroganoff and Katie tried the curry, and we both started with the jalapeno soup (awesome). I got a smoothie to go, and we took our time walking back, popping into a record store and peering into the windows of closed plant and antique shops. The plant shop was like a warehouse, high ceilings plus the back part disappearing in jungle. I need to go back to the coffee place we passed, it looks like a neat place to hang out. I took a long hot bath with the muscle soothing salts that my sister gave me for xmas, popped the nighttime cold medication and was out like a light at 10:30.

Tue Jan 8/08

My phone alarm went off at 7am, and it felt far too early. I really really wanted to turn over and go back to sleep, but I was supposed to be technical support for a tutorial at 8am, so I forced myself to get moving. Katie had called me with the breakfast menu so I'd decided to try it instead of going right to room service or the hotel buffet. I was down for breakfast by 7:30 (scrambled eggs w/o toast? a travesty!), and settled into the tutorial room by 8. It was cramped enough in there, I decided to not follow along and left my laptop in my bag (I'd proofed the tutorial for Sonia last week). I ended up helping Kilian and Katharina, and the time (2 hour slot) went fast. Then it was back to the main room and I pulled out my laptop to start work on my project. And of course got cornered for questions as soon as I settled. Mexican inspired stuff for lunch, and they luckily kept the coffee/tea stations out all the time, just adding food for the breaks. Had a hard time context switching, I even ran up to my room to grab some day cold meds, didn't help much. Also dug out my travel mug and used it for some big cups of tea.

5pm rolled around very quickly, and I got confirmation that a bug I'd been struggling with wasn't our fault but in a support package, so it's on their to-fix list now. They're making plans to ski tomorrow night, I'm not hopeful that I'll be well enough to go. I started a clean build against their code repository head, but killed it to restart upstairs as I realised it was getting to the time I'd arranged to call Cris. Restarted it on a wired connection and saw it speed up as I called home to chat. Then I decided not to try and track anyone down to go to dinner with me, and headed out on my own to Ahh Sushi. Bought a temp membership ($5 for the month, a year is $13), and settled in at the sushi bar. Got my mt. fuji roll and unagi nigiri before my tea and tofu agedashi (turns out that it's tempura tofu in broth). Think my cold was dulling my tastebuds, it didn't taste as yummy as I remembered. It also took a while for me to notice the smokers in the other half of the room! Cut down an alley way to get back, passing by the skating rink - no sign of S. who'd brought his skates with him from NC - he was out for 2 hours the previous night! My room overlooks the skating rink and the park, with tons of coloured lights in all the trees. Trying to get to bed by 9 tonight, time for a shower and to let the code finish compiling in peace.

Wed Jan 9/08

Made it to bed by 9:30 last night, and dozed right off with the help of the nighttime cold meds. I woke up briefly before my alarm in the morning but rolled over and went back to sleep until 7:30. And woke up still tired. Stupid cold. Down for breakfast, and toasted a bagel to use as a base for my scrambled eggs. :) Decided to forego the vtk head compile and will try to get the current branch working as a proof of concept. Soup for lunch, and a multi cheese sandwich, and had more cold meds as I was staggering a bit. Helped a few people, got stumped by a few error messages. Went up to my room for nose blowing and moisturising sessions. Guarded my home rolled tea bags from the zealous catering staff. Kicked off at 5pm, only asked Wendy (who's down with a bit of a cold now too :/ ) if she wanted to go to dinner, but she declined. Up to room and realised that my restaurant of choice, Faustina, was on OpenTable, so I threw in a reservation for 6pm to get some more dining points. :)

Of course I ended up getting turned around again when trying to get there, and got panhandled as I was backtracking - it was chilly enough and the guy was nice enough to warrant digging out some change. The restaurant ended up being across the street from Sage's Cafe. And I'd been in there before, I think someone was eating there and we met them before heading out for other things. They put me in a little nook in the center of the room, but I was comfy there and could eavesdrop with ease on other diners. :) One guy was a food lover, it was nice to hear him raving about the food before mine came. Another table of four women and one man were less rarefied, but seemed to be having fun. I had a good shrimp bisque (well, the soup was good, the grilled prawn was over done and tasted a bit off, but I don't trust my tastebuds), and I went with the salmon wellington instead of the linguine diavolo. The pastry packet was a bit crisped, but the salmon inside was perfect. The green apple chutney was a neat complement and the dill oil was a subtle accent. I couldn't finish both halves of the packet, and passed on dessert. The nice focaccia with oil and balsamic vineger probably filled me up more than I realised. I was sitting facing some neat art by Stephanie Saint-Thomas, called Labyrinth, black lines on a background of green and blue with a yellow sun peeking out at the top. But it was >$1k, so I just enjoyed it with my meal. :)

My phone rang as I was eating, I called Andy back as I was walking back to the hotel. Will see him at Murphy's tomorrow, I'm going to be asleep by the time he gets here. Will plan to get a double mountain pass when go to Alta and meet up with them on Snowbird. Back in my room by 7:30 but felt awake for once, hopefully a hot shower will get me ready to sleep by 9:30 again and I can kick this cold overnight. I stopped at a pharmacy on the way back from dinner to get a second big box of tissues, as the first emptied today.

Thu Jan 10/08

Back downstairs at 7:30 sharp this time for breakfast, as the one day of the all hands meeting was starting at 8am. Talks all day, I listened through the morning, but in the afternoon started trying to debug my project code. Tried to track down Will to get help debugging, but he was stuck in the closed meeting in the afternoon, so I workd mostly with Curt. Got it pretty close to working, but knocked off at 5 to get cleaned up and head to Murphy's for 6. Met up with Julian, Ipek and Martin and Heather from NC in the lobby, and we waited for Clement, but when he came down and we headed out via the Starbucks, he disappeared. We kept walking slowly and they caught up at the intersection where we turned toward the bar. It was pretty busy already in there, we put our stuff down at a booth in the back. I jumped in the food line and grabbed the veggie offerings and edged into a seat to eat. Katie H and M eventually joined me, and Stephen was there after I came back from getting a martini. He, Heather, Katie and I shared psycho ex stories, though Stephen won with his stalker, but Heather married her's - he was just stubborn.

Andy came and sat with us for a while, and we eventually decamped to The Red Door. Zack, and the two Katie's and I walked over, having lost the others as we left Murphy's, and Zack had to go back to get his credit card as he'd run a tab at Murphy's and forgot to get his card back. I signed in for a temp membership, and then Andy and Zack got another one when they arrived. We sat at the "monkey table", under the shrine, and someone asked if it was a real monkey and our waiter said that it wasn't, it was art. Sonia and her brother were supposed to join us eventually, but at around 11, Andy and Katie M headed out and the rest of us finished up our drinks and then left as well without seeing the other two. I ended up having two drinks there, a saketini (it came with a fortune cookie balanced on the rim, with a non applicable fortune) and something else with pineapple in it that was sweet but good. That plus the martini just got me pleasantly tipsy, I like the smaller drinks - I can try more recipes in a single night without getting drunk and without breaking the bank (each was about $6-7). We also got a short primer on some of the Utah alcohol rules: max in any drink is 2.75 oz, but of that, only one ingredient can be 1 oz, and the rest have to be less. You can get more if you order a side car, a shot beside your drink, but you have to put it in, the bartender can't. We ran into Katharina on the walk back to the Marriott, just coming from Murphy's and she walked back with us. It was close to midnight when I got to bed, I think.

Fri Jan 11/08

I got up a bit later today, as there were no talks planned, just project work., and we got a reprieve on having to present our progress - we'll do that via tcon. Will filled out our wiki page, and I was able to get his help and Curt's again to figure out that the bug fix wasn't fixing things, so we had to move it. I cleaned up my code a bit and checked it in since I didn't want to trust to the laptop being the only location where the code was safe. I also checked it out remotely on my work machine, so it'll be there to continue work on Tuesday. I had filled up on breakfast, as lunch wasn't included. At noon or just past, I knocked off, most people who were flying had left for the airport already. I dropped my laptop in my room and then headed out to Lamb's Grill for a quick lunch (a good omelette stuffed with cheese, though the bread was slathered with butter. I sat at the counter and was finished fairly quickly, and walked back to the hotel. I had time to run up to my room before Enterprise was going to pick me up, I checked Dad's flight status to verify that he was still on time. I had a little wait at 2 for the Enterprise pick up, the door man offered to call them for me but I was giving them some extra time as I came down early. The rental guy said that they were going to (if it was all right with me) upgrade me for free to the mini van that they picked me up in, as it was a bit of a pain to put the two sets of ski holders on the top of a car. I agreed, as the van was nice and big and had lots of room for skiis, and it saved me $10/day. The hotel had set up my room key to give me access to the parking garage before I left, but I decided to go to the grocery store first and get some apples and drinks (I'd been hoarding bottles of water from the conference tables, it was time to get my gallon). I found it okay and did my shopping, coming out to some light snow. I went over to Canyon sports to get our lift tickets for that night, getting stuck behind a guy buying stuff for his 8 day ski trip. and then he miscounted and had to return some lift tickets, I was getting antsy as it was getting close to when I wanted to be on the road to the airport.

Then began the oddessy of getting to the airport. I thought I'd take 15 N to 80 E to 215 N, but it turned out that getting on 15N I was past the turn to 80, and I spaced on turning off at the one smaller road that would have taken me toward the airport. Then I sat in traffic for a mile and a half before getting to the next exit to a service road that wound along thorugh industiral areas and steaming pools. I finally found a familiar street and turned onto it and started seeing signs for the airport. I called Dad and said I was on my way and tried to figure out where he was. After going through the airport along the passenger pick up lane, I realised he was *in* the parking gargage, not next to it. I circled back around and finally found him. Back to the hotel, and got him checked in (switching him to the room across from mine) and he extracted his ski pants and changed, I gave him an apple, and it was off to Brighton.

It was snowing fairly constantly, but it was relatively light. The signs on Big Cottonwood Canyon said that we were to have chains or 4 wheel drive, but I bligthly ignored them and continued on - we encountered plows coming down and the road was fairly clear, though it was twisty and I was fairly happy to stick to the speed limit and below. We had a bit of a drive into the canyon to get to Brighton, passing Solitude, but got there eventually and found parking in the first rank, though off to the side. We exchanged our passes for lift tickets and carried our skiis up to the lift. On the first ride up to the top, I saw Katharina and Andy and yelled down to them. We caught up, they were waiting for us and we skiied together for the rest of the night. The snow was pretty constant, we'd get covered on the lift ride up, but it wasn't very windy and the snow was light, and it wasn't cold. Dad and I stopped at around 8:30 when the snow got abruptly harder and it was impossible to see very far. We packed our stuff into the back of the van and got into the slow moving convoy heading down the mountain at around 8:45. Sue's flight had been reported delayed, but it turned out to have been early (tail wind) though she sat on the tarmac for half an hour. We pulled into the cell phone lot and her flight was flashing pickup, though when I called her, she was still waiting fo rher luggage. I was able to wait five minutes for her without getting hurried off, and we spotted her hauling her skis, suitcase, and sports bag. Got her loaded up and headed to the hotel. Dad and I were a bit hungry and Sue said that she could eat, so after calling around a bit and not finding anything open at 10:20 or so, we headed down to the hotel bar. I called Andy, but got a rain check to go out for dirnks the next night. I had to fill out a membership and had to run up to my room in order to get my ID as I'd left it in my ski jacket. I ran into a group of 20-somethings coming out of the room next to mine, all with drinks in hand, and we went down the elevator together. They were friendly, but it turned out that they were partying all night and they woke us up at 4:30 or so, until they stopped at 5. I was so tired I was feeling sick and couldn't get up to call the front desk or to ask them to be a bit quieter. Finally got back to sleep though.

Sat Jan 12/08

Alarm went off at 7:15, and we all went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Sue and I both got the granola parfait, Dad went with eggs off the menu. Back upstairs to gather up our stuff, and then it was off to Canyon Sports for lift tickets to Alta. The line was starting to get long, but we got through okay, until Sue decided to buy a balaclava and got stuck behind more people. We were out finally, though and I had her navigate me to the highways to the turn off and into the Canyon. The roads were clear this morning, but traffic was heavy. We heard in the store that Snowbird had great snow and was popular so we weren't too surprised to see people turning off there when we went on to Alta. Got parking within sight of the lifts and we kitted up and carried our skis to the snow, with a quick pit stop at the restrooms. The snow was awesome, though I tried to stick to groomed runs when Sue would take off down powdery runs.

We started off on one of the low lifts, Albion or Sunnyside, but it turned out that the blue runs were closed for racing and we loafed down a green run before deciding to climb higher up the mountain on more lifts. We went up the Supreme and skiied that area for a while, then went up Sugarloaf and over to the Collins lift, going down to to the bottom instead of waiting at the midmountain station (where you can't get off). We arranged to meet up at 1 at Alf's, and I had some good soup, that was of course expensive.

Dad and I skiied out first, at just before 3, and Sue caught up with us as we were finishing up loading the van. Belted in and took off to get out of the canyon, and beat most of the traffic. The drive out to 215 and then east on 80 went faster than I expected and we were soon at exit 141 and seeing Gorgoza Tubing park. It was clear and sunny and we were able to enjoy the scenery even though I was a bit stressed out by the driving (lots of semis going slow on both sides of the slopes and the middle lane was littered with potholes). We were going to go into Park City to eat, but decided to try one of the restaurants listed on the highway info sign for our exit. I had to backtrack to find the entry to the little mall that held the restaurants (there was a narrow gap ploughed in between fields of snow and I could barely pass an oncoming car). We were going to try Cafe Sabor, but Sue spotted a sign for Ahh Sushi so we tried that first. It wasn't open until 5pm, 20 minutes later, so we walked over to the next buiding and went to Cafe Sabor instead which was already open. After a bit of confusion as to who was supposed to be serving us, we were tucked into our mexican spring rolls as appetisers. I had a very cold mango smoothie, and the shrimp pasta. Everything was as good as advertised, we had a good meal. I talked to Katharina while we were at the table, and she said that they wouldn't be able to join us for snow tubing as they had to move into the condo that they'd rented and then do grocery shopping, so we finished up at our own pace and headed back up the access road.

Sue spotted a guy wearing a ski helmet as he was walking out of the parking lot, so we put ours on as well, as for me at least, I didn't have a touque, just my balaclava, and it was warmest under the helmet. I also doubled up my socks, putting on the fleece ones. It wasn't that cold, though, but the googles that we kept snapped onto the helmets came in handy, as we were going *fast* down the slopes. First we went into one yurt to get tickets, $19 for 2 hours, then past the warming yurt to the bullpen half filled with primary coloured tubes. They turned out to be just air filled, with two small handles and a tow handle at the front. It was like towing a very light curling stone, they'd skitter along the snow and fall down every slope. We towed them to the lift line, it turned out to be a tow line, with a hook that the operator put our tow lines on, after we sat in the tubes. We'd ride up facing backwards, and at the top, there was a dip where the tow line would fall off the hook and we'd glide free, usually backward still. :) We did our first run on the beginner slope, at the top of the first tow rope, but after that we graduated to going all the way up to the top of the second tow rope. It wasn't very busy when we got there at 5:45, we kept going up and down for the first hour. It was awesome, though I tended to always end up going down feet first. I was impressed, the operators would count down for races, and would help us to make up triangles to go down all together (fast and fun!). When Sue and I took a short bathroom break, Dad went up by himself for a short run. Near the end of our two hours, and half an hour to closing, the operators at the top warned us "last run", we weren't going as fast then through the lines as a few big groups had arrived (it was awesome watching them go down in clumps of 6 and trains of 8). The bullpen was almost empty of tubes as well, I'd lost mine when I went to the bathroom, and had to swap my new one for a more inflated one was the second one had a lip that was cutting into my legs. The last run, we just went up the first rope and got the girl to count down a race for us. I actually ran, holding the tube by the handles, the tow rope tucked in, and started off diving down the run face first, tucking down to reduce drag, but unfortunately, as usual, I started turning to go backwards and as I got sideways I slowed down and lost the race. I could only see Sue and Dad as we got to the bottom and sat up, as the berms between the lanes were pretty high. The long runs had three dips that sped us up even more, but I think that the runs were slightly hollowed out, as my feet never hit the banks even when we went down all facing in with our feet out. We finally spun our tubes into the bullpen at 7:40 and jumped in the van for the ride back to Salt Lake City.

I talked to Andy, he and Sonia and Bertrand were at Ahh Sushi eating still, Sue and I cleaned up and walked over to the Red Door to meet them for later drinks, but encountered a cover and a crowd, since a band was playing (a jazzy trio). I called them again, and we decided to walk over to join them there. Sonia was just ordering another las vegas roll, and I put in an order of warm sake to share out and we settled in there to hang out instead. We lasted until about 11 and then headed out, going past the cafe with the mannequins in the window to show them to Sue. Andy used my laptop to check his flight number and seat assignment and then Sue took her shower and I passed out, having showered earlier. Luckily the noisy next door neighbours were going this night and we slept through to 7:45.

Sun Jan 13/08

We went down for breakfast at the Marriott restaurant again, meeting at 8. I went with the blueberry pancakes this time, and they gave me maple syrup with more blueberries in it as well. A good base of food for another day of skiing. We packed up and got our lift tickets this time at the hotel gift shop, as they were offering the same discount as Canyon Sports was for the Park City tickets. So it was straight onto the highway, as I didn't feel like spending more money to save 15% with a coupon in order to get snow pants. The drive out 80 was fine, I was more comfortable with the road this time, though Sue took exception to my parking three rows after I could have - but it turned out that there were stairs out onto the slopes from all along the parking lot. We put our skiis on and picked the lift that looked like it went the farthest up the mountain. Turned out that it stopped three times on the way up and we were frustrated. We asked a guy near the top if the King Con lift would bring us over to the other side of the mountain and he said that we'd have to take another lift, but it would get us started. We didn't enjoy the snow, it was icy and scraped and granular, so we were determined to get higher up. Which turned out to be a good idea as the snow was much better higher up. I think it was just too warm lower down, the snow had melted and frozen. We went down past the mid mountain restaurant and decided to meet there for lunch. The blue's here weren't that hard, unless they were covered with powdery snow. They had some double blue's that were what I would expect blue's to be like, but most of the runs were so wide they were practically a grade easier than marked. Andy's suggestion to go to the Jupiter bowl wasn't taken up as it was all double diamond territory. Sue tried a diamond by mistake as she got turned around trying to find a different run, I was the only one who made it to the restaurant on my first try, going down Red Fox and cutting over in a big U. The restaurant was historic, but the cream of mushroom soup was fresh made that morning, and I was able to get a nice big earl grey tea. The woman at the cash register complimented my boots and ran back to get sugar for me. I took some pictures with my disposable camera, as the sun had come out abruptly. We'd been skiing in fog and clouds all morning, and the flat light and reduced visibility was freaking me out. The afternoon was awesome though, we'd found our good snow and the light was great and it wasn't that cold, and I had an awesome time. Until my knee started hurting badly. :/ I'd done one run through the trees, slowly, as dad was following. He ended up falling on the end of a green run, getting lazy and all of a sudden one ski was flying 6 feet in the air and he was kicking up a cloud of snow. He ended up cracking his goggles and cutting his face, and wrenching his shoulder. We'd made our way to the McConkey? and Pioneer lifts, and he and I decided to ski out on the Home Run green. Looking at the map at the car, it turned out to be the longest run in Park City, 3.8 miles, and we'd picked it up near the top. Nice run down and we both survived pampering our respective injuries. Sue did one more run and then started to ski out, though in the end she zig zagged through about 4 lifts before I spotted her as I was trying to find Dad at the bar. I'd wandered far to find a public bathroom, it turned out that there was a private one above the bar. Sue and I had hot chocolate and Dad had a beer and then Sue skiied down to the steps and we all went to the van.

The drive out was still light, but I had Sue text Andy for Sonia's number (he'd texted me saying he was at Sage's, I told him we were going there for dinner, and he texted me back saying that we should invite Sonia). Andy called back and Sue talked to him while I negotiated the mini-van through the one lane highway that construction had left. We went to the hotel first, and I found out that Sonia and Bertrand were still on the bus back from Snowbird and then were going to hit the spa, we shouldn't wait for them. I cleaned up a bit, and then we walked over to Sage's. Slowly, though, the two of them kept motoring past my limping self. We got a big round table, and I started us off with the bruschetta (which when it came turned out to have the pesto on it, which may or may not have had walnuts in it) and gave in and ordered the hot chai. Dad went with the mushroom stroganoff and I had the picadillo vegetariano and Sue had the tacos vegetariano. I was eating mine slowly, it was very good but very filling. The waitress was rushing plates off the table a bit, but left my empty chai mug next to me through the whole meal, it was a bit odd. Dad and I split the tiramisu that Andy had insisted we try, and it was good too. :) We walked back to the hotel, and as we were about to turn up State St., Sonia called to say that they were ready to leave their hotel room. I told them to meet me in the lobby as I wanted to go up and get my hat, it was getting chilly - I'd pulled part of my scarf up over my head for the walk back. I talked briefly to Cris, turned out that my character didn't survive the DND session I'd missed, and then Sonia and Bertrand showed up as I was about to call them. We walked over to Squatter's, and had a bit of a wait for a table, as we didn't want the one by the door (Sonia's long hair was still wet from her shower). We warmed up at the fire a bit, then browsed the merchandise they had for sale - lots of punny t-shirts, they brew Polygamy Porter. I was still stuffed from dinner, so I just had a martini (bombay, but I have to figure out how to not get the olive, the last bit of the drink was horrid and I didn't finish it. I had a great time, they were a bit punchy from being on the mountain all day without stopping for lunch, and we were laughing pretty much non stop. I came back to the hotel at around 11 with them, and took a bath with the Lush marathon bar to try and soak out my aches. But when I got out, I noticed hives all over my body - they didn't itch yet, so I took an allergy pill and lay down, trying not to think about them. Fell right asleep after that, though a bit later than I'd hoped, a bit after midnight. All our flights the next day were still listed as on time, despite wind and rain in Vancouver, and a heavy snow storm in Boston.

Mon Jan 14/08

The clock radio alarm went off at 7:15, and I had to turn on the light to make it quit. Sue mumbled a bit and went back to sleep, and I got dressed and met Dad in the hall. We went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, had some trouble getting the waiter to understand that I didn't want the buffet, and then he brought me milk first and only offered me yoghurt for my granola after I'd poured it out. I got enough food, though, springing for the tea and getting two full (tiny) cups of hot water out of today's serving container. Up to the room to get my coat, and for Dad to say bye to Sue, and then down to the garage and out to the airport. Parked and went in with him, carrying his heavy boot bag and skiis until they were checked in. I stopped for gas on the way back at the cheap station, then Sue and I packed up our stuff. I called down for a late checkout time, no problem, and we went out window shopping at 10:30. Only to find that most places weren't slated to open until 11, and most of those didn't actually unlock their doors when we were there past 11. Sue found a print she liked on one gallery, but left it to think about as we moved on. I picked up a thank you gift for the co-worker watering my plants in Boston, and got vanilla black tea and a white chocolate and raspberry muffin in No Brow. We turned around there and wandered back, and Sue did get the print she was in love with. The gallery attendant put it into a cardboard sleeve for her and made tape handles so she could carry it on to her planes. It was by the artist Bob Bauer, and his gallery of abstract art prints can be found here.

Back to the hotel at around noon, and we decided to check out and drive to the Vertical Diner for lunch and then on to the airport. It was a bit of a haul, going down West Temple, but we found the area from our combined memories of the sign in Sage's Cafe (sister restaurants) and spotted it in a light industrial neighbourhood. It was set up like a diner, and had some menu items in common with Sage's. We both had the quesadilla's with portobello mushrooms and service was quick. We were out in about half an hour, missing the lunch rush probably helped. I jumped on the highway (the Enterprise map got lots of use) and it was a quick run to the airport. I parked again, taking advantage of the free half hour, and helped her check in, leaving her as well at the security line, and feeling like a native as I thanked her for coming. :) Then I drove to the car rental office and returned the mini van, the gas gage was still close to F so I didn't stop again. Got all my stuff out of the van and inside, and the over worked clerk called a cab for me. I was over heating in my winter coat, so moved stuff outside, and dug out a granola bar from my pocket to munch on while waiting. The cab arrived just outside the 10 minute promised window, but I had loads of time.

We got to the airport at around 2:45, my flight was at 5:12pm. Check in was just as quick as with Dad and Sue, another set of skiis up the slanted belt (same woman shepherding them, in fact), and I was up the stairs and through security myself fairly quickly - it took me longer to take off all my extra layers and disassemble my carry-on for liquids and my laptop than it did to go through the small line. I decided to hit my gate area before wandering for a bottle of water, and ended up sitting and typing up a couple of days of my travel diary and only getting up to get batteries for my noise cancelling headphones and water for me as the boarding process was going on - I was in zone 8 again so I had time. Turned out that 5 other Boston NAMIC-ers had stayed the weekend and were on my flight back, but I was stuck beside two middle aged skiers and didn't move much. It was pretty funny, they asked me where I'd skiied and when I told them, they ignored me the rest of the flight while they nattered on about the powder they'd found. I kept my backpack on the floor of the seat in front of me, and put my helmet up in the overhead bin, and at one point someone opened the bin and just caught the helmet. There's just not a good way to travel with it on the plane. :/ I listened to music and finished one book and began another over the 5 or so hour flight. Cris was waiting for me when I landed, I got my suitcase and boot bag right away, but my skiis were on the second oversized luggage cart - I bet half the people in the plane were in Utah for snow sports. Quick drive home through clear roads but past trees weighted down with loads of wet snow. It was beautiful, but I was so glad to hit my bed, after a quick shower, at 1am.

Overall, a long trip, but a fun one. Glad that some of my family could join me, and hopefully Dad's injuries heal quickly!

Back to my diary page.