I had such a lovely day. And if you don't hear the sarcasm dripping from that statement, read it again. Now? Good. See this? Yes, that is a cheesecake, still in the grocery store package, with a fork. I am eating this cheesecake, whole, with this fork. I might eat the entire thing. It's been that kind of day. And it's going to be a very long post, so you might want to get yourself a cheesecake too.
Yesterday was fine. Yesterday was grand. I packed, I remembered all my errands, I watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" five times. Five. I have japanophile issues. Anyway, I was fully prepared to get up at 2:30 in the morning, get ready, eat some breakfast, throw the last few things in my suitcase that was laying on the living room floor ready to be stuffed and zipped up. I went to bed thinking of cherry blossoms and fan dancing and eyes like rain, wishing only that Maggie would stop her meowing outside my bedroom door.
I heard the doorbell. It was 4 am. My parents were there to pick me up. I was still in bed. SH*%^&&$T! I flew out of bed, through the kitchen, dining room, living room and down the stairs to let my dad in. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, threw my toothbrush in the suitcase, all the while saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I also said the F word in front of my dad, for which I said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Anyway, I'm in a frenzy and I'm sure I was making a ton of noise which my downstairs neighbors had to endure. I zip up the suitcase and it's leaning over to one side. Hrm. It's MISSING A WHEEL. When the F did that happen? Did I bring it home from Peru that way? I don't know, and I don't have time to cram everything into another suitcase, not that I own one large enough anyway. I'll just have to deal with it.
So my dad, who is totally calm, says, "Where are the kitties?" Uh.... where are they? I had left my bedroom door open, so I'm shaking the little can of treats all over my room, looking under the bed, etc., upset that they may be in there because they aren't allowed in there and if I can't get them out it means they have free reign with my jewelry, breakable knickknacks and stuff that is in my room where they can't get for a reason. I'm calling and calling and beginning to freak out because I trained them when they were small to come when I call them (in case of fires and such - it was in the kitten book) and they ALWAYS come and now they are NOT coming. I mentally write off all of my precious belongings in my room and put my coat on to leave. Then I see a white paw sticking out from under the couch. They were both under there! They haven't hid under the couch since they were tiny. I think it was the combination of the doorbell (which sounds like a horn on a fire engine when it approaches an intersection - no, really) and me running the length of the apartment in 2 seconds flat. So, kitties accounted for and bedroom door thankfully closed, we left. And now I'm wondering if Maggie's special abilities also include knowing when I've set my alarm to PM instead of AM, because she was making quite a fuss last night. How does she know???
I'm putting my makeup on in the dark in the backseat of the car while my mother is handing me these two pound travel guides she picked up from AAA and Daddy gets me to the airport on time. I shove the travel guides and my makeup bag into the suitcase and realize I forgot the lock. Did you know curbside checkin is $2 a bag now? Well, it is. Anyway, I'm going through security and the TSA guy asks me if I have any liquids or gels in my purse. No. How about LIP GLOSS? He says it just like that, like "I can see you just put it on so you must have it with you, you stupid female traveler." They did x-ray my purse twice - guess it was the combination of blackberry, digital camera and ipod all in the same pocket.
Between the time I checked my bag to when I got to the gate he'd told me, the gate had changed, so I got to walk back up the terminal. Thankfully Starbucks opens at 5 so I could get a bottle of water, where I proceeded to leave my wallet. A very nice man who was behind me in line brought it to me. That would have been beyond disastrous.
So, I've finally got a chance to catch my breath, and I get out my knitting project for the trip - the Dainty Bess scarf from the Elizabeth I scarf patterns from Knitpicks. I'm using a ball of Lost Lake. I read the instructions: Cast on 51 with any elastic cast on. Hrmmm. I can't remember if the knitted or cable cast on is the elastic one, so I reach into my purse for my cell phone to google it and ... it isn't there. I search. I'm sure I look like a fool, or at least someone who obviously lost something. So I pick up everything and find a pay phone a couple of gates away and call my parents. Daddy finds my cell phone in the car. Which reminds me that I had also left the charger at my apartment. So I give mom the info to fedex it to me and get back to my gate.
The flight itself was fine - in fact we got in 1/2 hour early. Early on in the flight the one steward (this was a tiny plane) leaned over my seat while I was working on the scarf and said, "I never understood that." "How to do it or why we do it?" I asked. "I never understood why I can't bring the tiny screwdriver to fix my glasses and you can bring those." "Because it keeps us calm and happy," I suggest. "Is that needlepoint?" he asks. "No, knitting." "What's the one with the hook?" "That's crochet." "Oh, crochet. Yeah, you could do some real damage with one of those. You could stab someone and twist it around and pull stuff out with one of those." I honestly don't remember what I replied to that. The scarf was kicking my arse, as you can see. That would be 8 rows of border and 8 rows of pattern. From a 1 1/2 hour flight. Not pretty.
So, I get my suitcase at the baggage claim (you thought it would be missing, didn't you?) and stood on the curb where a sign said that the rental car shuttles stop. The Hertz guy was more than happy to inform me, however, that you have to flag them down and I was lucky that he stopped because he thought I might be looking at him. Thanks so much. I get the car (which costs more than my hotel room for the week!) and walk toward space 908. OF COURSE spot 908 is at the VERY END of the row, farthest from the office, so off I go, dragging my one-wheeled suitcase, briefcase, purse, still un-touched bottle of water, etc. and when I get there (I really wish I'd taken a picture of this for you) the car is blocked in on all four sides. So I walk, lugging limping luggage, all the way back to the office, where a guy sprints out to get the car. The car pulls up, he loads everything in for me, and off I go. Now, part of why this car costs so ungodly much is because I reserved one with the navigation system (which costs $10/day extra.) What I didn't know is that the driver isn't allowed to use the "never lost" while the car is in motion. So, I'm pulling out of the lot into a strange city and mass of highways and bridges and exits (and the shortest merge lanes I have ever seen) and my navigation system will tell me nothing except for where I am. I follow the signs for Independence Hall and actually find it. I drive for 20 more minutes and find cheap parking at a meter. Praise be.
I walk the 5 or so blocks and get directions from a very cute National Parks guy (they're all cute) to the Independence Visitor Center where I can get a timed ticket. I go down there, get my ticket, and within, no lie, 2 minutes of looking around in that museum their fire alarms go off and they evacuate the building. So I cross the street to the Liberty Bell, go through another security check, and explore the little museum. There's not a lot to it. It's a bell. It's cracked. It has the same security procedures as an airport. Except you can have lip gloss.
By this point I'm starving and my ticket says 11:00 and my blackberry says 9:15, so I go back to where I parked my car to a little diner for breakfast. I eat, feed more quarters into my meter, and cross the street to see Carpenter's Hall. When I was a kid I thought I'd just die if my father dragged me through one more historic building. But I've been infected evidently, because I really love them. I love the hardware, the rippled glass, and I am a total sucker for weathervanes.
I wander, stroll, amble, the 3 blocks or so to Independence Hall where I endure yet another security check (and the toughest of the three - I had to take off my sweater for this one) and get in line. The park ranger is asking for everyone with 11:40 tickets to come to the front. I go to the front and show her my 11:00 ticket. She says I've missed my tour. Huh? It's a quarter to 11:00 according to the blackberry - the blackberry that doesn't magically change the time when you enter a different time zone. GAAAH! She got me into the next tour anyway, and I finally got to see the room where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. It's pretty cool, especially if you've seen "1776" about 20 times.
From here I wandered down to Ben Franklin's gravesite. It's a beautiful little cemetery if you like them, which I do.
See the pennies on Betsy's grave? .... ??? Huh?
OK, that was enough americana for a day. Off to the yarn stores! A trip of a few blocks took me 1/2 an hour and cost $3. How? Well, see, that's another thing about this "never lost." Sometimes it has a little trouble finding the satellites. I kinda knew what direction to head in, so before it kicked in I started off, and ended up on a street that turns into an on-ramp for a highway that ends up at a bridge that goes to New Jersey. Yes, say it with me: On a trip to New Jersey I accidentally drove to New Jersey. Trying to get back to Philly sounded like me laughing alternated with cursing and the "never lost" saying, "Please return to the highlighted route. Please return to the highlighted route." (If you're really tired and really fed up you can sing "follow the highlighted route" to the tune of "follow the yellow brick road" and spend your time in a toll booth line coming up with more lyrics.) I was hoping to avoid the toll, but it had to be paid, and $3 got me back into Pennsylvania. If I hadn't been heading for yarn I might have just stayed in NJ and gone straight to the hotel - but at this point it's only 1:00 in the afternoon. When I travel I have to see all I can, so I couldn't stop yet.
Both stores were lovely and had stuff that I can't get at home. I didn't buy much, just a couple things. The guy at Loop was yummy, but was he yummy enough for me to blush so much? My face felt so hot. Even after sitting while he wound my Koigu my face still felt flushed. Yep, I'm probably getting sick. Great. Something is definitely up, because I pulled out the entrelac scarf to work on (I admit it, I'm proud of it and was hoping someone would notice it - and they did!) and I'm sitting there, fingertips pressed to my lips, looking from the scarf to the pattern to the scarf to the pattern and come to the horrifying realization that I DON'T REMEMBER HOW to do it anymore. Something is wacky because where I think I am in the pattern just doesn't work. I blame the fever.
One place I wanted to go that I found in Mom's guidebook was a Japanese House and Garden, and this is when the navigation system is essential. I never could have followed a map and driven in that traffic. I got there and ... it was locked. I read the sign. It says they should be open until 5. It's only 3:15. (Really, it is. I fixed the blackberry by this point.) I read the sign again. It says they're open May to October 31st. I missed it by 5 days. I walked around the outside of the fence, gazed at the pretty leaves and listened to the fountain I couldn't see, looked at the house I couldn't enter and the perfect evening light for the pictures I couldn't take. And decided to go to the hotel. I'd had enough. I got in, fired up the "never lost" and it led me to:
Turns out my hotel is only 18 miles or so away, and I get there pretty quickly. I check in without problems and ask the clerk which entrance is closest to my room and he tells me the one at the far end. So I park down there, drag the suitcase and its entourage behind me and realize, as I'm walking in, that the elevator is NOT close to this entrance and proceed to drag all my stuff up the stairs and down the hall to where, it turns out, my room is only 3 doors from the elevator.
So, now do you see why I'm binge-ing? I had some yummy chinese food from a grocery store food bar, have a gallon of orange juice in the fridge, Anthony Bordain is on TV, there's lots of cheesecake left, and it's not even 8:00 yet. Things are looking up. Except for that part where the woman I'm supposed to be meeting at 7 am at a prison 1 1/2 hours away hasn't indicated to me in any way that she's going to actually BE THERE. I may need more cheesecake.
(I apologize for the lack of links and the pictures that may not be formatted correctly. I really need to watch Anthony and eat fats and carbs now.)
(And the whole moving between past and present and some omniscient tense? That's why this knit blogger isn't getting a book deal.)