Sunday, October 19, 2008

Travel Diary - Sunday October 19th

My In-laws surprised me by adding a used computer to their home office complete with Internet hookup. What's even better is that I'm sleeping on a bed in the home office. I've decided to post a diary of my travels in Florida.

We flew to Florida today to visit Sue's parents in St. Petersburg. We flew Southwest Airlines non-stop to Tampa and there were no problems. We took off and arrived on time, early even. The flight was the fastest for us that we've ever experienced, 2 hours and 11 minutes, and the captain gave us in-flight updates of Game Seven of the ALCS. The kids watched Star Wars episode I on the DVD player and I began Michael Palin's diary for 1969-1979 (The Python Years)*

* It's the hardcover edition from the public library, about the size of a large Whitman sampler, and over 600 pages long. Not really a light pocket book for travel, but an engaging read.

Our neighbor Jill, who is always on the lookout for a deal or a discount, favored us with a drink coupon from the airline before we left town. Sue gave it to me and I ordered two vodka and club sodas. He brought me a full can of club soda one cup of ice with two limes, and two airline bottles of Vodka. I planned to offer the coupon for the first and pay credit for the second drink. He told me the coupon I presented was the cover of a coupon book and not a coupon at all. I explained that it came from a woman in our sub-division who doesn't drink, but likes coupons, and that well, the joke was on me. I poured the first drink and he came back from the galley with the credit card machine. Nice chap. Only charged me for one drink anyway. Hats off to Southwest air.

Arrived at Tampa airport at 9:30 pm and the place was deserted. Mass transit hubs in their off hours, with shuttered shops and skeleton crews, fascinate me. We boarded the tram from the gate to the terminal and found our luggage. My father in-law picked us up in his Buick and away we went to the I-275 causeway across the bay west to the St. Pete side. I found a radio cast of the baseball game. The Bucs were playing in Tampa at the same time and Skyler declared that he was more interested in the football game. We overruled him and listened to the Rays take a 3-1 lead over Boston.

Grandma welcomed us back to Pinellas Park and offered soup and sandwiches. She put the baseball game on and the football game too, thanks to an extra TV she set up on the coffee table next to the entertainment center. Note to self: show Joyce the wonder and power of the PIP feature on her remote.

Got the kids settled down and watched a little TV before retiring to bed in the office. Skyler was asleep when I went in. I turned on my attachable reading lamp and read from Palin's book. He's a very good writer, quite prolific, with 80% of his diary, so he claimed, left on the editing room floor before he went to press with the 600 pages of entries. Mild Spoiler: Graham Chapman was the weak link among the Pythons, due to his alcoholism, and his hedonism to a lesser degree. An excellent tome and I predict I'll have it finished before the end of our holiday. My travel reading lamp is a pain. It eats batteries on the quick - goes dim after a few hours time. It doesn't blink off though, it fades from bright to dim over an hour's time, and if I don't change the batteries the next morning, will do the same to a less extent the next time I use it.

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