I got to see vvalkyri on Monday, meet her grandmother (who is charming), and pick up a scooter for nosebeepbear to use, at least until her real one shows up. We had a lovely dinner (the restaurant had their valentine's menu that night). We both liked the looks of a burger and a chicken dish, so I suggest I order the burger and she the chicken. Since she was in a boeuf mood, she thought she should order the burger, and I the chicken. So we did, and 'twas excellent. I got home with the scooter, and decided to try a tractor battery in place of the existing one, which didn't want to take a charge. Worked a treat! The existing battery is now on my battery conditioner, which is valiantly trying to resuscitate it.
On Wednesday, fizzygeek and I woke up at 4AM so I could take a 7AM flight to Boston for training. The training was interesting, but concerned a product that is at revision 0.1 and certainly not ready for prime time. Our customer wants me to replace my low level code with theirs, but I'm gonna hold off until it's a little more mature. The last item in class was a lab exercise, where everybody was expected to take working code that did one thing, and modify it to do something somewhat more complicated. I got mine running fairly quickly (someone else was faster), but a few people were having a fair amount of trouble with the syntax, how the library actually worked, and a fairly subtle and nasty order-of-operations requirement that tended to cause deadlocks. It got later and later, our instructor finally had to go home, and left us with another programmer. At long last, everybody finished, and we could go. I had plans to have dinner with quietann, and realized she had probably been expecting my call for a while (we weren't allowed to have cell phones on in the facility). So as soon as we got back in the van, I called her to make sure she wasn't worried about me, and to work out plans. We arranged to meet in the hotel lobby and go for dinner. It turned out to be a lovely dinner and conversation, and we got to enjoy a nice cuddle afterwards.
Thursday was the other day of training, and lunch was amusing. One popular item was "pollo con arroz, served on a bed of rice". It was good, though. After class, we went back to the airport to go home. We'd booked a late flight in case we had a long day, but we'd finished at a fairly early time so tried for earlier flights. The airport was mobbed, as apparently air travel was disrupted due to weather, and lots of flights were cancelled or delayed (some until the next day). Several of the group got the first flight, but I didn't make the cut. I went down to the gate for the next flight and set up the laptop with the cell phone for internet access (stoopid Logan wants to charge me for their wireless, fat chance of that). The gate attendant announced over the PA that she'd be calling the standby list, and to listen carefully. A while later, in a quiet speaking voice, she said my name from over by the gate. I almost didn't hear her, but she was motioning for me to get on board. I quickly unhooked everything, gathered my coat and baggage, and scurried over. They made me gate check my little duffel, insisting the plane was full (it wasn't, the duffel would have easily fit in the remaining overhead space).
When we got back to Dulles I fired up the cell phone and let fizzygeek know I was on the ground. As it happens, our gate wasn't ready. The pilot said that from the looks of things, it wasn't going to be ready any time soon, but he'd been told the plane would push back within 5 minutes. If nothing happened in a few minutes, he'd request another gate. I hoped it would be soon, as I needed to use a bathroom. Whatever transpired, we eventually pulled up to a gate. It turns out that this gate is approximately the farthest gate from the main terminal. It's a quite long walk in a weird corrugated metal corridor to the actual building. The building was full of people, and the bathrooms seemed like a long wait. Across that building are the doors to the buses to the other terminals. One door was marked "main terminal", but it was barred. The usable door was marked "terminals C and D", but they weren't letting anybody get on that bus. Finally it pulled away, and eventually more buses showed up. There was the expected general confusion as people sorted out which unmarked bus was going to the main terminal, and which to the connecting flights terminal. The bus route back to the main terminal was serpentine in the extreme. We drove the length of the G terminal, around concrete construction barriers, then back around the barriers on the other side, and the entire length of the C and D terminals. Then another U turn, the length of the B terminals, and then to the main terminal. Where we made a 90 degree turn, drove down the length of the Z terminals, made yet another U turn, went back on the other side of the Z terminals, and finally stopped at the bottom of an outdoor metal stairway. Of course, I ended up behind a couple who didn't understand how to get a stroller up stairs. There was a great line for the bathroom there, so I headed toward the Z gates, which were marked as having a restroom and weren't very busy. It turns out it's a fair hike to the restroom, which is a companion restroom (i.e. no stalls, just an open toilet) with a door that doens't lock. I used it anyway.
The original plan was for fizzygeek to pick me up after work, but since I had gotten the earlier flight, I figured I'd take a taxi out to where she works. I resumed my journey to ground transportation, and my phone rang. It was fizzygeek, wondering where I was. She was a little boggled that I was, in fact, still at the airport. I got a taxi out there, and arrived just as she was coming out.
On Friday night, red_lynx was having dinner with garnet_rattler, ladi_lavinder, and heptadecagram. ladi_lavinder had said fizzygeek and I were welcome to join them. As it happens, fizzygeek had an exam the next morning and bowed out, so I took the Metro out to meet them. After a little cellphone confusion (I got an unintelligible message I thought was from red_lynx, whose phone wasn't taking calls), I linked up with them, and we had a very enjoyable dinner. I probably should have used a bathroom at Union Station, but wanted to travel with the others as far as our journeys allowed, even though it was just a few stops. When I got back to my car, I called fizzygeek, who wanted to know if I could pick up some lottery tickets, as both the VA lottery and Powerball had really big jackpots. I could have easily picked up Powerball tickets when I was in DC, but hadn't known. I said I could stop, but would have to make an extra stop somewhere to use a bathroom. So she ended up buying VA lottery tickets while I drove home. Didn't win on those.
Today, we went out to WV to buy Powerball tickets and perhaps do some shopping and have lunch. The parking lot of our usual lottery stop was more full than I had ever seen it. I don't want to think about what it must have been like in DC. Apparently an estimated $365M jackpot gets 'em out in droves. After that, we thought maybe we'd go see what there was to see in Charles Town or Harpers Ferry. We wandered up toward Harpers Ferry and were distracted by a flea market. Then we went back to Charles Town to try a Chinese restaurant fizzygeek had heard about. As always, I checked the menu outside for the rare and wonderful scallion pancakes I like so much (dcseain tells me they're actually a Korean dish). Didn't see any, but we were cold so we went on inside. There was an extra sheet in my menu detailing the chef specials, and scallion pancakes were on there! The waiter seemed to think we were curious about them, but we made sure he knew that we knew what they were and really wanted some. They were good (about like the ones at Gracie's Fortune in Bowie, where we often eat with orkney), and we had a lovely meal. Then we decided to head back home and deal with the squeaky dryer. Sure enough, with all the likely parts replaced, everything cleaned, leveled, tightened, and lubricated as appropriate (including the extra special silicone oil for the slides), the dryer runs more quietly than it has in years. And it does still get clothes dry.